Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Healthy Again!

Thanks for praying! We have healthy kids again! God is always with us and the healer of all sickness. He is so good to us. Now we are praying that Josh and I stay healthy - no time for parents to get sick.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sick Kids

Just a quick prayer request today. Grace got sick on Thursday and by Friday we knew it was strep throat. Thankfully she bounced right back once we got her on meds. Today Lydia and Luka woke up with 102 fevers. After Tylenol and a nap Luka seemed much better but Lydia not so much. She has thrown up several times and her fever went up to 103.8. She is miserable and sleepy. Poor girl has really been strugging the last few weeks not feeling good and really down. Thanks for praying for our children with us!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rain & More...

March 22

It is raining! I know most of you in Michigan don’t appreciate clouds but what a blessing it is to me. We went from over 100degrees to around 70degrees when it rains – that is sweatshirt weather here! I love not being so hot and being able to be outside without complaining. Yes, it is still hot when the sun comes out but when there are clouds and when it rains it is great. Everything is turning green – we may have a lawn again soon.

We went camping this weekend by the waterfall with our team and some other friends from Soroti. What a fun to be together in such a beautiful place. The kids loved playing in the stream and getting really muddy. They did such a good job using their imaginations to play and explore. The adults enjoyed a lot of talking, a game, and sitting by the campfire. I am so thankful for friends to just hang out with. We need to take time to get away and just be sometimes. We got rained on a bit but no one seemed to mind. I think we even enjoyed it because it meant sweatshirts and coffee.

On Sunday we had our own worship service – songs, prayer, and I led a short Bible study on trust. I love sharing God’s Word but get so nervous and feel totally inadequate. Thankfully it is God’s work not mine. One of our teammates said she loves my heart for ministering to the team. I really do want to minister to them. In the afternoon we went to the pool then ended our weekend at the Indian restaurant.

On our way home we hit a really big rain storm. The road had rivers over it. And the van we were using (ours was getting a new starter put in) began to leak. Lydia was trying to catch it at first but it just leaked more and more until it was like raining on both sides of the back seat. Lydia crawled in the way back trying to stay dry. Grace, who was sleeping, woke up in shock as she was being rained on. She was so upset by it all as I tried to comfort her in the back she said, “I feel like Jonah. Did I do something bad like disobey you?” What a girl. We found out that the sunroof was open a half an inch so that may have caused the problem but even with the window shut in the back it was just a raining in. The car seats were soaked. Thankfully we made it through the storm and even safely home.

The other week when I was in Kampala I walked home from the mall and was so disturbed by the children beggars I saw. I have seen them before but that day I was more troubled than usual. First I saw a one year old sitting all alone on the sidewalk of a VERY busy street. The baby was all alone just sitting there. I saw other kids begging but no mother. Was she around? I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to just keep walking and forget about it but I knew I couldn’t pick the kid up and take it either. A little further down the street there where a handful of kids and a couple teens busy digging in the garbage for treasures (cardboard to sit on, a scrap to make something or even eat). They were so enthralled they didn’t even see me. At the corner I saw two police and thought this was my best option for the baby back on the sidewalk. They walked back to check things out. I was glad I did something. There were literally 3 year old kids begging on this very busy street in the middle of all the cars – all alone. And that wasn’t the first time I’ve seen them this young. Most of the kids where Karamojan. It breaks my heart and makes me feel so helpless. No child should have to learn how to beg. What a contrast from our children. Too often they have it all and still complain – so do we adults. I have learned life the way God meant it to be is about balance. He doesn’t want us or anyone else to live impoverished but He also doesn’t want us to live with too much. God help us as we find the balance in living for you.

I didn’t mention my last couple entries because they were full already, but I do want to remember with you the year anniversary of Luka’s healing. What a flood of memories. We are still praising God! Hard to believe we were in that hospital a year ago. Although we don’t want to have to go through something like that again, it is a true blessing to see all God did, taught me, and how much deeper my faith went. No one will ever be able to tell me God is not real. Another great thing was all the love, prayers, and help we got from the body of Christ. From all of you! Every day with Luka is a gift that we are thankful for. What a good reminder how precious life is and who the giver of life is.

Josh is teaching all week in Katakwi. Poor guy was wet and freezing by the time he got home last night. (But I had a hot bath, hot supper, and coffee waiting for him.) He is teaching on marriage and family which we believe is so foundational if the church is to grow here. He taught a few days last week too and the testimonies continue to encourage us. Obule had the teaching on marriage and reported back so many ways God used it to change their marriages. Really they are simple things like being home and together, communicating, helping, saying I love you…but literally things that have never been done in their marriages. Some of them were ready to call it quits but now are willing to keep trying God’s way now. It saddens me that these are all church leaders trying to lead a church while failing at home. How God wants order. He needs to be the foundation and center, then marriage will be blessed, then family, then His church. That has to be the order. Keep praying for God to use His Word to show the people here His desire for marriage and family. (Sound like a message for North America too? Share it!)

