Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Another look inside our lives...

Lucy and her parents

Enjoying our Ugandan lunch

Luka & Jack Fruit 

Thankful for water on a HOT walk

Emma and Family

Malai playing at church

Lydia sorting rice at our friends

Sarah's first experience slaughtering a chicken

Enjoying our visit and feast

Josh teaching Freedom in Christ on our veranda

Praying for each student

Grace's cut

Malai loves to lay on the ground and read

February 24, 2014

As you all endure your wintery winter, let me tell you a little bit about our dry season.  It is about 90 in our home, 96 on our porch, and over 100 degrees in the sun each day.  Dry winds blow most days.  On the hotter, drier days the breeze feels like a hair dryer.  Sometimes we get dust tornados that blast our home with dirt and leave a layer of dust over everything in the house.  Sarah and I walk in the early evening when the sun isn’t so intense but my throat is parched when we get back.  Even at night and the morning we have dry, sore throats.  Lots of colds right now with the dust too.  Since there is no rain we have our water tanks filled by hand.  This week we paid two young men took three day going to the well and filled jery can after jery can.  We don’t take water fore granted!  So yes when we shower we catch the water and use it to flush the toilets.  And when we do wash we haul water in from the well, catch the rinse water, and use it for the next load.  It is an ordeal and my arms are sore if Josh isn’t around to help.  But I am thankful for water!  I keep telling myself the only good thing is each day we are a day closer to rainy season. 

Two weeks ago we visited Lucy’s parents (Lucy works for us).  We left our home at 1pm – yes the sun was intense – and our family walked 50 minutes to get to their home.  It is quite funny to see people’s faces as they watch 7 white people walk down the path past their home.  Just think, they lived here all their lives and then one day a family of white people walk their path. We are a sight!  I really enjoyed our visit.  Lucy’s parents are in their 70’s and some of the first believers in the area.  Their story and faith encouraged me.  When they began following Jesus many of their children died, but they had peace because they would see them again.  They had 16 children and 7 lived.  Wow, I have never been through hardship like that.  Her father, John, was like a living history book of the area.  His smile and love for the Lord touched me.  They were SO happy we came and fed us an Ateso feast.  I love watching our kids.  They are just naturals here.  They had a great time using their imagination and playing in the compound.  Luka enjoyed teasing his sisters with Jack fruit (the girls hate everything about this fruit especially the smell). 

Our friends from church are neighbors to Lucy’s parents so since we walked all that way we wanted to greet them too.  Emma and his wife Deborah have five children.  They also cooked food for us so again we ate – that was painful.  People here are so kind and generous.  Everyone is so thankful we come to visit them but really we are the ones blessed by them.  I love getting to know the people in our church and people in Obulle better.  I am learning so much.  Emma told us how thankful they are that God brought us to Obulle and we helped their son get better or he might have died.  Their son Abraham continually got sick so our team with the help from supporters got him the tests and medicine he needed.  After our visit our little train of white people led by our Ugandan friends, walked home very happy that evening.  It is so good to be living here.

We have now set aside Wednesdays afternoons for greeting.  This week Josh was sick with Strep throat, Malai had a bad cold, and Gracie’s stomach was hurting so Sarah, Lydia and I ended up going without them.  Our neighbor Whiney came with us to show us how to get to Betty’s house and help with translating.  Betty is another member of our church.  Her husband doesn’t go to church.  They were thrilled we came!  They greeted, put out mats for us to sit on, then quickly started the fire to feed us.  I decided to join in the cooking to learn and be with our friends.  They didn’t want their guest helping at first but I told them I am a friend not a guest.  Sarah love the cultural experience.  We decided to watch the process of chicken – from slaughtering to the table.  Sarah realized what a city girl she is, but she was willing to help cut up the chicken.  The chicken had eggs growing inside so we got to eat our first unhatched chicken egg.  It was one big yolk.  Lydia fits right in helping clean rice, cut tomatoes, pick up drying cassava with the kids, and bringing the goats in.  I was so proud of her.  The women cook in a hut.  I sat inside marveling once again at how they touch the hot pots and wood with their bare hands, shoo chickens away from their cooking area, and feed their baby all at the same time.  I enjoyed helping until my eyes couldn’t take the smoke anymore.  I feel for these women.  We waited on the mat until the food was ready.  By the time we ate the sun was setting and I was beginning to worry about walking home in the dark.  After we ate it was dark so we thanked them and got on the road – ok, path.  Our nice friends packed some food for Josh and led us to our home.  It was so dark!  I couldn’t see anything.  I just prayed there would be no snakes and we wouldn’t twist an ankle falling.  I felt loved by our friends who went before and after us and told us where holes where and protected us from cows coming down the path.  I failed to bring my phone or flashlight – I need my husband – so I was afraid Josh would be worried about us.  Sure enough we got almost to the main road and we saw Josh coming in the van to get us.  What a good husband!  It was a memorable night to say the least and I loved it.

