Thursday, November 10, 2022

Thankful in the midst of trials

 Every year on the 1st Friday of November, GSF has a day of Thanksgiving.  We all gather to praise and worship God for all He has done for us.  We look to Him for our provision, protection, and help, and we take time to acknowledge all He has done.  

Last week, during our time of Thanksgiving, multiple individuals stood to give testimony to how God has worked in their lives.  There were two similarities in each of the testimonies.  The first one, of course, was how God had worked in a miraculous and gracious way.  The other similarity is often overlooked.  Each person who shared their testimony shared about heartache, tragedy, sadness, and trauma.  For each of them, they saw God in the midst of these instead of in the absence.  We often find God in trials. When life is good, we are grateful, but it is in the hard and bad stuff, we often see how God works.   It is in those heart-wrenching moments and excruciating long trials, that we find the miracles and the ways God works.  

Monday, June 21, 2021

40 days and counting down

Today was a beautiful day outside with the warm sun and the cool Ugandan forest breeze, but my heart wasn't as beautiful, and frankly most things didn't go as expected.  I had in my head that I would do this and this, and it just didn't go like that.  

My main goal today was to get the proper permission for one of our students to go to an already scheduled doctor appointment in Kampala tomorrow.  He needs to go to receive the much needed medicines and tests.  However, getting the right letter took longer than expected as one very critical word was wrong on the first one sent to me by email, so it had to be done again by the only person in the doctor's office in Kampala and sent back to me.  I then went to print it and our 3 month old printer wouldn't turn on.  We couldn't get it fixed and finally went with plan C to get the much needed letter printed.  We then sent it to get a stamp from a government official but by the time our staff member got there, it the office was closed.  Fortunately there was a plan B and that worked, and the proper documentation was in the hands of the student's escort at 6pm.  

I'd like to say my heart and soul were at peace the whole time, and I stood firmly on the promises that I hold dear and know to be true.  However, I wavered and struggled to know that God had this and was more concerned for this student than I was.  He is mindful of me, even when I am not of Him.  He cares for even the smallest detail and often uses those details to strengthen my faith.  

Thank you for praying for us.  I pray you are encouraged that God is mindful of you!

Ways to pray for us:

  • Pray for safety and favor for the student mentioned. 
  • Pray for unity among our staff as we continue to figure out how to function during this time.
  • Pray as we have several key people whom we need here on campus especially medical personnel.  
  • Pray for a friend who had covid three weeks ago and is continuing to struggle with related health problems.
  • Pray that God's promises will be the background music of our hearts.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

41 days and counting down

 Father's Day on Lockdown and an update

Mark talking on the phone to Titus for Father's Day

Today feels like a reprieve as we rest and enjoy Father's Day.  As tomorrow will be the first working day after the announcement of complete lockdown, it will probably be busy with finding out what all this means, and how we will function for the next 6 weeks.  There will be decisions to be made and questions still left unanswered, but for now we rest, knowing there is nothing we can do or should do today but rest.  We have heard that the Covid task force in our district is meeting today and will have some directives for us in the coming days, but for now we rest.   I believe tomorrow some of the dust will settle so we just sit in the haze hoping tomorrow will be clearer.  

Earlier last week, I asked Mark if he wanted to go somewhere in our district for Father's Day since we couldn't go to Jinja due to the previous restrictions.  Fortunately he had said "no" - sine we could not have gone anywhere anyway.  So we made a big breakfast here and enjoyed watching a sermon of his choice.

Caralina and Rebecca are both here.  Caralina stayed for the summer hoping to spend more time in Jinja with missionary kids there and work on her online classes. So for now she is here at GSF working on classes.  When the first restrictions came out, Rebecca decided to come out here to sew and do projects from here.  We also have two interns staying on campus for the summer.  They and our two girls have been a blessing to have around.  

How to pray:
  • Pray for Uganda's government leaders including our Buikwe District for wisdom and unity.
  • Pray for clarity and unity tomorrow.
  • Pray that each of us will know our role and what God has for us during this 6 weeks.
  • Pray that we will know how to reach out to our community.
Thank you for praying for us and keeping up with Uganda and Good Shepherd's Fold.  

