"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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


 Last Sunday we attended church at Kama OPCU.  It was a lovely time of fellowship as usual.  This church excels in hospitality, feeding us every time we visit and loading us up with gifts of bananas, tomatoes and mangoes.

Eric had the privilege to do two baptisms, lead 4 people in making their public professions of faith, and lead the congregation in the Lord's Supper.  It is encouraging and exciting to see God's work going forward, even in such heavily Muslim area such as Kama.

This is the second child that was baptized, pictured here with her mother.  Sadly, her father is still unbelieving.

Friday, July 26, 2013

For all of our Canadian In-laws and Out-laws

Our MA Christi, is back after a month in Canada...can you tell?

We are super happy to have her back, despite the Canadian brainwashing upon the children...everything from hockey sticks to "Zed." 

I think now I just need to teach her to use the hockey stick for hockey...not for cutting her two-year molars.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Great Group of Kids...

So how far would you walk to get to church?

Would you get up at 6:15, dress your self and start walking 5 miles into town?

These children do.

Without their parents...

...some of whom are Muslim...

The church, by God's grace attempts to bless them with solid Biblical teaching,

and they bless the church with their lively singing during our break between Sunday school and church.

Here's a video of some of these kids singing at church.  I'm not super good at doing the whole video thing yet, so sorry about the shaky and blurry parts, but it's still a little taste of them.  :)

A couple of weeks ago I was inspired to purge through our toys.  We set aside a little more than half of our collection.  Not only do we not have space in this house for so many toys, but our kids really don't need them.  Ugh...it almost made us sick to see how much "stuff" we had sitting around.  Who needs more than a dozen stuffed animals or plastic dinosaurs?  So yesterday after church, we spread toys out on a table and the kids of the church all lined up and one-at-a-time came in and picked a toy out.

I was struck by a couple of things watching them, but what stood out to me the most was that they didn't stand and deliberate or agonize about what was the very best toy.  They came in, immediately saw something that they were grateful for and picked it out.  How many times have my kids been given a shelf full of toys to choose from (at the dentist, library, etc...) and they just.can't.choose.  The agony they show is a sign of too much stuff at home already.  These kids (especially the ones that walk to church) don't have any "toys" like what we think of as toys at home.  They saw the table that we set before them and were grateful.

So now they are enjoying new toys and our kids are *gasp* still happy with less.  :)

And afterward they show each other what they got and some of the girls carefully swaddle their new babies in their wraps. Then Eric offers to drive all 20 something kids and the three adults that do come with them back up the mountain.  A collective cheer rises up, they hop squish in the Land Rover, and sing their way back home.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

An Ebeneezer

"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebeneezer; for he said, 
'Till now the Lord has helped us.'"  I Samuel 7:12

Ebeneezers can be raised with stone and in our day of technology...on a blog...

One year ago today we left America and it is with joy that we want to say loudly, "Till now the Lord has helped us!!"

He has helped us through moving, and turned our hearts more fully towards our heavenly home.  He has helped us through learning our way around Uganda and has brought us more fully towards the cross.  He has brought us new friends and soothed the wounds of missing our old friends.  He has allowed us to see more of our sinful natures and yet allowed us to see more of his grace.

We have also been privileged to see our children grow.  Leaving friends and all that was familiar was hard.  The refining fire burned hot, but the master never failed.  He drew them close to himself.  They learned a bit more of what it means to cry out, "God, Help!"  They drew close to each other and have become best friends.  They have gained confidence with and love for the world outside our gate.  They are learning not to dwell on "was that fun?" but rather, "did I love well?"  They are learning to give more of themselves and their belongings as they have moved from being "poorer" Americans to "rich" ex-pats.

By God's grace alone, we have seen KTC students learn and graduate, our little OPCU church here in Mbale move to our compound and begin to grow again, reconciliation between previously split churches, babies born, saints ushered into glory, church members married, and many prayers answered.

God has been so good and we praise him for all that he has done!

This picture was taken our last day of missionary training in March, 2011.

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Puppies

For most of the last year we've had an older dog named Buddy and two puppies, Justice and Grace, patrolling our compound and playing with our kids.  About a month ago, Buddy died an expected death.  Just before that, we realized that we needed to separate Justice and Grace because they never figured out between the two of them who was going to be dominant and they continued to fight it out everyday.  We were afraid that one day one of our kids might accidentally end up in the middle of their sibling rivalry, so we sent Justice to the compound that will soon be occupied by our new teammates and their four boys.  But that just left Grace and she has been very lonely with out other companions of her own kind!

