Mary, who had Tetanus is now home. Mary is a young girl who was not expected to live but God saved her life. She was literally stiff as a board from Tetanus but we prayed to our Almighty God and He healed Mary. If her trauma wasn't enough, she arrived home the day of her dad's funeral. He committed suicide the day before she came home. Her dad was not involved in her life but just the same it was a terrible way to be welcomed home. Josh and Charles have since gone out to the family and shared Freedom in Christ with them. The whole family (extended) think that they are cursed since 11 people have now attempted suicide. Pray for God's truth to set the family free.
Baby Faith, who has Edwards syndrome, went for her check-up in Kampala. She is almost a year but because she is still very weak the doctor wants to wait another five months before heart surgery. Pray for Faith as she is weak and has trouble breathing at times. Her parents pray God will save her when she cannot breath. I am sure that is very scary and difficult not knowing is your child will live.
And Achia...I think I will be sending out a special prayer request on her. In a nutshell she is surviving not thriving. I hate to say it but Achia neglected. I believe her mother is overwhelmed with poverty, work, three small kids and one on the way, no food...and a disabled and discontent child is too much. Reality is Achia is left alone a lot - left in the hut or left outside in the dirt. The father I can't figure out yet - drunkard, cultural normal not to care, just total poverty... All this and more has caused us to pray seriously about what to do. We have started by seeking help and getting knowledge of what can and should be done. At this point we are seeking to know how to help the family more, if there is special help/places/people to help Achia, or if adoption is an option for a girl with sever special needs. Please pray with us as God shows us the way. Pray for Achia to be loved and cared for. Pray for Achia's parents to know God's love so they can love their child well and that they have work to feed their family. (I will send out more later on this.)
On another note, our good missionary friends, the Dwire family, moved from Soroti to Kampala after the new year. I am not sure how to put into words how this effects our family. It is rare to find a friendship with a family that everyone has a friend and that everyone enjoys (especially with limited choices on the mission field). We have known the Dwire family for almost ten years now. They were one of the first people here to help us and invite us over. From there we have shared holidays, lots of meals and games, kid sleepovers, football, birthdays, Bible studies...and lots of ups and downs. We continue to grow closer as the years go by. It is a friendship that builds up, edifies, encourages and challenges one another. We have grown in the Lord together. It is simply a blessing. I have to add that Dan and Amie are some of the most selfless, helpful, generous and kind people you will meet. Lydia and Abbie Dwire are truly best of friends. We are learning about wisdom in our Bible curriculum and choosing friends wisely, and Lydia has chosen wisely with Abbie. They both love the Lord and encourage one another to live for Him. This move was very hard for both of them.
So, January 3 we helped move our friends to Kampala. I know most of you don't know what that means. Kampala is about 6 hours from our home. We are glad they remain in country and we can see them, but we are use to seeing each other bi-weekly if not weekly and now it will be a month or two between our visits. That is a big change. We know God clearly called Dwires to church plant near Kampala and so we rejoice with them, but also feel lonely without them in Soroti. We did enjoy helping them move, our time with them in Kampala, and helping settle them in. But the time to say goodbye had to come and it was hard. Lydia has been crying on and off the last few months but Abbie was really cried at our goodbye for now. We all stood in the middle of the mall giving hugs and praying together. That night I got to be with my sad family and watch my teenager cry. It is hard when you can't take the pain away. I know it will get easier, but right now we don't know what the new reality will be like. Pray for us and our friends the Dwires as we all adjust to change.
On to another subject, Luka turned 8 January 14! He really wanted a boy birthday party but all his missionary friends live an hour to six hours from Obulle - bummer. But we still had fun celebrating Luka. He is a fun, active boy. I am thankful he brings boy stuff into our home. He loves to tackle Lydia - anyone- which she does not appreciate. He is big with an even bigger heart! I love seeing him become like his dad with his love for sports, hunting, the woods... Most of all I love that he is following Jesus like his dad. He memories God's Word, loves to read his Bible at night and pray (he wont let us miss a night), and he is singing God's praises more and more. We learned in Bible class about becoming like our Heavenly Father. I love the reminder that we want people to be able to say, "Wow, you look just like your (Heavenly) Father!" Many people say Luka looks like Josh. It is our prayer that people see Luka and say he looks/acts just like his Heavenly Father. We thank God for Luka - He saved his life physically and spiritually. Happy Birthday Buddy!
While in Kampala I had an MRI on my knee. Since October I have not been able to exercise, play with my kids, walk too far, take bike rides...without it really hurting. Basically, everything I do makes it hurt. I can do most things but by the end of the day I can hardly walk because it aches so bad. It has changed my life style. There is an orthopedic missionary doctor in Soroti that suspected a torn meniscus. The MRI showed a degenerative meniscus - worn out. He advises arthroscopic surgery done in the US. So...our home service is planned for Sept-Jan of this year. Do we wait till then or change plans?! We do not want to change plans and I do not want to go to MI for two months without my family. It seems I wont do more damage to it and can continue to wear my brace and take IB Profen as needed, so I will just be careful for the next nine months - oh my that is a long time. I want to play with my kids freely, go for bike rides, exercise... Pray for God to heal my knee, for His wisdom and patience and to provide a orthopedic doctor in MI for me.
And now onto upcoming plans...my parents, Dave and Mary Beute, come to visit the end of this week! They are very excited to come together again and their grandkids can't wait to be cuddled and loved by them. They will be with us for 9 day, 9 days with my sister and her family, and a weekend all together. Pray for their safety, health and for God to use our time together for His glory.
After my parents visit we are off to South Africa! Josh and I went to SA one time 15 years ago so we are excited to go to this beautiful country again. We are going for a vacation with the Dwire family - good food, amusement park, mall, bowling, nice place to stay... Then we will be meeting up with missionary friends, Mike and Megan Ribben. The Ribbens and us started out together in missions so we are looking forward to seeing them again. Josh will be doing a five day Freedom in Christ training there. We look forward to seeing how God will use His truth on identity in Him in SA. We also hope to have time with my sister-in-law, Sonja, parents who live in SA. We are praying for a safe, fun, and God glorifying trip.