I may have said this before so if I did forgive me. Every week is full of teaching our girls, cooking and keeping up with things at home, exercise, devotions, corresponding home, visiting local friends, meeting with our team, having people over for meal, fellowship and encouragement, Bible study…and I am thankful for it. Yes there are hard times and I am overwhelmed or ready to quit, but overall I feel I have found my place. God has been so good to confirm to me over and over lately that I am being used by Him in all the little things He has given me to do. That is what it is all about isn’t it? Doing just what God wants each of us to do and what He has equipped us to do – nothing more and nothing less. It is a joy to be using the gifts God has given to me to bless others. I love that through my encouragement, meals, Bible study, notes, and creativity…God can work. I feel fulfilled. I am filled with the Lord and He is using me. What an answer to prayer.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blessed Retreat!

March 12, 2011

I am back after a four day retreat that blessed me beyond words! Ok maybe not beyond words cause I am going to try to tell you about it. The retreat was put on by Pure Joy International for 50 missionary women – for free! We stayed at what I think is the best resort in Uganda, what a treat! I really didn’t know what to expect but what I experienced was the most God centered retreat I have ever had.

Each day was filled with worship, sessions, eating, free time (for the pool, resting, talking…whatever because I was on my own), and meeting all the women at the conference. Pure Joy came with a team of nine ladies – godly women. I was so excited by their straight from the Bible teaching. I felt so fed. I love the truth of God’s Word. It is all we need. The founder and main speaker was Vickie Arruda. She has been a psychologist for 30 years and knows her stuff. We talked about God’s order, marriage, parenting, identity… We had sessions from 9am to 1pm and again from 5pm to 10pm (with an hour break for supper) but it never got to be too much. Our worship was wonderful too. I just cry when I get to worship my Lord with the body of Christ. I realize how much I need it and don’t get it. I just soaked it in and bathed in God’s presence.

It was a great to fellowship with all the women. We are all missionaries, serving in the same country, some wives and mothers, most from the same culture, and all sisters in Christ. Because of all that we had an instant connection and common ground. And if you know me you know I thrive in this setting – 50 women to meet! It was fun to network, get advice with home schooling, and laugh with the ladies. I knew just a few women and even got to know them better. I was able to connect with another missionary in a remote village similar to our lives in Nigeria. It was a blessing to be able to encourage her. I roomed with Sherry (our new friend in Soroti – her and her husband Rick are here for 5 months doing wells and hopefully will be coming back long term and maybe to work with us some). I love Sherry! We are a lot alike and so are our husbands. I love their relationship with the Lord. Sherry and I literally talked late into the night (when do I ever stay up late?). How fun! I could not fall asleep with all the excitement. But each day I slowed down and slept better. Really as an extrovert I don’t go to conferences to rest but go home afterwards to do that – to many people to be alone!

Actually, I have learned I love my quiet alone time. Really love it. I think that is because it is so rare, almost sacred. I love my husband and kids but to be alone sometimes is a treat. I am so thankful for my 24 hours to myself in Kampala before the retreat and for my four days at the retreat. It was a gift from God. Thanks Lord!

I was also spoiled by staying at the Speke Resort. It is beautiful, neat and clean, tropical gardens, high standards, comfortable rooms, hot shower (with pressure!), air conditioning, great food beautifully displayed, no cooking, no clean up, pools… it was simply refreshing. Not to offend anyone but any missionary will understand it was like being out of Uganda for a few days. To top it off Pure Joy loaded us up with gifts. Every time we sat down there was gift – bracelets, necklaces, goodies, key chain, lotions, T-shirts, and lots of chocolate! They really loved on us. At the end of the retreat they gave us cards from women who have been praying for us all week. They were some of the nicest card I have ever gotten.

Then after that amazing time, I got back in our van and drove 6 hours back home (don’t worry I had a driver so I wasn’t alone). My heart was mixed with emotions. I just felt like crying. Not sad just processing the gift I was just given in this retreat. I was coming down off the mountain top back to real life. God is so good to me. He loves me. He blessed me and now I needed to go home and bless others. I was warmly welcomed by my children jumping up and down as I pulled into the drive way. I was missed and am loved. It was great to be home. My husband loves me! He took care of our kids for five days because he wanted me to go and be filled. I know I have come back a better wife and mother (Josh says I already was a good wife and mother). Luka just held me and patted my back with love. The girls wanted to tell me all about everything. I am so thankful for my children and husband.

