Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ultra Sound

June 25

We had an ultra sound yesterday. How exciting it is to SEE our baby. We could identify it’s head, legs, heart beating, and it even moved. A real baby! Praise God! I feel relieved that the baby is growing and there is a heart beat. It helps me to endure the sickness better too now that I have seen my baby. Just in case you wanted to know ultra sounds in Soroti cost all of $8.

Lydia was talking about the baby at lunch and how we will go to the hospital and they would come and see the baby. Then she asked how the baby will get out of my tummy. Good question. How do you answer a four year old? I looked at Josh and he looked at me. I told her the doctor would help me. She was happy with that. She then showed me how the doctor will pull it out of the tummy.

We will be 11 weeks tomorrow. I thought I was doing good because all my clothes still fit but the other day one of our missionary friends had to ask Angie if I was pregnant. Sure enough, I looked in the mirror and there was a tummy growing. I look forward to when it looks like a pregnant tummy and I can change to maternity clothes. Right now it just looks like a big tummy in bad shirts.

Grace has done really well with potty training. She went a whole week without wetting! She sure can make me laugh when she giggles from the bottom of her toes. The other day she said to me, “Jesus died on the cross for our sins right Mom?” Right Gracie. What do you think that means in a two and half year old mind? The girls play together really good right now. They color a lot. And of course sing. Today they had a marching band with kitchen utensils and sang, “We bring the sacrifice of praise!”

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

9 year!

June 20

Josh and I just got back yesterday from our 9th anniversary get away. We went to Lacam Lodge in Sipi Falls (same as last year). It still is one of my favorite places to go with my husband and one of the prettiest places on earth. It is so special to me. The view is breath taking and you can sit right in your room to see it. The lodge is built over Sipi Falls on a cliff that over looks the valley and hundreds of miles beyond. It is SO quiet and private. It is like no where else you will ever stay. The lodge has no power and uses lantern at night that set a romantic atmosphere. The hot shower, heated by fire, has a widow so you can still enjoy the great view. You stay in a banda made of bamboo. The only noise you have is the brook, falls, and birds. We did whatever we wanted for over 24 hours! No schedule, no kids, good food, beauty, and quietness. What an anniversary! We ate (a four course meal at night), soaked up the view, napped, drank African tea, read, spent time with God, hiked a little… I cannot tell you how much I needed this time of quiet beauty. It was just what my soul needed. The last few weeks have been really ruff being sick and brought me really down. I really sought after God and asked Him to restore me. I had a wonderful morning with God as Josh hiked to the caves. There is something about coming close to God surrounded by the beauty of His creation. By the end of our time I felt joy and peace again. I also felt connected to my husband again. I need time with him. Time to just be together, time to talk, and time to reconnect. What a blessing! Like last year I didn’t want to leave and can’t wait for next year.

Josh's Journal

June 16, 2008
Since the last time I wrote, things with the children’s ministry at church have gotten very exciting. As you heard in my May 25 entry, we were hosting a women’s soccer team for Geneva college. They did 7 afternoons of children’s ministry at our church. By the last day they had 200 children coming to sing, hear Bible stories, and do crafts. They also encouraged the children to come to church every Sunday to keep learning. The following Sunday I had 105 kids in children’s church. Last week the numbers had increased to 109. Yesterday Paul, my translator, and I only had 67 kids for children’s church. Honestly, once the number gets over 50, there is not too much difference in the way you teach. I feel overwhelmed and inadequate to teach so many kids. I really wish we had a good music leader who could get the kids to sing with enthusiasm - it might also help if I spoke Ateso better. Never the less, despite all our weakness, God still is bringing many kids each week to learn His Word. It shows the power of the Spirit and the huge hunger and need for God’s Word in this area.

Things at Bethel Bible College do not feel like they are progressing, they actually feel like they are going backward. We have three students signed up, but Ben has not been present for three and an half weeks because of cancer growing in his chest. I visited him this morning. He was full of smiles and said the radiation last week has helped. He hopes to be back in class soon. However, with only two students, the other staff don’t seem to be treating it seriously. Only Francis has been showing up to teach, but even he has not made the teaching schedule like normal. The students never know who is coming to teach or what time. I don’t blame the others for not teaching, but then there needs to be some open communication about what to expect. Our big opening is scheduled for January 2009 so hopefully we will have a full classroom and complete schedule next year. However, at this point I am not optimistic. I am trying to remind myself that every ministry I have been involved in has always had a lull where our numbers dipped to one. I think we are in the lull here. As far as the Bible college is concerned, I am at a low point since our coming 15 months ago. Thankfully it is not the only thing I am involved in.

Mandy and I have been blessed to discover we are expecting another child - due in January 2009. God has some plan, even though it was not what we were aiming for. He knows best. Unfortunately, Mandy has been sick 23 hours a day. I hope she feels better when she hits 12 weeks (in 3 more weeks). Lydia and Grace are very excited for the baby. They are also excited that we will be visiting Michigan for a couple of months so Mandy can deliver the baby in GR. Mandy was also kind enough to suggest we get home by Nov. 13 so we have a day to settle in before the big holiday on Nov. 15 - what a great wife I have!!!

