Hi everyone. I wanted to update you for so long but I hardly know where to begin. I have been trying to process so much but have been too busy keeping up with life to do a good job of it. Maybe I should give you a quick “what have we been up to” then get into my feelings.
Well as some of you know we were not able to get into the house we planned on living in right away. The renters would not leave so we were left with a few options until the church could get the renters out. We decided to live in the basement of a widow lady from the church. The basement had a kitchen, a sitting area, bathroom and two bedrooms. It was a little tight with the six of us but we were happy to have somewhere to unpack for a while. Our kids are so good about being content, flexible, and thankful.
After 6 weeks we moved again (I really do not like moving – what a lot of work). We are now in the house we intended to stay in. I was worried about another change for Emalai but she did well. We all like having more room, storage, and all the widows. We are thankful it all worked out.
Between living further out than we ever have before and living in
Africa for over 10 years, I
am late to almost everything. I am so
embarrassed. I am getting better but I
realize how much of my life isn’t based on time and how all of life here is. Too often I feel like I spend my day in the
car bringing the kids to school, going to the store, doctor, meeting someone,
picking the kids up… I am not use to
going anywhere. I have so much routine
in . I find I long to find routine here. There is a lot of peace in routine and in
Josh was able to turkey hunt this spring. He was so thankful to be in the woods again. He shot his biggest turkey ever. Luka, Malai and I walked with him to get the turkey after he shot it. I am so glad Josh is able to do what he loves and refreshes him. It isn’t easy sacrificing the things we grow up enjoying. How thankful we are for the opportunity to do some of those things once and a while.
Some of you remember that my 99 year old Great-Grandma was placed in hospice just before we left
to come to Uganda . I was blessed to be able to see her twice
before she died. It wasn’t easy to see
her not look like grandma anymore and to be suffering but I am thankful I was
able to tell her I loved her, pray for her, and say goodbye. She would have been 100 in June. I can’t imagine all she lived through and
saw. She loved sharing all her
stories. She will be missed. She was so involved in all of our lives and
came to all the baptisms, weddings, holiday parties… We all knew we were important to
Great-Grandma. What peace to know she is
home with her Father. I was thankful to
see so many relatives and be able to stand by the grave side with my mom. It is hard but good. Seeing the aging process in my grandparents
is sad. Makes me value time and people
more. I am sad when people are too busy
to care and put schedules and activities above people. We will all grow old and hope we are not
forgotten. Relationships seem to all too
often be surface level here. We are too
busy to have time, too care, too broken ourselves to be open. People in Michigan Africa don’t always value
people, but they do have time for people.
All I know is Jesus loved people
- not things, self, or the world – He cared and took time for
people. What matters in life? What do we value?
We have been speaking every Sunday at our supporting churches. It can be tiring sharing each week, talking with people, and sometimes having to pack on Friday, travel 2 hours, stay with Josh’s parents (which we are thankful for), then travel back and unpack on Sunday. BUT it is always worth it and we end up encouraged. It allows us to process through the year and be reminded of our calling there. We love sharing about what God is doing in Obulle. We share about how excited we are to be serving together with the local believers and how those who have been trained are now doing the ministry with us. We talk about our new home in the village and how that has blessed our relationships there. We express the need for people to come and teach our children and the desire we have for others to join our team and service in the schools, health care, and businesses in Obulle. We are strengthened by people’s response and sharing with us that they pray for us and love reading what we write. We are also thankful our kids do well with visiting a different church every Sunday. They are very easy going and out going.
Josh has been preaching at some churches. He is so gifted in sharing God’s Word. I love when he preaches because I learn and am challenged. We have had some powerful services with lots of emotions (and I am not the only one emotional!) Josh preached on Eph. 3:14-21 talking about our place in Christ and how we are loved by God, so that we can know God’s love for the world and see Him do so much more than we can think or imagine by His power. The Spirit was at work and many people responded to the alter call afterwards. It was beautiful to see a young girl go up with her parents sobbing, to see a husband and wife surrender before the Lord together, to watch a family let God lead them… Lyia, Grandpa and I all fall to our knees too. It is an awesome thing when God is at work among us.
At one church we were able to just share. The whole service we were able to interact with the congregation as they asked us questions. I loved it. We talked about the concerns living in
, the difficult year
we had, how we feel about life and the church here, how our family is able to
know God by being dependant on Him… It
was a moving service where God used the interaction to touch all of us. Uganda
Josh and I had a wonderful get away together to
. We had so much fun eating, walking around
(like 12 miles in three days), laughing, having so schedule or responsibilities,
reconnecting… We visited Chicago , church, and radio
while we were in Moody Bible College . I have always wanted to see it and I am glad
we did. Chicago
You all know about the health issues in our family; Malai is getting tubes in her ears, I had cataract surgery, Luka’s urine levels were a little off so we had more test to make sure his kidneys are skill working well, Grace is living pain free on medicine for her abdominal migraines, and Josh’s corrective hip surgery is June 18 with 9 weeks of recovery. Our new niece, Annika, was born at 28wks and is beautiful but fighting Meningitis. Pray for her. She reached 3lbs last week!
