"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
Over a year ago, a Muslim man came to our church with twin baby girls who were very sick and quite possibly at death's door. Eric listened to him as he told Eric that the reason the girls were sick was because he didn't sacrifice a goat and wash all of their things in the blood. He was requesting money to buy a goat. He felt certain a curse had come upon them. Eric told them of the one true sacrifice and told them to pray to Jesus and ask Jesus for healing. He also put the word out on Facebook asking many of you to pray for both physical and spiritual salvation. For many months Eric worked with Mohammed. Mohammed lost his father at an early age. His brother took to the streets of Mbale when he was about 12. Mohammed grew up with no education and very little confidence in his ability to do anything. When he wanted money, Eric would ask him to memorize things: Lord's Prayer, Apostle's creed, Scripture, etc... At first Mohammed didn't believe he could do it. He fought and fought against it. Eric continued to tell him the gospel and how Christ transforms lives...how Christ can make him into a man that can earn a living for his family. Slowly, over many months, he began to change, taking very small steps forward. He has been wanting to be baptized for a while and finally the time came. It is so exciting to see what God is doing in his life and in the life of his family! I don't think I have ever seen an entire household baptized like this. It was really precious!
Isn't this a picture of grace? Our Father brings many of us to the cross kicking and screaming. We don't know what we need. But God does...and he freely gives...
Because all four girls were crying, Eric took one and Elder Tybitia took another and Mama took the twins while we sang our hymn of praise to our great God! For many months Mohammed has been asking for a Bible. The church presented him one after the baptism. I wish I could have captured the look of surprise and joy on his face! What a blessing! Please pray for this family! Satan does not like this kind of work and will seek to discourage them. An entire formerly Muslim family baptized in the name of our triune God needs much prayer!! We never waltz right into heaven...it is a straight and narrow path that they are trying to walk. You may never meet them this side of eternity, but what an opportunity you have to uphold them on their journey there.
Talitha has several "big brothers" in addition to her 5 big brothers that share her last name. In general, she has them wrapped around her little finger and they treat her like a queen. One of them, Ivan, blessed her with a new kitten for Christmas. She is thrilled. Her siblings have attempted to name the kitten Zebra, however Talitha insists that her name is "Kitty Cat." Our other cat has been less than impressed. The day after the new kitten arrived, she thought it was better to live on the corner of the roof than in a house with a new kitten. Timothy had to climb up to retrieve her.
Ivan doesn't usually like to have his picture taken, but he couldn't resist Talitha's requests to take a picture with him and the kitten.
The boys were showing off their jumps tonight at our weekly compound gathering. So fun!
The first guy on the video cracks me up...he actually landed quite gracefully on the grass just off the screen, although he didn't look like he was going to on the video. I laugh every time I watch it.
Don't worry...all these guys landed on their feet. :)
Musana owns a lot of land. On their land is a pretty waterfall that we could hike back to. It was so amazing. Every place we usually go hiking around here, there are always so many people around. Eric and I went out to the waterfall by ourselves one afternoon and were just amazed to be outside by ourselves. It was so wonderful and very refreshing.
Benaiah found these sunglasses in the woods. He was so excited. :)
While we were there, we became quite interested in this Island off the coast that was shaped like a volcano. (you can see it in the picture below, to the right of the sun) We thought it might be fun to hike up. So one day we hired a motor boat to take us there. The boat was a large wooden canoe with a motor attached. As soon as the boat showed up and the kids jumped in I heard Eric saying, "Oh don't pull that wad out, the boat might sink." Lovely. Two men went with us. One to drive. The other to translate. Turns out the second guy did a great job of bailing during the hour and a half long journey as well. It happened to be quite windy that day too, so there we were on our wooden canoe, with a motor attached and the guy faithfully bailing while we faced 1 to 4 foot swells the whole way there and back. My stomach felt like the water looked by the time we got back. Haha... just another Tuininga moment that I end up half way through and wonder, "what in the world am I doing here with 8 kids???" The island, as it turned out, was covered in very thick brush that was my head height or taller. Our bailer/translator was a man of many talents and also happened be pretty handy with the panga. He blazed some resemblance of a trail for all of us. Well, actually, I stopped half way with the two little ones. I was finished fighting the plant life. William was momentarily lost in all the brush, but thankfully was found around the time we realized he was lost, and as it turned out the Island was NOT a volcano after all...at least what Eric could see of it above the brush. The kids had no such luck in seeing the view. And should I even mention the swarms of lake flies at the top? We had previously been calling it Volcano Island, but afterwards, the kids changed the name to Itchy Island. All that said, however, we have a great memory from our adventure...one we won't soon forget. :)
I'm very well aware that some of you that are experiencing winter right now might be a bit jealous of all this sun, sand and water. But yes, this is December on the equator. While it makes it a little hard to believe that it's actually Christmas time...I still love it... :)
The water was so nice because it was shallow for a long distance off shore.
One of quite a few sand castles built:
But this one was extra cool, because the King and Queen had real fish on the table in the Great Hall:
Hilariously true story...William saw a fishing boat passing with two younger boys in it. He went right up to them and started showing them his little silver fish that he had caught.
He then asked to see the fish that the boys had caught. They held up some nice big Tilapia. William then proceeded to ask them to trade fish. A little minnow for a Tilapia. So they did! William came back to shore with a nice huge fish. I have no idea what those boys thought of the little Mzungu boy giving them a minnow in exchange for a huge fish. haha! We fried it up that night and of course, William insisted on eating the head himself...
At night we loved to watch lights on the water. They set up floating lanterns which attract the bugs. The bugs in turn attract the fish. When it was really dark, it almost looked like we looking down on a city. This picture is my attempt to capture it in a 25 second exposure with the camera on a plastic chair...haha...but I was happy that some of the stars turned up in the picture, since they were so brilliant that night.