“Thank you for what you’ve been doing. Please keep doing it.” This has become a regular prayer of Carmel’s. It makes me smile every time – such truth, so simply put. The adult version would include an outline of the gospel’s power and its work in our lives. It might include something about the food before us, and the roof over our heads or thankfulness for God being present and drawing us to Himself. But really, just thanks for what you’ve been doing. And please, whatever you do, don’t stop!
We’ve entered the new year with much hope. January was election month here. This means a few extra holidays as voting is an all-day affair here and votes for different positions are done on half a dozen different days. It also meant that internet country wide was shut down for a week and social media for about a month. We still don’t have easy access to facebook, so please forgive us if we’re not responding to something you’ve sent. There were a few demonstrations in Kampala when the pop-artist turned opposing politician didn’t beat the incumbent of thirty-five years. In the end it was taken to court, which I was told is a capitulation. Although there was no doubt in my mind that the incumbent would win, a shift in leadership would be a huge unknown for Uganda at large and a tempting time for violence. Thank you Lord for maintaining the peace and guiding the country, please keep doing it!
February saw the beginning of Second grade for Carmel and Kindergarten for Zion. I initiated a whole array of new ideas to keep us all on track and enjoying ourselves. So far, so good! It is amazing what a difference organization and structured motivation can make! I still do not see this as my gift, but I’m seeing the beauty in being faithful. Thank you Lord for giving me the time, help, and creative energy to get organized for school and giving us a good start, please keep it up!
This year has also seen us walking to church in Akuyam. It’s about 45minutes-1 hour away with a river in between (so not sure if we’ll be able to continue doing this when the rains come). Our mission has had Bible studies and outreaches there for many years. Often before we arrive, some locals sweep a dirt area, spread out a tarp, and bring out a few benches to make the meeting area. It’s basically in the town square – right next to a borehole. People are constantly coming and going throughout the service and in the surrounding area. One Sunday, there were Pokot warriors on motorcycles looking for some stolen cows. Donkeys, goats and cows are frequent guests. The service is completely in Karimojong usually directed by one of the young men being discipled by the mission, so we get to practice our language skills and then enjoy swapping what we understood later! A unique aspect of the village is that there seem to be an inordinate number of men around. I’m still working on recognizing faces and names! This past Sunday, there were only two men, a gaggle of children and a drunken woman at the beginning of the service. But by the end, there were about fifteen men and the drunken woman had left! We constantly pray as we walk that the Lord would bring His people, raise up leaders for his church that are set apart from the sins of the culture, and grow His church. Thank you Lord for what you’re doing, and please keep doing it.
The clinic has seen some turnover in staff as a Lab Technician and friend for our entire time here, Elizabeth Kyalo, returned to Kenya to be with her family there. There are also two other employees that hope to return to school for more advanced degrees. Christopher is negotiating their future prospects and finding replacement employees. We are thankful for all of their work and friendships, and pray that the Lord will bring quality godly new employees to join our staff in their places. Thank you Lord for the time we had with these friends, and please bring us more!
We were also blessed to welcome a few people back to the field! Angela Voskuil returned after being in the US for over a year- her return was disrupted by corona lockdowns last year. Joanna Grove and Leah Hopp, also both returned from extended visits to see family in the US and Canada, respectively. We are constantly blessed by these ladies, their work and their love of our children. Thank you Lord for bringing friends to live with and help us, and please keep doing it!
May the Lord show you how He has been working in your lives!