Monday, November 28, 2011

Rainy Season Storms

Wow!!! What a huge storm last night ... the eye of the storm must have passed over us three different and very separate times. How anyone could sleep through all that noise is beyond me (but Josh managed to do so). Evidence was all around this morning with limbs down here and there all around town. Power went out at the onset of the storm as well.
Rainy season is obviously quite upon us right now. I have certainly enjoyed the cooler temperatures this past week -- in the 70s most of the time and even in the upper 60s when we rise in the mornings. Very pleasant overall.
But I can't help but think of all those folks out there in mud-walled and grass-thatch roofed homes. For them, storms can mean the difference between losing everything and actually surviving the night. The torrential rains bring instant flooding through the villages. If the downpour doesn't affect their homes, the flooding may just finish them off.
As I lay there listening to the storm in my safe and warm, cozy bed, I find myself praying for those that I know who live in such houses. Most of those I know here personally live in the islands of Lake Victoria. They literally know what it means to survive from day to day.
Lightning strikes are not uncommon here either, not just of objects but also people. So I also think about their personal physical safety during such times.
Realizing the struggle just to make it through the storms that come and go so frequently here during the rainy season, it is no wonder that the Ugandan people tend to live day to day without a whole lot of emphasis on the future ahead. There is so much to be done just to make it through the day.
So if you think about it the next time you are in a storm, whether in your warm and safe house or car, please pray for the Ugandan people. Just plain everyday living can be such a struggle during such times. With rising inflation at 30%+ this past month, it is no wonder that even just feeding their families is difficult.
But we know the God who provides all that is truly needed and we give Him glory even when He sends the storms. And we thank Him for such awesome protection in the midst of these storms!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Phew!!! How Jesus must have felt ...

Today was our second Sunday back in Uganda, but somehow it felt like we'd been here all along and had never left. I had been scheduled to teach children's church months ago, and it was my turn. Janae started back with the preschool class, and Bob, well, he was asked to preach again.
The church we attend is a very unique church. It is similar to a campus ministry with lots of transient attendees. The missionaries from America that started the church had a heart for missionaries who were not being fed well on the weekends. They were giving, giving, giving and getting spent in the process. His desire was to have a place where missionaries could come and get truly fed. This means there are a lot of white missionaries there. It also means that some of those missionaries cannot just get fed. Some of us must work in order for things to get done.
Nowadays, we meet on the side lawn of his home on plastic lawn chairs with a sound system. The worship team is primarily Ugandan, leading American type contemporary worship songs. In the back courtyard of his home, the children's program runs between 70-80 children on any given Sunday, most Ugandan and many without much English knowledge. The preschoolers get to stay inside his office for their Bible story and activity time.
When you look out at the congregation, you will see a real mix of colors. There are missionaries from around the world, including many short term visitors and workers. There are some white business people as well. And yes, there are also a lot of Ugandans in this mix. We must be running over 150 now as there seems to be less and less open chairs available, but I'm not really sure. The church is finally looking at purchasing property to build an open concept type structure that fits our needs.
As I said, today was my turn to do children's church. Because of the nature of the church itself, there are only 5 or 6 of us that take turns in the children's ministry. And only 1 of us on any given Sunday is required to 'hang out' with those 70 average school age children. That alone sounds overwhelming.
But I am truly amazed each time I have my turn. The children know the routine and for the most part, sit still and listen. We have little visual stimulus and rarely have music to sing with. Yet, somehow, we hope that God's Word is being poured into these little hearts.
Today I was sharing about the Sermon on the Mount. I couldn't help but be in awe of Jesus as His audience was much more broad than mine in so many ways. His captivating way held their attention and fed their souls. I was only with the children for 40-45 minutes and I was exhausted. I cannot imagine preaching on a hillside with thousands and actually keeping their attention without a microphone. But I can imagine how "Jesus" did ... well, sort of. Phew!!! I am definitely in awe of Him. I only pray that some good seed has fallen on good soil for Him.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Welcome Back!!!

After being away less than four months from Uganda, we have been back for almost a week now. We were greeted by so many with "Welcome Back" and "You were lost!" It has been fun renewing relationships, one at a time. Even the supermarket owners seem to be 'glad' to see me back ... hmmm ... wonder if they have an ulterior motive though?
It was a bit difficult having so few hours of electricity during our first four or five days, but now that we have it a bit more than not, it has become easier adjusting back to our life here. Candles and flashlights are quite good friends to us now.
We are looking forward to how God might use us here, even now. Bob will be going to the island soon to help with some kind of building project, while I will have the privilege of getting to help out with a few of the secretarial type duties for SHIM. Bob will be going to the SHIM staff retreat, while I will be helping a fellow missionary with their children while the parents are away. Bob has already resumed his studies and preparations for SHIM seminars, while I have been busy putting things away and getting things back out in the house (well, and just trying to keep up on the regular household duties). Bob will be preaching this Sunday for church, while Janae and I are trying to get the preschool program back up and running there. And this is just a drop in the bucket as life resumes here.
Janae and Josh are happy to rejoin the youth group. All of the kids are enjoying meeting the new missionary kids that have come since we have been gone. But the most imminent task ahead is to have all the children back on a regular school schedule. Janae was the first to start back and then Josh this week. Now for Jon and Josiah's turn tomorrow.
As you can see, a new routine is forming in our lives, something that has been missing since before we left here in July. Of course, there will be intermittent ministry in the islands and ongoing tasks on the mainland. But we are excited to see what God has ahead for us! We are grateful for His leading and His care as we look beyond ourselves to see His desires!!! Looks like we are back home in Uganda!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Career Missionaries

Today marked the end of our probationary period with Global Outreach and we are now officially 'career missionaries.' We are so grateful for the home office staff and their way of including everyone as part of their missions family. We were prayed over and challenged to make sure we are not only "with" Christ and "for" Christ but truly "in" Christ at all times. (John 15)

You might think things have changed for us now. But in all honesty, I cannot think of anything that has. We are still committed to follow God's lead albeit to Uganda or to the United States. We are still Global Outreach missionaries but somehow we are now "officially" part of the family. We are grateful for their covering and all the immense support the staff provides. We truly could not do our work on the field without them.

Thank You, Lord, for Your provision in the home office of Global Outreach International. We appreciate their hearts and desire to serve You by serving us! May we honor You fully in our lives and in our return to Uganda next week.