"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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Karamoja

Yesterday we drove up to our Karamoja station in order to deliver a vehicle and for fellowship with our team up there.  It's always a fun drive...far out of the ordinary for us Mbale folks.  This is the first time we've ever been able to make up in the rainy season because usually, the roads are a mess.  But this year, they are really working to maintain the road this year...what a blessing for everyone who lives up there and we who like to visit. 

Whenever we drive up the kids like to get on the roof and look out for any animals (actually, I think they just like an excuse to ride on top...haha!) in the National Reserve.

The only animals we saw though were the two ostriches that like the base of UWA in the reserve.  Still, fun to see!

This is a sketch bridge that we crossed to get there.

Hmmm...




This is the culvert right outside our station.  They saw a Nile crocodile in there last week!

The most exciting part of our visit was seeing the new clinic almost finished being built.  This has been a huge project and our teammate Chris Verdick has done an absolutely amazing job getting it finished and ready to begin using in 3 weeks, Lord willing!


The construction is high quality and Lord willing will be used to serve many people for many years!

Thankful for a night of fun and fellowship!



Thursday, July 27, 2017

Girls Weekend

This past weekend the big girls and I escaped for a few days together to Hairy Lemon Island...an island in the middle of the Nile River just outside of Jinja.  We had such a wonderful time together playing games, laughing, eating way too much, and watching Call the Midwife in the tent.

Our "Glamping" tents were on another island from the main one so we had to cross this sketch bridge multiple times a day.  (Things American insurance companies would never approve! ha!)


We spent one afternoon in Jinja town where a new Java House just opened.  Yum!

So this is called "Glamping"...not sure where the "glam" part was, except that in each tent there were two twin size beds, which I did appreciate!  The not so glamorous parts were the largest spider I have ever seen in Uganda and a nice size monitor lizard we found just outside the tent. (We made doubly sure to zip our tents well after those sightings!)


Water volleyball! (And no worries you NatGeoWild watchers...there aren't any crocs or hippos on this part of the river!)

Our family camped at Hairy Lemon about four years ago.  In all the time since then, we had never been able to make it back.  This weekend we found out that there will be a new dam opening down stream from Hairy Lemon and it will cover the Island 5 meters above the tallest part!  In addition, Uganda will lose some of its Class 5 rapids that draw kayakers and rafters from all over the world.  Even though we know that Uganda needs the additional power this dam will provide, it's kinda sad to see these things go.  Glad we made it back to Hairy Lemon one more time!

Such a great time with these girls!  I'm so thankful that God provided for us to be able to do this weekend!  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

5 Year Ugandaversary!

It's hard to believe but today officially marks 5 years for us in Uganda!  We are so thankful for this time!  Sometimes, it is hard to believe we've survived this long (haha!)  Most of the time it feels as if the time has just flown by!
The kids were SO little and waited so patiently as we checked in!

But this is for sure: God has been faithful to strengthen us when we needed strengthening, comfort us when we needed comforting, rebuke us when we needed rebuking, give us a break when we needed a break, help us to press on when we needed to dig in and press on; He has kept us, loved us, filled us, blessed us.  There has been no step taken on this red dirt where he has not walked before us, beside us and behind us.

So here is an Ebeneezer:  thus far has God brought us! 

May His name be glorified and praised for who He is and all that He has done!


Monday, July 10, 2017

Bullet Post

The weeks have continued to pass by quickly.  Here are a few of the highlights:

:: We celebrated the first wedding in our new church building.  It was such a fun day!  Denise, Katelyn and Rebecca were all bridesmaids, Talitha was a flower girl and Benaiah was a "peg boy"...aka ring bearer.



When we got to the church with the girls, the crowd was so large and so loud!  I was sure that Talitha would get scared and not want to walk down the aisle...especially when she had to go first!  But she was so brave and danced her way in.  Afterward, Eric asked her, "Weren't you scared?" She said, "No, everyone was looking at me and how beautiful I was!" Eric said, "I think everyone was looking at the bride."  She said confidently, "No, they were looking at me" This does nothing for her humility. haha!

Here's a small sample of the excitement of the crowd!
video


video



They did the very non-Ugandan thing and kissed at the wedding.  As you can see by the look on the attendants face behind, it was a bit shocking to most people... haha!

Aw!  What cuties!



Such a fun day!

:: For Fourth of July, the British missionaries in our community hosted a BBQ.  Now affectionately referred to Brexit1776


Katelyn made a super cute cake for the occassion.

