Sunday, May 26, 2013

Adventures With The Williams Five!

Greetings from Abbotsford!  It feels good in many ways to be writing a newsletter from Canada but also a little bit weird.  We have decided that our newsletter and blog will no longer be called “African Adventures…” but rather “Adventures With The Williams Five”.  We would still like to continue updating you on a regular basis as we feel that we still need your support during this time of transition.  During this time we have experienced a variety of emotions and feelings that continue to be a challenge.  Canada is great in so many ways but our transition back is proving to be harder than adjusting to Uganda was.  Once we have completed this transition stage we will use this email address for the odd newsletter but mostly a family Christmas update.

As a family our speed of transition has varied greatly!  Seth, Jodie and Megan have transitioned the easiest. We realize that’s very typical considering the resilience and carefree nature of children.  Seth is enjoying kindergarten at the local public French immersion school.  He enjoys his class of 15 and especially the small group of 6 boys that are his buddies in Kindergarten.  It is exciting to see that there are about 4 other Christian students in his grade.  The teacher reported back to us one day that when she asked Seth how he was doing he said…”I’m doing great! I’m in Kindergarten, I have new friends and I know Jesus!”  We are blessed that Seth has a heart for others and most importantly his creator. 
Jodie is enjoying pre–school two afternoons a week at my old school.  She would love to go everyday like Seth but also enjoys her time at home.  This is especially true when Megan is taking her afternoon nap, Seth is in school and she has all the attention from mom and dad.  She is a very happy little girl and often is singing a song while she plays or colors or helps around the house. 
Megan is full of energy and is talking more and more. She’s starting to put words together. Like ‘Daddy’s keys!’ and ‘Jodie’s water.’… all words said not quite right of course. Her trademark verbalizations at the moment are, ‘Candy!? Candy!? Candy!?’ (repeated at rising decibels when she wants candy or vitamin C) and ‘Too!? Too!? Too!?’ again repeated urgently until she finds out if she is allowed to do what the big kids are doing ‘too’. She is still struggling with teething consistently so her sleep patterns are patchy. But she’s getting better!
Like many missionaries who return Mark finds it hard to find purpose and is still grieving the students and staff that he worked so closely with.  Unfortunately different job opportunities here have not materialized which has added some stress and discouragement.  A few applications for jobs in education have resulted in being short listed and interviews only to find out that he was the runner up.  Now we are looking at widening the job search and exploring opportunities outside of education in the business community.  Needless to say we would appreciate prayer specifically for our future and a job as we move toward September.  Mark has appreciated the time to catch up and spend more time with our kids but also feels the financial stress as we look ahead with no permanent job.  It has also become clear to us that our priorities have shifted as a result of our time in Uganda. We feel that’s a good thing. But it does make us a feel a bit lost. It seems we can actually feel both sets of priorities pulling at us at the same time. That’s the uncomfortable part. Please pray that we have the wisdom to take hold of that which is the greatest in these life choices that we’re facing. We’re seeing more clearly that this is the huge struggle that North American Christians face in their faith. It is no cake walk and offers no fewer temptations than those facing the poverty burdened people of Uganda.
On an exciting note Mark has had the opportunity to attend two weddings since he has been back.  Matt, a former grade five student, married a beautiful young lady and is following the Lord.  In 2004 he traveled all the way with his buddy Matt and his mother (former teaching colleague) to our wedding in Rapid City.  Also a long time buddy who I grew up with and tree planted with got married on the Island in a beautiful seaside ceremony.  It has been great to be able to be involved with these things once again. I still regret not being able to make it to your weddings Jeff, Dave, and Mike when we were back in Uganda.  Moving forward we are excited to reconnect and catch up with good friends. 

Sarah has been able to begin practicing Reflexology since she became certified at the end of March. She has been mildly busy with that; Just the right amount really. And she absolutely loves the work. The renter in our basement suite has moved out (another prayer request… that we could find another renter) so she is using that extra space as a little studio and is able to offer a very peaceful setting to those who come for a massage. If we do get renters she will have to find another space but that would be a good problem to have! Whatever the case she is feeling extremely rewarded in her work and is so happy she took the course! She has already noticed improvement in her skills and is confident massage therapy is her niche! And it’s been very cool that Mark has been around quite a bit so she doesn’t have to arrange child care in order to work. It’s been a very unique time in that way. God has allowed both of us to see the silver linings behind the clouds of uncertainty overhead and this has been one of them!
So that’s a brief update on all of us.

We still talk consistently of our friends and neighbors back in Uganda. We hope that as soon as we find a new ‘normal’ and get financially stable we can travel back to Uganda and wherever else God leads us to network. We intend to be missions minded from now on and get involved in the needs of others whether it’s within Canada or abroad.
We are thankful to those of you who have supported us in so many ways during this transition time back in Canada.  We would appreciate your continued prayers as we move forward in making this our home once again.  We already feel at home in some ways but also feel a bit like strangers in our land. But we definitely see progress and we are looking forward to what God has in store for us.

We hope this letter finds you well! Please let us know if there are prayer requests that we could pray about.
God bless!

Mark, Sarah, Seth, Jodie, and Megan