Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Moving Rapidly Forward!

Praise God! Jesse, Hadassah and I have so much to share as we continue moving forward on this journey God has us on. The Lord has a real call upon the young adults of Uganda, and it becomes more evident everyday. We continue to be amazed that the vision he gave us of the Lord sending out arrows of light from this region into North Africa is one that is reiterated and confirmed by so many that we have met, here and in the US. He really has an inheritance stored up for this orphaned generation, if they will say "yes" to Him!! We believe that is why we are here, to serve them in their primary call to love Jesus with their whole being, and then in the call to reach the nations with the Gospel.

To that end we have begun putting down roots here in Uganda. We have moved into our home, which is too big for us, but we feel instructed to use it as a base of operations for the time being. We have a separate building on the property that we are renovating to use as a kind of dorm. We plan on hosting a full-time live-in internship that will be a community approach to discipleship. Prayer and worship will play, and already does take, a central role in our day-to-day lives, and we see it as the fuel for all that we do. God has already brought together an inspiring group of Ugandan young adults through past trips from the US, whom we fondly call the interns. They have rallied around us and are helping us adjust to life and teaching us many things. We love seeking the face of God with them! The Lord has already opened doors for Youth Ablaze to minister to the youth of the whole region through a regional gathering expected to bring 500 youth! We are praying and fasting, asking the Lord for his guidance on how best to serve them. Right now our main focus is on hosting the team from the US who are coming in July. We have a full schedule of Boot camp, Open-air preaching, VBS, youth conference and ministering in schools. Please pray for God's grace on the whole team, Ugandan and American, for health, safety, and for the power of God to be manifested!

On a more personal note, we have been struggling with some sickness and believe it is the enemy coming against the Holy momentum that is building. We ask for your prayers that we would know how to stand against the devil, and that we would walk in victory. Also, we have taken in a young girl named Christine. She is 13, her father died many years ago and her mother has completely rejected her. She is very bright, speaks English, loves school and loves the Lord. We prayerfully have taken her in and are supporting her. Please pray for the Love of God to penetrate and heal all wounds in her heart, that she would know her purpose and the Love of her heavenly Father.

We will write again soon, as we now have Internet access at home.We thank you for reading and may God bless you so much!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Our First Week = Learning Patience

Praise God! He is able! I find myself writing today at the home of Paul and Jean McFate in Tororo, Uganda, our new hometown. After a few days of family gatherings and tearful goodbyes, we set off for the airport last Tuesday morning at 5:15am. After a lengthy check-in (because of all our excess bags), we boarded the 7 hour flight to London. Not far into the journey Hadassah developed a fever and started to get sick. She slept most of the way after that and when we arrived we had to run to the next 8+ hour flight. Upon arriving we discovered that the airline had misplaced 7 of our 13 bags so we waited at the desk to file a claim. I realized immediately that Africa runs at a much slower pace than the west. There is a lot of waiting and looking around before anything gets done. God is going to teach me patience! We spent the following 3 days at the home of Ron and Shirley DeVore who have a lovely guesthouse right outside of the capital city of Kampala. We would spent the day out in the city shopping and going through immigration, then our evenings at there home in good company. We had so much to accomplish and it all had to be done in a couple of days because we had scheduled the moving truck to pick us up on Saturday. By God’s grace and with the help of the McFates we were able to do all the important stuff in time.
When the truck came we loaded it up and set off on the perilous roads to Tororo District. We didn’t realize that the Ugandan national soccer team had a game outside the city that same afternoon, so we were stuck in very heavy traffic (including scores of motorbikes and pedestrians) for hours. We had planned to get into town by 7pm. Instead we had to travel by dark. The highway is a combination of badly deteriorated pavement with massive potholes, and red-dirt packed stretches, which are shared by vehicles, tractor-trailers, pedestrians, bicycles, livestock, motorcycles, you name it! Traveling by night is very slow going. When we finally pulled into Tororo is was after 10pm. Hadassah had basically slept in my lap the entire journey and was very patient. (Her car seat was one of the lost bags). She still was feeling somewhat ill so she needed the rest. As we rounded the corner with the house almost in sight, the big diesel moving truck ran out of fuel. We almost cried, but instead we laughed. We took another vehicle to town, stopped for a container, searched for a fuel station open that late, filled up the engine and eventually got it started. Then, we completed the last mile to our house, unloaded the entire truck, paid the drivers, and went to the McFates house, where we got to bed around 1am. Like I said, everything takes longer in Africa. The whole journey probably would take 2 hours on US roads.
Anyhow, we are getting our stuff moved in and organized at our place, which is just so beautiful. The property is like the Garden of Eden, with a giant mango tree, an avocado tree, and a small cornfield (I am not joking) all walled in by tall hedges. For the last 3 days we have been cleaning and organizing the house, interviewing Watchmen, and having the house fumigated for cockroaches :) Tomorrow we will spend the day in Mbale (about 45 minutes away) where we can get a propane tank and other needed supplies. Then we will be ready to move in by the end of the week!!!
There are three houses on the compound where the McFates live. One is theirs, the second belongs to Ken Knowles (another missionary), and the third is called Awinjo House. It is used as a house for children 6-22 who are orphans or whose parents cannot care for them. The house parents are Michael and Immaculate, some of the sweetest people I have ever met. Last night we joined them for worship and prayer. The children all gathers in the main room and sang songs and cried out in prayers for one another. It was so beautiful. Several of them had been in the hospital being treated for malaria that day. We were honored to join them in worshipping Jesus. The youngest is 6, her name is gracious. Every time we get out of the car or come out of the house she runs and jumps into our arms and hugs us. She is unbelievably precious. Hadassah has many friends over there. They pass her from person to person until she gets tired of it. Or they will swing with her on the rope swing or run with the puppies (oh yeah, we got a Great Dane puppy on our way from the city, his name is Zion). This has been a very busy time, but we have had the chance to stop and enjoy it too.
Finally, we are making many good contacts and relationships with others who serve the youth in this region as well as some of the Interns we knew from before. We are praying that God will continue to order our steps as we step out in faith. We miss our friends and family back home, but God is putting good people in our lives here. May God bless you!