"to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faithin me." Acts 26:18

Friday, October 12, 2018

Traveling to America!

Next week, 6 of the kids and I are leaving to go to America.  Three weeks later, Eric and the other kids will join us.  The big occasion for the trip is that Eric's little sister met this guy and decided she wants to spend the rest of her life with him.  We are so happy for them and are so thrilled that we can make the trip.

I say "little sister" because when Eric and I got married, she was little!  Our little flower girl.  But time has flown and she is now a beautiful bride to be and Talitha will have the chance to be a flower girl in her wedding.

Some of the kids and I are going a bit early because I am going to be seeing a bunch of doctors at Emory to try to get back on track with my health.  In addition to hypothyroidism, Adrenal insufficiency, and chronic kidney disease, I've also recently begun treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis.  The medicine has been working and I'm not in nearly as much pain as I was a couple months ago, but I'd like to have a long-term plan worked out for continued improvement in all areas so that we can stay in Uganda for many years to come.  Please pray with us to that end.  Pray that the Doctors have great wisdom and are a real help to me!

Have you ever thought about sending us a care package but realized how expensive it is to ship internationally?  We will have a LOT of luggage space (33 pieces to be exact!!) when we come back to Uganda in 6 weeks and we are hoping to fill that luggage with items that either we can't get in Uganda or cost a lot more here than in the US.  If you would like to bless us, we have an Amazon.com wish list set up.  You can order off that list and let Amazon ship it to us by Thanksgiving.  Amazon gift cards would be great too.  If you would like us to send you a link to that list, please email us at ericdianna(at)hotmail(dot)com OR contact Eric or me on Facebook. 
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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Hockey Tournament

What happens when you plop a Canadian into Uganda?  A hockey tournament, of course!  Today, Uganda celebrated Independence Day.  Schools and many businesses are given a holiday.  So Eric organized for the youth to play hockey at the church.  Some of the youth made lunch and they had a great day! (Photo Credit: Eric Tuininga)

Friday, October 5, 2018

10 Weeks of School

 Whew...we made it!  We just wrapped up ten full, non-stop weeks of school.  I've been so impressed with how the kids have plowed through a lot of material!  And I've been so thankful to the Lord for all his grace.  I really wasn't sure how this year would play out with no missionary associate and my continuing health issues...but God has sustained us and blessed us with a great year so far!  Now, one week of packing and organizing, then most of us are headed to America for a wedding....more on that in the next post!

Didn't quite get everyone's pictures this morning, but most of them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Baby Ducklings

Benaiah's mama duck just hatched 10 little ducklings.  I'm not sure there is anything cuter than a bunch of baby ducks!  Benaiah requested that we take pictures and put them on the blog.  I was happy to oblige. 


This mama duck looks so proud of her crew! haha!

And, of course William's hen wanted in on the action too.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Knox Theological College

This week Eric began teaching at Knox Theological College again.  As you may know, Knox Theological College is now operating under Livingstone International University.  This allows us to be able to give diplomas and work under an accredited university.  This also means that, for the first time, we now have two levels running, which means multiple classes being taught simultaneously.  Exciting times of growth!  For this course block, Eric is teaching a course on missions and Charles is teaching a course on preaching.  Please pray that God will continue to bless all the studying and learning to his glory and the building of his kingdom.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

And the Heaviness Lifts...

Every Friday I lead a Bible study at church for the ladies/girls of our church.  It is something I love to do.  Yesterday we discussed Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

It is not easy to be a woman living in Kikamba (the slum where our church is located).  Violence, divorce, hunger, sickness, drunkenness sweep through, threatening every corner.  Women are often faced with a choice of selling their bodies so they can feed their family or standing alone and watching their children try to fall asleep hungry.  Many of the women are illiterate.  Many face violence in the home.  Many watch fevers rage in their children and there is very little they can do about it.  Just yesterday, when it was time to take prayer requests, we prayed for a family who almost had their 3 year old kidnapped out of their home at 2am, a family where thieves came in and used a panga to injure their cow (a financial investment and source of livelihood) to the point that the cow died, for a grandmother who is grieving because her grandsons were arrested for raping someone, two different wives who were attacked by their husbands and nearly killed, another mother whose son was severely burned and he needs treatment, two mothers who have children in prison, two mothers who have other children that refuse to obediently stay at home and many who struggle with chronic sickness and troubles.  Most of the wayward children mentioned above do not have fathers in their lives.  One of the women who is suffering from violence in the home has a family that won't help her at all because she is the only Christian and her family is Muslim.  It's not easy to be a woman in Kikamba.

When the women arrived yesterday, they looked heavy with care.  They looked tired to me.  I actually wondered how Bible study would even go.  Are they too tired to listen today?  How will God's word speak to them today?  Every word that comes out of my mouth must be translated.  The frustration of the tower of Babel continues again today in this little corner of the world.

We started to talk about God's word.  What can we be thankful for in the midst of all our anxieties?  Then something happened that rarely happens in our Bible study...almost every lady wanted a chance to speak about something she was thankful for.  Hand after hand raised up asking for a turn, mouth after mouth speaking words of praise.  There it is: the Holy Spirit on the move, producing thankfulness instead of anxiety.  Peace instead of worry.  Peace that is deep and beyond understanding.  Peace you wouldn't expect to find in a group of women from Kikamba.  Peace that is found where ever Christ is found.  These women have troubles almost beyond what I can even begin to wrap my mind around.  But they also have Christ.

Their faces changed in that moment.  I literally saw the softening, the renewing of strength, the flood of joy.  The heaviness lifted and the Spirit rushed in.

"God gave me food this week."

"My neighbors stopped fighting me"

"God healed me so that I could get out of the hospital"

"I have school fees for next term."

"God brought missionaries to Uganda"

"We have a church we can go to that teaches us about God."

"Christ died on the cross for me."

We all clapped and laughed together afterward.  What a friend we have in Jesus!  All our sins and griefs to bear.  What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Youth Retreat in Karamoja

This past week, the youth from our PCU church here in Mbale went up to the OPUM Karamoja station in order to join with the youth from the church plant there (along with the teenaged children of the missionaries) for a youth retreat.  This is the first time our two mission stations have joined together to do something like this for the youth.  It was a very exciting opportunity and was a blessing to see.  Even though our two OPUM stations are only a few hours apart, the cultures of the two areas are dramatically different.  For our youth from Mbale, it really is almost like going to another country...so different than their normal life.

Some of the Ugandan pastors from our area did the teaching.

Prayer time in the evening

Our youth were so impressed by the food that the Karamoja Station provided.

During the afternoon, all of the youth broke into small groups to do service projects.  Some of the youth helped at KEO (the nursery school run by our team), some helped to build some houses for members of the church there, some helped to harvest millet and some went evangelizing in a local village.  This was probably one of the greatest blessings of the retreat.  In fact, a couple of the girls that worked at KEO loved it so much that they even expressed interest in coming back to help...kind of like a short-term missionary.  Wouldn't that be something?  The local church in Mbale, sending out short-term missionaries?  I think youth all over the world love to use their youthful energy for this sort of thing, it's simply a matter of opportunity and resources.  (Photo below is of the evangelizing team praying before they leave)

They also had some time for sports and games and to go for a hike to the waterfalls.

 And a late night movie...

And a bonfire.  Haha...Eric got started telling all the kids American fairy tales... Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, etc.  He had a captivated audience.  All these stories that most American children grow up hearing are actually quite shocking when you hear them for the first time as a young adult. 

 We are so thankful for all that our teammates in Karamoja did to help make this retreat a reality.  It was a real blessing to us and to the youth.  Praise the Lord for his goodness!