Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer in Canada

We have arrived in Canada for our mid term break and are enjoying time with family and friends and the calmness of the countryside.  It is such a blessing to be able to worship with our home church family and spend time around the campfire with friends.
Among our time with family,  we will also be visiting some churches and sharing an update about our ministry with MAF.  We would love to connect with you and say thank you in person for your prayers and support.

Wednesday, June 21, 6:30pm at First Baptist Church Listowel

Sunday, June 25, 10:30am, at Ingersoll Baptist Church

Sunday, June 25, 5pm Forest Baptist Church BBQ at Sparlings Family

Sunday, July 2, 9:30am Knox Presbryterian Church, Thedford

Sunday, July 9, 10:15am First Baptist Church Timmins

Monday, July 10, 6:15pm Bible Fellowship Assembly, Timmins

Sunday, July 16, 10:00am, Elim Bible Chapel, Arkona

Hope to see you there.

Monday, April 3, 2017

More than a To Do List

As I started my day, I prayed,

"Lord, help me to see the people and not just my to-do list".

I got started on the laundry, washed the dishes, and headed out to the market, butcher and grocery store.  I was feeling very accomplished as I unlocked my van and readied myself to climb in.  I had got most things checked off my list and was going to head home.

Then came the call,  " Madame, Madame, would you like to buy a bicycle man? "

My first thought is, no, I don't need it, I don't have time and I just want to go home.

"Please, Madame, I give you a good price"

Then I stopped.  Here was a person, God had placed in my path today.  Was I going to slow down and see the people and listen?

The young man, continued to explain, that he is making these simple toys to support a youth centre down the road.

I bought one.  Not because I needed it, but because I needed the reminder that God is hearing and answering my prayers.  And I need to be listening and watching for His answers.

I needed to be reminded that my day is not just my to-do list, but it is people and relationships, and sharing His love.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Everybody is selling something.

Buying local is a phrase we hear most around the holidays or during summer's produce season, but here in Uganda it is everyday life.  All the basics and even some special items, can be bought right close to our home, supporting the everyday livelihood of those around us. New vendor stands pop up all over, as people try out new ways to support their families.

During a simple drive to school we will see multiple vendors out making a living.
There's the lady with her small produce stand with her vegetables spread out on a mat in front of her.   The lady on the corner cooks her mandasies (solid muffin type cakes) and cassava chips ready to make a sale to breakfast seeking customers on their way to school and work.  Later in the day those selling roasted corn or meat skewers will emerge preparing for the dinner crowd.  In between there are those who cook full Ugandan meals and deliver them to the shop owners for lunch.

There are also those who carry their wares as they walk around looking to catch those passing by with an interest in what they have for sale.  These pedestrian sales people usually have a certain item that they are carrying, whether shoes, toys, backpacks, sunglasses, fabric, mosquito nets;  maybe fresh fish, sugar cane or vegetables, it can be just about anything.  And if you are in a traffic jam, no worries, you can get some shopping done at the same time.  Sellers will walk down the line up of cars, selling anything from snacks, to toilet paper.  The girls find it comical to see what the oddest
item is going to be.

But there is a third group of vendors and these are the ones that make a certain product at their home, then connect with you for pick up or delivery.  I have a few that I buy from regularly and I love sopporting these local business ladies.  I can get buns and donutsballs from a young mom seeking to build up her own business.  Housecleaning detergent and dish soap from my house helps sister,  roasting chickens and eggs from a colleagues friend, and tortilla chips and salsa from the house help of the neighbour.  These are entrepreneurs who are working hard to provide for their families when other jobs are scarce.  I admire their determination and desire to do all they can to support their families and I will do my part and support their efforts.

Monday, January 16, 2017

New Sights and Experiences

In the week leading up to Christmas we took a trip up to the northern region of Uganda, to Karamoja, and visited friends up there at their mission base.  It was great to get out of the city and see more of  Uganda, which included more bumpy roads, incredible amounts of dust, ostriches and other wildlife, mountain ranges at a distance and amazing waterfalls.

Our friends are part of a mission base that supports the community through a medical clinic, public health training, an elemenatry school and Bible teaching.  While we were there we were able to visit a couple of villages close to the mission compound.  I say close, but it was still a fair walk in the hot sun.  
This group sang songs for us and also loved getting their picture taken.

This group at the second village sang and also tried to teach us to count to 5 in Karamajong which sadly, I really didn't catch onto very well.

It is a very hot and dry area, especially in the current dry season which has begun sooner than normal and will result in a very hard season for the people and their food supply
We attended church at their mission as well and did our best singing songs in the Karamajong language.  

During our time there it was very evident, that knowing the local language is very important.  We felt very limited in our communication with the people, and fully commend our friends and their colleagues for taking the time to learn the language so they can be most effective is building relationships and sharing the message of Christ.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How was the Summer?

It was a summer of fun, friends and ministry.  As school let out back in June we prayed that even though many of our friends were going to be away, that it would be a good summer.  We also prayed that God would grant us opportunities be involved with the people and specifically areas for our kids to serve.  We are so thankful for the way God orchestrated the summer.

