"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, April 19, 2017

Ministry Update

We are excited to be back into the ministry here.  And we have been thrilled to see how life and ministry carried on without us while we were gone...in fact, it grew and matured while we were gone.  What joy!  God's kingdom never depends on us and our work.  It truly is he who builds his church and it is his grace that brings us to be a part of it.

Our first Sunday back, Dr. Charles Jackson baptized 22 people! And several others made profession of faith!  

This little girl...her name is Alice.  On our last Sunday in Mbale before furlough, she came to church severely malnourished.  She was worse than many horrific pictures that you see on the internet.  Our hearts broke as we knew that we would not be able to be a part of her healing and we began to pray for her.  Our teammates took her under their wing and nourished her body, tutored her, got her into school and fed her spiritually.  Then our first Sunday back...who is this healthy looking girl being baptized?  It's hard to believe it's Alice!  But here she is!  God is good!

This is our friend Claire.  Having worked more closely with her, it is a blessing to see her making her faith public as well.

Here is a picture of our first time back for Sunday Night Circle time.  When we left, we were averaging just under 100.  While we were gone, Paul and Robina Magala were sweet to continue for us and they had around the same amount.  Our first Sunday back, however, the group size suddenly jumped to 180!!  We were very surprised!  (The second Sunday was 175)  It felt a bit big and chaotic the first Sunday, but the second Sunday we were more well prepared and it went better.  We are thankful that the Magalas are still willing to help us with this ministry that we love so much!

We had brought back with us 125 little flashlights for our young friends from WalMart.  Thankfully, one of our Uganda friends knew a place in town where we could buy something similar to top up for our extra numbers! haha!

Eric and I had two new ideas that we really wanted to start on our compound when we got back.  The first is a breakfast club.  This idea came about after listening (on some of our many long car drives!) to an audio book on the life of George Meuller.  He had started a breakfast club for the orphans of his city.  In Uganda, breakfast is a hard meal to come by.  It's the first to be dropped during times of hunger and many children won't ever get more than a cup of tea in the morning.  Then they are expected to go learn at school on an empty stomach.  We thought, wouldn't it be neat if once a week we opened our compound for breakfast and a short Bible study to elementary aged children.  We've done it twice now and it has quickly become my favorite ministry.  (Partly because I'm a morning person? maybe.  ha!)  The mornings are so refreshing here, the kids come fresh and calm (ha! If you've ever been around a large group of Ugandan kids, you know that by lunch time they are anything but calm!).  We somehow, by God's grace, landed on a great system of organizing everything and each of our kids has a little job to do.  The kids say a memory verse to get into the gate, they pick their food and tea, then they sit and eat and Eric does a devotional.  Then, they are released one row at a time to wash their cup and go to school.  We serve them a mandazi (a fried piece of dough...much like a donut), an egg, a banana and a cup of tea.

The second program we really wanted to do was a youth night for the high school aged kids.  We wanted it to be a more intense time of Bible study and especially prayer with them.  We also serve them supper and play a few games.  We have limited this program to kids that are involved in our church and who attend school...there are about 35 of them.  They are a great group of kids.  They have been so respectful and have really enjoyed our times together.

Eric has begun teaching at KTC this week.  He is teaching a course called Survey of the Bible.  I'm sure he would appreciate your many prayers!

Friday, April 7, 2017

We're back in Uganda!

Thank you for praying for us this past week!  It's hard to believe that a little more than a week ago we packed our bags, said our goodbyes and hopped on the plane.  It's been a good week, although we struggled more with jet lag this time around.  We are thankful to be here!  We have finally finished unpacking and are starting to sleep a little better.  The stress of packing, traveling and jet lag wasn't too kind to my AI, but I'm starting to feel normal again too.  Here are a few pictures from the last week.

We had 25 bags on the plane!

Saying good bye to my sisters...

These two...they look alike and have a similar drive in life (read: high energy with a sprinkling of mischief thrown in).  They traded clothes at the last minute...down to Williams splint... and Daniel jumped in the car with us.  Hmm... Thankful for siblings that are more observant than parents...

More cousin twins...

Our last lunch in America was Cracker Barrel...we got takeaway and went to a local park.  Only problem? We forgot to ask for plates!  Ha! Cardboard it was.
 We flew out of Philidelphia and had to be at the airport very early!

One last prayer before checking in...prayers for safety and many prayers of thanksgiving for how God used our furlough to bless us in so many ways.

On the plane:

Flying over the Nile:

So our first flight had been super delayed and by the time we were landing in Doha our next flight was boarding.  As soon as we were off the plane we began to run!  Our next gate was through another security check and across the airport!!  Eric ran ahead to ask them to hold the plane.  The rest of us ran as fast as Talitha would go.  We passed one man in a suit with a walkie talkie and he asked us which flight we were on.  I called out as we were running, "Entebbe!  There's 11 of us!" He radioed ahead.  Then another lady met us..."Are you the 11 for Entebbe?"  Yes!  And she directed us down the stairs to where Eric was, we all jumped on a bus and were driven out to the plane, still parked and waiting for the party of 11 to board.  Whew... So we barely made it.  Unfortunately, 19 of our bags didn't make it.  When we arrived in Entebbe we had to spend a couple hours in the airport...first Matthew and Jimmy didn't have the proper stamps on their yellow fever cards so the poor guys had to get vaccinated the moment they stepped off the plane.  Then we went through immigration and then the bulk of our time was spent filling out crazy amounts of paperwork to get our bags back.  But Qatar airlines did great.  The next day they met us at a shopping mall in Kampala where we were picking up a few things and brought all the bags to us.

We loaded everything up to travel back to Mbale in this bus.

Then the sweet reunions began!

The Magalas even made a huge Ugandan feast for us!

Moses!!  He's grown up so much!

Talitha is so happy to have her 'big brother' Ivan back.

The kids have done so well throughout our transition!  It's always difficult, but were so blessed and encouraged to see how God carries them.  Goodbyes are hard, but their hearts were full of peace.  They were peace-filled, joy-filled and tear-filled goodbyes...I'm thankful for that.  All of us are happy to be home.  Talitha is very happy to be home...especially since home included a brand new kitty!  Mind you, we have also had many power outages and 2 days without water...haha!  Back to normal life, right? ;-)