Saturday, October 24, 2015

Gifts of Love

As the Scriptures say,  “They share freely and give generously to the poor.  Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”  2 Corinthians 9:9

What started as a little thought by Hillcrest Church in Hudsonville, MI to help the Afayo Project and St. Paul’s School, became a HUGE Container filled with clothes, school supplies, Bibles and GIFTS of LOVE!

Thank you Harlem Church for your gifts of LOVE!
This past month has been one of joy and physical energy organizing, sorting and getting items from the container ready for distribution.  Boxes and boxes of clothing and books will soon be in the hands of the community.

Shelving is being made and should be installed in the school Administration Building by the 1st of November.  Stories of animals, ABC’s & 123’s, planes, cars, mystery, fantasy, truth and fiction, teacher resources, will line those shelves.  This is a HUGE GIFT, like non other in any village.  We are so excited to be able to give them this gift and resource!

Two more cabinets for the classrooms have been put in place.  Now the teachers have a place to house their teaching supplies and books.  Thank you Hillcrest!

A group from Whitehall, MI collected more than 80 Disc’s for our kids at the school to enjoy.  Thank you Whitehall Disc Golf and Gavin Coker for this wonderful gift!  And Thank you Luke Vaughan for all your hard work making the baskets and the course a reality.   

Bible Studies have been tenderly continued and given by, Simon, Matt & Shelly while we were in the states.  They have established friendships and are sharing God’s love to this community.

Through our Bible studies we have all grown in our love for these families and their problems and sufferings.  They have become our families and their sufferings have become our sufferings.  Sickness and death are a daily struggle in this community.  Malaria, malnutrition, accidents and disease take a life way to often here.  Over the last year we have lost many in childbirth.  This week one of our young ladies safely delivered a precious baby girl.  Two days later we lost that little one.   So again we are grieving with them.  

This little guy needs your prayers.  His name is Benjamin he is 5 years old.  It was brought to our attention a week ago that they have been treating him for worms and it was not working.  We advised the family to take him for a scan and further testing.  The results determined he has a tumor in his belly about the size of a cantaloupe.  Without some intervention he will die.  So with much Team Effort, doctor visits, phone calls, transporting, housing him, and financial help, he is now in Kampala at a Cancer hospital waiting further diagnosis and some course of treatment.  Please keep him in prayers.   In this extremely difficult time, this family continues to display their hope and trust in God’s will, provisions and guidance for them and their little one. 

We rest in the fact that God LOVES and CARES for ALL.  He knows our needs, and He hears our pleas’.  We will continue to walk this path with those He has placed in our lives.  We are grateful and blessed by His continued provisions!  Thank you for your partnering with us in working for His Kingdom.

Love & Blessings from,


Friday, October 2, 2015

Back in Uganda

You keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3

October 2, 2015, Star date log 45.  The Uganda experience!  (This is how each episode of Star Trek would start out)  Even though we have been here before we feel that this is a new adventure for us.  An adventure we are both excited to experience again.  Before I get into the adventure I want to share a little about our trip back to Uganda.  It was awesome!!!!!!!!!!  Lol

Many of you were praying for our journey back to Uganda and we thank you for doing so!  We were very concerned about our connection in Toronto because we only had a one-hour layover.  We made the connection in Toronto without any problems and we know it was because of your prayers.  The problem we didn’t anticipate was in London where we had an hour and a half layover.  We arrived in London late and British Air sold our seats.  We were in line for security check a half an hour before the flight left and BA said we needed forty-five minutes to clear security check. Lol

We were then re-routed from flying London to Uganda.  We were booked on a flight to Dubai.  This added more time to our flights and gave us two additional seven-hour layovers, one in London and one in Dubai.  The upside to all of this is we were able to visit another country (airport) and we flew on the largest commercial airliner made (the Airbus 380, a double decker).  We were very impressed with the Airbus 380.  The flight was smooth and we were treated very well by the United Arab Emirates airlines.  We are happy to say we are here safely and we arrived with our entire luggage, which is a miracle in itself.  Thank you for your prayers!

Now about the adventure!  While we were visiting in the States we were blessed to meet with and share with many people and in many churches.  While visiting one of the churches we were reminded about the commitment we had made and about the need to prepare ourselves for that commitment.  We didn’t want to go back to Uganda and fall into the same old routine.  Things were going well before we left Uganda, but things can always be better.

The pastor of the church we visited one Sunday shared with his congregation that a while back he considered taking a pastoral position at another church.  After much prayer he decided moving was not what God wanted him to do.  He felt there was still work to be done at this present church and he decided to stay. The majority of the service, aside from our sharing about Uganda, was dedicated to this pastor re-dedicating himself to the church.  He made a commitment to his congregation to preach, teach and lead the people of the church and to help them draw closer to God.  What a testimony this was to Janine and I.

