Monday, November 23, 2009

We arrived!

We made it home - wait which one is home? I think we just have two homes. While anyways we are in MI! Thank you for all your prayers. Here is the recap so far...

Luka came down with a fever the night before we traveled to the capital city in Uganda. We ended up taking him to the doctor the day we flew just to make sure he was okay. His fever was 101, he was malaria free, so the doctor thought it was just the flu (swine flu? shh, don't mention that in the airport). Poor guy was sick our whole travel home. He was really uncomfortable but did as well as to be expected. Lydia also had a mysterious red "rash" on her face that looked like a birthmark down her cheek. The doctor right away said she has Niarobi eye which is a beetle that lets off his juice and leave his mark. Lydia thought it was quite funny that the doctor said the bug squirt juice out it's butt on her. Thankfully it was gone by the time we reached MI.

Our flights went really well all and all. When we got to the airport they told us there was a fuel shortage in Uganda and we would have to fly to Niarobi to fuel up. Which meant our 9 hour flight would now be 12 hours. Our flight took off at 12:30am so at that time of night I was less than thrilled with the news. Our kids were great and slept almost the whole flight. Luka slept too but woke up often because he wasn't feeling well. Josh and I slept as much as Luka allowed us too.

We had a wonderful two day break in England. We stayed with our friends Tim and Anne Marsden. (Tim and Anne come to Uganda about once a year.) They live about an hour and a half south of London on the coast. We were so amazed by all the history. We stood in churches that celebrated their 900 anniversaries. I stood there and thought what a rock. Think of all this church has gone through yet it still stands. God's church is victorious! We had tea in their neighbors home which was built in the 14 centery. The beams had peg because there were no nails back then. How do these things still stand - not only stand but are still lived in. It was quiet something to see so many thatched roofs. Coming from Africa I did not expect to see thatched roofs in England too. We also went to an old castle where the Romans had built the walls. Who knew we'd see Roman remains in England? Talk about old! We toured the oldest British war ship (1700 something?). Man did they live through hardships. The canons were amazing. What fun to see so much history. And we saw the sea.

We were thankful that we bought winter coats in the market in Soroti. It was cold and sometimes rainy in England. (Surprise, surprise.) Our kids did really well. I kept reminding Lydia this was like school because we were able to learn so much history. We were thankful after our busy days of sight seeing that our evenings were quiet. The kids enjoyed the time playing and then resting. Marsdens have a nice home with a beautiful yard. One thing I liked the best is the quiet village like neighborhoods. So quant. It was almost like we were back in time.

I love seeing new places. Each place is so different. And I learn from them. I already mentioned about the history of the church and how it made me think of the how the church will last forever. I also think everything in England is small. Small cars, small homes, small doors, small stores, small towns... (in general of course). America on the other hand is all about big. Big homes, big cars, big stores, big cities, big, big, big... We also like our sugar as Americans. (Myself included.) I was also struck by the irony of the old churches and history of the church and the lack of church and Christians today in England. It really is sad.

I am so thankful that the Marsdens allowed us to come. The best way to tour is with people who live there. Stopping in England was a great break and a blessing.

Friday November 14 we arrived in Chicago safe and sound. Thank you God for answered prayers! Lydia cried at the first sight and first hug from her Grandpa and Grandma. Oh, it is good to be home.

Now we are enjoying so I will write more later...

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Nov. 7
One last journal before we go!

Last week was a busy one. A group from Set Free Ministries in Grand Rapids came to train church leaders. It was a great group to have. We were blessed to have them around and by their ministry here. The men, Paul and Jeff, led a three day conference while the women, Dalene, Robin, and Gwen, spoke in a high school and to a group of women. I went with the ladies each day. It was really different for me to be out. I admit I missed my kids and felt a bit out of control with things at home, but I also really enjoyed the ministry. I was inspired once again. I love teaching God’s Word and His truths. I have a real burden to reach the youth and women here. The youth need to be pure and to do that they need to know and live for Jesus. The women here are suffering. I feel for them. They work so hard, they have so many kids, their husbands are absent…

The ladies taught on purity and gave their testimonies to the youth and taught on God’s way for marriage, family planning, and parenting. I think the people here were touched by their testimonies and freedom they have. One of the days we had a crazy man in the church while we were teaching the women. Boy was that distracting and scary. We prayed a lot. He threw things and shouted. I just wanted another man to come and be our hero but the only thing I saw the neighbor men do was sit and laugh. Finally, thankfully, he did leave. As we talked about different birth controls one of the women asked how she could get her husband to agree when he comes home drunk and forces sex. Another woman was there with two children. One was a year old and the other two years old. The two year old was very sickly. To top it off the father had left them. I can get so frustrated and mad. This is wrong! There are no easy, simple answers. But I overwhelmingly feel we need to point them to Jesus. He is their answer, their hope, their peace, their help… I strongly encouraged them to be close to God. To know His Word, have a relationship with Him, obey Him, and pray for our husbands. I don’t know how God is going to use me to encourage these women but I pray somehow He will.

Now we are in full blown packing and preparing mode. It takes a lot of organization. Have all the details in order here, pack for our family of five, say goodbyes, and have everything lined up in MI. Ah, but it is all good and we are excited. The last days I always feel a bit funny about leaving. I do look forward to everything in MI but I am leaving my home here. I was really sad this week about saying goodbye to team mates knowing they will be gone when we return. It has been a special year. It is really hard to say goodbye to Karen, Lydia’s teacher. What a blessing! We had a meeting this week and spent time telling each other why we are thankful for each other or what we appreciate about each other. What a great thing to do! We were all so encouraged by it.

So off we go. Monday we travel to Kampala, Tuesday night we fly to London where we are staying with friends for two days, then Friday we fly into Chicago. Please pray for a safe journey and for good health. Pray for our kids. All the change – goodbyes, Lydia ending school, traveling, new places – can sometimes come out in different ways. Lydia tends to worry and Grace gets upset easily. Luka is a mover so you can pray he is content on the long flights. We will be speaking while we are home (Josh will be preaching at most of them) so for those of you who haven’t seen it I put our speaking schedule below. Hope to see you!

Our blog maybe quite boring the next couple months – sorry. I will try to at least put some picture of our trip sometime. May your holidays be blessed with God’s presence!

15 Lucas CRC 6pm
22 Ivanrest CRC
8:30 & 11am
Jamestown CRC 6:00pm
29 Cadillac CRC 10:30am
Nov. 30 – Dec. 9 Pray for Josh’s trip to Nigeria

6 Kellogesville CRC
9:30am (Mandy only)
13 Georgetown CRC
8:30 & 11am
East Martin CRC 6pm
20 Highland CRC 9:30am
27 Mc Bain CRC 10:30am

3 Roosevelt Park 10am
Faith Comm. 5:30pm

Monday, November 2, 2009

October 09 (75 photos), by Mandy Shaarda

I'd like to share my Snapfish photos with you. Once you have checked out my photos you can order prints and upload your own photos to share.
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