"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

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A little update, praise and prayer!

Life has been really full these days!

:: First, guess who stopped by our compound yesterday?  Little Florence!  What a joy to see her!  And she is doing so so well!  Honestly, last time we saw her, we were a bit discouraged because she seemed to not be making progress.  We were very concerned that she wasn't walking yet.  But now look at her!  Praise the Lord!

:: Secondly, next weekend we are heading over to Kenya to take Benaiah to a pediatric pulmonologist and possibly a pediatric heart specialist.  Benaiah still has troubles with his Oxygen saturation rates dropping at random times.  We aren't sure if it is just his asthma that is not well controlled or if something else is going on.  We would appreciate your prayers in a mighty way!  Our whole family would like to travel across the border, since we will need to be there for 4-5 days.  We are not sure if Denise will be allowed to cross with us, but we are going to try! We have plan B in place, in case it doesn't work out, but it would be awfully nice if it did! Can you please pray that:

  • Denise will be able to cross the border.  That it will be no problem!
  • That the Doctors will see what is wrong with Benaiah.  Benaiah has good weeks and bad weeks...I'm praying that his symptoms show while we are there!
  • That the Doctors will have wisdom as they look at him, so that they can give us some clear guidance as to how to help Benaiah so that we can have our mommy/daddy hearts at peace with his health.  Sometimes medical care here is fabulous and sometimes it leaves you wondering if we would have a different diagnosis if we were in America.  We are praying that we will NOT be wondering in the end, but that we will be completely at peace, knowing that he's been fully checked out (even if in the end the doctors still don't know what's wrong. ;-)  )
  • That we will be safe and happy during the many hours on the road.  

:: Before we leave for Kenya, Eric and I are first driving up to Karamoja because Eric has a meeting up there with the men.  Our team, in general, is preparing to undergo a lot of changes, as two full time families that are serving in Karamoja are leaving the field soon.  Al Tricarico is a pastor who has served for many years.  Because of his length of service, his command of the Karamajong language, and his Spirit-filled ministry, it will be hard to replace him!  Please pray that God raises another family to take his place!  Dr. Jim Knox has been a huge blessing for many years as he has served as a deacon and doctor in the medical clinic for many years.  Currently, we are pleading with God to bring another doctor to serve in his place.  The clinic is in danger of closing due to lack of "harvesters" in this area.  This would have far reaching consequences in the ministry up there, as so much centers around the clinic and the villagers are dependent on it!  Please pray to the Lord of the Harvest that he will send a medically trained laborer to us quickly!!  If you know of anyone who could serve, even for 6 months while we find someone to serve full time, please contact us!

::Please continue to pray for our adoption of Denise.  We are hoping that, by God's grace, we will be able to take a furlough in the fall of 2016.  By then we will have been on the field for 4 years without seeing a lot of our dearly loved ones at home.  There is possibly a small glitch in the timing of the adoption that will make it impossible for us to take furlough before 2017 and that will cost us a bit financially if we aren't able to move forward with the adoption more quickly.  Please, please pray for this.  Pray that God will move in a mighty way to clear that path for us and that our hearts would be peaceful and patient while we wait.  Even though it is not written in a court document yet, in our eyes and hearts, Denise is already our daughter and we don't want leave Uganda without her.  But there are also aches in our hearts and in the hearts of our parents/grandparents, cousins, and dear friends in America to see each other.  Having hearts stretched across two continents is very difficult at times.  The thought of maybe having to delay furlough is very difficult to anticipate, especially for some of the kids.  So prayers are greatly appreciated!!

::The week after our Kenya trip, one of the village churches is hosting a women's conference for a day.  Connie Jackson and I are speaking at it.  Please pray for time to prepare (while in Kenya? :-)  ) and that it will be a blessing to the ladies!  And the week after that, our team is having a spiritual retreat.  We are very excited that Eric's cousin, (who attended both Covenant College and Mid America Seminary with Eric and who was our best man at our wedding) is coming to speak at the retreat!  Pray that our time together with our team will be a blessing as we face challenges on the field and challenges as we transition people out (and Lord willing, more families IN!)

As you can see, we have some fairly heavy things weighing on our hearts these days!  Please pray that despite all these things that God will grant us grace and strength to continue to focus and pour ourselves into our daily work with joy and vigor!  As Eric said the other night, "Dianna, we need to pray with expectant hope...because that is called faith."  Yes, we need the Holy Spirit to work as our helper and help us to have expectant hope that God is up to great and amazing things...

...and we get to be a part of it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What's in a week?

