Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Team comes to see our Lives and Ministry!

We are so excited that for the first time in our mission career (since 2001) a supporting church sent a team!
We are very thankful it was our home church, Georgetown CRC.  It is so encouraging to have those who have supported and prayed for us and the work here for so many years come and be part of  it themselves.  We love that they came to learn, to see, to hear, and to be with us and our Ugandan Co-workers.  It was a joy to share our home, friends, church, and work
God is doing here.  Our church here was thrilled to welcome visitors from the church that sent us here.
The team; Diane, Joy, Cindy, Pat and Sherri; were wonderful guests to have.  They were appreciative, helpful, flexible, they had great questions, and did an awesome job interacting with people here.  They allowed God to show them, teach them, and speak to them.  They said that they have heard and read for years what we do here, but they could not fully understand until they came and saw for themselves.

The team received a joyful welcome from the youth!
The team was supposed to arrive in time to join in youth group but the van broke down so they arrived late.  The youth stayed and prayed for the team to arrive.  They were practicing their choir when the team finally arrived.  Praise the Lord!

Then the youth sang and danced to welcome the visitors.

That night we went to Serere to see Josh, Micheal and Charles teaching Freedom In Christ on Serere Radio.
Unfortunately, a storm was coming and power went off and they could not finish the lesson.  God is using FIC on the radio in amazing ways and bringing it to many new people.

Sunday we worshiped with our church.  Afterwards Sherri said, "That was a piece of heaven!"
We love the joy-filled worship at our church!  The Holy Spirit is present and people are real.  People respond in praise and in confession.  The Gospel is preached and people receive the Lord.  The Sunday the team was there five people came forward to return to the Lord or to be freed from what binds them.  It was beautiful even with tears.  After the service the leaders met with these five people and later in the week went through the steps to freedom prayer time with them.  Praise the Lord for His truth that sets us free!

Our church was so excited that our Michigan church sent visitors that they had a lunch for the whole church! 

Sherri trying to learn the thumb piano - a local instrument. 

After lunch we had evening Bible study together. 
It was a long day at church (like seven hours) but a really great one too.

I love visiting neighbors whenever we can in the evenings.  It is an important part of life here.
 The team went with me to visit my friend who had a baby two weeks ago.

Monday the ladies went with Josh to see the prison ministry and in the afternoon they visited Christ the Answer Primary School.  They are always encouraged when we bring visitors.

Two of the ladies on the team are teachers so I think they really enjoyed the visit to the school.

In the evening Pastor Martin (and the director of the school) and his family had us over for a meal.  We had a wonderful time of fellowship and good cultural experiences.  Before we left we had a prayer time for their family and all the ministry they do here.  Later in the week another friend had the team for a meal.  They were very touched by peoples hospitality and generosity.

Tuesday we went an hour away to Pingere where Josh had all the Freedom in Christ teachers (and some who are participating in a FIC course right now) gather for a day of prayer, teaching and testimonies.  It was a wonderful day hearing God's Word from Josh and Pastor Martin about going deeper and wider.  Deeper meaning we want to go deeper in Christ.  Like a tree needs roots to go down deep to be strong, we need to be rooted in Christ to be strong and for God to use FIC.  We saw from Peter that before Jesus said he would be a fisher of men, Jesus called him to follow Him.
We want to also go wider and see FIC go out to all Uganda, to bring God's truth to the nations!  We want to see God open doors and lives to share the message further.  Josh and FIC do a great job of empowering people who have received to take it and share it with others.  We took time to pray over each area.  Then we heard great testimonies of God using FIC to bring truth and freedom to people.  What a day of rejoicing! 

The church in Pingere.  We gather a crowd wherever we go!

Wednesday the ladies went to the prison again with Josh and in the afternoon we went to the secondary school in Obule.
The head teacher loves when we bring people to see the school.  He loves America so much his two year old son is named Donald Trump - funny!  We asked some of the students what subject they liked best and what they hoped to be.  One hoped to be a pilot, another an architect.  One said he wanted to be the president some day so I shook his hand in case he does become president some day.  Every class asked the visitors if they are coming back to Uganda.  The ladies were surprised to hear that over and over again.  I think Ugandans value guests, feel remembered when people come and it is away of appreciating them to tell them to come back.  Our guests said they would come if the Lord had them come again, but they hoped to send others to also come and see Uganda.

We also walked around Obule center (the place people come to sell and buy and socialize).  A man came through with fish and we got to see a huge Nile Perch.  I could have bought it for less than $30 but who needs that much fish?
We also toured Obule's health clinic and we saw a baby who was born less than an hour earlier!  The baby was healthy and cute and mother was doing well too.  Another women was there just waiting to give birth.  I think the nurse on the team enjoyed seeing a clinic here.    

One of the highlights was the Georgetown team joining the women's Bible study at our church.
The women really connected.  The team realized their women's Bible study back in MI was meeting at the same time.
We shared a powerful prayer time that was very real and full of tears.  The women here have difficult lives, especially those whose husbands are not believers.  We were all able to encourage one another.  God's truth and our Lord is our unity.

Emalai was so happy to have her "little lambs" teacher, Pat, come to be with us!

Our kids had fun riding with Cindy on safari.
Actually, this picture is from we weren't having so much fun - the rented van broke down and we had a two hour delay.  Thankfully God provided another van and wonderful driver.  Lydia was reading her Bible while we waited and read the verse in Psalms that said we don't put our trust in chariots but in the name of the Lord our God - Amen!

We were so thankful to make it to Murchison Falls National Park!
We had a fun time together seeing the greatness of God's creation.

Our family was very excited to see a leopard!
We have lived here 11 years and probably gone on safari 13 times and this is the fist time we got pictures of a leopard.
We saw one 11 years ago but too far away to get a pictures.  This one we were able to watch.  He was lazy but eventually moved, then climbed down and disappeared into the grass.