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Day 42 and counting down

"God is our help and our shield,"  Mark reminded me as we prepared to go to sleep, "He will guide us tomorrow, but for now, we must sleep."  The President of Uganda spoke last night giving more measures which essentially puts the entire country on lockdown as the cases of covid-19 are on an upward spike.  It seems necessary but also very difficult on the entire country.  

Last night, I didn't want to even think of the ramifications for us and GSF but today is a new day and we are beginning to process what all this means.  It'll still take a few days, and even the president said some things will be clarified in the next few days.  But here's what we do know, and what we'd ask you to pray for.  

What we know:
  • We will be here at GSF for the next 6 weeks and likely not leaving, and at this point there are only three of us on the leadership team (comprised of 22 Ugandan staff and missionaries) who are living and working on campus.  
  • Cargo and delivery vehicles can move.  GSF has a cargo truck, and we work with someone else who has a delivery vehicle and so we will be able to send for and receive supplies. 
  • Travel for medical care is allowed.
  • Many of our staff will not be able to travel to come to work.
How to pray:
  • For God's protection on Uganda and that the cases will reduce.  
  • Wisdom regarding how to reach out to our neighbors and students.
  • Wisdom for direction of the ministry during challenging times.  
We plan to keep an update here throughout the lockdown so check in regularly or follow us on instagram where we will post when there is an update.  


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

words of the year 2019 and 2020

I used to always forget my word of the year by February 🤦, until 2019 when God so obviously gave me the word release in early January as He knew I needed to trust Him fully through the many trials of the year.  With the word release, I found a God who is so faithful and I fell in love with Him all the more.  
This year, my word is presence (or being present).  I want and need to learn to be all here and not in the past or future!  2020 brings milestones and changes (empty nest, 25th wedding anniversary and turning 50) that I know of and I am sure ones I don't know about yet.  I want to dwell and trust (there seems to be a theme!) in my faithful God in the present moment and experience presence.  
#wordoftheyear #release #presence

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Gifts in Adversity

Mark out on a canoe during our time away.

The last year has been a difficult season for us.  Deception of former employees, legal issues, complaints at the labor office, the violent break-in to GSF at our house and our neighbor's house and major surgery all were a part of the last 12 months.  This week marked 6 months since the break-in and 6 weeks of recovery from my surgery. 
The former employees and the attackers at GSF took many things ranging from trust and sense of security to wedding rings.  However, I want to reflect on the many things that they could not take and how, even because of their acts, those other things have been strengthen and realized all the more. 
✨Faith - Our faith in the God who sees and goes before us has been challenged and strengthened.  We have at times wondered where He was, just as the Psalmist many times asked.  He has been so faithful to show us, and our faith has increased.
✨Trust - I am definitely an anxious soul who has difficulty trusting. God has so often asked me this year, "do you trust me?" Ironically in the midst of difficult and scary situations, I've learned to trust Him more.  Although our trust in some people was taken, our trust in a sovereign God has strengthened.
✨Community - In the different situations mentioned above we have had people come alongside us.  We have felt love and concern from those we know and those we didn't know.  We had employees, missionaries and friends who stood with us and walked with us during each situation as we were in this together.  There are many of you, when you heard of the break-in or the surgery, who wrote, prayed, gave and shared with others our need.  People we had never met before encouraged us in a multitude of ways. Because of the surgery, we now have a community of friends in South Africa who were so kind and loving to us during that time.   Although our sense of security may never be the same, our sense of community has deepened.
✨ Empathy for ourselves and others -  I feel we have "walked a mile" in others' shoes and have a greater empathy and compassion for those hurting or going through traumatic circumstances.  We have also learned to give ourselves more grace and empathy understanding we are needing to heal and rest. 
✨ A stronger marriage - Our wedding rings may have been taken away, but our love for one another has grown.  We've always had a strong marriage and the adversity has multiplied it.
Thank you to the many who are praying with us. 

Friday, January 25, 2019