Our solar is fixed and running great!  We now have more solar panels and a freezer.  All the lights stay in the green now showing we are fully charged.  It is a blessing!  I love having a freezer too.  What a treat to have ice coffee in the afternoon, make homemade ice cream, and the simple convenience of frozen food at hand.

Sometimes I am reminded how far away we live.  Last Saturday morning our kids were watching the movie Cars and our friend here said, “Talking cars?  Is it real?”  It reminds me to be careful how we live and serve here because anything can be taken as truth.  

We continue to struggle with some sicknesses around here.  Josh had Strep throat last week, Malai has a cold, cough and fever, and Grace has another stomach pain episode – thankfully we were able to stop it with pain killer but her stomach wasn’t right for days.  Then Sunday Grace’s foot was sliced open by the latrine door at church.  She had a pretty good cut.  With no great medical facility near by our team nurse decided to use Durabond (like super glue) instead of stitches.  Grace is a great patient.  She just quietly cried as Jennifer cleaned it.  Lydia did a good job too.  She was with Grace when it happened but stayed calm and got help.  Of course there was blood so a crowd of kids quickly gathered.  We are thankful Grace’s shots are up to date and she is ok.  We are now praying for no infection in her cut.  We are keeping her inside and out of the dirt this week.

Sarah and I had the unpleasant experience of seeing a snake on out walk!  I really do pray almost everyday for protection and no snakes.  The snake was right off the path – just inches from where my foot walked.  It was by a small bush and we barely saw it because we RAN.  As we ran I thanked Jesus for protecting us!

Malai can now use a fork and spoon – at least most of the food gets in her mouth.  She loves books and will bring us book or back up and plop down in our laps to let us know she is ready to read.  Her new thing is lying with her belly to the ground to look at a book or write.  When Josh gets home from somewhere she runs to him with wide open arms for a welcome home hug.  Who wouldn’t want to come home to that!  Malai also wears pigtails now and it is really cute.  Did I ever tell you about Luka’s first family picture he drew?  We all had really big ears and something scribbled inside the ears.  He told us it was the wax in our ears. J  Yesterday he prayed that he hoped God loved him and that he would be like his dad someday.  He also asked Sarah if she would marry him.  Many people tell me how much they love Luka.  He is just a fun, lovable, expressive kid.  Lydia also makes me laugh.  She tells people she is African American.  We tried to explain what that meant but really she is right.  She lives in African and sees herself as African because of it and she is American.  She is a true African American J.    

Well we are down to 5 weeks here before we fly.  Oh my!  We are enjoying everyday before we go.  Josh will be going to Karamoja, unreached people group to the East, with about 10 people from our church to do outreach.  Pray for them!  Thanks everyone.  May God fill your week and be your greatest desire. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Brand New Addition to the House

Special Thanks to my Hubby for putting up with me and my ideas!  
My silverware chandelier!  

My Cow Horn Light :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Updated look inside our Home


Living room


My shower!  (water comes off the rock in the corner)
The next picture is our frying pan made sink and seed lined mirror.
Our rain tank, that pumps up to our water tanks, and solar on the roof.

Girl's room

Luka's room

Our Bedroom
Pantry and solar refrigerator 

Kids/main bathroom (note the watering can shower)
And our guest house

classroom (and crafts,sewing and piano room)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


February 9, 2014

Hi, just wanted to write and let you know how we are doing.

First of all Grace is doing well.  She still seems to have little stomach aches but thankfully no painful ones.  Thanks again for praying.  I was so touched by the prayers and love of our church in Obulle.  When we returned some of them came to see us.  After telling them what all happened we sang a song of praise to God and thanked Him in prayer.  I am blessed by our friends in Obulle.  They minister to me and I am touched by their love for us.

