Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Just a House?

You know, a house can just be a house or a house can be your home. God has been so good to us here in Uganda. First off, we were able to send most of our worldly possessions from America in a container which arrived before we did. Second, a house was waiting for us to make into a home when we arrived.
It is interesting to me that the first house was merely a resting place in between the places. It was a great house in size, stately in its stature and clearly was quite a house in its day once, and had a great location. But that house had many maintenance issues regularly which was sometimes rather costly for us and the landlord decided to breach his own contract by raising the rent before two years' time of commitment. And somehow, while it was home for awhile, it was never really "comfortable" for the family. We loved the yard and the boys especially enjoyed it as their playground, to be sure. But somehow it seemed temporary for us.

God's provision for the time was really nice, but we are grateful for the new house that God has provided for us. Just down the street (literally), it is much smaller with just three bedrooms. But it is much closer to the size we are used to. The style of the house is more similar to what we are used to. The boys are used to rooming all together in one room. We are used to going to a separate part of the house for doing homeschool. So many things such as these facilitated the process of this new house becoming our home so very quickly.

And we are blessed. It may be smaller but we are closer. It may be lower in the location, so internet and phone coverage are spotty. But we are still connected. It may be more on the outskirts of where most of the Americans live, but we are next to a church and some of our dearest friends are just around the corner. Even the nurse we call for help with medical needs is near.

Most of all, this house has quickly become our home. Thank you, Father, for Your great wisdom in providing such a place that we can enjoy and share with others!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011


You know, I had this idea of what being a missionary was going to be like. I would be "out there." I would "learn the local language." I would respond with a "great compassion" for all those I come into contact with. I would be so busy with ministry that lives would be touched for Jesus every single day.
Now I must say ... reviewing these thoughts makes me feel like a real failure. Over this past school year, we have struggled to get as much school done as possible. Each time our family goes to the island, it involves a whole week off of school. We have tried taking school with us, but not much gets accomplished because I am not available to supervise and help them along. Once a week is SHIM's prayer day (which is obviously very important and we do enjoy participating), but again, this is another day which school seldom gets done or if so, very little, because of the time involved for this one meeting.
Now this situation puts me in particular in a big dilemma ... my heart is torn - on the one side for my children and on the other for ministry ... Whenever I participate in the SHIM ministry as fully as I can, we only accomplish two weeks of school in a month's time on average. You can imagine this puts us far behind where we should be. In fact, it is the second week of July and we are still in full swing with school, trying to get as much done before we head to America on furlough.
Bob is so good and tender with his wife when things like this happen. It was clear to him which choice must be made -- the children first and foremost during this time in their lives (and mine). I know he is right and yes, it is true.
So ... I refocus myself on my children and their education. And I redesign my ministry with SHIM for the time being. I know that God wants me to share our home freely with others as well as use the van He has provided to help also. So ... while I continue to believe I do not have the gift of hospitality, I am believing Him when He asks me to step out and offer it anyways in obedience to His call. It is a shift in mindset for me.
I guess I always just assumed that He wanted me to participate fully with SHIM's ministries, specifically the Family Ministry Team. It hadn't occurred to me that He didn't want me to.
This has brought me to my knees in seeking His desires anew for me like I should have sought what He wanted me specifically to do here before I just jumped in. He laid pastor's wives on my heart and has given me a desire to pray for those living in the islands. He laid the village children in Kyoya on my heart and gave me a desire to reach out to them. And yes, I believe He gave me my own children and laid on my heart years ago to homeschool them. And no, that has not changed. So I guess really there is no dilemma as it had seemed.
My ministry for SHIM will change. I will still offer my home for any meetings, especially the once-a-month staff meeting, as well as any other way I can. (I have even been enjoying recently some time with the single SHIM ladies who come to bake.) I hope to open my home to more meals with SHIM staff members as well as game nights and maybe even once-a-month movie nights. I am not sure entirely how He would have to me to do as yet. But this time, I will seek His desires before my ideas.
But going out to the SHIM base on Lingira Island and teaching in the Family Ministry seminars around the nearby islands with Bob will no longer occur on a regular basis for me. While this makes my heart sad, I know it is what God wants me to do. In that I find peace and comfort in knowing that He will call me to other things in due time. But for now, I am renewed in my heart and will obey His call to school my children to His glory once again.
Okay. No dilemma!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Wow! Think about it ... freedom! It is not something that came easily and yet we Americans take it so for granted. At least I know I do.
Living here in a foreign country, we often have reminders. Here in Uganda, people are guilty until proven innocent. This means they lose their freedom by being put in jail until someone can prove their innocence. Seeing military police around town can also dampen one's image of freedom (yet we do feel safe, by the way).
Yesterday was the Fourth of July, our nation's Independence Day; the day we celebrate both our independence and our freedom. It is our second year now to celebrate it outside of the states, outside its protection.
And yes, we are proud to be Americans. Yes, even with all its faults. Yes, we are grateful for all who fought for us and for all of those who attempted to begin a nation built upon God.
And we are grateful for fellow American friends to celebrate here with ... by wearing red, white and blue ... a barbecue with good food (even watermelon and hot dogs)... and even some fireworks.
To God be the glory for "in God we DO trust!"