Monday, October 31, 2016

Grandma in Obulle

Grandma Beute was able to spend a quick but special week with us in Obulle!
We love when we get to share our home, village life, ministry and friends with family.
It means a lot to us when they experience our daily lives with us.
The beauty and quietness of the village, the heat and dusty trails, visit neighbors, see our kids at home here...
We are thankful for another opportunity to "be" with Grandma in Obulle. 

Little princess on the way to church!

Greeting after church
I love this precious, plump baby!  She is the 14th child of our friend Katie - yes 14th!
 And Katie is just 40 years old this year.  Oh my!

Some Sunday evenings the a few of the ladies from church go to visit another women who has been sick, had a baby or who's family needs encouragement.  I really love going and being a part of the women.  People so appreciate when you visit them.  Our visits are mostly about fellowship but we also usually sing a song, read a scripture verse and pray together.

Sometimes we are even served tea and bread to thank us for coming.

Sunday night pizza - and football!

Grandma had art class with the kids and taught them how to paint different trees.

Luka loved having Grandma teach him a few days!
We did a lot of visiting and greeting neighbors.
Our neighbor Winnie winnowing.

Grace helped our neighbor cook lunch for us.

One of my favorites, greens and atop!  We also had beans and posho.

Grandma and the girls baking.

Soroti had a traveling market come for a week so we went one morning.
Mom said it was an African version of a flee market - so we loved it.

It was really hot so we didn't last too long.  We all felt dehydrated by the end of our shopping.

Yes, that is Grandma playing basketball!
We love playing games and Grandma joined right in.

All good things come to an end though.  Grandma was able to fly out of Soroti on MAF and have one last adventure.
Thanks for coming Mom and sharing in our lives with us!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Achia is Healthy and going Home...

You would not believe how big Achia is now!  She is now over 10kg (went in at 6kg).  She is so active and happy too.  It is amazing and an answer to prayer!  God is so loving! 

Achia walks now holding hands but because she is blind it is too scary to do alone.  She crawls and pulls herself up all by herself.  She seems to love white people and when she hears them she will go to them.  Achia was very playful and happy.  She is still very disabled though.  She is six years old and can't talk, is very small, is blind and acts like a baby.  She needs so much help that we can't get here.

Achia is suppose to go home Monday or Tuesday and we are all concerned about that.  We are still hoping God shows us the next step and how to keep Achia healthy.  There is one place in Soroti that is basically a daycare for disabled kids but as of now they are full and Achia lives too far from Soroti to get there each day.  Pray with us!  Pray for Achia's family to be ready to love and care for Achia, for Achia to do well with the transition, for the help Achia needs, and protection for her. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Happy Birthday Grace!

Happy 11th birthday to our Grace Mary on Oct. 11!
Grace gave our "class" chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches for her birthday treat - Yum!
We love Gracie's laughter, humor, silliness, jokes... She is so playful!
Grace is a village girl.  You will always find her with her friends fetching water at the well, cooking local food or playing soccer with the boys.  Grace is also a feeler and has compassion for people.
She continues to grow in the Lord by reading His Word, memorizing His Word and lately has a desire to visit people with us and has gone to Josh's Freedom in Christ teachings.
We are thankful Grace is God's workmanship created in Christ to do great things!
You are a gift from God and we love you Grace!

Grace wanted to have a birthday party with her friends.  She had them over to make bracelets and have cake.

Everyone loved their new jewelry!

We were able to meet Grandma and Sliedretchs at the pool to celebrate too!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Freedom in Christ Africa Conference in Kenya

Last week we were able to go to the first ever Freedom in Christ Africa Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.  We arrived in Nairobi just two hours before my mom flew in!  She was able to come to help watch our kids while we attended the conference.
Our first two days were spent at Brackenhurst.  Brackenhurst is special to us because we stayed there after Luka's sickness, it is beautiful and cool temperatures!

Pine trees!  With the woods and cool temps we could almost pretend to be in Michigan in the Fall!
When we arrived it felt so cold we were happy to find they put hot water bags by the foot end in each bed.

You know me and fireplaces!  I love them - especially when you don't have to sweat to enjoy it. 

This is the Freedom in Christ family in Africa - plus Steve Goss our international director.
We have reps from Nigeria, Liberia, Ethiopia and South Africa.  Plus there is Josh and I in Uganda and our director, Howard & Aileen, and their board members in Kenya.
It was a privilege to meet all of them and together bring Christ freedom to Africa. 

This is the Discipleship Course translated into four different languages and Josh's new village manual.
Some of you helped provide some of the funds for these translations to be made - thank you!
For one morning of the conference we all went on a bus to a beautiful tea plantation.
It was so fun, cold :), and full of God's beautiful creation.