Thankfully, her parent dogs just bred again and we were able to get a new doggy sister for Grace and a new doggy sister for Justice.  The brown one, who will stay here, is named Faith (in keeping with our theme) and the black one, who will join Justice and our new teammates when they arrive, is named Heidi (in keeping with the German theme, I'm told :) 

And Faith is actually Matthew's dog...given to him for his 10th birthday.  He's doing a great job loving on her and taking care of her.

And the doggy seems to be lovin' him right back!

Heidi already does a good job at keeping her ears up!  So sweet!

But of course, Faith's floppy ears still look cute too.

So now we have a couple bundles of hyper cuteness to play with, watch and enjoy.  Lots of fun!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

An early morning snap-shot of Talitha...

Praising the Lord for a happy and healthy little girl...one who loves to pick out her own clothes, top her outfit off with a scarf on her head, and skip around outside while mommy takes pictures.

"His mercies are new every morning..."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Camping at Hairy Lemon

Hairy Lemon is a great little island in the middle of the Nile.  To get to it, you park on the mainland and then ferry across in a wooden canoe.  That means that ALL of our camping gear and people had to be loaded into the wooden canoe and then carried to the top of the island where we set up camp.  We had great intentions of packing light because of this, but, well...let's just say that they remained as great intentions and never quite became reality.

It poured rain during our last day at Murchison, so no laundry was done that day.  Add to that two travel days and by the time we got to Hairy Lemon and did laundry...I think the picture speaks for itself!  Normally during vacation, laundry was a daily task that the kids did by hand, but on this day, we hired a few of the workers to help.

Sadly, I didn't take out my camera too much at Hairy Lemon.  Rebecca and I ended up getting super sick for the last few days.  By the time we got home, Eric, Timothy and Benaiah were also sick.  But here are the few that I did take.  

The island is actually one of many little islands with little creeks running in between them all.  We had to watch the kids quite closely, especially the little ones, to make sure they didn't get in currents that were too strong, but the big kids had a lot of fun with Eric exploring all the creeks and other islands.

And there was a really nice beach area that we spent quite a bit of time at too.

After we left Hairy Lemon, we drove to Kampala to drop Christi, our MA, off at the airport and to get the Land Rover fixed.  The Land Rover managed to have plenty of issues by the time we hobbled it over to the shop.  While it was being fixed, the girls and I went to the mall to celebrate Rebecca's birthday.  The girls have been wanting to get their ears pierced for quite a long time, so that's what we did...add to that lunch, shopping and haircut for me, and the day was quite nice!

We would appreciate continued prayers for health and strength.  William and Talitha both came down with Malaria when we got home (can we say "camping for two weeks in Uganda??") and none of us are completely over whatever stomach issue we had.  And in fact tonight, we had a little birthday party for Matthew and Rebecca and already, the cake is not staying in/threatening to return from multiple tummies.  Thank you for your prayers for this!  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Around Camp at Murchison Falls

Just a few more pictures from Murchison Falls.  (This blog serves as our scrap book too, so thanks for bearing with me.  :)  )

The first week of vacation, Eric was struggling with, what we are pretty sure was, a spider bite.  The wound went from being two little pin pricks to a nasty large wound and the whole time he was feeling quite yuck.  He and Talitha enjoyed a nap together under the shade of a shelter.

Sleeping babies are so sweet!

The lodge also had a swimming pool that we took advantage of daily...especially since we were in one of the hottest parts of Uganda.

The monkeys would sometimes sit and watch us playing.  They were probably thinking to themselves, "That crazy family makes as much ruckus as we do!"  And as a side note...this is the only pool in Uganda that I've ever seen with a fence around it...one might think, "how nice of them to care about the safety of children."  But no...it was actually meant to keep the hippos from going skinny dipping at midnight... haha! :)

Our tent city.

Our last night at the lodge the staff, whom we had gotten to know a little bit, surprised us with this cake.  They were so sweet!

And what happens when it's past 8 pm and you feed a one year old a slice of chocolate cake?

Drama, laughter, silliness and funny faces abound...

And on that same evening the Lord blessed us with a beautiful sunset!

If I had written the story of what my life would look like, I don't think that I ever would have written it in such as way as to include a line about me photographing our 8 precious children while they watch the sun set over the Nile... I'm so thankful that God did...His lines have indeed fallen in pleasant places...what a beautiful inheritance...