Saturday, September 22, 2012


September 22

Well the fridge is empty and the bags are packed.  We finished school this week, spent some time with friends and said goodbyes, did a lot in and outside the house to get ready to go, packed up…and were bored by the end of the week.  It is time and we are ready.  We are excited! 

Tomorrow is our last day in Soroti.  We look forward to Sunday worship in Obulle.  They will be having communion for the first time in seven years!  It will be hard to leave our church family but we are so thankful for all God is doing in and through them and we know God remains with them.  At night we will have worship and a potluck (good thing cause our food is gone) with our team.  It should be a nice way to say goodbye.  

Monday morning we drive to Kampala (7 hours) with our teammates.  I have a doctor’s appointment and ultra sound in the afternoon.  I have to have a doctor’s letter to fly.  Tuesday we will just enjoy the day with our kids and head to Entebbe in the evening where we will stay the night.  Early Wednesday morning we will fly to London where we overnight.  Thursday morning we will fly to Chicago then onto Grand Rapids.  Yes, it is a long journey but we are looking forward to going. 

We ask for your prayers as we say goodbye and then travel the next few days all the way to Michigan.  Continue to pray for good health for everyone.  We ended up putting Grace on an antibiotic for her sinus infection (she had neon yellow snot like I have never seen before!).  Lydia still has a cold too but seems to be ok over all.  Pray for Josh’s mom and family too.  She is scheduled for back surgery the day after we arrive.  Josh, his dad, and brother-in-law are heading to Wyoming to hunt two days after we arrive.  So things maybe a bit crazy but we are thankful mom will be relieved of her pain soon. 

I have to warn you that I wont have email at our house in MI and I may be enjoying all the “normal”  things of life and being a “normal” mom for a while that I may not be journaling much.  So don’t worry if the blog is blank for weeks at a time.  However, I will try to give updates and post pictures to share all our fun times and all the ways God is at work while we are in MI.    

Thanks everyone!  May the Lord bless you and keep you.   

Sunday, September 16, 2012


September 16

It has been a bit of a crazy week.  The girls and I were back to school this week trying to get as much in as we can before we go, Josh taught three days, we watched our friends kids overnight, I exercised but am having to slow down these days, we got to watch our first football game of the season with our friends, we had no power for a few days for the second week, I have been working on our video for home service (and crazy me began an new one too), Grace was sick, we began packing…  All is well but it is hard to believe we are down to one week in Soroti. 

I asked for prayer for Grace last week as we are in a time of transition but it seems this week Luka is unsure of the change too.  I told him we will fly on a plane soon and he said, “Thanks Mom.”  But by morning he had all his toys packed in a couple bags and later in the week he cried and cried one morning.  I am not sure exactly why he was crying and it isn’t like him.  Maybe he isn’t feeling well, worried about leaving his cousin Moses…?  So be praying for Luka too as he leaves his home and goes to Michigan.

I forgot to tell you, for a couple weeks Luka would tell us his ear hurt and that there was a rock in it.  At first we were concerned he really did put a rock in his ear but we could see he didn’t and that there was wax that was probably bothering him.  Last week he told us again while our team nurse was there so she looked and got the wax out.  Sure enough it was a “rock” of wax!  It was quite something.  So now Luka tells people about the wax rock he had in his ear.

In church last Sunday Lydia began to cry and told me that every Sunday she thinks about her Uncle Steven who isn’t living for the Lord.  She is so concerned for him and misses him.  I told her it is a good reminder to pray for him.  She says she does every week.  We all need hearts that cry over the lost – I know God’s does too.  Pray for my brother and Lydia’s uncle to come back to Jesus.

I decided to do a short video of our pastor’s daughter Rebecca and her life in Obulle.  I went out Tuesday to get pictures and video.  The family was so excited!  We haven’t spent much time at their home but Rebecca loves our girls and her parents attend Josh’s trainings.  I first went to Rebecca’s school then to her home where she cooked, weeded, got water from the well…all for my video.  She did great!  She smiled all the time without me even asking and her English is pretty good so communicating went well too.  I enjoyed my time with their family and Rebecca’s mother loved that I was there. 

So today after church Rebecca’s mother invited us to their house.  Once again they were thrilled to have us.  Their children are very sweet.  Our kids enjoyed it too.  Lydia helped with cooking and went to the well with Mary.  Luka played in the dirt, made branches into guns, and explored.  And they all liked the kitten.  They served us sweet potatoes, peanuts and tea, then cooked pork and posho, and sent us home with more peanuts and a chicken.  And they were the ones filled with joy for that we came.  These people amaze me.

