Monday, August 27, 2012

Big Week

August 27
We had a busy week.  All went well but it was just fuller than normal.  Josh was really busy.  Between writing the curriculum for Freedom in Christ and having it translated, working on our paper for a work permit here, team leader stuff, and teaching.  (Not to mention all the time his family takes – Luka loves Daddy time when he comes home!)  He was a bit stressed at one point but the week ended really well. 

Josh has been teaching Freedom in Christ for about 9 months with about 12 people or so and Friday was the day to go through the seven steps to freedom.  For those of you who don’t know the seven steps to freedom is a time of prayer, confession and renouncing sins, false religion practices, idols, generational sins, forgiving others…it is like a spiritual bath.  Forgiveness brings great freedom!  I went with to be a prayer warrior.  I have done the steps years ago so it was also a good bath for me too.  We started about 10:30am and ended around 3pm so it was a long, good, but tiring day.  Josh led each step and then the people would spend time in prayer.  It was evident that God was with us.  His Spirit was at work and it moved me to tears.  People were also crying, down on their knees, lifting their hands in surrender…it was really moving.  I wish you could all be there to experience God at work in people’s lives with us.  After the seven steps they took their papers with all the sins and people to forgive and burnt them.  They joined in praise and worship as their papers burned.  It was beautiful!  Their smiles singing, “I’m so Glad Jesus set me Free” was true praise.  They are free!!!  After the steps we had a celebration meal of posho and pork.  It was one of those days that I thankful to be here and be apart of our friends in Obulle coming to know freedom in Christ.  Exciting!  Thank you for praying with us.         

Saturday I gave a baby shower for Angie and Tanya.  Tanya’s family adopted Kate in April and Angie had Eliana in June.  It is fun to get together as women.  We just talk and laugh.  It can be a challenge getting everyone together but I know we all need it and appreciate it.  There were 9 of us at the shower.  We ate, played a couple games, wrote notes on material to make a quilt for both babies, ate again (dessert J), and talked some more.  I love decorating, organizing, getting together, and blessing people.  So thankful the ladies enjoy it too.

We were supposed to have baptisms at church Sunday, then it changed to Monday and now it is next Sunday.  I have been extremely frustrated with time and planning here the last couple weeks.  I know their culture is different and I may never fully understand some things, but some things would be of great benefit for them and their culture to learn and change.  The waste of time here is a true problem.  But Josh was a great example of getting over our frustration and letting God work through the situation.  God eventually got to my heart too and changed my attitude.  So thankful He is in control over all.
So today (Monday) we got to church at 11am knowing it would never start at nine and Josh had a meeting before we went too.  There were a few church leaders and a handful of youth waiting at church.  We sat and waited with our teammates who were also there.  Lydia led “school” for Grace and the youth while we waited but Luka was kicked out by the teacher for bad behavior.  Youth continued to filter in but no adults.  I said to Josh we can’t have baptism with no parents present.  He talked with the leaders and they decided to teach those being baptized again today but postpone the baptisms till Sunday.  The youth seemed bummed but I was thankful for the leader’s decision.  Josh did a beautiful teaching on being saved through faith in Jesus and why we are baptized.  I also added my encouragement about Jesus being Lord of their lives and growing in Him.  I challenged them to get a Bible and read it every day.  Our pastor asked if anyone wanted to receive Christ (not everyone there was being baptized) and one girl came forward.  One of the female church leaders, our female teammates, and myself took her to talk with her and make sure she understood what she was doing.  The girls name was Florence and she didn’t say much (very common in the culture to play shy and not speak).  We explained to way to salvation and asked if she wanted to receive Jesus.  She said yes so we led her in prayer.  So the day didn’t go as planned and there were no baptisms but God did do a work through the teaching and salvation of Florence.  I just love being apart of God’s work! 

And now we need a day off to rest.  I am so tired.

Baby Shower

The picture the ladies didn't want on my blog but too funny not to share.
Too much fun to stop laughing!

Me & Eliana

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our Week

August 18
Hi everyone!  I am thankful to report I have been feeling good (no sickness) for two weeks now!  Praise God!  It is a blessing.  Life is so much better when you feel well enough to live it each day.  Last Sunday I made it to the half way point – 20wks.  I said to Josh just think of where we will be 20 weeks from now.  He said we would be in the hospital watching college football.  I added and holding our new born baby!  Luka has some names picked out for our little one.  It started out as syrup, then moved to pancake, and now it is waffle.  I think he likes to make us laugh. 

