Tuesday, November 3, 2015
This furlough I have had the opportunity to be a part of the Northwest School of Missions. It is a program where a few missionaries (this year there were four) are selected to travel around the northwest and speak at various Christian churches that choose to participate. It involved about a month of traveling and speaking. I had the opportunity to share at 20 different churches across the northwest. Michelle and the boys did not travel with me, so they could do homeschool. While it was a long and tiring month, it did allow me to meet a lot of very nice people. While I did share about our work in Uganda, my main focus was on the events of our last year and the lessons God has taught us, especially about God’s desire for us to learn to walk with Him and put our trust in Him. The message looked at the 23rd Psalm and its teaching on what it means to follow God. This was the message God had put upon my heart to share. After giving this message a number of times, I was glad Michelle and the kids did not have to travel with me and hear me give the same message over and over. I was even becoming tired of hearing myself give the message. I tried not doing the message part a couple of times. At one church I felt short on time so I decided to just talk about our work, but a fellow kept interrupting me to ask why we were working in Africa. I realized that God was not allowing me to skip the message He had given me, so I went ahead and shared the message part about following God. Another time I asked God in my devotion time to give me a different message to give. I then went to the next passage of scripture I was to read and found it to be the 23rd Psalm. It was clear I was to stay with the message He had given me. The message part made my presentation a little long, but I think it was more beneficial to those hearing than just hearing about us. God seemed to speak through the stories of our struggles to many people who were dealing with difficulties of their own. At one location before my presentation I overheard a phone conversation in which a man was saying he was not going to come to hear me speak as he was too tired. This did not overly bother me as I did not assume that everyone needed to come hear me. I always figured God could motivate the people who needed to hear. But in this case, I felt God prompt me to pray for this man to come as he needed to be there. I gave the presentation and afterwards a man came up and told me the message had especially touched him as he had been going through some very difficult times lately and had been discouraged. He said he had not planned to come as he had been very tired, but then had felt powerfully moved that he needed to be there. He was the very man I had prayed for. It was not easy being away from the family for so long to do the School of Missions, but I thank God for the opportunity, and pray for His blessings on the people I have met.
It has been a while since I have up dated how things are going. In May we did go down to South Africa for my heart surgery. We had some run around with the insurance that left us in limbo for a few days but the surgery was done and it went fine. The surgery was what is called a “Heart Ablation.” They go in through veins in the lower abdomen/groin area and use lasers to cut areas in the heart which heals with scar tissue to interrupt or silence the nerves that send the wrong signals. That is about as technical as I get. They use a thingamabob to fix the whatchamacallit in my heart. We rested a couple of days and then made the trip back to Uganda. This involved having to run through an airport to make connections, after which my heart went out of rhythm again. We had been told that there was a 70% chance the surgery would fix the problem, and we were afraid I was in the 30% that didn’t work. But with the help of some prayer, my heart went back into rhythm. Praise God! After a visit to my cardiologist in Nairobi, we were told that this was pretty common right after surgery. The heart needed time to heal from the surgery. He told me I just needed to rest for a month and then we would see. It has now been about five months after the surgery and my heart has been doing well, so we are very hopeful that the heart will now behave itself so we can continue on in the work God has called us. I would ask for your prayers for not only for my continued health but for Michelle’s bone spur in her neck as it continues to cause her pain and discomfort.