Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Freedom in Christ Discipleship books printed!

We are thanking God for the new publication of the Discipleship Course for rural Africa!
For about a year now Josh has been working on putting the original Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course in a way that it can be easily used in villages in Africa.  Our friend Dan helped Josh format the new book and Tanja helped design the cover.  We were able to print the books in Kampala.  The books cost 6,000ush each (about $2).  Josh will now be working on having it translated into Ateso then hopefully  other languages.   I am so proud of Josh for all his work and using his gift to further God's Kingdom.

Along with that exciting news, the church leaders from Obulle and Pingere who have been trained in Freedom in Christ have formed teaching teams and will be going to three sister churches in three different areas to teach the Discipleship Course.  We are thrilled to see those equipped going out to share!  Josh and Robert have been teaching in Pingere and Charles helps Josh with teaching in Obulle.  Josh has been so impressed with their teaching that he felt it was time to encourage them to take the message to new places.  

Praying over those going out to teach and the places they are going to.

To God be the glory as more people know and live in their freedom in Christ.
We will be in Kenya for Freedom in Christ Africa conference next week.  Pray for every ones safety, health, and an encouraging time of fellowship and teaching.  Thanks!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Grandma Beute is Home

I am sitting here feeling kinda numb, listening to my kids sniffling.  We just got word that my grandma (their great grandma) Beute died.  It is one of those times we feel very far away.

Grandma was 97 and died peacefully this morning.  It was almost exactly one year ago on Sunday morning that grandpa Beute died.  

Grandma was amazing for 97 years old!  But the last few months had been difficult.  Her mind has been confused for awhile now but lately she was very upset too.  We are thankful the last week grandma was more comfortable.  She was ready to go home.  What a blessing to know Jesus!  Like my dad said this morning on the phone, "What a Sunday she is having."  Grandma is in God's presence!

But we have a loss.  We will not see her again.  We loved her.  Yes, grandma was grandma.  She had her bitterness and her walls build to protect herself from anymore pain.  She lived through a lot of pain and resulted in anger.  But she was also grandma with butter cookies, pringles, and tea time.  Each year when we were little she would pick us up from school and take us anywhere we wanted to eat for our birthday.  Grandpa and Grandma were at each birthday, holiday, easily you can take for granted something, someone that is/was always there.  At Sunset grandma and grandpa always made sure everyone knew you were their grandchild.  They were so glad when we visited and were so proud of us and I felt loved by them.

I both want to hide and forget about the loss/pain and want to be there with everyone and have the time to grieve and closure.  Ignore it and embrace it.  How do you grieve from far away?  I know the reality is being in MI isn't the answer or better either.  It is just hard to be reality from here.

As always with the death of a loved one it reminds me to value and love people while we have them.  The older and wiser I get, the more I value older people and am saddened to see too often they are forgotten and not valued.  We are a selfish culture and self focused people.  But life is precious.  Time is precious.  All things will fade away -meaningless.  God created us to love and worship Him and love others.  That is the meaning to life.

Please pray for my Dad and Mom and the Beute family as they mourn.  Pray for them as they plan and then have the funeral.  Thank God for His timing and that my Mom could be there this week.  She flies on Friday to be with us in Africa to watch our kids during a conference we have with FinC.  Pray her and for Dad as he is home alone - and still grieving.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Our Kiddos!

Our kids are super fun and have a great time using their imaginations!
We got to watch some of the summer Olympics and the kids were so impressed they came up with their own Olympics.
One day they did races and hurdles with water jugs and chairs.  Other days they did volleyball, bad mitten, and basketball.
Each time they had new names and were each from different countries.  

Grace loves to be a part of local life.  She enjoying hauling water and cooking with her friends and neighbors.

Grace and our neighbor Winnie cooked us atop, beans and pumpkin leaves (Yum!) one day. 

We love the village!

Dishes!  Helping from start to finish.

Grace loves to garden with her dad.
Lydia & Grace or Grace & Lydia!  Two peas in a pod!

Emalai loves to "boda boda" (bike taxi)!

We had our good friends the Dwires kids over for a few days.
Abbie and Emilie sang in the choir with Lydia, Grace and their friends in church Sunday.

We had fall fun making scarecrows and pumpkins!
And apple cider doughnuts!

More garden fun and more carrots.