The last six months or so I can’t get the thought of moving to Obulle out of my head (or is it my heart?).  Every time we are out there I am happy.  It is so peaceful and all our friends live there.  Josh is out there so much with ministry and often the kids and I only get there on Sunday.  Although it isn’t far away, the drive still keeps me and the kids at a distance.  So Josh and I have started talking the last couple months and are now praying about if God wants us to move to Obulle.  I am fully aware that the good comes with many changes and hardships (I lived in the village before).  It would mean no electricity, running water, and other sacrifices.  But I would have a team this time and be only 15 minutes from town where I can get things and be with friends.  For now we are waiting on the Lord.  I need to know He wants us there to be able to handle it. 

One of the biggest obstacle would be we would have to build a home.  The thought of building in Uganda is not appealing – at all.  It is not Josh’s thing and would stress him out.  We would want to get someone to help supervise the work if we do it.  But today at our pastors house we saw there neighbors have a “permanent” house that looked really nice.  So we walked over to say hi and check it out.  It just happened to be people who go to the other church in Obulle where Josh preached that morning.  She thanked us for all the good things we are doing in the community.  Her husband is a professor in Kampala (whom Josh has met with) and she worked in a church there for years.  All their children schooled there and live there.  She said the house isn’t finished but they built it 10 years ago.  It was very well kept with a nice yard and several huts.  We did not ask about renting for now but who knows?! 

Pray for us as we pack and say goodbye to our friends here for awhile.  Pray that we all stay healthy too.  Lydia and Grace still have colds and the flu seems to be going around.  Our niece has another staff infection so please pray for her healing.  Thanks!     

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Team Spiritual Retreat

September 8

Thank you for praying for our retreat it was great.  For those of you who don’t know, on Wednesday we were suppose to go to Mbale for our team spiritual retreat but because of all the rain both routes to Mbale were closed due to the bridges being out or underwater.  We were disappointed but found out God had good plans for us right here in Soroti.  We all hung out at our house Wednesday and organized for a retreat here.  Thursday our children went with our teammates Karen and Beckie for the day.  They did a Bible story, sang, danced, walked to town, got lunch, did a craft… and loved it.  The adults on our team met at our house for a morning and afternoon session of worship, listening to Prayer Remix by Louis Gigglio, discussion and pray.  We all learned, were challenged, laughed and grew.  We also enjoyed a wonderful lunch together at Soroti Hotel – and other goodies and coffee at our sessions.  Sometimes I forget how much I need to stop the rest of life and be fed (not with food but spiritually).  It was a blessing to me to relax and be renewed in God’s presence.

Friday we resumed for a morning session and ended our retreat with lunch at the hotel with everyone.  How thankful I am for our team, for this retreat and God’s plan in it all.  I was a bit tired and bummed when it was done and we had to go back to normal life, but most of all I am so grateful.

In case you wanted to know, the word in town was the bridge opened up the next day but it also rained every day this week so you who knows.

I want to share with you a little what we learned at our retreat. 
1.  We are completely blessed with all God has for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:13-14 and Eph. 1:3-14).  SO we need to change our prayers from God bless me, this, my plans… to I want to bless you God.
2.   We often pray, “God be with us” but God lives IN us through His Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17, Eph. 3:16-20 and Col. 1:27-29) so we need to change our prayers to, “God live through me.”
3.  Our prayers for God to watch over us and protection us need to be prayed in the light that God has a greater mission on earth.  (Examples; Jesus the Son of God still suffered and died, Stephen a man of faith was killed, Paul suffered greatly for Christ…) We need to learn to pray, “God uses me in the mission.”

After our fun week all of our kiddos have colds and are in need of some extra sleep this week.  

You can be praying for Grace.  She is our child who doesn’t like change.  Change is upsetting to her.  With two weeks left before we go to Michigan she is becoming emotional.  When we didn’t get to go on our retreat to Mbale Grace was crying I tried to cheer her with the fact that we would get to go to Michigan soon.  That only made her cry more because she only has a couple weeks with her good friend and cousin Avalien.  We all know Grace is excited to go to Michigan but it is hard to leave here too.  We all feel some of it. 

Hey, the girls finally felt the baby move this weekend!

Praying all of you have experienced God this week and know His blessings upon your life.  May we bless Him this coming week! 

Worship with our team

Kids games at their retreat

The kids with Auntie Beckie

Lydia, Grace, Avalien with Auntie Karen

Trucks lined up waiting for the bridge to be repaired and reopened

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Change in Plans

Just a quick prayer request. Today our team was suppose to go on our spiritual retreat at a hotel in Mbale (about 2hours away) but we didn't make it. A couple days ago we heard that the main road was closed because the bridge was underwater. Since then we have gotten more rain and this morning we heard the other way to Mbale was now closed too because the bridge went out. So we waited a couple hours then Josh went to town to hear the lastest word at the taxi park. Town was full of trucks that couldn't pass but the taxis said they could get through. We all packed up and headed out. 72 Kilometers and two hours of bumpy road later and we were right back where we started in Soroti. There were trucks everywhere - some of them stuck - and no way even to get to the bridge let alone accoss.