Hand picking tea leaves.
5th generation tea plantation.  We learned a lot.  Kenya is one of the worlds largest producers of tea.
Old English home

And of course we got to drink tea!  (I had more tea and tea times at the conference last week than I do in a year!)

And we got to walk through a beautiful, old indigenous forest.

BIG trees!

Luka fed a Colubus monkey

Wonderful lunch in the lawn.  (Where am I?  What a rare blessing!)

Grace, Steve, and Taj all had October birthdays so they were surprised with cake and singing.

Each night we ate somewhere different - Kenyan, Ethiopian, and Chinese.
It was really good and great fellowship!
Ethiopian Food

Ethiopian Coffee 

We stayed at the Methodist Guesthouse for the conference.  The service and staff were great!
This was Julius our doorman.

Our last day in Kenya Josh attended a pastors intro to FinC, so the kids, Mom, and I went to the mall.
Luka was THRILLED to eat at Subways - yes, the really thing!

Nairobi is almost opposite of our life in the village.  I really couldn't wrap my head around it.  I enjoyed all the good food and nice places, but I also missed the peace and nature of the village.  I am sure you could get just about anything in Nairobi, but it is expensive too.  I am glad we could visit but am not sure I could handle living there.

Even Hardee's at the airport - with American Airport prices!!!
Did I ask, "Where are we?!"
So over all we had a great time and are very thankful.  We love Freedom in Christ and feel so much more a part of it now.  It was encouraging to hear what God is doing in Africa - and around the world.  It is a blessing to be a part of a ministry that trust and waits on God.  They know God's truth and walk in His victory.  I loved getting to know new, wonderful people.  It was fun to be out of routine, being spoiled, and seeing and doing new things.  I am truly thankful to God for His amazing creation, His provision, and His freedom we get to be a part of and share.

I have to be honest that not everything was great and I was a bit out of sorts at time - oh, how I wish it wasn't so about me.  Traveling in Africa can be hard, long and expensive!  We left our home on Thursday drove 7 hours to Kampala, Friday we had to see the doctor and get supplies to take home, Saturday we drove another hour, waited at the airport for over three hours (delayed), arrived in Nairobi and waited for our taxi driver for an hour (he was in the wrong place), then drove two hours and arrived at our hotel at midnight!  And that was just getting there...

On our returned our van broke down before we even exited the airport.  There we were at 10pm with a van full of luggage and no idea what to do.  The security police came over to see what we were doing but didn't offer any help.  Josh called the taxi man we use and he sent two taxis.  Josh and the taxi drivers pushed our van out the exit and to the nearest gas station (1/4 of a mile maybe).  We then took the taxis to a near by guesthouse (a bit expensive but we had a bed to sleep in!).  At 7am the next morning Josh met the mechanic to work on our van.  Six and a half hours, a new fuel injector and $750 later we were finally back on the road.  Since we were now a day delayed we decided to spend the night in Kampala and drive 7 hours to our house the next day.

We did make it home and I have to tell you how warmly we were welcomed.  Our neighbors and friends came cheering and welcomed us home with hugs and thanking us for our return.  I was so touched by their joy on our return!  I felt loved and appreciated.  It was a nice, unexpected blessing.

We are all happy to be home which is great, but there is always a let down too after an special time.  We are glad to be back into the swing of things - school, laundry, meals, friends, ministry...  I think about last week a lot - that is probably my problem, I over think and feel.  It is a weird mix of feelings.  On one hand it was so special to be away and do and see things we don't usually.  I wanted to value and treasure it all.  But I also found that hard because I was overwhelmed.  Because I don't have stores, restaurants and things I find when they are there I don't always know how to handle it all.  It is fun, different and nice but also too much, too expensive and too self focused.  Do people know that all this is a luxury and not a right or normal to so much of the world?  Do we know that what we spend on a meal is what some people make in a week or a month?!  Do we realize that most people live without and will never go on a vacation, to a mall, or have hot shower?  Do we stop and think that for most people life is about survival not pleasure?  I just can't always wrap my head around the two world I am often in.  My heart rejoices and hurts.  I love it and hate it.  I feel torn and find it can be hard to enjoy when I am not sure if it is just selfish and meaningless.  Most of the world would look at my neighbors and friends in the village and think poor them we need to give them something, but if you would take the time you would learn that they do have joy, love, and even peace.  It is not things, places or pleasures that bring life.  Only God can give us what we really need.  Sometimes I wonder if the developed world has missed it and gotten it wrong.  I know I have learned so much from my life and friends here.  I am the first to admit I am contently at war with my flesh and desiring what is eternal.  I guess the battle wont end until Christ comes and makes all things right.

Wow, I have said enough. I will also be posting about Grace's 11th birthday we celebrated today and Mom's time in Obulle next week!