Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 30

We had a really good week. We started home school. Sometimes I feel like I am playing school when I teach the girls. I like being with the girls and it is exciting to see them learn. But there are times I really feel unqualified and do not like being a teacher. Already in one week there was a day I thought, “This is only day 3 of a whole year of school!” (Not said in a good tone.) Thankfully, there was only one day the girls fell apart complaining and ended the school day in tears. The girls all in all enjoyed their first week. I am very pleased how teaching the two of them went. They are both doing great work. I think we even figured out a schedule that works for our family. We start at 10am (this family does not do early morning) while Tabitha plays with Luka. We break at noon for lunch and return to school about 1:30 while Luka takes a nap. We are finished around 3:30pm. I still am concerned about not being able to do it all while having a full time job teaching, but this week I did it and I will trust in God for each new day.

We had ladies Bible study again this week. The Bible study is for the women on our team and other expatriates serving in Uganda that need fellowship with other Christian women. I was so glad to be digging into God’s Word again with the ladies. We are going through the Bible and are now in Numbers. I love all God’s Word teaches me! It is my joy. Every week as we go verse by verse in a chapter God has a message for us. This week we even got to have Bible study by candlelight (no power).

Luka is potty training. He does well some days when we remember to take him to the bathroom, but when we don’t he doesn’t come and tell us. Pray for success!

We went to Tabitha’s yesterday to visit her and the kids and to meet Irene’s new baby Amanda. I forgot to tell you but the end of August Irene (Tabitha’s 17 year old niece she has raised) had a baby girl. Amanda (named after me) is a beautiful baby. She is happy and loved by the family. Irene is still very much a child and not a mother. She nurses Amanda but I think Tabitha really acts as mother. It was wonderful to see the whole family full of smiles. Lydia loved holding Amanda. The other day she told me she was going to pray for another baby (for us). Then Luka bothered her and she changed her mind. However a day later she was praying again after watching a home movie when Grace was a baby. Lydia prayed at the age of 4/5 for a baby brother and got Luka so she thinks that if she prays again she will get another sibling. (I love her faith!) And now with holding baby Amanda she is on the baby band wagon.

Hey looks like Chad and Katie (Josh’s sister) will be coming in January to help out our team. We will be having a team retreat (strategic planning) and Chad and Katie will be watching some of the kids during meeting time. The week after the retreat they will come to Soroti and see our lives there. Pray for them as they prepare and raise funds. We are excited!

You can be praying for our team. There seems to be so many needs and things going on. We enjoy getting together each week for fellowship, worship, birthdays, meeting, meals or whatever. We started a marriage Bible study with one of our teammates which we are really looking forward to. We know God has called this team together and we are thankful He can use us in it.

I am still getting back into Uganda. There are so many emotions sometimes I just want to not feel. Then I think about our American home and I just can’t handle the difference. Actually, when I think about all the needs, suffering, and spiritual situation here and then all of the needs, suffering, and spiritual situation in America (let alone the whole world) I can become heartbroken. I am so glad I know where to go to cast all my burdens and when I need some hope – God is in control and His plan is good. I don’t feel like putting it all into words now. Just one thought, we were at church today and child after child came in with rags as clothes. I looked around and maybe ten percent of the kids had shoes on. Sometimes I can shrug it off and say that is how it is in Africa and other times God speaks to me. He has me here for a reason. No I can’t do everything but I am rich to be generous. God gave us much to give much. Not out of duty but love. These are not poor people in Africa but people in my church I love. I was so touch as our church sang, “I fall before the Lord and look up and see His majesty to fall before Him again.” As they sung Charles bowed humbly before the Lord on the ground. I thought that is love for God. These people we look at as poor are rich in Christ. I think of our time in Michigan and think who did I see humbly bow before the Lord? We (I include myself) worry about who will see, what we look like, that it isn’t what is done in our church… instead of worshipping our Lord. Maybe it is pride that gets in the way of our humility? Maybe we don’t know or love our Lord enough to get our knees dirty and to let our reputation go? Maybe we are too quiet and ashamed in our love for God? Has our wealth made us poor in spirit? Uganda is full of sin and suffering, but today Charles and others at our church humbled me with their faith in God. Love for their Savior they totally depend on. I am so thankful God shows Himself to me in His Ugandan Children.

No matter what we are going through today. No matter how poor (physically or spiritually) we maybe today. Fall before the Lord. Love Him. And may His love empower us to love others. Let’s worship God beautifully this week as we live for Him.

