Friday, September 5, 2008

Adventures With Mark

The absence of Sarah, my Miss America and Seth, my little buddy has made the house very quiet. Yes, I am getting a lot more work done, but not much of a trade off for having them gone. I miss Sarah’s friendly warm smile with a hug coming home from work and playing ball with Seth or hearing “Daddyyyyy”. Soon however we will be back together again September 23rd in the not so mega city of International Falls, Minnesota. I am happy that they have arrived safely there at grandma and grandpa’s house after a short, but busy time in Vancouver.
The last few months have seen us focusing on our time with the African Children’s Choir here in Uganda and trying to discern what God has for us in the future. It has not been an easy decision as we have friends and family back in North America that pull on our hearts and yet the work here is fruitful and rewarding. The school, staff and students have made tremendous progress over our past three years since we have been here. Even though the work and people we interact with are a delight, the struggles of no power and certain everyday realities are difficult. It has not been an easy decision to make about our immediate future, but we know it’s important to be where we are supposed to be at this time. We have decided to extend our contract and stay on at the school here in Uganda until spring of 2010 at this point. If the Lord continues to lead we would like to see the new school established along with a strong staff built on integrity, hard work and honesty.
Let me share a story that will hopefully help you understand why we are here… The past term holiday a group of about 20 former students from our school who are now in secondary decided that they would venture out into the country side and make a difference in the community of Luwero. They spent three days and two nights cleaning a hospital (not so nice like health facilities in the west), ministering to a leper in his extremely small run down shack and helping in the clean up of a house being built for the grandpa of a current African Children’s Choir child. These students took the initiative on their own to give of their time to make a difference to others. For those who have been following our newsletters since we’ve come to Uganda, their fearless leader was the boy who was hit by a car one morning while walking to school and had his leg broken so badly it was possible he would never walk without assistance again. (He is now fit and healthy!) Yes, we had a chance to contribute to this group of students and the house, but the most exciting part is to see these boys and girls who were once at our school becoming men and women who are giving back to their families, communities and country. Our decision to stay longer in Uganda is based upon obedience regardless of what fruit we are seeing at this time, but it is evident that stories like these make our time here very sweet. We miss all of you dearly and so often we would love to sit down with family members, go camping with friends, catch a hockey game or just spend time together. One day that will come, but now we need to fully give ourselves to the work here. Being a father figure to students who don’t have a biological father at home and modeling a family is a current focus. To give you an idea we visited 22 student homes over the holidays and only three of them had a mother and father presently living at the home. These students need the hope and love that God has enabled us to be for them at this point in their lives.
We continue to be thankful for how we have been cared for and looked after by many of you in different parts of the world. The love and support we get from so many of you (emails, cards, phone calls, prayers, agreement through finances, etc) are irreplaceable. We can’t tell you how much it means. As we continue the work here in Uganda some of you may be interested in how you can help us. There are several different ways that every person can do something if you feel led. Looking back over the past three years we have seen many blessings from supporters. God has provided for us financially and kept us safe. However we have begun to see our finances lack severely due to rapid inflation here in Uganda and the increasing needs of our growing family. (The cost of electricity has more than doubled and local food costs as well, causing the need for a higher wage for our night guard, house help, and any other basic services including vehicle maintenance. And surprisingly, rent is nearly as expensive as back in the Abbotsford area.) Our financial needs have changed so much that this month we will most likely not have enough support to meet our bills. As God continues to lead us to stay you can help us with monthly support or even a one time gift to help us with continued expenses. Another option would be to help us out with baby #2 through assisting with transcontinental flights or North American flights by either earmarking donations for that specific need or donating airmiles. If you’re interested in either option please contact us for more information about how to do it. The last and most important thing is prayer. Simple, but very important things like protection and wisdom are needed. It may be protection for Seth from a snake that has slithered into our compound (don’t worry moms and grandmas!… so far we have only seen very small ones and Francis kills them immediately!) or wisdom to carry out discipline and lead staff at the school. We hope that these are three ways that those who want to be involved in our ministry here can attach themselves in a particular way.
If you are interested in getting involved in any way please send us an email and we can direct you. Until our next newsletter or we meet in person take care!


Okay, no one should complain about the road system back in the west. The potholes are HUGE here...

Room For One?

Yes, in Africa there is always room for one more. It is not the end that matters, but the fun in making it to the end and building realtionships along the way. Okay, John, my old house mate, we could really use your nice big dodge truck!

Hot Water

Yes, the simple, but a little technical version of hot water. From the tap to a water bottle on to the hot water heater. Perfect my friends for shaving!

Ghetto Blaster!

One just has to love those light portable radios!