The girls started 2nd and 4th grade last week.  They were very excited and it has gone well expect for some complaining sneaking in already by the end of the week.  We hope to get a good month or so in before we go to MI and they join in school there.  

Our church in Obulle had a marriage conference this week.  Josh spoke so I decided to find a sitter and go with him.  The first day Josh was suppose to speak at 11am.  We arrived about 10:30 and only our church leaders were there.  Some were cooking and others were finishing the new latrine.  African time is so frustrating.  By 11am the truck with people from Pingere came, then there was breakfast, worship and finally by 12:30 Josh began to speak.  After he taught he sat down and said, “I am glad that is done.”  He had prepared a lot for his teaching but it just didn’t seem to go well and the people were not in to it.  By now it was 2pm and lunch wasn’t ready so Josh and I ate in town and picked up our kids.  The next day started almost as slow even though all the people slept at the church that night.  Josh’s teaching went a lot better and even his translator and friend commented on it.  Josh asked was my teaching that bad yesterday.  He said no the teaching was good but the people were boring.  Today they were involved.  The people all seemed to be ever pleased with the conference and I was glad I could also attend some, but I don’t think I will ever understand the way they do things here.

Saturday Josh had a very delayed, long, and frustrating meeting at our church.  Then after the meeting we went to our friends in Obulle for lunch – which ended up being served at 5pm.  We love our friends here but waiting 4 hours while they cook for us really tries our patients some day.  I do love the peacefulness of the village though.  Our kids are funny.  Luka loves chasing the animals but Lydia usually is a bit worried about everything.  However by the end she, Grace, and their friend Lucy were in the cow dung with sticks throwing it at the tree.  I just had to laugh.  We prayed with our friends before we left and they shared how they are trusting in God’s protection.  His step sister has been angry with them for years and has put curses on them even going as far as hiring someone with a gun to kill him.  I was amazed to hear their stories and protection God has given them.  I was also very encouraged to see our friend help his wife cook and clean up.  It may sound normal to us but in this culture it is unheard of!  I praise God that they have taken the truth of God taught to them and put it into practice.

My sister Angie and family returned this week.  Our kids were so happy to be with their cousins again.  Lydia said she was so excited she was going to jump out of her clothes.  I was also glad to see them and especially their new baby Eliana.  It is so fun to hold a little baby!  Makes me excited.   Eliana let out a cry with a cute little face and I said isn’t that sweet.  Josh bluntly said not really.  I guess that means the new born stage is all mine. J 

Josh and I finally watched the movie Courageous.  I put it off because I knew I would cry and of course I was balling.  But it was so good.  If any of you have not watched it please take the time and watch it!  I am so thankful for the way they address the issues in our culture and bring us back to the truth in God’s Word.  It is awesome.  It is my hearts prayer that the men in our churches will rise up, study God’s truth, put it into action, take the responsibility God has given them seriously, and  bring change into our homes, marriages, churches and communities.  It is a big task God has ordained for our men so we must be in prayer for them.  It is God’s desire for men to lead.  May they seek God and obey that we may follow their leadership.

Please be in prayer for Josh and the people of Obulle as they meet Thursday and Friday for Freedom and Christ.  They will be doing the 7 steps to freedom which is an exciting teaching and can be live changing event in some ones life.  Also it looks like we will be having baptisms next Sunday at our church!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

So Sad

August 10

The other day a lady came with her baby to our gate saying they have no food and needed help. This is not an uncommon event but this time Lydia was so upset by it she just cried and cried. She was overcome with emotions for this lady and child. She was so sad that they didn’t have food, a home, or a daddy. We talked about how God tells us in the Bible He loves His people and will provide for those in need and how sometimes suffering is the result of sin and not obeying God’s way. She just kept crying and saying how she hates satan and how she wants people in America to understand how sad it is to see people suffer. While I was comforting Lydia Josh went out to talk to the lady. Come to find out she does have a husband, some food, and a home (a leaky hut). Josh encouraged her to go to her church and ask them for help.
It is difficult to see people in need and to know what to do. I understand Lydia’s heart because it feels like mine. This is the first time she expressed it like this. I am thankful she loves God’s people that much and hates the suffering caused by sin. But it is hard to see your nine year old experience such big issues already. I know she will be a better person because of it. She was so concerned that Americans don’t understand so we encouraged her to help them understand because they don’t live here and see what she does. She was also upset about her uncle who doesn’t love Jesus and isn’t apart of our family. She has cried over this many times over the years. It does break our hearts. I encouraged her to write what she was feeling and see if that helped. So here is what she wrote:
So Sad by Lydia
It is so sad to see people that don’t have enough things to survive, like not enough money or food.

