"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

Monday, February 29, 2016

Adoption Update...sort of...

I would love to post a glowing update of how the legal end of things are moving right along, but the truth is...they aren't really.  We are still waiting for a court date to gain legal guardianship.  We do know that our case has been assigned to a judge, so now we just wait.  We think things got really slowed down by elections and the political tension that we have had.  (We are still very thankful that, for the most part, things have been peaceful!)  At some point, we may have to make a difficult decision to push our furlough off for 6 months, but we aren't to that point yet.  We are still aiming to go to America this fall.

On the home front however, our adoption is coming right along.  We praise the Lord that he continues to knit our family together emotionally.  Last night I was reading through our blog from years ago when we were trying to bring Matthew and Jimmy home.  We missed so much of their lives while we were waiting for the legal stuff to happen!  What a huge gift that God has given us to be able to have fostering care of Denise while we wait for the judge's decision and a visa!

In about 5 weeks we will cross the one year mark of her being with us.  I often stand in awe of how well things have gone this past year.  It truly has been God's grace to our family.  Her English, her reading, her health and so many other little things have improved so much over this year!  While one year is certainly a milestone for our family, it will also be a difficult time for her since it is also the one year anniversary of her grandmother's passing.  She, rightfully so, misses her grandmother dearly.  We continue to trust the Lord that in the coming years, he will bring about even greater healing in her heart, an even deeper level of attachment, trust and adjustment as we move through life as one family.

We would appreciate prayer!  Pray that we get a court date soon.  Pray that God will continue to knit our family together.  Pray that God will bless Denise with strength and comfort in the upcoming days.
And pray for wisdom and that God would prepare little hearts if we do need to push off furlough a bit.

**UPDATE ON WEDNESDAY!**  And we have a court date!!!!  Praise the Lord with us!!  We are SO excited!

This is a picture of our compound (one wing of our house in the front and the Magala's house in the back).  This afternoon, Eric and I climbed the crazy building that is being "somehow" constructed next door.  Everything is a bit dry and dusty, but it's nice to see our flowers blooming! Hopefully the rains will come again soon.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Henry's Baptism

Last Sunday, our friend Henry and his mother both became members of our church here.  Henry was also baptized.  When Henry first began coming to our church, he was suffering from a bone that had been infected and oozing pus for 7 years!!  When he was 12, he had broken his leg and it had never healed properly.  For seven years, he had not been able to walk properly or attend school.  Our mission was able to help him get surgery to clean out the infected bone and replace it with a rod.  He still struggles with it a bit, but it is healing slowly.  In all of this, he has had a growing desire to one day be a pastor.  But for now, he is regularly attending the reading classes of our MA, Sarah and learning to read for the first time.  We praise the Lord that he has professed his faith publicly and received the sacrament of baptism!  God certainly writes amazing stories!

Remember the twins that almost died and their father thought that their sickness was due to not sacrificing a goat?  Then the whole family came to know Christ over the months?  These sweet little ones were fascinated with Henry's baptism! :)

Saying goodbye

Our dear friends and members of our church here, Dr. Kim and Jina and baby Shua had to return home to S. Korea last week.  Their term with Koica (the S. Korean peace corps) was over.  They will be greatly missed by both our church and us personally.  Sometimes it's a bit brutal to live in such a transient community.

On their last Sunday in Mbale, we shared cake and sodas.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Election Day

Today is Election Day in Uganda.  This morning as I was out for my run, they were unloading all of the election stuff down town.  Military, Police and international observers were present.  Roads are blocked off and amazingly, Facebook is now blocked.

Please pray for peace in Uganda.  Pray for the church members that they will be promoters of peace.  Pray that they will all stay safe if violence breaks out.  Pray that the kids in our church will not get caught in any riots "see" violence that no child should see.  Pray for the vulnerable...street kids, orphans and widows...that they will be protected during this time.

And pray as if these people are "your people."  Imagine for a moment, if in this coming November it was you seeing military and police coming to town.  Imagine that it was you stock piling food.  Imagine if it was you who didn't know if you would be able to go to WalMart without worrying about getting caught in fighting, gunfire and tear gas on your way there.  Pray as if it was you facing this uncertainty during the coming days.  Because that it how you love your neighbor as yourself.

Continue to pray for peace and that there is a clear victory.  Thank you!

(and if you want to post this to facebook for me, that'd be great!  haha!)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Uganda Elections Coming: Prayers Appreciated!

Downtown Mbale is pasted on almost every available surface with political posters.  It is a daily reminder that national elections are right around the corner.  On February 18th Ugandans will vote for the next president and other local elections will take place in the days following.  We are praying for peace during this time!

Police and military servicemen are seen now everywhere.  Police trucks, army trucks and riot equipment have been rolling through town.  Day and night we hear the noise of the civilian force being trained to help the police "maintain security" being pulled through a boot camp like training at our neighboring elementary school.  News reports from across Uganda tell about opposition troubles and riots.  We are hearing and seeing all the energy that is gathering daily and hoping and praying that it is not used inappropriately.

How does this effect us?  We hope and pray it won't really!  But we are gathering supplies and planning on staying away from downtown for as long as needed.  Full tank of gas, propane tanks full, enough rice, flour, sugar, etc to last for 7-10 days are going to be in our house.  Our missionary/expat community is also really good about keeping in touch with each other and alerting if there are troubles.  We will be picking up our missionary associate, Sarah from the airport on Tuesday, driving home Wednesday and then staying home until stability and peace have been reached.  It always takes a few days for election results to be released and some time for the loosing party to admit defeat (and hopefully not fight it out!)

So please pray for the country!  Please pray for peace to reign!  Please pray for our safety and the safety of our loved ones here!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fun Days

Yesterday we took all our church kids out to Lulwanda Children's Home to play football.  We had three games: primary boys (grade school), girls and then secondary boys (high school).  Even though we lost...well, the boys did, the girls tied at 0-0...it was still a great day!  

 We also got a membership at the pool up the street.  A great way to survive dry season this year!

 And Talitha finally got enough courage to get into the deep pool and float around in her life jacket.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Laying the foundation...

And work is underway!  It's hard to believe after so many months of praying and planning and hoping and waiting that the digging has actually begun!  

And hard work it is...cement trucks don't really exist out of the big cities (namely Kampala).  So all the cement for the foundation must be mixed by hand.  Bags of cement, jerry cans of water, gravel and sand are all brought in and mixed by hand.  Then the cement is loaded into a wheelbarrow and carried to where it is to be dumped.

It was great to see that some of the young men of our church and other OPCU churches are on the work crew.

A very typical scene...all the neighbor kids watching the blond headed girl that has a mind of her own.  I'm always impressed to see how my kids handle this attention with grace...on most days... :)

Abdalah is a great friend and a member of our church.  The church was able to rent a room for him right next to the property so that he can help with security.