There were two day camps held at our school that the girls were able to attend, and from this Hannah was invited to be a part of the team that was leading these camps.  She loved this, as the first camp was drama and singing and the second was helping lead a small group of kids.  This involvement grew to the team inviting her to join them for more of the ministries they were doing in Uganda.  So I became the mom who was sending my grade 9 daughter on a missions trip.  Never thought of that happening while were are already on the mission field, but she had an amazing time and we were so thankful that God saw fit to give her this area to serve in.

Can you spot Hannah?  She is top left.  This is the group while they were at a school and church out in one of the the villages outside Kampala.

We also spent a day each week playing with the kids as the babies home.  It was again, neat to see the girls as the loved these little ones, and even Lauren as she played and the little boys followed her example.

We also tried to do some of the fun things that we usually enjoy in the summer, like swimming, campfires and friends over.

We are now back into the full swing of early mornings, homework, and after school clubs and sports.  We are thankful for the summer and the time we were able to spend with friends and also the opportunities that came our way to serve.  We pray that even in this busy time and regular routine that we will be open to reaching out to the people that God places in our path in the day to day.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Time

It's Summer !!!   School is finished and the girls are enjoying some quiet days of reading and sleeping in. We started the summer with Nathan's parents coming for a visit and it was so wonderful to have them here.  We were able to show them different ministries we are involved in and also some highlights of Uganda.

Checking out the MAF office and work at the hanger..

Playing with the kids at the Babies home.

Helping out at a jigger removal clinic in a village across the lake.

Washing their feet

Carrying them over to the bench where the jiggers were being removed

Painting toe nails.

And blowing bubbles with the kids

We were also able to take a little vacation to see Murchison National Park and some of God's wonderful creatures up close.  It was amazing.

The power of the falls was incredible and we were able to stand still long enough to get a picture without swatting the tsetse flies. 

We took a drive down to the equator as well because when you live only 75km away, you've just got to take visitors there too.

Family celebrations are something that we miss out on when we are living overseas, so we planned a family birthday party, complete with decorations and homemade corn dogs.

It was a great 3 weeks and we are so thankful that they were able to come and experience life here.  I think we scared them a bit with the driving and traffic though.

With the rest of the summer ahead of us we see it coming in two different ways.  With many of our friends away on furlough, it will be pretty quiet and days could get long for the girls just at home.  But we are also looking forward to the fact that we will have more time to spend serving with different ministries.  The girls have already come along with me to the babies home and had fun playing with the kids, so we are praying that more opportunities will come our way to be able to use our summer days for God's glory and to encourage others. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Normal Day

     Our day starts like many of yours I am sure, with the alarm going off at 6am.  Not that I am ready to get up yet, but I need to turn on the hot water heater if I want to have a hot shower at 6:15.  Then it is a shower and getting the girls up at 6:30am so they can get ready for school. 
Breakfast, backpacks loaded up with lunches and homework, as we prepare to head out the door by 7:15 am when Nathan is also heading out to the hanger to begin the days work.  His morning commute is about 45 mins to go the 15 km, from our house to the hanger.
     Our drive to school seems very normal now, when at first is was very overwhelming to drive here.  We could encounter a number of things; cows wondering up to the grass area, taxi vans, as they pick up passengers heading off to work or school, motorcycle taxis called boda bodas as they weave in and out of traffic or simple having to navigate through the pot holes and speed bumps that are very numerous. 

After the girls are at school, I head back home to begin the house work and laundry.  I may make a  stop to pick up some chicken for dinner from our Ugandan friend who grows them as an income for her children to go to school.  Depending on the day, I may have ladies Bible Study, or need to go out and get some groceries.  I might spend my afternoon, helping in Lauren's class at school, preparing my Sunday School lesson for the 5-7 year old class at church or baking to keep up with the demand of snacks for my family.  Before I know it, the afternoon is gone and it is time to go back and pick up the girls from school.  We are part of a car pool, so some days I don't have to drive which is nice too, but if I am on for pick up I head to the school for 3pm dismissal. 

After school snack, homework and dinner prep, fill the rest of the afternoon as we wait for Nathan to return home around 5:30pm, all depending on the traffic.  The 15km drive usually takes even longer on the way home.  Then dinner while chatting about how school went and the events of the day, before more homework, dishes and getting the girls off to bed.  Most days are pretty average and comparable to yours I'm sure.

But interject into all of this, days when the rain is pouring so hard that open fields look like lakes and the ditches look like rivers, days when I kill a few cockroaches and a invasion of ants in my kitchen,   Days when a quick trip to the grocery store turns into forever, as I get caught in a stand still traffic jam.

But also days when I speak encouragement into the life of a friend, or get to know the man at the produce stand and more about his family.  Days when Lauren draws a picture so she can give it to our guards.  Days when Hannah and Jasmine reach out to a special needs girl at school or Aliyah writes a note to encourage someone who isn't feeling well.  Days when I spend time getting to know someone or reaching out to help.  Days where the beauty of the people and the country around us outweighs the frustrations and inconveniences. 

God gives us all kind of moments among the normal days, to show His love and kindness to the people we encounter.  My days might take place in Uganda, but He uses all of our days and the events in them, to draw us closer to Him and for us to realize that we need Him in every moment.

How is your day going?