One aspect of missionary life that I was not anticipating is the close-knit community that surrounds us here in Mbale, Uganda. Not only do we live among like-minded people serving God through different ministries here, but we all are away from our home cultures and need to rely on each other for life stuff. Whether it’s celebrating Thanksgiving together, helping a family who needs medical treatment, someone who has to leave unexpectedly, or having a pool party to celebrate the end of the school year, it is a beautiful thing called COMMUNITY. And while being a close-knit community also has challenges, we are thankful because not all missionaries have community like we do. And not all people have relationships that are connected through the desire to follow God to wherever He calls.
One aspect of community that always makes me emotional is Adalyn’s school. It’s a little homeschool cooperative of about 25-30 kids from kindergarten through 8th grade (depending on the year). And it recruits teachers from around the world who volunteer to teach our children. But these teachers aren’t just at the school; they are in our lives and they are here to help our families. They come over for dinner, they join in community gatherings, they play with our kids, they support our kids in activities they are involved in, they pray for and with our kids, they love our kids. And I couldn’t be more thankful for this environment.
Each year has challenges and each year looks different based on the teachers available, and now Covid, government restrictions, etc. But it has been a blessing to be involved with a school that not only teaches my kid what she needs to know in education, but also help us mold her character into who she ought to be as a follower of Jesus. The teachers are role models for our kids, the parents gather to pray over the community (pictured), and I don’t want to take that for granted.
We can all agree that 2020 was a crazy year, and for us personally, 2021 wasn’t looking any better with my dad’s death, an unexpected ice storm that affected my travel, getting back to life in Uganda amidst the pandemic, A LOT of house repairs needed, and ministry struggles. But things seemed to be settling down…
Just in time for another lockdown. While the U.S. and Europe has a large population of people who are vaccinated, there are many countries around the world that don’t have vaccines. In Uganda, we were watching as Kenya and other surrounding countries were struggling with the new Covid variant from India, but Uganda seemed to be okay. Uganda has been okay throughout the Covid situation with no real explanation.
But of course, this stronger variant inevitably arrived in an unvaccinated country and now is hitting Uganda pretty hard. With the hopes to reduce the impact on already full hospitals and very limited oxygen supplies, the President mandated another lockdown. No movement, except for cargo to transport food and supplies.
So, we are back to walking everywhere. The simple luxury of driving our own vehicle has been restricted. And this time it has hit me a bit harder. The freedom of being able to go pick up groceries, visit a friend, or go to the swimming pool now has become more complicated. Ministry has been put on hold because no one can move to see each other. And phone calls are just not the same. I thought surely, a year later, we would be in a better situation with Covid. And while other countries seem to be getting back to normal, there are many countries who are still dealing with this pandemic. Thus, I am struggling a bit more with this lockdown. I know many others are struggling as well, but not just because they can’t drive a car, but because the schools have been shut down for more than a year, people can’t take care of their families because they are unable to work, the transport of food is limited, sick people can’t easily get to town for the hospital so they are dying. It’s hard!
So please continue to pray for others. Please continue to watch the world to see how others are doing in this situation and pray for their leaders. Pray for vaccines to make it around the world. Pray that there aren’t any more unnecessary deaths because of the lack of medical supplies. Pray for a way out of this pandemic…for everyone.
Just recently, I went to a funeral for a little girl who battled sickness in a wheelchair most of her life, and she finally “ran to the arms of Jesus” at age 11. At the funeral, someone said “To be born is a blessing and to die is a must”. While we all mourned her death for being so young, that statement rang so true to me for my dad as well. My dad has been battling ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, since spring of 2019, although the doctors didn’t know that’s what it was until June 2020. While 2020 was a crappy year in so many ways, the shutdown of Uganda in regards to Adalyn’s school and our ministry allowed us to be able to travel to the U.S. at the end of July 2020 and spend 5 months in America, and about 3 of those months of quality time with my parents. Continue reading →
Adalyn has turned 8 years old. This is her first birthday in the U.S. since we left for Uganda when she had just turned 3 years old. We had the crazy realization that we traveled across the world with a toddler who was barely 3 years old! Wow! It has been a blessing to watch her grow and mature into the feisty, strong, caring and adventurous little girl. As another year has passed, here is another round of questions to see where she is this year…
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 →
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 →
Recently I read an article on Christianity Today (click HERE to read it) that both challenged me and expressed some parts of my reality. (You’re going to need to read that article before the rest of this post makes any sense…) The central question is: What is the role of family in Kingdom ministry? The answer that the article concludes with is: IT’S COMPLICATED. Yeah, that about sums it up. Continue reading →
We were so blessed to spend Christmas this year in the States. We were able to visit supporters, churches, friends, and family at an incredibly fun time of the year. Plus, we were able to remember COLD! (Gina and Adalyn were less excited about it than I was.) Having spent the past two Christmas’ in Uganda and away from family (for the most part), we truly appreciate the joy of sitting at the same table, sharing the same meal, watching kids open presents, and simply being together.
One of the elements of missionary / ex-patriot life that I was not anticipating and has been an incredible blessing is the cultural diversity. I knew we would be surrounded by Ugandan and East African cultures, but I didn’t really think about all the many other cultures we get to experience living among other missionary and ex-pat workers here. The beautiful mix of people, language, and cultures makes serving here a special and unique experience. We get to celebrate different holidays with our multi-national friends who live here Continue reading →
Adalyn got to celebrate her birthday, both by dressing up at a school party and having a superhero birthday party. She had a blast playing with her friends and is loved well. We are thankful for another year of our spunky, fun, energetic and beautiful daughter. Here are the questions for this year…Continue reading →