Missionary Merit Badges

This post is for our fellow missionaries and expats, trying to find humor and victories in the simple, mundane things of everyday life. Just like the Scouts, expatriates and missionaries should start collecting merit badges for the things we have accomplished. Here are a few that my friends and I thought about to get us started…

  • I killed a giant bug in the house without screaming
  • I didn’t cry when dinner was ruined by weevils in the flour
  • I waited patiently 2 hours for food to come after ordering
  • I popped a mango worm out of my kid
  • I was kind to the parking attendant in town
  • I didn’t roll my eyes when the fifth person of the day requested money
  • I made it through a whole day without a ponytail
  • I had a patient attitude when meeting began 2 hours later than scheduled
  • I was able to get money out of the first ATM I tried
  • I didn’t panic when cheese couldn’t be found in town
  • I shopped in the local supermarket without breaking into a sweat
  • I video called family this month
  • I killed a rat by stomping on it
  • I didn’t kill a goat while driving through the village
  • I only had to go to one supermarket to find my groceries
  • My stomach wasn’t messed up today
  • I survived both water & electricity being out for the day
  • I chopped veggies and cut through maggots without vomiting
  • I handled a morning of what seemed like hundreds of interruptions
  • I calmly waited for motorcycles to move so I could get into a parking spot
  • I was finally able to get out the meat stuck between my teeth
  • I swept out ants, gecko poop and cobwebs from a top closet that hasn’t been opened for years

Feel free to comment and add merit badges you or others have earned. Let’s celebrate and laugh about some of the hard and funny things we get to experience.

To Obey or Not to Obey, That is the Question…

I read a devotional that hit me hard, and I want to share it with you as a way to commiserate with you about the Truth and the challenge in it…

“The issue is not that we can’t obey God – that we can’t forgive that parent who hurt us so deeply, that we can’t  love that colleague at work, that we can’t give thanks in the midst of the storm, or that we can’t be content with our one-bedroom apartment. The real issue is that we won’t forgive, we are unwilling to love, and we refuse to give thanks and to be content with what God has provided. Obedience is a choice made in dependence on the supernatural power of God. By the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, we can choose to forgive, choose to let Him love others through us, choose to give thanks in every circumstance and choose to be content.”

Continue reading

Gains and Losses

I don’t think any of us expected things to go the way they have over the past few months. We have learned new words and experienced new things: global pandemics, markets crashing, national lockdowns, social distancing, infection rates, and so much more. The world has drastically changed since we visited America in December. Many of you are aware that our family made the decision in late March that we would stay in Uganda, our home, during these unprecedented times. Through much prayer and discussion, we felt this is where we should be. So far, Uganda has still managed to prevent massive spread of Covid-19, and we are all so thankful for this! As with many people around the world, we are processing the gains and losses during this time. There are many blessings and things to be thankful for. But there are also everyday losses that we feel because life isn’t normal and it’s a bit more stressful with extra restrictions. Continue reading

Other Parts of the World…

It has been a struggle to watch this pandemic sweep across the world. It has been hard to watch my fellow Americans panic and become upset with one another for the different ways people are reacting to the lockdowns, isolation, and social distancing.

But it has been most difficult to balance the reality that the world is so much bigger than what’s posted on social media. Here in Uganda, we are less concerned with the virus itself (although the government has put some serious restrictions on movement and businesses to prevent rapid spread), and more concerned about the ramifications of all the closures and lack of movement. There is a good chance that in developing countries there will be more people effected by starvation than COVID-19. Continue reading

Encourage One Another…

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” This sounds simple, yet it’s not always easy. I see the importance of it, and I have seen how God uses my words to encourage, affirm, uplift another person who needed to hear what I had to say. God was using me to share with them. Continue reading

Grace Upon Us

Last year was a difficult one, and many of you have walked with us during the challenges, successes, emotions and frustrations. As I look back on our life in ministry, I see many of you walking alongside us through so many phases of our life, and I am humbled, honored and thankful for the people who have loved us, shown us grace, forgiven us, taught us, helped us, encouraged us, gave us advice, supported us and pointed us to Christ.

Leland and I were talking the other night about the many mistakes we have made in our life of ministry, both in our early years in Boulder, CO as well as our time in Belton, TX. And how we continue to make mistakes, but we are learning to be different, and hopefully more like Jesus. There are several times I can look back at my life and realize how stupid, stubborn and arrogant I was, and how frustrating it must have been for those around me. Continue reading

Spiritual Warfare is Real

I must confess: I am a skeptic when it comes to the unseen world and spiritual warfare. I have doubts and cynicism when I hear about about miracles or dreams. Don’t get me wrong: I know the spiritual battle is real. Scripture talks about it, and I have heard amazing experiences from people I know and trust. But my life experiences and “American-Christian Brain” cause me to still find it hard to wrap my mind around. Continue reading

Adalyn Turns 7!!!

Happy Birthday Adalyn! It’s hard to believe this is her fourth birthday celebrated in Uganda. She has lived here longer than she lived in America. It has been a blessing to watch her grow and mature. She loves learning and playing, and we have enjoyed watching her thrive in school, with her friends, and in our community. As another year has passed, here is another round of questions to see where she is this year… Continue reading

Death Sucks

This post is a bit delayed because it took me several attempts to get my thoughts written down, and it still doesn’t capture the full expression of my feelings…

But, death sucks! I think we can all equally say we hate it. Even when we can celebrate the long life a person lived or know that person is going to be in heaven, it still sucks for those of us who are still here on earth.

What do you do to get through it? What do you do to mourn? How do you move forward? Continue reading