So the team regrouped at our house. Our kids and some of us were quite bummed but what could we do. Some wanted to try again tomorrow but most of us were worried about crossing but then not getting back home in a couple days. After some talk and prayer, we decided to have a fun, relaxed day today and then tomorrow have our spiritual retreat. We called our speakers to cancel (we were really bummed not to get our teaching on Father's Heart), canceled our nice hotel and call the resturant in Soroti to make supper since none of us had anything to cook nor wanted to.

So we are asking for your prayers as our plans have changed. The kids will being having a fun day with our teammates Beckie and Karen while the adults meet. We are going to do a video serious on prayer by Louis Gigilio.

I'll update you all again this weekend.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baptisms in Obulle Slideshow

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September 4

I feel like I have been through some ups and downs this week.  I have been tired too because of our busier than usual schedule.  But I realized in all of it how much God is at work.  I have been praying that God will really use us and bless the ministry we are a part of in Obulle these weeks before we go on home service.  Today I put two and two together and saw God answered my prayer!

It started with the marriage conference in Obulle, then Freedom in Christ, teaching on baptism, and now the youth conference and baptisms.

On Wednesday Josh went to teach at the youth conference in Obulle that had several denominations represented.  I asked if he was going to teach on purity knowing it is a passion of ours to see the sin of immorality to be recognized and repented of here.  When he got home (three hours late) I asked how it went.  He said it went well and he was late because of me.  He did teach on purity and after the teaching over 40 youth came forward to commit their bodies to the Lord and wait till marriage.  Awesome!  He said one boy was crying so uncontrollably that he and Pastor Charles talked with him for an hour afterwards.  I wish I could have been there.  God is at work through His truth and forgiveness.

Sunday our church finally had baptisms.  What a day of rejoicing!  We started our worship at the church then all walked about a mile down to the swamp.  It was a beautiful day.  We sang a couple praise songs then Josh did a short meditation before the baptisms.  Pastor Robert wanted the church to be represented in doing the baptisms so he has a women’s leader, Sunday school teacher, youth leader and Josh in the water for baptism.  One by one about 20 people – mostly youth – were baptized.  I love seeing people be baptized – it is beautiful.  Especially in a swamp in the middle of Africa.  Our friends joining the family of God and raised to new life in Christ.  Thank you Jesus!  After the baptisms the church praised God in singing.  As we walked back to church it was one of those moments I treasure being here.  What an honor to serve my Lord with the church here.  The church was in joyous worship when they got back – awesome!  A couple of the people baptized gave their testimonies of being angry and fighting before they came to Jesus but now they are not the same.  Then the church prayed over everyone who was baptized.  I thank God for our church and the mighty work He is doing there.  To see Christ command to go make disciples and baptize them and teach them all He commanded is a blessing.    

Friday our plans were changed and the girls were bummed their friends wouldn’t be coming over, so we decided to have a family pizza and game night.  Everyone made their personal pan pizzas, we played Settlers which the girls just learned, and had chocolate peanut butter milkshakes.  Yummy!  What Josh and I thought was a simple night the girls loved and thought was so much fun.  They thanked us over and over when they went to bed.  It isn’t like we don’t play games together or haven’t made pizza before but for some reason it was special to them.  I was so touch by their appreciation and joy in our family night. 

Lydia is one who is full of joy for life.  The other day she got another birthday card and inside was a dollar bill.  She came running to me all excited about her gift from a grandma at a supporting church back in Michigan.  It may be a simple thing to some but to Lydia it was a celebration.  She thought it was so special she hung the card on her bedroom door and can’t wait to thank the nice grandma when we get to Michigan.  Luka also provides lots of joy to our family.  Yesterday he came up to me with his shoulder out of his shirt and said look at my muscle mom.  J

Sunday night we had a team prayer night for North America.  It was a meaningful night of God breaking our hearts for our nation.  As Christians we must be in prayer for our country!  May the church be on their knees and stand in God’s truth as we vote this year, as we repent for the sins of our land, and as we live out Christ in our country. 

Monday our team and other missionary friends had a Labor Day party.  We played kickball and football (yes, I played touch football at 6 months pregnant - very carefully) then had a potluck and campfire.  I bet there are about 25 kids and 18 adults when we all get together so it is a big party.  We are thankful for a mission family here.

And now we are on a three week countdown till we will be flying to Michigan.  We are very excited yet it is hard to leave our ministry, friends, team and home here.  Keep praying for us as we prepare to go.  Also we have our team spiritual retreat this week for two nights.  We pray for renewal and refreshment as we are taught and for fun fellowship as a team.  Thanks!