Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rain, Rain...

April 21, 2012

Not much to report.  We are enjoying rainy season.  We have had two days of all day rain this week.  It is so much fun.  I put on my sweatshirt.  When it really rains hard our yard is like a lake.  It feels kinda like a snow storm when you can’t go anywhere and you can just sit inside and enjoy it with a cup of coffee.  (But here our power goes out.)  The kids decided to play in the rain in mud one day.  I didn’t know their dad was going to let them jump in the big puddles and end up muddy from head to toe.  What a fun mess!  I hope I can enjoy those moments before they no longer play in the puddles. 

This week the girls and I are going to Jinja for a home school conference.  The girls are so excited to go to “school” with other kids while I am in my class.  Our teammates are going with us too so it should be a good time.  Josh and Luka will be bachelors for a few days then join us on Thursday.  We will then all go to Kampala and get our new, used van!  Pray for our travels and for Josh and Luka in Soroti and the girls and I at the conference.  Thanks we love and pray for you all!  

Sunday, April 15, 2012


April 15, 2012
We are home from our travel to Kenya. We left Wednesday morning at 7am and arrived in Kisumu, Kenya at 4pm. (We had to leave the country to get new visas.) Traveling takes so long here and the roads are so bad right now. At the end of a day full of potholes (ok more like craters in the earth) our minds and bodies were stressed and done. The border was interesting. It looked like craziness but apparently everyone there knew what to do. Thankfully the people were very nice and helpful. Unfortunately, we arrived just as a couple buses full of people did. It took an hour to get out of Uganda, visas into Kenya, and vehicle insurance for Kenya. Don’t ask what it all cost!

I like Kenya. It is nice and so are the people. Kisumu is the third largest city so it was pretty big for Africa. It was clean and easy to get around too. We stayed at a hotel in the middle of town. I loved the room. So fun to be in a nice hotel and have a great shower. Our kids enjoyed the pool but it was too cold for me. The food was really good at the hotel. We had a nice supper one night at the restaurant and we ate pool side the other night as the kids swam. A huge breakfast buffet came with the room each morning. How special!

We went to the Impala Sanctuary which was the highlight for our kids. It was basically like a zoo but all the animals were rescued or sick and need a safe place to live. And the impala and zebra where roaming freely. That was pretty cool. One of the animal keepers went into the leopard and cheetah cages for us. He invited Josh and I into the cheetah cage but animals are too unpredictable for us to do that. The girls loved it. The leopard stalked Luka every time we passed his cage. He looked like he would pounce at anytime. I loved the zebra and how we could walk by them. They were scared but we did get pictures by them. By the end of our time at the park we were so sunburn. Oops. Oh well the kids enjoyed it so much it was worth the cost, time, and now the pain.

Another funny highlight was riding in a tok-tok – basically a three wheel motorcycle that has an enclosed back seat to taxi people around. They are so cute. Our family piled into one and went for a ride. It felt like we were in Disney World or something. I thought it was so much fun. Wish we had them in Uganda.

Other than that Kisumu was just another African city. The “malls” were a huge let down. But the big grocery stores were nice I guess. We got rhubarb, grapes and strawberries!

On Friday we drove part way home. Fun fact, on the way we crossed over the equator. I thought it was cool and made Josh stop for a picture. The border only too 20min. this time and now we have another three months to be in Uganda. We stayed the night in Mbale so we didn’t have the do all the potholes in one day. We had a nice Mongolian Bar-b-q (Kids ate free -- never heard of that in Uganda.) and we had a nice day swimming at the pool.

On our way home on Saturday our van broke down. Kinda a confirmation I guess cause we were told about a van for sale that was exactly what we wanted so the whole time in Kenya we were stressed over the decision. We had just gotten so many things fixed on our van and it was running better than it ever has. Did we want to put a lot of money into buying a second hand van not knowing what we would get? Josh did not know what to do. But now sitting along the road almost half way to Soroti we knew we needed to buy the other van. Our van lost its brakes, over heated and belts were all loose inside. So we called our mechanic in Soroti and he gave us a number of someone to tow us to the next town. While we waited we prayed. Next thing you know a friend from Soroti passed by and stopped. They took the kids and I to Soroti while Josh waited with the van. By the time we got home it was dark and the kids were car sick and done with it all. Poor Josh didn’t get home till 10pm. He said it was an interesting tow job with a cattle truck, rope, and no lights or brakes. We are so thankful to be home – safe and sound.

Looking forward to a week to be home and catch up. Next week I have a home school conference and we hope to get our “new” van. Thanks for your prayers! May God be with you too.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter!

April 9, 2012

Happy belated Easter everyone! Jesus has risen and I am so thankful. We had a wonderful Good Friday service in the village. The service was very meaningful. The girls and I did an interpretive dance to “At the Cross”, Josh preached, and afterwards the church sang and danced for joy! It was a celebration. It is finished! We are now forgiven. I wish you could have seen Lydia dance her heart out and Luka plug his ears. Then we had a meal with the church. Our teammate, who use to cook at a restaurant in Chicago, made a Ugandan/American meal that fed 190 people. I was impressed. The whole day was a blessing. We worshiped, our kids helped serve the food with us, and I love our church family.

On Saturday we had Amanda’s baptism. Amanda is Tabitha’s daughter’s child (her 17 year old who got pregnant). There were probably 50 babies baptized. Thankfully we only had to go for a short time. We are one of Amanda’s godparents I guess. Afterwards we took Tabitha and the kids out for lunch to celebrate.