It even looked like a flag when it was cut.

::  We've also celebrated three birthdays:

First Rebecca turned 13 (we now have five teenagers in the family!!)


Then Matthew turned 14:

Then Denise turned 15:

::Then, this past weekend, we had an end of year picnic with the students and their families at KTC.  It included a volley ball tournament between the KTC students and some of the youth of New Life Presbyterian Church.  Our church youth won.  


Here is a picture of all the students and their families:

This is a picture of all the students that attend or are currently pastoring PCU churches:

And while the former group was lining up, these brothers, not to be outdone, insisted that I take a picture of the "presbycostles" as they affectionately refer to themselves as.

::And I'll leave you with just one more picture, simply because he was a cutie...a dangerous one...but cute nonetheless!


Friday, June 23, 2017

A Few Videos

Here are a few videos that I made this past week.  The first is a tour of what our yard looks like during our times of Open Compound...the times when we open our yard up to kids who want to come play.  On this particular day, we ended up with close to 200 kids.  The second is a short clip from our Breakfast Club.  That's when we serve breakfast and have devotions with any primary students that want to come and who are able to say their memory verse to get in the gate.  This past week we had 98 kids.  Both of these times are near and dear to our hearts and we are so thankful that God has allowed us to do this.  The third video is the video that we used on furlough in the churches that we were blessed to present in.  Many people have already seen this one, but just in case you didn't and want to...here it is!







Friday, June 16, 2017

A little update...

It hasn't quite been a month since I've posted, but almost!  I always hate it when the blog has to be silent for a time.  But it's birthed out of my extra and lately, I haven't had much extra to give.  These past weeks (really since we've arrived in country) have been up and down and up and down with my adrenal insufficiency...a couple weeks of feeling low, followed by a few good days, followed by more weeks of being low.  It's been difficult to regain the stability that I once had. Simple illnesses can knock me off my feet because it aggravates my adrenal insufficiency and it seems that I've had quite a few lately.  Cortisol is your fight or flight hormone, so when your body is called upon to fight an illness, you need to have your normal supply of cortisol that gets you through a normal day, plus extra to fight whatever is bugging your body.  When you rely on medicine for all your cortisol needs, simple illnesses suddenly become a bit more complex. Shortly after my last blog post, it was a small ear infection that took me down for a few days followed by a slow climb back to normal.  We are continuing to pray that God will be gracious to us to pull me up more and allow me to remain at a good place, where these little bumps in the road don't knock me down quite as much.  In the meantime, I am also praying that God will grant me contentment in this trial and to place my hope in him rather than in healing.

Despite this, Eric and I were blessed to have a few days away this past week for our 17th anniversary.  We needed to go to Western Uganda for work related things, so we tacked on a few extra hours to celebrate as well.  Near Fort Portal, Uganda there is a beautiful lodge that overlooks a crater lake.  We spent the night there.  In this picture you can see the lodge from across the lake in the center:


This is looking from the lodge out over the lake.  Eric and I walk/ran the rim of the lake in the morning.  It was so much fun!

After our night out, we drove around the Rwenzori mountains through this valley that empties out into the Rift Valley.  So stunningly beautiful!

While we were over there, we saw Cocoa trees for the first time!  Here is a cocoa pod hanging from the tree.

They found one that was ready to be picked and opened it for us.  So cool!  The flesh is sweet and the pit (or nib) is chalky, but you can taste the chocolate flavor (kind of like dark chocolate...it is bitter too!)  Normally, they ferment the bean, then dry it, then roast it.  The flesh is also often used in things like cocoa butter (in lotions, etc...)

We also had the experience of eating crocodile ribs.  haha!  They taste a bit like chicken only a little tougher...

I was so thankful for our days out.  The kids did a fabulous job while we were gone.  But we sure are glad to be back together again and back to our normal work.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Volleyball Tournament

While the Ugandan schools are on term break, we decided to host a volleyball tournament for the secondary students.  It ended up going alllll day long....from 9 AM to 6 PM!  But we had a lot of fun!






Awesome score keepers!

Timothy hosted a chess tournament simultaneously for something to do while the players waited for their turns.


We fed everyone rice and beans for lunch.



The winning team!  By the end, they were so so tired, but they got Uganda Cranes jerseys for their prize.

The volleyball tournament happened to be on Eric's 40th birthday!  So, our friends helped him to celebrate by dumping water on him...an African birthday tradition...

Then we served cake before everyone left.  So thankful for this man!  May God bless him with many more years to serve in his kingdom.