I just can’t say it enough because I am so amazed how much we love living in the village!  God truly wants us here.  Our family is happy here.  We love our home – perfect for us.  It is so peaceful here.  I enjoy knowing our neighbors and doing life with them.  Lydia and Grace are learning Ateso and doing a great job.  I try to learn with them and just being here has improved my Ateso 400%.  Sarah and I take walks a few days a week and greet people as we go or visit the center where everyone hangs out.  I like that I know people and they know me.  We greet Lucy, our house help, buy rice and passion fruit, and see the ladies from our church selling their produce.  Josh and the kids go on bike rides a lot.  When they enter the center everyone stops and takes a look.  We do stand out here.  I just have to chuckle when we walk home from church with everyone – 20 Ugandans and 6 white people out on dusty village road.  Amazing what has become normal to us.  My favorite time of day is from 5-7pm.  It is cooler, the colors are beautiful and we often get an amazing African sunset.  We are usually all outside playing or visiting.  I also enjoy the stars at night.  You look up and you would think you are in a planetarium.  Oh God is awesome. 

Our kids are doing great.  Luka still enjoys playing with Gideon.  Yesterday they played church on the porch.  It was just the two of them with about 12 chairs set up and a few stuffed animals.  The boys even got dress up clothes on.  I just loved hearing them sing and call each other pastor Luka and pastor Gideon.  Luka’s prayers are great, “God, I like this meal but not so much.  I like this day.  I like my friends.  But I don’t like jiggers…”  I hope I never forget his honest conversations with God.  A few weeks ago we saw a fish tank with a bridge inside and he told Josh he thought that must be the greatest wall in ChinaJ  Malai is only one but becoming quite a toddler.  She walks around this village putting her hand out to greet people.  She opens wide her arms to tell us she wants a hug and opens her mouth to give us a BIG kiss.  You ask her where something is and she puts her hands up to say I don’t know.  She even folds her hands and closes her eyes when we pray.  It is amazing what they pick up on.  She jabbers all the time which we love.  She is even beginning to color.  I think between talking and writing she will be like her sisters.  She also sings, claps, or dances whenever she hears music.  She is cute.  But she is also strong willed at times like when she wants to go outside or wants to be free to go where she wants to.  The other day when she wanted to “pump” the well and I wouldn’t let her she laid in the dirt and cried. 

Between school, Ateso lessons, bike rides, and playing with friends Lydia and Grace are busy. They are really enjoying school with Sarah.  She is a great teacher!  We all love her.  Josh keeps teasing her (with seriousness) about staying and continuing to teach our kids.  We will see what God does.  I love having someone to walk with, we talk all the time about what God is teaching us, and she is SO helpful.  She is defiantly part of our family.  Lydia is really growing up.  She has such a pure heart.  I am so proud of her.  Both Lydia and Grace just fit right in with their friends here.  Our kids are home here and it is awesome to see.

I have been doing Bible study with a young lady named Rhoda.  We are going through the book of Mark and we are both blessed by what God is teaching us.  I really enjoy this kind of discipleship.  She comes to our house so it is do able with Malai around.  Sarah is also doing a Bible study with the youth at church on Saturdays.  Lydia goes too.  It is good to be apart of things and grow relationships.

A couple weeks ago a three 5 year old girls were playing on a tree that was partially cut down and it fell on them.  The huge limb landed on the one girl’s head and she died.  Sad.  Josh and I went to the funeral but the body didn’t come back from the hospital till evening so people literally sat all day waiting.

Josh is now area leader in Uganda for IT.  Pray for him to be empowered by God to do all he is called to do.  He knows God wants him to fill this position right now but it is teaching and discipleship in the village that gets him excited.  He is a godly leader, always seeking the Lord and bringing the team to the Lord, but it can be draining leading people.  We have new teammates on the Soroti town team.  We know God is here with all of us and at work as we follow Him.

I am sure most of you know, but in case some of you don’t please pray for my niece Amara.  Amara was born to Tim and Angie Sliedrecht (my sister and teammates) in January.  One of Amara’s lungs has tumors or is only 1/3 of it works properly.  How scary to see in your new born baby.  As of now Amara will go back to the surgeon in April then it will be decided when surgery will be.  Besides this trauma and having the stress of a new born who can’t breath properly, their one year old daughter has something wrong with her leg and is undergoing tests to see what is causing the pain that is keeping her from walking well.  So pray with us for God’s healing power.  Pray for peace for all of them as they wait on the Lord in MI until they can return to Uganda.

One last think for now, we are preparing for our next home service from April till July.  We are excited to be with our families, share with our supporters, and be renewed.  But I am also a little sad to be leaving our new home and life in the village already.  Oh well, it is just a break and we will be back.  It really is hard having two homes and people you love.  Pray for us as we prepare.  We are working on getting a vehicle and with Sliedrechs home longer than planned one of us needs to find another home to stay in.  I know God always provides.  Thanks everyone.  May God be your blessing today. 

Malai fell asleep under the table!  Guess it is those soft cement floors :)