While I was gone they had a BIG storm. Part of our tree came down and broke our picnic table. It was so windy somehow the water even came in the house and made puddle everywhere. Josh said our house was an island for a while after the rain. He thought they got 4inches in one hour. I hope it means rains are coming but it hasn’t rained again. Before the conference it was over 120 degrees in the sun!

Luka is talking so much and even learned more while I was gone. He calls himself “Yuka” and tells everyone his name. He prays now too and it is the most precious thing!

Well that is enough for now. I hope to write more about the talks I had at the retreat but I will quit here today. Thanks for praying for me at the retreat and for Josh and the kids at home! I pray all of you take the time and opportunity to fill yourselves spiritually – which also refreshed you physically. I stress you (and I ) have to TAKE it because we often think we don’t need it or have a hundred excuses not to do it. Trust me we all need it. May God bless you with the blessing of a retreat.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Away for a few days - just me!

I am sitting in Kampala as my husband and kids are riding back to Soroti with our fellow team members - now that feels weird. We came to Kampala this week for various reasons but mostly to pick up new team members flying in. Unfortunatly, their one year old son got really sick and they had to delay their coming until he is better. So our plans changed a bit but no big deal we just pray their son is well soon. I remain in Kampala to go to a women's retreat tomorrow.

We started our trip on Tuesday (the kids were so excited they had a count down for days and they got up at 6am and told me they wanted to see the sunset - I think they meant set). Seems like most families don't enjoy much about their trips to Kampala because the mean buisness and traffic, but our family for the most part look forward to our breaks and try to enjoy the time away even if it is in Kampala.

We stopped in Jinja on the way and had lunch with some friends and visited an ophanage there. It was a well run place with lots of toddlers - like 43!

Wednesday we all had dentist appointments. Poor Grace has been nervous for weeks to go to the dentist. She did really good until the dentist tried to put anything that looked questionable to her then she put both hands over her mouth. The dentist was so nice. Finally, when the dentist walked out of the room Grace just burst into tears. She couldn't hold it in any longer. By the time I saw her (Josh was with her while I was with Lydia) she was all smiles and very proud of herself for going to the dentist.

Since our team mates were also in town with us, Josh and I even got to go out on a date. We went for Indian outside on the top of the mall. I love lights and atmosphere. We had the best coconut curry I have ever had! I love being with my husband.

We also finally made the big decision and bought a new fridge. Our new team mates coming want to buy ours and we really wanted a bigger one. I wrestled for months over this because it is a lot of money and was it a need or want. Yes, I run out of fridge and freezor space a lot (especially when we host for the holidays) but we have a good fridge that works well. How do you know what to do. This may seem silly, but through time, prayer, and asking others I (Josh left it up to me - I hate making decisions) decided to get it. It will be nice! (Just for clarification for everyone in America it is still smaller than all of your fridges.) Now about that washer - I am terrible aren't I!

So, like I said my family left today so they could ride in our team mates van so that our van could remain here because I have a women's conference and needed a way to get home so now a driver will take me and the van back to Soroti on Tuesday (if I took a hired taxi it would have cost over $150 - yikes - thanks for providing God). Was that a sentence or a pharagraph? Sorry to confuss you. So, yes I am excited because I am for the first time going to a women retreat for three nights. I prayed that God would provide one and He did better than that He put it at the best resort here and made it free. I will let you know how it was!

I had my day all to myself today (after the family left and a day before the retreat). It was so nice yet so weird. What do I do? I never have this. I went for lunch - a very peaceful lunch - at the mall and walked through a couple shops - quietly all by myself. Then I went to the Friday craft market and picked up a couple things and stopped at the grocery store on my walk home. Ok, you have to know I walked about 5 or so miles (with packages in hand). I could have gotten a ride but I knew I had nothing else planned today and I needed the excersie anyways. People here think I am crazy - maybe because it was about 100degrees out. I think every motorcycle out there asked if I wanted a ride. Now I am sitting here catching up on things before I eat and watch a movie. What a day! I really did enjoy it but also really miss someone to enjoy it with. I love my family and Josh is my best friends. I feel lost without him. It was really hard for all of us to seperate today - really hard. And I feel a bit guilty. Here I am alone and going to a retreat while Josh is with our kids for the next four days. I have a great husband! He loves me so selflessly.

It is now 9pm my time. It is getting lonely. I really miss my family - can I do three more nights?! They sure do fill my life. I am not quite me with them. I just called them to say good night and just hearing their little voices made me well up with tears (I guess this is how G & G feel everytime - sorry). So pray for Josh and the kids and for me. I know God will be with all of us and even bless our time apart. Only makes the heart grow fonder!