Saturday, September 27, 2008

Busy couple weeks

Sept. 26
We have been busy! But it has been good. Two weeks ago a few people from Zambia (a missionary couple from Denmark and two Zambian pastors) came to visit the Bible College and the churches here. The night they arrived we (Pastor Francis, Pastor Patrick, Beatrice and their families) all had dinner together. It was a blessing to all fellowship together. The guest came to our house the next week for dinner and we were so encouraged by their visit. They were good listeners with good advice too.

The guests were also here for Bethel Bible College’s first graduation. It was a wonderful celebration. Ten students graduated from the last two classes. It was long but good. They had fun too. They sang a song about stomping on satan and everyone danced around. I just watched and though how appropriate it was. It was a day of rejoicing and satan was defeated because God’s work was being done here. Praise God! I was glad we could be apart of it all. Everyone was celebrating.

My girls Bible study began again last Saturday. Once again I remembered how much I love sharing God’s Word with them. I get so excited. We are doing a study on purity and it seemed to really open their eyes up to the truth in God’s Word. I pray God work in them, keeps them pure, and uses them to share the message.

Josh and I have watched a couple football games now. (Makes it feel like Fall time J.) We went on a date and watched one game at a restaurant and went to missionary friends for another one. We think it is fun and the girls love when we go on a date and they get to play with Tabitha our house help. So everyone is happy.

We took the girls to Lake Kyoga to fish one Saturday. We only caught one tiny fish but the girls thought it was fun. (Actually, Lydia caught the only fish!) It is beautiful out there and something different for us to do as a family. It was hot though. I just sat and drank a pop enjoying watching my girls play with rock and fish. They are really cute. Grace liked playing with the bait, worms, best. Lydia thinks they are yucky.

Grace got a haircut the other day. Her hair was really long. I took off two inches and it is still to her shoulders. Still cute as a button! She often say to us now, “your kidding me” or “are you serious?” She doesn’t always say her R’s very well yet so she talks quite cute too.

Lydia continues to learn with school. She catches on so quickly. I have learned to enjoy it more. We have become more creative too. This week we sat outside and she drew living and nonliving things. I am proud of her. I told Josh I think we are paying for her to go to school in MI just for her to have a social life because she will be ahead of them with all the one on one teaching she has had.

Our unborn child is doing well. Kicks are much stronger now and my belly is growing! I think the baby has had hiccups too but they don’t last long so I’m not sure.

We have had guests staying in Tim and Angie’s duplex all week. They are from WA but are mission work in Uganda for six months. They stay in Kampala but come to Soroti about once a month. They have a 5 and 2 year old boys. Lydia has loved it and played with him every day. They are very nice and we have enjoyed getting to know them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sept. 16 -- Mandy's Journal

Sept. 16
We visited with out Indian friends at OM supermarket the other day. I wore my Indian out fit the ladies gave Angie and I after returning from their trip to India (it was so nice of them to think of us). They were very happy to see me in it and welcomed all of us the the back of the store where they live. They served us chi and some Indian snacks. We sat and talked with the men as the women got ready for a picture together. The women kept bringing out jewelry for Lydia, Grace, and me. Their kindness and hospitality are so generous. We had a very nice time and are thankful for their friendship. We pray God continues to work in their hearts through our friendship.

I have so many feelings as we prepare for home service. I don’t think anyone can really understand unless they have been on the mission field. Please forgive me. Know I think and feel too much and writing is how I process it all. (I bug myself sometimes with all my feelingJ.) Anyways, I will share but you don’t have to read it if you don’t want too. I live on the mission field but all year I look forward to our home service when we get to go MI. We plan for it at least a year in advance and begin preparing six months in advance. We have to find housing (furnished which isn’t easy for only 4 months), a vehicle to use, schedule all of our speaking, plane tickets… It is quite a bit of work getting everything lined up on that side of the ocean not to mention what needs to be done on this side. It is not simply a vacation! Then, when it still seems so far away to all of you, I have begun a count down. I think about it, plan what to do, where to go, and dream. How can I describe it all to you? I look forward to being normal again. To having comforts again, even simple things like soft carpet I enjoy. I will be with our families! Celebrate holidays, birthdays, and most of all just being together. Share my children with them again. I look forward to taking a walk with my girls and having no one notice or calling out “Muzungu” (white person) over and over again. We will just blend in. I can truly relax and be comfortable. Everything is normal and nice rather than odd and frustrating. What else? Clean everything, food/ treats and easy to make, wonderful showers, easy driving, shopping, being cold, watch the snow fall… I grew up in MI and the memories are a part of who I am.

Then there is the other side and all the other emotions. I will be excited and prepare for months then it comes time to leave Uganda, my home, for four months and I don’t know how to feel anymore. I am a bit scared, sad, nervous… I am not sure what I want anymore. I realize I really don’t belong anywhere. Living in MI I often feel like an outsider. People don’t understand where I come from, all I’ve been through, and all I have seen. I get overwhelmed by all America and Americans have. All the waste. All the wealth. All the choices. Sometimes it makes me sick. But so few seem to want to know or care about how the rest of the world lives. How most people suffer in poverty. I see some Christians living the same as the culture around them. They want more, bigger, or better things. We want more money to spend when God’s Word tells us He gives us more to give more. Selfishness and self centeredness plague our land. People sit in front of their TV all evening but having no time in their lives to read God’s Word or for doing ministry. There is passiveness in our churches instead of passion. There is a lack of standing on and for God’s Truth – maybe because they don’t know it. Then when someone does tell the Truth other Christians mock or criticize instead of accept and encourage. Have we forgotten God? Does He lead us every day in every decision? Do we care about the rest of the world the way God does?
I know this really sounds harsh and has turned into a sermon, but it is often what I see and how I feel when I go to MI. Yes, there are godly, faithful people there too! But too many have become complacent. I have learned quickly in life that everywhere around the world there is sin and hardship and everywhere there is God and His people. Life is a mix of emotions and feelings sometimes, huh. That is why I am so thankful that every new day I can trust in my Father – God of the whole universe.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sept. 8 -- Mandy's Journal

