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.

We have had our share of ups and downs, gains and losses throughout this time. Each day comes with new challenges, frustrations, joys, blessings, and many other emotions swirling around in our hearts and minds. We have enjoyed the slower pace of life, but we have missed spending time with discipleship groups and church leaders. We have enjoyed homeschooling Adalyn (most days), but Adalyn really misses her teacher and her friends. We have enjoyed family time with bike rides, walks, games, and watching TV shows together. We have missed driving and being able to move freely.

One thing that we have all wrestled with over the last several weeks is that our flights to the U.S. this summer have been canceled. We are mourning the fact that we don’t know when we’ll be going back. There are events we will miss, people we want to see, items we were hoping to buy, churches we wanted to visit, places we wanted to travel, memories we wanted to make and share, etc. And our family is processing these losses on a daily basis.

As we process how we are doing each day/week, we all have different emotions each day and we experience the losses at different times. One day I am thankful for delivery options becoming more available with WhatsApp, but the next day I feel stuck because I don’t have time for a 2-hour walk to/from town to pick up something I want. Adalyn misses her friends and playing with them every day at school; she misses going to the swimming pool; she misses dates with us in town for lunch or milkshakes. But at the same time, she’s loving the family time together and gets upset when Leland needs to leave to do some work. Leland has also been struggling with what to do during this time. With ministry opportunities so limited due to lack of movement and no gatherings, he and the Mission have had to be creative with how to help. It’s been a learning experience for all of us.

One thing we have all had to learn is to have more grace for one another. We (and everyone else) are handling the changes differently. And we are all doing things we need to do in order to stay sane, so I pray that as we continue to figure out all the ramifications of life after Covid-19, we have love for one another, we have compassion for one another, and we have patience for one another.

We are in this together, so let us mourn the losses together and let us celebrate the blessings together, however messy and different that looks for each of us.  

In the Midst of a Pandemic

Life has changed here in Uganda over the past four weeks. Little by little, and seemingly daily, every aspect of life has changed. Churches, schools, and public transportation have been closed; all stores that aren’t selling food or medicine have been shut; produce markets have been limited; national curfew has been put in place; private vehicles have been banned; even public exercising is not allowed. The government has been making constant adjustments to limit (or hopefully eliminate) the affects that Covid-19 has here, so it has impacted every area of life. 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

Making Friends is HARD

I remember being in college and watching FRIENDS and thinking how awesome it was that these people were close friends for such a long time. It seemed like a guarantee that would be my life after college. When we moved to Boulder after college, our first prayer was for friends. I remember many hard evenings of frustration where we wrestled with the idea that making friends was SO hard after college. Don’t get me wrong, we were supported by the church in wonderful and amazing ways. But we longed for deep friendships to share life. And we could not figure out why it seemed to take so long. And then after a year or so, we began making some great friends. And we began sharing life together all the time: playing volleyball and indoor soccer, eating Buffalo Wild Wings, making amazing dinners, celebrating together, and playing more volleyball. It was home and real and life-giving. 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

Are Missionary Kids Missionaries?

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

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