Many times in life we can get caught up in doing the same old thing and doing life out of habit.  What I mean is, we go to work, school, church with the intent of getting through another day or serving in ministry to say we served.  Sometimes we get into a routine in our home life as well.  We go home to eat, rest and prepare for another day.  All areas of our life can become habit forming.

I believe we need to be more intentional in our daily lives to try and break out of the routines: maybe recommitting ourselves to a given area of our life such as going to work with the intent of making changes that can bring about better productivity or that can restore relationships and bring harmony.  Also maybe we need to go to church with the intent of worshiping God, receive direction in our lives instead of going out of duty, or serve in a way that challenges people and brings about spiritual growth.

Janine and I moved to Uganda with good intentions and we felt we were able to get much accomplished here before we returned home to America.  After hearing the pastors testimony, we were moved to recommit ourselves to the village of Naigobya and the ministries we are serving in.  As we shared with you while we were on furlough, we are committed to bringing about changes in the village that will develop spiritual growth and help the school and people become self-sustaining.  In order to accomplish this we have to be more intentional about what we do and how we do it.  Even though ministry was going well before we left Uganda, we need to avoid falling into the same old routines.

We want to thank you all for the many ways you ministered to us in the States.  Many provided food, lodging, and recreation to help us get refreshed.  We needed the rest to help us refocus and recommit our lives to “the least of these.”  Many of you increased support and others decided to start supporting us for the first time.  We feel recharged and ready to serve with a better direction.  Because of you we are able to serve here and recommit our lives here.  

The people of the village and those at St. Paul Primary School in Naigobya were excited to receive us.  The men and women greeted us warmly and the teachers and children of the school sang songs of greeting and welcoming to us.  What a blessing we received!  God is good!
Fist thing we did when we arrived back in the village was to check on these little twins.  They are thriving!

P6 students welcomed us home with some songs. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Where did the summer go?

How’s the saying go? “All good things must come to an end.” Even summer!  Even though the fun of summer and our visit in the states is ending soon, we are excited for what lies ahead. Being home for the summer, enjoying all the fun activities with family and friends has been wonderful!! It has fired us up and filled us up and now we are readying our hearts for our return to Uganda.  But leaving is going to be difficult.  As we prepared for our trip here our hearts were confused, we were sad and excited at the same time because we now also call Uganda home.  The people have become our family too.  Our hearts are torn between the two families!  We love them both!  So, being with both feels wonderful, and leaving each hurts as well, but we continue to rest in the fact, and know, God will fill those gaps.

While being here, many have asked us, “What was most difficult this past year? And, what was your biggest joy or what was most rewarding?” Of course being separated from our kids and grandchildren was difficult, but learning to let God lead and Really take control was the hardest! 

We left with our bags packed and our plans. We knew life would be different and living conditions would be difficult, but we weren’t prepared for the spiritual darkness that we felt.  Where we lived the first 10 weeks was dark, literally the house had little light, one window, and no airflow. The city was dark and so were our hearts.  The team we came to join had left.  We didn’t understand the culture or the ministry.  We were in the dark!  I (Janine) cried out “God I didn’t sign up for this.  I can’t do what you have asked of me.   I know we are supposed to be here.  I know you called Bruce and me to this place, but I can’t do this, it is to difficult.”   I felt broken!  But, God knew all this before we even left, that things would be difficult, that our team would leave, that we would now have to lead something we really didn’t have a handle on.  Sometimes God breaks us so we can put All our trust in Him.  Not just a few things, but All. 

We let Him lead the way!  Not without struggles.  Not without wanting to hold on to things.  Not without fears.  But in that brokenness is where He works the best!  And He has placed such a joy and peace in us that we know we are right where He wants us.  We have His direction!  And it is the best!! 
Bruce had the opportunity to do a message at Olivet about our roles and responsibilities in missions.  The only thing holding us back is Us.  We need to reach out to those around us and share what we know, bring them along side us.  Not only abroad, but here!  Out greatest joys are seeing those come to the saving knowledge of Jesus, seeing that heart that finally understands!  We had the pleasure of praying with one of our family members to receive Jesus this month.  Many in our family had been praying, sharing and loving him.  They were doing the groundwork Here, being on the mission field Here.  What a Joy to see and be part of expanding God’s kingdom!

We are all a part of the Lords army.  When a young man or woman joins the US Service they go through a process of training.  That training starts with stripping the individual of their desire to be self centered and finishes with training them to go and serve the way the US military wants them to serve.  We too should be reminded that it is not about us (individuality), but about following and serving Him.