We had a nice Labor Day pot luck here last week. It has been raining most nights so I prayed so hard that it would not rain. The sky got threatening but we only got a few drops around 8pm. We had 36 people come (including all the kids). It was a bit busy but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We all had meat to grill with our pot luck and then had smores around a campfire. We had a nice night of fellowship with our friends. It doesn’t take the place of family but it did seem half way normal. After everyone left Josh and I sat by the fire for awhile just enjoying. I love campfires.

Friday had the Pitmans over for supper and games. The Pitmans are with the Independent Baptist and just returned from a year furlough. We really enjoy their company and thank God for new friends.

I have been slowly working on the baby’s room since July. Barb helped me sew the curtain and since then I have been stenciling on them and making banners/pictures to go with them. It turned out pretty cute. It is always hard here because you are so limited with material and color choices. The stenciling is of animal foot prints followed by baby foot prints. You’ll just have to come and see them for yourselves! I think the baby will like it.

Grace and Lydia continue to learn Bible verses. Last week they learned, “Be Holy as I am Holy.” Grace says “holy” so cute I wish you could hear it. When I said the verse to her she told me she isn’t holy. Grace also pushes out her tummy and tells us she has a baby in her tummy. She has gotten taller and Lydia has always been on the shorter side, so now people here ask if they are twins. There is still 6in. difference in their height though. They have been playing airport quite a bit lately so they must be getting excited to go to MI. (You know missionary kids when they know airports enough to play it). Their mom is excited too – 9 week count down.

Thankfully things are going very well here and I am not too anxious to go. There are things to do here before we go too. We have actually been looking at another house for rent. When we first went to see it I was preparing myself for a dump because that is what most rentals appear to be, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Besides a lot of yard clean up and minor fix ups in the house, it was really nice. The lay out was very western, big, and all nicely tiled. There are three bedrooms (the master bedroom has its own bathroom – yeah!), a bathroom, large sitting room, dinning room, kitchen, guest room with own bathroom, garage, and a big porch. When we saw it I really fell in love with it. It seemed to be everything I was looking for. The yard has lots big trees with shade. The neighborhood is nice, quiet, and only a mile from where we are living so we are still close. Since we saw it we have been emailing with the landlord (a business man in Entebbe). He is a bit difficult to read so we hope working with him will be ok. It is scary making a big decision so we have really been praying about it. The price is right but we want this to be God’s will. We really think it is right for our family to have our own place and there is a couple coming in January for a year so they could rent our house we are in now or it can be used as a guest house for all our visitors. I just don’t want it to get messy with all we have wrapped up into our home now. We would have to divide up all the things we share now with Sliedrechts and other details. I like our home we are in now – the colors, decorations… so it will be hard to move too. That is why we are praying about it all. We know God will show us what He wants for us. I am excited to see what He does.

Our friends Sam and Esther had a healthy baby girl Saturday. So precious! Ben, Angelina’s son with cancer, seems to be SO weak right now. He has a lot of issues with not being able to urinate so we don’t know what is wrong now. All we can do is help a little and pray for him. Gideon, Pastor Patrick and Florence’s son, had his adnoids taken out last week in Mbale and is doing really well. He is already able to talk better and sleep without snoring.

We continue to get a lot of rain in the evenings around here. The days are hot and sunny usually though. There is talk of flooding again this year. People say that in some places the water is already bubbling out of the ground. I think the people are really scared. Most of them have not recovered from last years floods yet. Their first attempt at farming was ruined by drought and now maybe their second by floods. What will they eat? I pray God has mercy on these people who continue to suffer so much.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mandy's Journal

August 28

Josh finally felt the baby! It was just a little kick but he did feel it. This baby isn’t very active just a one or two kicks here and there so it is hard for anyone to get a chance to feel it. I am sure it will only increase from here.

I have been doing school every afternoon with Lydia. Aren’t you proud of me? Maybe you shouldn’t be. I really am not a natural teacher. I am so impatient. You can pray God gives me all I need. Lydia is doing well. She if so cute she concentrates so hard when she is printing or doing something that her little tongue just a goes. She is really beginning to read and do math. It really brings me back to when I was learning – it is hard. I am proud of her!

You can pray for Lydia as we are encouraging her not to suck her thumb anymore. She only uses it at night or when she gets tired (sometimes when watching a video or riding in the van). It is a hard habit to break. The hope we have is that we don’t know any adult still sucking their thumb.

Lydia asked what color our baby would be. How cute. I explained to her that if the daddy and mommy are white the baby will be white and if they are black or brown the baby would be. Now she understands.

Grace has been really good lately. She and Lydia play so well together and play all day long. They are either playing little people and Polly pockets or house. I am so thankful the play so well together.