(Incase you wanted to know, our wash machine is working! What a beautiful sound. I have never been so excited to do laundry. The clothes dry so fast outside now that they are spun in the washer. Tabitha is happy too. It is great timing cause now she has time to just play with Luka while we school. )

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Unpacked & Settling In

October 22, 2011

If you haven’t heard we are back in Uganda and doing well. We were blessed with peaceful goodbyes and good flights. The kids were sick the first morning in Uganda but God healed them quickly. So many answers to prayers we have seen. God is with us! We are very thankful to be back to our home in Soroti.

In some ways it feel like we just go on where we have left off and things seem normal (for here), but in other ways we have to adjust again and relearn what it is like to live here. All in all things are going very well. The kids seem happy to be home. Luka calls it “my other house”. The girls just screamed when we arrived and were even excited about seeing their front door. They are all thrilled to have their things again – feels like all new toys after being away for three months. Our team and Tabitha had our house ready for us. It is so nice to come back to a nice, clean home (we use to come home to all dust here and in Nigeria). I managed to unpack in a weeks time – even without stressing. There is still some organizing to do but we will get to it eventually. And yes, I got the Fall decorations out and up! I just had to, I love it.

I was getting the classroom ready to start teaching next week and it is making the girls excited. Grace is even counting down the days and asks to start everyday. I am so glad they look forward to beginning. They love playing but need some structured time too. Luka loves Tabitha so hopefully that will work well when school begins.

We enjoyed having our new and old teammates over to catch up on life and ministry and to help and get to know our new teammates better. We had friends over last night and had a fun game night together. Everyone has welcomed us back with meals and other goodies. It is a blessing to have this missionary community to come back to.

I guess that is it for now. Nothing too exciting. I am excited however that the repairman came from Kampala and fixed our washing machine! It had a rats nest in the wires and the wires were chewed on. Of course nothing is a simple fix, now the plumbing has issues that need fixing before we can use the washer. One more thing for the “to do list”. Josh has already fixed a toilet and has a moldy closet that need cement work. So many little things, or big things like getting his motorcycle running again and the van’s 4 wheel drive to work again. All in good time. Thankfully Josh hasn’t started teaching yet and is willing to help around here before he does. (Sorry about that I just realized I made a whole paragraph about nothingness.)

Thanks again for your loving prayers!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Alittle Help

Dear Family & Friends,
From January 7 to 10 we are planning to have our Team Strategy Retreat and we are in need of 3 to 4 people to provide childcare and a children’s program for the 14 children (ages 8 months to 12 years) on our team. And possibly someone to lead our team in worship. Our team would cover your transportation to & from the airport, accommodation and food costs for the retreat. You would be welcome to stay longer or come beforehand to spend time in Soroti with the team. Please contact us or Tim & Angie Sliedrecht (, our team leaders, know if you are interested as soon as possible. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sick Delay

Hi again, well we are not in Soroti yet.

We all went to sleep last night at about 8pm and I (Mandy) was the first one up at 9am! Josh said he and Luka were awake in bed for about an hour during the night though. Lydia and Luka both woke up feeling and looking sick. We figured it was just sickness from the time change and travel but about an hour later Lydia throw up. We had the van all packed up so we decided that the kids could just sleep in the van as we drove to Soroti. We were no futher than a half a mile down the road when Luka threw up too. (All over the van, car seat, and stuff!) So we went back to the guesthouse to stay another night. As much as we want to back to our home no one wants to travel with sick kids. Thankfully we have a nice guesthouse to stay at and get better.

So thanks again for praying for us and add feeling better too. Lydia and Grace are doing better already this afternoon so hopefully tomorrow we will travel to Soroti.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back in Uganda

Just a note to let all of you know we made it back to Uganda. We know many of you were praying for us and you need to know God was with us the whole trip once again. In big and little ways we saw God faithfulness through our journey.

We managed to leave our home in Michigan on Saturday with all our luggage packed and the house cleared out. Our goodbyes were peace-filled. Flying went very well and we even got extra seats. We had a 11 hour lay over in London and were able to enjoy a break swimming and sleeping at a hotel. Our kids are awesome! They are great travelers and even with all the change going on they are still smiling and filling our lives with joy.

We arrived in Uganda this morning - Grace's 6th birthday! In some ways it feels like we have been gone a long time and need to remember how things work here; in other ways we just jump right back into things here. Adjusting will take time. Right now we are just trying to stay awake until tonight when everything in us wants to curl up and go to sleep. We plan to drive to Soroti tomorrow and be to our home by afternoon. Looking forward to being home and seeing our team again.

We are so thankful for God's presence with us! Thanks for praying for us! What a comfort and what strength it gives us. We are blessed because of you. Continue to pray for us as we travel again tomorrow and adjust in the weeks to come. I will send this out but will send a bigger update to everyone later so spead the word that we arrived. Thanks again everyone!