Sunday we had church then had our team over for Easter dinner and a service. We even had an Easter egg hunt. Our party ended with a huge rain storm and eating grilled monitor lizard thanks to Uncle Tim’s road kill find – What?! (see pictures)

Josh had his 34th birthday last Thursday. He taught most of the day for a Maunday Thursday service but we celebrated with him in the evening. Lots of yummy desserts and treats to thank him for being a great father and husband. Because he seeks the Lord with all heart and puts it into practice we are truly blessed. We love you Josh!!!

We had Sliedrechts over tonight to say goodbye. They will be leaving later this week for Michigan for four months and we will be in Kenya for the next few days so we had to say goodbye. We are so happy for them going home to share their new daughter Miriam and have a baby, but we are also sad to be apart. Poor Grace takes it hardest. Her and Avalien are pretty close so there are lots of tears. And it makes my kids want to see Grandpa and Grandma too.

Pray for us as we venture to Kenya. Our visitor visas are up so we have to cross the border. We will be traveling Wednesday, stay for a couple nights, and return on Friday. Pray that all goes well and we return with another visitor visa. Praise God our NGO papers will be handed in later this week so we can get our work permits! Pray for a speedy and problem free process. Thanks! (The kids are so excited to get away for a few day and have “spring break” from school!)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Just Me

March 31, 2012

Thanks for praying for our kids. I think they are healthy again. God has faithfully healed each fever, headache, stomach, and pain over the last couple months. Sometimes I think it is crazy to live somewhere where there are no reliable doctors or hospitals. It can be a terrifying thought with a family. Yet if I had doctors to go to I might fail to go to Jesus. Each time when our child falls sick we run to our great Healer. We pray. We trust in the power of our Father to heal. Each time my faith is increased by His healing power. He is with us. He made our bodies and knows just how to make us well again. So we have the best in home doctor of all!

Our kids were playing church yesterday and I just marveled at how they played. The church they played was very Ugandan. They did all the same songs, wording, and cheering. It made me realize that this is their normal. Not Michigan like where I grew up but Ugandan because this is where they are growing up. Crazy. They are really special kids for it too.

Funny thing, as you we ride to church now days we look for animals but not the ones you see usually see. We have had a group of monkeys run across the road in front of us, seen some along the road side and once had to stop for a monitor lizard crossing. It reminds us how different our normal is than yours.

We have rain! We got our first big, real rains. It is such a blessing to see the dry earth watered and be relieved with cooler temperatures. I get so excited with the change and relief it is almost like the first snow. Maybe I’ll even get to put on long sleeves some day soon!

I have been thinking about something someone shared with me the other day, God’s blessing come with responsibility. How true. Too many Christians want the blessing without the responsibility. We ask God to bless us but don’t do our part. We cry out to God and wonder why He isn’t answering but we don’t even know His will. We blame God for taking away our blessings when really we have stopped obeying Him. Every blessing comes from obeying God. Have you ever read the O.T.? It is full of God’s desire to bless us IF we will obey Him. If we choose to disobey there will be trouble instead of blessing. The chose is the same for us today. Follow the Lord and be blessed or do your own thing and have problems. So why do we too often choose to disobey? And then wonder why God isn’t blessing us.

I have been reading in Matthew and Jesus teaching in chapter 5 & 6 are so challenging.
- 6:25-34 Don’t worry. Are you more worried about yourself and the things of this world than you are about my kingdom? Seek Me first and I will give you all you need. Hear the responsibility that comes with a blessing?
- 6:19-21 Don’t store up things in this world. It means nothing and will not last. But store up things in Heaven. Where you have your most valuable things is where your heart is. Is your love in this world or in God’s Kingdom?
- 6:14-15 If you forgive when people sin against you, God will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive someone, God will not forgive your sins. Hear that responsibility and blessing? How many of us have held bitterness and our hearts refusing to forgive then wonder why we are miserable and God is so far away? God is waiting for you.
- 5:48 Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect. We can be in Christ!
- 5:38-42 Everything in our world today tells us it needs to be fair. I have a right. Self is first. But in God’s kingdom things aren’t fair.
- 5:33-37 Lying comes from the evil one. Tell the truth.
- 5:31-32 Here is a big one for the church. Jesus says if you divorce, except for marital unfaithfulness, and you remarry you commit adultery. Do we obey God’s Word here? Yet we wonder why we aren’t blessed and why we have so many problems in our lives.
- 5:27-30 Listen up men of God. Lust is as serious as adultery so if you are tempted by something cut it out of your life! It is better to loose something on earth than to be loose it all in hell.

I want to conclude with an update on God’s authority. Last week I wrote how God’s Word has complete authority and questioned if we obey it. This week reading in Matthew has continued to teach me and affirm the authority God Word has.
- Matt. 7:29 Jesus taught with authority and it stood out to the people as very different. God’s Word was now made flesh and dwelling among people and He was still the authoritative Word of God.
- Matt. 8:9 The centurion recognized Jesus authority and said I know if You just say the word my servant will be healed. He knew Jesus’ word had authority.
- Matt. 8:26 Jesus spoke and the storm obeyed.
- Matt. 8:32 Even the demons obeyed Jesus’ one word and left. They recognize Jesus authority.

So again I ask do we hear the authority as we read the Word of God? Do we obey? Or do we read it and go on doing our own thing? Jesus saw great faith (vs. 10) in the centurion who recognized and believed (vs. 13) in Jesus authority. Even the enemy of God recognizes and obeys Jesus authoritative word. How about us?