Friday, March 21, 2014

A thank-you note

Note: Sometimes we feel like we can't adequately convey the power of your teamwork with us, and the ways God blesses people here through you. This week, some people joined hands to get a study Bible to one of our local staff. In her story and the note she sent in thanks, we felt like it captured the partnership so many of you take on with us.
As I [John] convey down below, this is a great example for me of how we get the blessing of tangibly loving Hanipher but have really been supported to do so in a very real way by each of you and the many people who support us financially, materially, prayerfully, and emotionally to be here. The e-mail I sent to the Bible's senders is posted below.
Thank you.
Dear *** and ***, *** and ***, and ***,

I wanted to pass on this sweet note from Hanipher, a young Ugandan woman who provides cleaning services for our office.  The attached note really should be addressed to each of you as well.   A little background: Hanipher came to work for EMI less than a year ago.   As I have built a relationship with Hanipher I have seen a real hunger for and knowledge of the word.   She has the spirit of a prophet in my eyes and as her wisdom and maturity grow that will bring greater ability for Hanipher to stand as a bold and passionate influence upon the Ugandan Church.  It has been a joy already to see her grow in faith over the past several months.  As she has been here she has repeatedly borrowed the study Bibles we brought back for Stephen, our support staff manager.     


Because of each of you, we were able to give Hanipher a study Bible and the attached is her note of thanks.   Though it is a little hard to read, you will be blessed in taking the time to do so.  ... Thank you each for the open hearted role you played.   Though it may seem small to you, the smile on her face when she received it and again the next day when she brought this note was a moment I was blessed by and I wanted to try to share that with you.  


This is a great example for me of how we get the blessing of tangibly loving Hanipher but have really been supported to do so in a very real way by each of you and the many people who support us financially, materially, prayerfully, and emotionally to be here.   We are not in this alone.  You guys are a part of sending and supporting us in meaningful ministry and redemptive relationships, and today that has made a difference in Hanipher’s life.   Perhaps tomorrow she will be passing on to another the blessing you have given her through us. Thanks so much for being a part of it.


A good year (and a prayer request)

When we first arrived in Uganda, John and I decided we needed to at least stay three years. Particularly with John in Member Care, we knew relationships took an investment of time—and how much more so cross-culturally?

Thankfully, we were right. I wish I could describe to you the difference in our lives here even since returning from the U.S. to an African sunrise in early January this year. The calendar seems to be nearly peeling itself off the wall. Even now, I seek for words to express the richness of our lives—all the spontaneous guests for dinner, the friends clinking the lock at our gate to signal their arrival, the cups of ice water sipped in the breeze on our back porch, the crazy mzungu kids in bare feet tearing around the compound with Nerf weapons. Between that, the classes I get to teach, and our other opportunities, John and I have both remarked about a gratitude and humility over God moving us deeper into our sweet spot. This, it feels like, is why we are here. This—I hope you hear when you read—is the result of the support, encouragement, and general arm-upholding that you give us.

Some of you know of our recent dilemma. While we were back in the U.S. on our brief home assignment, the Ugandan government approved our work permit!

But, they wrote, it would be the last.

There are various avenues of approaching Immigration to resolve this issue, none of them guaranteed. As we lift our eyes to what’s ahead, I told John that our decisions feel a little like Blackjack—you just don’t know what card the House will turn over.

Our ultimate comfort: We know the House. It’s not the Ugandan government that cups our future in its wide palm. As I was driving the other day, I was thinking perhaps God would say to me, You’ll be in Africa not one day shorter, or longer, than I want you there.

This comforts me. Because as challenging as our first year was, and as many tears that have been wrung out of my face in the last two years, my heart is here.
Yet over and over God has reiterated that His plan for my family will be perfect, wherever we go. Speaking to a good friend over furlough, I remarked that I felt made for Africa. Wisely, she responded that God had made me for Africa now—and for who knows what in 2015?

Pray for us, friends, as we seek God’s will for our family. We’re asking for His favor on John’s work permit. Pray too that He will continue to generously, abundantly answer our prayer that He establish the work of our hands—in the collective sense (that means you, too, as you send us here!). This is His show, and we can’t believe we get to be a part of it.

A couple of recent snaps--just for fun, and a [very] wee contest

At our office's recent St. Patty's Day party. We have some serious Northern Irish over here.

...? Any caption suggestions? Please leave your comments below. Best comment will be published next week!

A big ol' monkey knocks down your red banana tree = instant fort.

Needless to say, we have the testosterone thing goin' on over here.

Our girl in Sunday School. This little lady is growing up!

Love this photo of two of my favorite people. So thankful Oliver is part of our home!