The blind and I have begun orchards 7 and 8 of the year. Rains have been sporadic so I hope all the seedlings survive. Things get busy when we are in the midst of these projects. We hope to complete a total of 10 by the end of June. Barb Buteyn will be returning for the month of July and will again be teaching them how to knit. They really hope to learn how to knit sweaters - we’ll have to see if they can get that far in 4 more weeks of classes. There is also a group from England coming for a visit. One of the men coming hopes to record the Bible studies I have prepared for the blind. I hope it works out. Francis and the others are eager to add the discipleship aspect of this ministry. The Bible studies have been there for several months, but we have not been able to find a place to record them.
I almost forgot, do you remember the motorcycle I ordered January 20 that would take “two weeks” to get here. Customs officials in Kampala finally released the container of motorcycles so I got it this week. It is an off road 125cc motorcycle. It is made by Senke - ever hear of them? I had not either. The dealer said it is the best bike you can buy except for the true Yamahas which cost 2 ½ times as much. As for all the other Yamahas I see driving around, they are not made by Yamaha - someone else just borrowed the name. Now I am just waiting for my license plate and log book so I can start driving.

June 21
We serve a HUGE God. Wednesday was our wedding anniversary - 9 years! So Mandy and I went to Sipi Falls, about a 2 hour drive east of Soroti. Sipi falls is about 8,000 feet above sea level. From the banda where we stayed, we could only see about 15 miles, because it was hazy. The workers said that on clear days you can see Soroti rock. Honestly, to sit up on that mountain and look down at the hundreds of square miles of African plain was simply awesome. (Picture the song “Hallelujah, He Reigns” which starts out…The song of the redeemed rising from the African plain…I have been blessed to see the African plain on more than one occasion. Add to it the sound of the water fall (a narrow water fall, but going over a 300 ft. cliff), the gentle breeze, cool temps, and red sunset - it is the most relaxing and refreshing place I have ever been. If we did not have kids, we would probably go every coupe months. However, considering our banda was 20 steps from the top of the cliff, we wont be taking our kids there any time soon.
Thursday morning I went for a hike with one of the guides. I wanted to check out the caves in the side of the cliff, even though I never have had an interest in being underground. My flash light broke on the trip to Sipi so only the guide had a flash light (which was WORTHLESS!!!) Getting to the caves was a little harry, it made me feel a bit like a mountain goat. The cave we went to goes more than 100 yards into the mountain. We had to crouch down and basically crawl to get in. It was dry, but very humid. When we got about 30 yards back into the cave we could stand up straight. There the cave turned, bats became active, and it got DARK - he should have just left his flashlight at home, I am telling you, it gave no light. That point confirmed what I have always felt - I don’t mind being up very high, but I have no interest in being underground. I resisted the urge to run for the exit (since I would have had to crawl) and just stood to try to take it all in a few minutes. I would like to try it again next time, if I have a good flash light.
Later, Mandy and I hiked to the top of the second falls (Sipi is a series of 3 waterfalls). There we met a man from Israel. Earlier in the week I had been struck by the gospel of John of how persistent and hard hearted the Jews were in their unbelief. This guy scoffed at the fact that I claimed to teach Bible, but had never been to Israel. He refused to accept anything the New Testament said. However, later he even admitted he does not live according to the Old Testament either. Poor guy. I have prayed a lot for him this week. The Savior came, but he (and so many like him) missed it completely.

Monday, June 16, 2008

June 14 Mandy's Journal

June 14

Our neighbors Martha and Joseph had a baby last Saturday. They have two girls and now have a baby boy named Joshua. She was in labor a long time and said the hospital is no help. She was home 8 hours after the baby was born. Josh took them when she delivered and helped them back home too. The baby is healthy and over 7lbs. Can you imagine having a baby here? Coming home to a hut? What a world of difference from home.

I have been a little better thanks to a wonderful medicine called Zofran. My mom happened to have some with her and I asked my doctor if I could take it since we had to travel. It was so wonderful to feel good! I only have 8 tablets so I only take a half a day so I can at least function during the day. I still feel the nausea but am not flat on the couch. I just need to take lots of breaks to rest and feel better again. I am waiting for more medicine to come and praying it comes before I run out – it will take prayer to happen.

Lydia continues to be excited about the baby. Each week we get an email update that tells us the size of the baby. This week it is the size of a grape. It helps Lydia to understand how small the baby is right now. I don’t remember if I told you but the other day Lydia had a doll in her shirt because she was pregnant. When the baby came out she said, “My baby hatched!” She also asked me if the baby gets yucky when I eat food. I told her that my food goes to my stomach and the baby lives in my tummy. She said, “Let me think about that…okay.” How cute are little minds!

