"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

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Paradox: grief and joy

A couple posts blog posts ago, I alluded to the fact that life for us has held many ups and downs.  That there have been very exciting things and very difficult things.  We are now able to share some huge news that we, on the one hand are very excited about, but on the other hand, sad that it has had to come about via huge losses.  A couple weeks ago we received word that our good friend, Sarah Denise, had lost her grandmother, the one who had raised her from the time she was small.  Denise is a full orphan and only has one living close relative left...an uncle...but he serves in the Uganda military in Somalia.  She was completely on her own and needed a place to go.  Working with local social workers, we were able to take her home the night of the funeral and offer her temporary shelter.

After a few days, her uncle (pictured left) was able to come back from Somalia.  We were able to meet with him and a social worker (pictured right) and receive their blessing to care for her.

We are now pursuing legal guardianship with the goal of adopting her.  We are praying that the Lord will open all these doors!

We now find ourselves in yet another paradox.  We grieve with Denise.  Life has been very hard.  She is a courageous, strong girl who has been through a lot.  Yet we all are rejoicing in God's goodness to provide her a family and us another child.  We rejoice that God heard and answered her grandmother's death bed prayers pleading for a safe place for Denise to live.  But grieve that Denise lost such a dear grandmother who obviously loved her so much and whom she loved dearly!  Grief and joy walking hand in hand... A plan that only Jesus can genuinely bring to life and sustain by his grace.

Denise is 12 years old.  She loves purple and pink, pretty clothes, math, and computers!  She is working really hard on learning English and how to read.  Welcome to our family, Denise!  We are so thankful that the Lord is blessing us with another daughter and sister!

Please pray for us!  Pray that Denise will relax and settle in well! Pray for her as she learns what it means to live in a family with two parents, siblings and boundaries.  We praise the Lord that the first few weeks have gone so well!  Pray for her as she continues to grieve all her losses.  Pray that the Lord will bless our process of blending as a new family!  May God be glorified!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Wednesday Afternoon Prayer Time

Every Wednesday, our church has prayer time together.  It is mostly attended by the kids of the church.  We usually follow the ACTS model: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.  Many of the kids have learned to pray here.  It is a really special time!

I am especially prayerful for these young men.  They are all around ages 13-15 right now.  Praying that these young men become powerful warriors in Christ's kingdom both now and in the coming years!  Praying that they will not be put to sleep by the cheap distractions of this world, but that they will be made alive by the Holy Spirit and fit for heavenly service!  God is able to raise them up as strong leaders in their families, church and communities.  May he be glorified to do that!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bless the Lord, O my Soul

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

There has been a lot going on in our lives these past couple weeks.  Some things have been very exciting and I can't wait to share the news when the time comes.  Some things have been very hard and will never be able to be shared on this platform.  It seems like each day, we haven't known what kind of news the day would bring, for good or not quite so good.  We've been living with a bit stronger reality that we can't know what the day will look like at its ending compared to its beginning.  And we've been living with hearts full of grief and joy... a paradox of heart that only Christ can bring.

This song has been running through my head over and over the past couple weeks.  Actually, I have been intentionally playing it every morning as I'm finishing up my run or getting ready for the day.  The lines "whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes." has been a prayer of my heart each morning.  And knowing that the day is coming when we will sing God's praises for ten thousand years and then forever more is such a huge comfort!  Just think!  Ten thousand years and we will just be getting started!  This life and all its trials pale in comparison to the glory that is waiting!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Picnic in Plaid

Yesterday, the girls decided to have a picnic.  But what's a picnic if you don't all match by dressing in plaid?  They enjoyed their time talking, laughing and eating for many long hours.

The boys followed suit and decided to also have a picnic.  They weren't all matching, and many wanted to show how much they were enjoying their food for the picture and apparently (at least the girls tell me) that they took most of the cooked cabbage for their rice.  But the boys reported a grand time and the amount of noise from their corner of the yard gave ample evidence for that fact.

Monday, April 6, 2015

12 Kilometers, Ice Cream, Novida and a Waterfall

What started out as a small amount of all-in-fun trash talking over running times between Eric and some of the young men that come to our church, ended up as a 12 K race between Eric and this crew.  If they beat Eric, Eric would buy them some ice cream.  If Eric beat them, they had to buy Eric a Novida (soda).

Considering some of the world's fastest runners come from this part of the world, I was a bit nervous for my husband...haha!

The guy that placed first in our little race did the full 12.2 Kilometers in under an hour.  But I'm happy to say that both Ice cream and Novidas were exchanged by the end.

Afterwards, we went up to a local waterfall to play in the water for a bit.

Well this looks safe and secure... haha!

Talitha and Sarah...

Geoffrey, Shalom and Matthew...

William deep in conversation with some friends...

The whole gang...

Happy Easter!

From New Life Presbyterian Church in Mbale, Uganda!  He is risen!!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Good Friday Glory

Just hours after 148 Kenyans were killed, many because they were Christian, two former Muslims were baptized in the name of the Triune God on a tiny piece of land up the mountain, in a small village called Butaga.  Only a handful of people and a host of angels took notice of the glory that was to be had on this particular Good Friday Morning.  But what a joy to see darkness turning to light and joy coming in the morning!

A another man from this church who was recently baptized, when asked why he wanted to be a Christian, powerfully answered, "Mohammed didn't rise from the dead."  What a beautiful truth to consider this Easter morning!

 This sweet girl is now marked and sealed as a first generation Christian.  Her entire family still visits the mosque and her grandfather is a leader there.  My children, who are now a part of her new family, pooled their money together to bless her with a Bible.

This is a beautiful reminder that even while there is death and destruction and Satan is alive and active, working to deceive the nations, God is still yet more powerful and is still doing mighty works in all the little corners of his creation.  Praise the Lord with these saints and continue to lift them up in your prayers!