It is so sad if people get divorced and the mom doesn’t have enough money to care for the kids. It is sad that kids don’t get to learn as much as Americans do because they do not have enough money for school fees.

And it is sad when people lose the people they are related to because that person doesn’t know about God.

It is sad that a lot of Americans do not know God and just care about earthly things.

It is sad that some churches really aren’t churches because they don’t really preach what God really says.

It is sad to know that some people choose to be pastors instead of missionaries when there are more pastors than missionaries in the world.

It is sad that some missionaries don’t go where God sends them too. For example, God told some missionaries to go to China but they didn’t go to China because they were scared of the emperor throwing them in jail.

I pray Lydia’s heart always loves and weeps like God’s.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Lydia's 9th Birthday, Baby and More

Celebrating 18weeks of pregnancy!

Lydia decked out in her presents from her grandparents
Lydia turned 9 July 31!

Lydia and Drew both had birthdays in July so they shared a party. 

We had a birthday carnival to celebrate on July 24

August 3

Wow it has been a long time since I wrote last.  Sorry about that.  I am still tired and feel sick a couple days a week so it keeps me behind on things and unmotivated.  Most days I am feeling well though.  I am about 19 weeks now and in the 5th month of this pregnancy.  No hiding my growing tummy either.  I am so limited on my clothes options out here that it makes me grumpy when it doesn’t fit right and I feel huge or ugly in it.  It is mostly because I have to wear compression tights because my legs ache in pregnancy.  Oh well, I am trying to enjoy this last pregnancy which is getting easier as I feel better.  The kids continue to be super excited for me about the baby.  Luka talks about the baby coming but doesn’t really grasp it all.  I asked him where the baby was and he didn’t know so I told him the baby is in my tummy.  He just laughed and said no it’s not. 
We went into Kampala and had a 3D ultra sound.  I have had more worries about this baby than the others so it was a praise when the doctor said everything was perfect.  All the measurements are on and the due date continues to look like the very end of December.  It is a joy to see our little baby.  The baby was moving around, drinking (opening it’s mouth), and loved having it’s hands by it’s face.  Much to some peoples dismay, we did not find out the sex of the baby.  A surprise ending is always fun for us.  I don’t have much of a feeling weather it is a boy or girl but when we saw the ultra sound I thought boy.  Our first look at the baby it was sleeping with it’s hands up and Josh saw it was just like how Luka sleeps.   Oh, I can feel the baby now too.  It actually started a couple weeks ago but it is so light at this point.  Josh has now also felt the little kick this week.  How thankful we are to God for the miracle inside!     

The other big news is that Lydia turned 9 July 31!  She is such a joy to celebrate.  She loves people, the Lord, and has excitement for all of life.  What a blessing!  It is hard to see her grow up so fast yet we are thankful for the godly girl she is.  We has a birthday carnival for her and Drew last week.  Our team and other friends came to celebrate with us.  I love being creative and it was fun to do.  We has lots of games, prizes, snacks, a clown, and of course cake and presents.  Lydia was in her glory.  We were in Kampala on her actual birthday so we went out to eat and gave her our gift and one from her grandparents. 

The girls also finished school!  Hard to believe they will be in 2nd and 4th next year.  I am so thankful we accomplished another year and that the girls did so well.  Our teammate’s niece was here and help teach our kids the last few weeks.  I am really enjoyed having a break.  It was fun just having Luka around in the morning.  He plays so good.  The girls will be going to the Christian school while we are in MI so that will be special for all of us.  I am still praying and trusting God for future help with teaching our girls. 

Speaking of Michigan, we have a little over 7 weeks until we go.   Some days it is hard to believe and others I just can’t wait.  This is our home and work but it will sure be nice to have a break and be with family.  Because we are having a baby we will be home from Oct. to Feb. (about 5 months).  I am thankful for time to just be “normal” and although Josh also looks forward to being in MI being there that long is hard for him.  He loves the ministry here.  Needless to say, the girls are so very excited to go.  Every time we go to MI there are some mix emotions leaving here but I know it is just a break and then we will be back here.  So I enjoy our time in MI because I know it is just for a short time. We are praying for a wonderful 7 weeks of ministry and time with our team and friends before we go.