Hi everyone! It has been a very busy few weeks. I have been longing to write all we have gone through and all our emotions but there just isn't any opprotunity. Right now I am taking a break from unpacking and taking advantage of Malai sleeping to finally get typing (or should I call it processing). So here we go...
We are back in Uganda. This bring a lot of different feelings. But let me start further back than that. I will never be able to explain to some of you what it is like to move so much. There is so much organization and work involved in packing up and emptying out a house after living there five months with a family of six. I was so done with making decisions, giving away, throwing out, weighing boxes... Many people offered to help but so much we just have to do. It is all the more intresting packing up with a new born who needs you and one who was recovering from RSV and an ear infection. Thankfully through prayer God keep my mind and spirit peaceful. Somehow everything always gets done.
I think it was harder leaving again this time (it is always hard to say goodbye but some more than others). We really enjoyed our five months in Michigan. We were involved at our new church, Georgetown CRC, and were fed and blessed there. We made new, unexpected friendships and felt loved. Taking a baby back also makes it harder too. She is so small and we are the ones to protect her and care for her. And taking her from her grandparents breaks my heart. She will grow and change so much before they will hold her again. I am so thankful our kids were excited to go back home. To hear them call Uganda home is amazing to me. Above all we still know God wants us in Uganda. And where He wants us, I want to be! So everytime fear or a negative emotions would entered my mind I would give it to God and pray. I can trust Him.
Goodbyes are not fun. Our last Sunday I sat in church crying thinking this is when faith becomes action. Everything in my human nature wanted to stay in this wonderful, comfortable, easy, beautiful...place. But was I willing to give it all up, trust Jesus, and go? Was my faith what I say it is. Would I trust He is good, He is our protector, provider, truth, all powerful, Healer...? Yes I will Jesus! I will go again because You are who You say You are! I want to be a living testimony that Jesus is real and He can be trusted. Later that day when we said goodbye to Josh's parents and Luka was holding onto his grandpa's leg, Malai was in grandma's arms it just plain hurt again. And again my faith needed to become action. Do I believe Jesus' words that He will never leave me and will give us so much more when we leave everything we love for Him? I beleive Jesus...and so we go.
The last few years we have learned it is nice to go down to Chicago the day before we fly so we have a fun day to look forward to. This year we went with my partents to Shedd's aquarium. We had so much fun looking at all the beautiful, weird, and amazing fish. God is so big! We stayed at a hotel and enjoyed the pool and some good American food before we left. I appreciated the snow storm we left in before arriving into the African sunshine.
Everything about our travel went great. The whole way I would think of everyone praying for us and know God answers prayers. We prayed with my parents at the airport before telling them goodbye. They are coming to Uganda in 6 weeks so at least in our tears we had that to look forward to. At this point Grace finally got really sad. (Boy does that make it hard for the grandparents.) But once we were on our way it was ok. The kids did awesome! Even Malai. Honestly she did not cry on all 16 hours of flying. Our kids think it is so fun to fly so why not enjoy it. After a day of being messed up on when to sleep, eat or be awake it is good to arrive. There was a moment of stress when our vehical wasn't there as planned and we had a hire two taxi's to take our family, carry-ons and 16 peices of luggage. (It is amazing what they can put in a car!) But finally at 1:30am we were able to stretch out on our beds at the guesthouse and sleep. Thank you God!
Remember that snowstorm? While our first day in Uganda was 102degrees! We were so hot. It is hard to stay possivtive your first days back in country. We were jet lagged, hot, out of sorts, and not thrilled with the stresses of the culture. Thankfully Sliedrechts were also in town and we were able to enjoy a couple days with them. Our kids were so happy to be back together. It did make the transition easier. We took it easy and even enjoyed a pool day with our kids. (Felt so bad when the kids got really burnt even with sunscreen!)
Then we went to our team retreat. It was a bit overwhelming coming back to the team this way but it was a wonderful time that God used. Our speaker spoke on soul care and it was just in time for the team. God did His thing and I love that. His presence makes me cry. It is a beautiful thing. The kids were blessed too with their program and we all enjoyed the fellowship and play time together. I do love our team. Everyone knows it comes with the good and the bad but it makes us closer and causes us to grow. Josh and I look forward to reconnecting with everyone and to be used by God to be a blessing on this team.
After 12 day of living out of bags and traveling we were so ready to be home in Soroti. It was a long 7 hour drive but we made it. Malai was really out of sorts and cried like she has never cried before. She has been fussy since then but seems to finally be back to herself. The other kids literally cheered when they arrived in Soroti and love everything. They are so glad to be here and are loving what feel like their new toys they left five months ago. Me, I didn't cheer when we arrived but I didn't cry either. It is just hard. I am so thankful for our friends and team who make it so much easier with cleaming our house and meals. But coming from America everything seems not so nice, dirty, I don't feel pretty, it is too hot, things need fixing, employees need to be delt with, my baby is fearful of most people and sick of the bumpy roads and heat, there is unpacking and sorting everywhere, I have forgotten how to cook here... But I know this feeling and I know to rememind myself everyday will get better. And it has. Yes, we are in a third world country and it is hard to live here sometimes but I also have a nice house, fans, helpful husband, great kids, a team and friends, food, people praying for us... I am SO blessed! It is overwhelming coming back this time, maybe because we have a new baby, but all in all we are doing well and are thankful it is becoming home again.
Everyone is thrilled to meet Emalai -- and to have us back. It is so good to be loved and appreciated. We caught the end of church in Obulle Sunday so we could say hi to everyone. (It is going to be rough having a baby in a two hour long, hot service but we will survive.) Tomorrow they are welcoming us back in the service and having lunch for us. Lydia can't wait for pork and posho! It was good to see everyone and to know they missed us too. Other than unpacking we have been visiting with all of our friends and team this week. It brings a lot of comfort. It will be a little while before we are back into routine and doing ministry. We hope to focus on our team and settleing in for now. Josh is eager to get back teaching and being in the village but he knows it will come.
Thanks for all your prayers!!! I wish I could share every little detail and emotion but that would simply bore you. God has done so much and I praise Him! Will you continue to pray for us as we adjust, for Malai to feel well through all of this, for our team to continue to seek Christ, for spiritual protection from satan's attachs to discourage all of us, strength in the heat (thank God for rains a few times already!), for peace, and for our washer to be fixed :). Thanks everyone. We miss you.
One more super, awsome thing. Our first Sunday back Lydia woke up and told us she had a dream and God told her she was going to be a missionary in Mongolia. She said even if it means she would die she was going. We asked if she knew where Mongolia was she said she didn't know anything about Mongolia. I decided that will be our first geography and social studies project. We are so excited to see Lydia's faith grow! God spoke and she is ready to obey. What a testimony for all of us. I do have admit I had my first worries for my daughter going on the mission feild. I know some day we will be sending off our kids with heavy hearts. It is hard but so worth it. Lydia loves her Lord and wants to share Him! Can't wait to see what God does with Lydia's dream.
|Kids at the Team Beyond retreat|
|Malai stayed with us in the meetings|
|Team Beyond kids!|
|Grace with Malai and Lydia with her cousin Eliana|
|The Obulle Community team|
|Our family at the retreat on Lake Victoria|