Lydia had a mosquito bite on her leg and wanted a band-aid on it. A day later she took it off and said, “Praise the Lord! It is a miracle God healed my leg!” Now that is thanking God. Grace was sick last night and throw up in bed. She told me she had a “throat” in bed. (Thankfully she was fine by morning.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


June 8

So by now some of you know our big news – we are having a baby! What a shock! Within 11 weeks we were pregnant, had a miscarriage, and found out we were pregnant again. What a lot of emotions. Who knew you could get pregnant following a miscarriage? God did! This is His timing and plan. What a gift from Him. We are now 8 weeks pregnant due January 15, 2009.

We went to the doctor in Kampala but were totally disappointed. I saw the doctor for two minutes (in which he acted very surprised or confused about being 6 weeks pregnant when I just had a miscarriage last month) and I had an ultra sound that confirmed I am pregnant all within four and a half hours. And I never got to see the doctor with the ultra sound results because he left for lunch break and our girls couldn’t wait any longer. Frustrating… But at least we know everything looks good so far. After just having a miscarriage I am a little worried and watch for every sign. But I have peace knowing God is in control of this.

How do I feel? Totally and completely SICK! I am sick all day long. It is like having the flu or being car sick all day. Every smell, food, movement…makes me ill. The only time I feel good is while I am eating – not before and not after just during. All food sounds pretty bad to me but usually once I start eating it is okay. I much prefer salty things over anything sweet. It has been really hard. I just can’t function. I don’t get anything done. I am miserable right now letting the days go by so I can get through these difficult weeks. And everything is harder living here in Uganda. No easy foods to make, no places to get the food I want, the heat, traveling, smells everywhere, being far away without family. Oh well, this too shall pass. Josh has been helping. It was nice to have my mom here to help but I felt bad that I was terrible company. I just lay on the couch a lot of the day.

It is hard to be excited about the pregnancy right now, but we are very happy. Here we were trying to plan what to do about when to go home and when to get pregnant, when God moved. We hope now to be home from the middle of November to first part of March.

So how do you tell people you are two months pregnant when two months ago you had a miscarriage? I think they were as surprised as we were. We told Lydia and Grace after Grandma left to give them something to be happy about. We gave them each a card that said, “I’m the big sister” and Lydia’s said again. On the card there was a piece of rice because that is about the size of the baby. I am sure Grace didn’t quite get it but Lydia did. She was really excited and asked if the baby is in my stomach now and wanted to feel my tummy. Grace followed along. Since then Lydia has been telling everyone and still wants to feel the baby. Most people don’t understand Lydia, don’t get it, or are embarrassed to ask when Lydia tells them I’m having a baby.

We called home and told my Dad, Josh’s parents, sisters, and my older siblings. They all seemed to be happy for us. I’d love to hear what they are saying amongst each other now.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mandy's Journal -- June 5

May 28, 2008

Here it is the end of May and the first time I have written. I don’t know if that means not much happening, so old thing, or just tired. My mom is here right now. We picked her up last Tuesday from the airport. Lydia and Grace are so happy to have her here. They cry every time she eats at Tim and Angie’s house or goes away without them. Lydia thinks we will go to Michigan too after Grandma goes home (like last time she left here). So, I think it will be pretty hard when she goes. Lydia and Grace love to color and I thing they have now made Grandma a hundred pictures. We haven’t done anything special while Grandma has been here. We just do normal life. It has been nice not to have to race around showing her everything. She has been here and seen it already. She is just enjoying being Grandma. They read books together, play outside, bake, go in the pool… It has been quiet but good. We are thankful Mom could come.

Geneva College girl’s soccer team is here too from Pennsylvania. They have their last day tomorrow. They have been a great group to have and get to know. There are 8 girls, 2 guys from the guy’s soccer team, and the girls coach. They have been busy leading a Bible school for kids at our church and now soccer clinics for three of the high school girl’s teams here in Soroti. The Bible school has gone very well seeing they have had over 100 kids to teach each day. The team has been very willing to try anything, easy going, and don’t complain. They even brought us a HUGE suitcase full of goodies from home. I know that they have been blessed and have blessed while they were here.

Sunday we all went to the village to eat at Peter’s family. Peter goes to our church and his family love having guests over. Tim has brought so many people their way they now call him their son. We had a nice afternoon in a beautiful and quiet village setting. After all the introductions, like two hours, they served us a feast. Included with very good, normal food they served goat intestines, fried ants, and pounded ants. I was impressed to see some of the people down those insides. My mom even ate a fried ant (termite).

June 5

We just got back from a really nice weekend in Jinja. Tim and Angie and all of us took Mom to Jinja for the night before she flew home. We found some really good restaurants to eat at, we had a lot of fun swimming and relaxing, and stayed right on the Nile River. It is such a beautiful area! I really enjoyed our time away. Tim and Angie then went on to Kampala with Mom to take her to the air port and we went home. It is always sad saying good-bye. I was thankful after a few tears the girls did alright. Five months and we will be home to see everyone again!