Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
We are a little behind in updating everyone on our comings and goings. First Praise God that we have made it through December. December has been the hardest month that we have had in Uganda. It feels as if we spent the entire month sick. Each person in the house has been sick and a few have been sick multiple times. Yet even with all the hardship God has pulled us close and held us and was glorified.
“For the Christian, there can be joy in the midst of suffering, joy that transcends the painof the moment. But we don’t really understand the grounds for this joy in the house of mirth. We discover it in the house of mourning. It is in weeping that we learn to contemplate the goodness of God. It is in weeping that we learn to contemplate the goodness of God. It is in mourning that we discover the peace of God that passes understanding.”
Nora got sick with mono around Thanksgiving. She did not get better until December. Everyone else was sick to varying degrees as well. Most of it was sinus infections or tummy bugs. A lymph node on Nora’s neck was swollen and she was in loads of pain. The lymph node was so big her face and neck looked like one part instead of two. Any time she moved she was in pain and she cried a lot. It was miserable for everyone. What do you do when your child has been sick for weeks and is not getting better? That is one of the most miserable feelings you can have as a parent. This one was hard on us. She was pale and lost a good bit of weight, which if you have seen Nora then you know there is not much to lose. There was even one point where I was standing on the back porch and I told God I wanted to go home.
Fortunately for me God is sovereign and merciful. Nora’s illness was never out of control. We were never at the point of not being able to make it. Why? It is not because we are able but because God is able. It is in suffering that God draws you close. It is when you watch your child sob and beg you to do something that God bring you close, and I thank God for the suffering. I am so imperfect and flawed. I am grateful that God will break me down and pull me back up to Him. Not for me, but for Him. I have seen many people proclaiming that is God is doing something for them for their benefit. It makes me sad as they have put themselves above God. God does what he does for His own glory. Don’t believe me? Go read any part in the Bible and look at what God says. Do we benefit from it? Yes, but in addition to not because of. Take comfort in knowing that God is in control of all aspects of the universe and not one thing happens that ever takes Him by surprise. God is very good.
On top of the sicknesses ministry for me was at a crawl, which took a toll on me. When you come to do missionary work you want to feel as if you are accomplishing things and when you feel like you don’t then you tend to become stressed out. The worse part about all of this is when I realized I kept thinking about me. It’s not about me it’s about Christ. He does things at his own pace and timing. We had a wonderful Christmas party at our house and had many people from town and church come by and eat with us. Relationships. Sara has developed a deep friendship with a Karamojong lady in town named Daniella. Daniella is in her twenties and is a Christian. We are hoping that Sara can work with this young lady and help build up her faith and knowledge of God. Be praying for this.
On the 3rd Paul and I traveled to Lotuke Seed Secondary School for the youth camp. The camp was from 3rd to the 6th. There were at least 500 registered youth and many more that just should up. There were also many other older people and children who came. It was a very exciting time. There were many speakers from Kenya and from the Church in Uganda.
I worked with the children for the week. The kids ranged from toddler age to 12 or 13 years old. It was quite challenging as some spoke little English. I did have help with a couple of people who translated for me. I spent the week teaching on our need for Christ, how Christ cleans us, and how we love Christ. We played games, did skits, and I even washed about 40 sets of feet on one of the days. It is my prayer that God was glorified and some of these children will remember their need for Jesus. The camp for the most part went very well. A few times some prosperity gospel would seep in when some of the Kenyan pastors were praying. They would start proclaiming things that would happen in the new year. This is a big problem in Uganda and Africa as a whole. Africa as a whole is booming with new converts for Christ, but discipleship is lacking in many areas so you will see shallow Christians who are very easily misleads with the lies that come from the prosperity gospel. Rory got sick the first night I was gone and messed up his net, mattress and everything else. Sara spent most of the week tending sick kids.
December has been hard. It is also a kind of surreal moment as the year has ended. We have been here four months (feels like 10) and have 7.5 to go. It also has made us start to look ahead. What will it be like to go home? What about our friends here? How much of home in America will not be the same? Where will we live and work? Will we come back in a few years? Most of the answers are, I don’t know. It will be tough and I know we will struggle coming home. December has also been a blessing for us. When we look back on our first month or two I am blown away with the changes we have seen in our lives. God has stripped away parts of us that relayed on our abilities and our comforts. He has stretched us and challenged us step by step. He has given us a new look on ourselves, on Him, on our country, on Christianity. We have also had several people who have just blown us away with generosity in sending packages or giving towards our needs. I can only say thank you, thank you, thank you. They mean more than I can express. Sara’s mom is coming to visit us; she will arrive on the 11th. We will drive to Kampala on the 11th and pick her up. We plan to spend a week there for a break, then we will head back to Kotido.
If you would like to support us in our work here, please feel free to click the support us link at the top. If for some reason it does not work or you have questions email or message Sara or I. The money we raise goes towards our medical needs as they arise or mechanical things with the car. If you have question please let me know.
- Our general health to be better in February.
- Our work in Kotido, specifically with the Karamojong.
- For Sara’s mom as she travels and spends time with us. Also for when she leaves and we all miss her.
- For safe travels to Kampala and that the week there would be refreshing
- For us to abide in Christ every day, regardless of the circumstance.
- For the state of the African Church and the Church of Uganda
- For our families back home.
- Praise for those that give selflessly and encouragement for those that want to.