See him?

So cool!

Beautiful sunrise on the Savannah

Our God is so creative and awesome!

We are so thankful that Diane, Joy, Cindy, Sherri and Pat chose to say yes to God and visit us in Uganda.  These ladies are forever special to us for choosing to come and for sharing in our lives and ministry here.  We now have a special connection because they can understand us better.  We pray they are able to bring back to church what God has shown them and spoken to them.  May the Lord use it all for His purpose and glory.

Friday, October 12, 2018


Oct. 20 Update and Praise:
I am writing to let you know Emuli does not need brain surgery!  We went to Cure Hospital on Thursday and the doctor feels because he is not having problems it is best to leave the hole as is.  With no major symptoms it is better not to have brain surgery and possibly cause other problems.  Even the eye problems may not be fixed when they fix the bone.  So for now we do not need to do anything else for Emuli.  If he develops problems with walking, extreme headaches, or it begins to bulge where the hole is then we will have to see the doctor and re-evaluate.  

We praise God Emuli does not have to go through brain surgery!  What a relief.  We are grateful you have joined us in many prayers for Emuli.  Please, continue to pray as we know God has and will work through loving Emuli.  We continue to pray for his family to grow in Christ and for the other to come to Christ.  All glory is the Lord's!   

Oct. 10, 2018
This week Emuli came to Kampala with his mother Kate and our neighbor Margaret (Kate really trusts Margaret and asked her to come with her).  We were in Kampala to bring the Georgetown CRC team to the airport.  Monday Josh met Emuli, Kate and Margaret at Corsu Hospital.  It was a very long, frustrating day but we did get a start to answers we needed.  Josh was gone from 7am to 9pm!  Emuli first had an x-ray in which he was so scared.  Poor boy has never seen lights, been in buildings, seen a hospital let alone being told to stand still with his face against a big machine.  The x-ray showed a hole in his skull so the doctor sent them for a CT scan to another hospital (actually after driving an hour the CT machine at the first place was broken so they had to go to a second place).  Emuli was so terrified of the CT machine that they ended up having to seda
te him (which they were able to do only because they had not taken time to eat the whole day.)   I felt so bad for all he had to go through.  After all that it was evening and a kind worker at the hospital let Emuli, Margaret and Kate stay at the hospital so they could see the ophthalmologist in the morning.  Josh came to the guesthouse very tired, hungry, and with out many answers yet.

Tuesday was Ugandan's Independence Day so they did get to see the ophthalmologist but it took a 8 hours of waiting first.  That doctor said the eyes are fine and it is a deformed bone issue from birth and to continue with the plastic surgeon at Corsu.  He also explained to the ladies that his brain is exposed through the hole in the skull.  Tuesday evening they came to stay at a hotel near us and we all went out to eat for Grace's 13th birthday! (Her birthday will be Thursday when we travel back to Obule.)  We went for Italian and asked them if they wanted to try new food or if they wanted fish and chips.  They wanted to try new food so they had pizza and spaghetti for the first time in their lives.  They just giggled.  They said they liked it though.  Emuli was so happy to be with our kids.  He loves Luka!  Emuli is VERY quiet and doesn't even interact with his mother, but when he is with the kids he smiles and talks and laughs.  I love seeing that.  It was quite funny to see him eat spaghetti and smile with all his food.  He is so amazed by everything that the ladies have to hold his hand otherwise he would just wander away looking at everything.  In the hotel his little face was just pressed up against the window looking out and fogging up the glass.  The ladies are in awe of the city too.  Kate lives and works here but she works all the time and goes nowhere.  She had never been outside of the area of her work.  (She works for a family and cares for their kids.)  Margaret said she had lost hope that she would ever see Kampala (this is her first time).  She was very happy to see Kampala before she dies.  They were COMPLETELY amazed by the elevator!  They just laughed and laughed about a tiny room with a door that shuts, then shakes and opens in a new place.  They talked a lot about that.  Emuli didn't really notice because he was watching the buttons that Josh pushed and lit up.  It is really neat to hear their prospective on life in the city and things they have never seen before.

Wednesday they all went back to the doctor at Corsu with all the reports.  He confirmed that Emuli's brain is exposed or coming out of the half inch hole in his skull (the bridge area of his nose).  That means he, a plastic surgeon, can't do anything.  Emuli needs a neurosurgeon.  So we will be taking him to Cure Hospital in Mbale.  The good news this is only an hour and a half from our home.  It is still all shocking though.  Here we were helping a boy with an eye problem and it ends up being a hole in his skull and the brain exposed.  What does this mean for him?  What will be done?  Will anything be done?  Can they do it here?  Lots of unanswered questions yet.  I wonder what Kate things.  Does Emuli understand anything?  We hope to stop at Cure on our way home tomorrow to talk with the doctor and show him the reports and see where we go from there.

After the meeting with the doctor, Josh asked them if they would like to see the international airport since they were only a few miles away.  They said yes!  When Emuli saw Lake Victoria on the way to the airport he just made noises of excitement.  Josh stopped at the gas station next to the airport and they overlooked the airstrip and looked at all the airplanes.  Then a plane landed in front of them.  Emuli was very excited and the ladies loved it.  How fun that they got to see so much for the first time in their lives.  I would love to hear what they say when they get home!

Thank you for praying with us!  We need your prayers for strength and wisdom.  Emuli needs your prayers for healing and comfort in all this.  Pray for a wise, caring, and certain doctor so we know what to do.  Continue to pray for God to use this to work in Emuil's whole family and their home.  Thank God for Margaret to help us and others who care and pray with us.  Thank God for answers and for providing the doctors we needed.