We are thankful for summer break and have been enjoying camping, cottage, splash pads, picnics and ice cream! I love being with my kids and enjoying special things we miss in
So now for some of the feelings. Some times I really struggle here. I can get overwhelmed. I see all the stores and restaurants and they are full all the time with people buying and eating. We live in luxury here. Everything is available here all the time. Sometimes I feel so out of place and wonder if anyone understands how I am feeling or understand where we come from. The wealth here is overwhelming and people here don’t even know it. Most days I do well. I realize we are here for a short time and so can enjoy this special time. I know we will be back serving in Obulle soon and that allows me to “take a break” for now knowing we will return to our calling. I pray and know God will use us while we are here too. We love encouraging and even challenging the church here as we share what God is doing in Obulle and with our unique prospective living abroad and coming back to the
. We are thankful for time to rest and renew
and be with family and loved ones. We
can relax and let our guard down a little – weather that is good or bad. We don’t have to watch for snakes and worry
about unrest and stand out everywhere we go.
Saying that I realize the temptation is false security living in MI
where it feels safe and comfortable and that can lead to forgetting we need
I find you have to be so intentional here. You have to choose to remember God. To remember He is the healer we need to run to, He is our protector who keeps us safe in an unsafe world, He is the one I need not things of the world, I am called to share His love and truth here too. So easily living in MI can become all about self. It seems so much here is about self and it is hurting marriages, families, and the church. God’s way and kingdom is the opposite, He calls us to selflessness. We live in a culture that promotes the opposite of what we are called to be. Our Lord tells us to lay down our lives, to love selflessly, to serve, to be last, to give… So who are we listening to? What truth are we believing? What lie are we believing? I am afraid the church hear and sees the world’s message all around them all day long and they fail to read, hear and know God’s truth in His Word.
It is summer here and all I hear about is living for the weekend when we go boating, to the beach, cottage, vacations, sports…and it is all about ourselves. I AM NOT SAYING GOD DOES NOT WANT US TO REST AND ENJOY. God created rest and enjoyment and it is a gift from Him! But it must be in its proper place. Is God still first? It will show in my time, money, activities and words. I live in a third world country where you live to survive not to please yourself. I don’t think people here understand that living like we do in
is not normal but a
privilege. Here it is expected and people
feel they deserve it. Where my neighbors
in Obulle just hope to have enough food for the day and hope to be able to
educate their children. We live in polar
opposite worlds. And somehow we have to
learn to function well in both. America
I pray a lot for the church, for marriages, and families. I know the joy and peace of doing things God’s way (no I am not perfect but I am seeking the Lord and putting into practice all He has told me to in His Word). His desire for us, for our marriages, and families is SO good, right and loving. There are blessings when we obey. It makes me very sad to see God’s people trying to find peace and joy in the things of the world. They become so busy with sports, work, everything we own, self, entertainment…we don’t have time for our marriage, kids, and most of all God. Everything is out of order. And there are consequences. We are broken and hurting inside but too busy to stop, listen, and deal with it. I know God is the healer. He longs for us to return to Him. To know His desire, follow His ways, and know His blessings. How I long for God’s beloved children to know and experience Him.
Although it is hard living on the mission field, I love that everyday I live with purpose. Everyday I see, hear, and feel the pain of sin in our world and the need for Jesus. I am called to live among those in need and to share Christ with them. It is built into my life. But it is no different living in
either. It is hard living here too but I can choose
to live with purpose. We are all
commanded as God’s children to make disciples.
Right here in Michigan I see, hear and feel
the pain of sin in our world and the need for Jesus. I am called and so are you to share the love
and truth of Christ. Since April when we
came to America, I have seen people from about every nation living here, I have
seen people sick, mourning, and in pain, people lost and living far from their
Creator, people broken in almost every church pew, people living in sin, people
hurting inside and confused inside, dressing and doing immoral things, people
hungry, people throwing away or selling everything they own before they die,
abuse, people about to divorce, people who don’t know the Word of God... We have the Good News! We have hope, we know the healer, we have
love, and know the Prince of Peace. We
need to share Him with others – wherever we are. Michigan
|Snow in April!|
|First day of school in MI|
|My Great Grandma died just before her 100 birthday|
|Fun with Grandpa|
|Josh and I visited Moody in Chicago - by the way GREAT truth on their radio station 89.3 in MI!|
|Luka's preschool graduation|
|Josh's run over Mackinaw Bridge|
|Fun weekend in Mackinaw - skipping rocks|
|Fun at the cottage|
|Lydia and her teacher (and mine in 5th grade) Mr. Mengs|
|Katie and baby Annika|