Maybe some of you are vaguely familiar with what Eric and I do to keep ourselves busy.  But when someone recently asked me what our weeks look like I thought that it would also make a fun blog post!  So here it is:

Sundays: Our local church, New Life Presbyterian Church, meets for Sunday school and worship on our compound.  Kids start coming as early as 8 am, but the services start at 9:30.  Eric and Pastor Charles Magala and sometimes Paul Magala (Charles' son who recently graduated from African Bible University) take turns leading Sunday school and preaching.  Every first Sunday of the month we celebrate the Lord's Supper and share a fellowship lunch together.  Then in the late afternoon we let the church kids come play for a bit and then we have a circle time with them, where we review what the sermon and Sunday school were about, Eric reads Bible stories to them, we sing together and we pray together.  We also give each of the kids a sweet.  It's a really fun time with all the kids.  We usually have about 40-50 kids.

Mondays: Monday is Daddy's day off.  It is truly a blessed time of rest after the busy weekend and before the week begins.  Sometimes there are projects to do around the house.  Sometimes we play games or go swimming or go hiking.  But it's always a great day to be together.  We don't do school on Mondays.

Tuesdays: Our week begins...like most peoples' Mondays, our Tuesdays can sometimes be crazy and have a rocky start to them, but ya know...we push through.  Early Tuesday morning I meet with other missionary wives at a local restaurant for a prayer breakfast.  That time has been a huge blessing!  Then the kids and I begin our school week and Eric begins his week at Knox Theological College.  Now that Pastor Charles Jackson is here, he and Eric will be splitting up the teaching (or maybe they will end up teaching some classes simultaneously as attendance as the college is only increasing).  The courses are taught in 3 week blocks:  one class, that meets 4 hours a day, for 3 weeks.  Pastor Charles just wrapped up a course on Christian Ethics, so while he was teaching Eric was working in the office doing various administration and PR tasks. Now Eric is teaching a course on Old Testament prophets.  Tuesday is also shopping day for me...one of my bi-weekly trips into town.  And Tuesday afternoon, Eric teaches our kids PE.  What a blessing it is to have Daddy doing this!  He plays football (soccer) with them for a while and then opens up the compound to the neighbor kids (mostly church kids) to join in.

Wednesdays: Today is Eric's turn to meet with other missionary men in town for prayer breakfast.  Again, a huge blessing!  We have school at home and Daddy is usually at KTC.  Often when Eric comes home, he has many people that need to see him about this, that and the other.  Some days there is hardly anyone, but some days our outside banda is full of people needing him.  In the afternoon, the girls have ballet class.  A local missionary is teaching them and quite a number of girls.  They love it!  Wednesday afternoon at 5, we have church prayer time.  It is mostly attended by kids, but what a huge blessing it has been.  These kids have really learned to pray through prayers of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.  It has been encouraging too, because sometimes kids will ask for prayer that they would be more gentle or more kind and then over the months we have seen God answer those prayers.  We see signs of growth in their walks with God and it is a joy to see him work!

Thursdays: Again, school for us at home and work for Daddy at KTC.  Thursday is also our date day.  We try really hard to go out for a meal, be it breakfast, lunch or supper...depending on what else is going on that day.  It is so important for married couples to guard their marriages and strengthen them...especially on the mission field.  Satan wants nothing more than to disturb our work here.  Often the best way he can do that is to get into our lives via our parenting or our marriage.  We find that weekly dates are a huge blessing towards keeping him out!

Fridays:  Our last day of school for the week! Yay!  Eric works from home as classes don't usually meet on Fridays.  He is most often preparing for sermons or Sunday school, preparing class lectures, doing administration stuff, or meeting with people.  In the afternoon, we have ladies Bible study with the ladies and young ladies in the church.  We meet here on our compound.  Right now we are studying through the book of John.  I love our time together!  It is such a blessing!  Friday evenings we often will go out to a local restaurant for supper.  For $1 per person, we can get a huge plate of rice or matoke (cooked and mashed plantains) or chapati (like a thick flour tortilla) and soup and a soda.  It's cheaper than eating a "meat meal" at home!  Often times, if time allows, we like to come back and watch a sermon with all the kids on line...a non-translated, English sermon.  ;-)

Saturdays:  Begin bright and early with Men's and young men's Bible study at 8 am. Right now, Eric and Pastor Charles are also doing deacon and elder training right after Bible study. There is often a bit of football for the boys afterwards too.  Saturday is also my second bi-weekly shopping day.  It is also a day for cleaning up the house, doing extra chores, etc.  I also try to spend about an hour or two every Saturday working on a Bible study book that I'm writing to send out into the villages.  About 2 year ago, our ladies Bible study went through the book of Philippians, I'm writing meditations to go with each of the studies that will be able to be sent out into the villages for use in their churches.  Saturday afternoon is hospital visiting.  Our church sends a group the local hospital, they pick a ward and then they go from bed to bed praying for each person and giving each person a bar of soap.  This has been a wonderful ministry!  Saturday night is family night.  We have a very open compound and almost always have people around...except for family night.  We ask everyone to leave (except for whoever is staying in our guest room) and have a night just with our kids.  We play games or watch movies or read books.  It is a highlight of the week and something the kids look forward too.  A good tradition.  :)

We are so thankful to God for blessing us with full weeks to serve him.  It certainly is never dull around here!