The kids think it is the berries going to the gravel pit with their bikes.  Simple joys in life.
Poor Lydia wiped out bad on the way home and has many scrapes and bruises to prove it :( 

And our now traditional water fight!

We are so thankful for Abbie, Emilie and Eric!  They are great friends to all of our kids. We have a lot of fun together and make happy memories.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Youth Conference

Each year when school is on break our church has a youth conference.  Each year the youth are to bring money for food (5,000 Ugandan Shillings - about $2) and each year the youth struggle to get the money and pay.  Josh had a great idea.  Our water tank was empty so any youth willing to carry 10 jerry cans of water would get their conference fee.  I was so impressed.  Our 1300 gallon tank was full of water after about six hours of work!  Way to go youth!  I was proud of them for working hard to be a part of the conference.

Filling our tank.

I was very pleased that the youth conference was on preparing for marriage - God's desire for marriage, purity, how to find the right one (be the right one), how is it being done culturally and how should we do it as Christians...  It has been on my heart as I see our kids and youth here getting older.  They are wondering and have questions, but who is talking to them, helping them, and leading them.  Many of them do not have believing parents and some have no Christian example to follow.  So I am thrilled that Josh and the leaders agreed on this important topic!  

The church was full with maybe 300 people - youth is from age 12 to 35 years old here so it is a bit different to have married people and babies at the youth conference too, but most were young - from four different areas and about 10 churches.

Josh did a great job teaching on God's plan for marriage, how to know if you are ready for marriage, and what to do until it is time for marriage.  He used fun games and illustrations too to keep the kids focused and laughing.  At the end of one of his messages he was talking about fleeing from immorality and he simply fled out of the church and did not come back.  Hope they got the point!

I thought it was so cute seeing Lydia sitting in the youth conference with her friends.  She stood out a bit but she didn't notice or care.  She wanted to go to the conference because she is a youth.  I was proud of her.  She enjoyed her time and took notes and learned along with her friends.

At one point in the conference Pastor Charles invited youth who wanted to receive Jesus for the first time to come forward.  (Josh had shared the Gospel the day before.)  Although I admit I don't understand everything that is done and said here and I often wonder what or why, I did sense the Holy Spirit present and at work.  There was emotion from those who came forward and from the leaders yet not at all showy, only about 25 to 30 of the 300 youth came forward, young and older came forward (the head teacher at the school was one of them) and truth was shared.  So, I praise God I was able to see and be apart of this beautiful celebration!

Josh and Martin led those who came forward in prayer to confess their sins, repent, and receive Jesus's gift of  life and salvation!

I continue to thank God for the work He is doing here!  The Holy Spirit is moving in people and in this place.  We still need to pray though and share God's truth.  At the end of Josh's teaching we had a time for questions.  At one point I felt so overwhelmed by the sin, suffering, and work yet to be done. "I got pregnant at school now what, I was pressured to marry a non-believer now what, my husband took another wife now what, how do I keep the marriage bed pure, how do I know who to marry, did the devil make me do it or was it God's will, my wife can't produce shall I find another wife, my parents don't want me to marry this man because of clan issues..."  There is so much I wanted to share with them!  Pastor Martin kept saying, "Josh has already taught on that." and referred back to God's Word.  I am so thankful for godly leaders.  I was proud to sit up front with Josh, Martin and Kristine, and Charles and Margaret.  They know and live out God's truth.  After the day of teaching I talked to one of the youth.  She was so thankful for this conference.  She said she had so many questions and now they have been answered.  Thank you Lord!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Update on Faith

I know many of you are praying for baby Faith (see earlier blog post) so I wanted to give you an update.  Faith went through months of casts - changed each week - had a small operation on her feet and now is in special shoes for the next four months I believe.  Yo can't really see it in the pictures but there is a curved bar welded to both shoes which makes it impossible for her legs to lay on the ground - what a pain with a baby.  Faith herself is still small and sick a lot with respirator issues.  She is often fussing because of the casts and now because of the shoes and a very stuff nose.  Her mother is so patient and loving.  She has to hold and comfort Faith much of her time - even at night.  It is a long journey they are walking with a child with Edwards Syndrome.  I think the next step is for Faith to see the heart doctor in Kampala.  The parents are making plans to do that soon.  Once we know what that doctor says we can make further plans and decisions on heart surgery.  Thanks for praying!