“When you are not the parent, you love the sound of a baby crying. When you are the parent, it is hard to see that having a crying baby is a blessing from God”. This is the wisdom I received from a Ugandan friend, after I apologized for how much my children had cried through the night on our first night back in country. These friends live a stone’s throw away from where we stayed, the house of other missionaries on furlough. They have grown and growing children of their own, and were happy to reminisce on the days when they had been in my position. I do not think I will ever be able to achieve their level of graciousness. However, I do believe they sincerely meant it when they said that they loved the sound of my children crying. How better can one be welcomed back then with heartfelt love for our children?!
In the past two months, we experienced the ecstasy of connecting with dear friends and family in the US. We met a niece and nephew that had been born since our departure. Carmel began to remember faces and names and has continued to ask about those we’ve now left behind again. We were wined and dined giving us our furlough shape, “you have increased!” as they would say here. We showed Carmel many animals in person that she had only seen pictures of, but no goats, sheep or cows which we see daily here. We spoke at three churches and visited with many of you. We had the opportunity to be frank about the struggles of the ministry and to be reminded of the reasons why we serve. We were uplifted, encouraged and blessed by the fellowship and prayer.
Now we are back in Uganda settling back into a routine. In many ways we pick up where we left off. Potty training, chanting numbers and singing the ABC’s continues with Carmel. We arrived in Karamoja on Friday and Christopher was back at the clinic Monday morning, not to mention the three night calls he got over the weekend! I kept the majority of my financial responsibilities while away and will assume the rest in a few short weeks. We are back to praying for protection from malaria, amebiasis and bed bugs. We continue with our language studies, hospitality, gardening, and life’s everyday tasks.
As is inevitable on the mission field, some things have also changed. Since Christopher took over managing the clinic, he has had help with various aspects. The first of his helpers left in July and Heather Foss, who managed the clinic while we were in the US, left this past week. Now it falls squarely on his shoulders, and mine as I am able to assist. One of the woman that helped relieve my burden by cleaning and making tortillas for me, will be teaching more at the preschool and therefore unable to come as often. Two single women who helped manage the preschool have returned to the US and South Africa respectively, to their lives there, while another new face has come to help with their responsibilities. Even Carmel seemed to take surreal steps in growing up while we were away and is more capable than ever before. Her job is to entertain her sister (without injury to either, sometimes an order taller than she is).
Thus the work continues and our part in it. We are sincerely thankful for our time away and pray that it will strengthen us for the days ahead.