Published: March 26th 2009March 23rd 2009
Time with family
Along the Nile River
“And Lo, I am with you always, even to the ends of the earth.” Praise God for His Mighty, faithful hand! Once again, we find ourselves beginning a blog entry with an apology for the long delay in updating you on our lives here in Africa. So much has happened in the last month and a half since our last correspondence, we will try our best to update you on all that has happened. Our last blog mentioned we had just settled into our home in Gulu. Well, we have moved again! As much as we were convinced God called us to Gulu, and as much as we were emotionally prepared to settle into the work there, He has now re-located us to Kampala. It turns out that Carl is needed much more in Kampala than was previously expected, at least for the next 6 months. So, on Saturday, March 21 we loaded a large construction truck with most of our possessions in preparations for moving back down to Kampala. We could not find a tarp to cover our belongings anywhere in Gulu, so we prayed there would be no rain as the truck (with our mattresses, beds, couch, etc.) were
Friends in IDP Camp
Julie, Emma & Grace making friends in an IDP camp outside Gulu
outside, exposed all night. Around 10pm we heard thunder and saw lightening all around the house. We went outside and made a pitiful attempt at covering furniture with the little amount of cardboard we had laying around. Fortunately, it only sprinkled for about 2 minutes then stopped as the lightning and thunder continued around us. We continued praying God would protect our material possessions. The next morning we woke to find it did not rain at all the rest of the night. In the morning, we finished tying the furniture down then headed out of town for the 5 hour drive down to Kampala, praying it would not rain on our unprotected possessions. About 30 minutes after we left Gulu, we received a text message from a friend saying it was pouring rain in Gulu, yet it was dry where we were 30 minutes down the road. The rest of our journey was dry and we arrived without any problems. We praise God for a safe journey and a safe move to our new home.
The reason for the move is because Carl will need to spend more time here, overseeing trauma rehabilitation for a group of children who
Emma & Grace in front of Sipi Falls
were brought down from Gulu. Since Carl will likely split his time 50-50 between Gulu and Kampala, we thought it would be best for Julie and the girls to settle in Kampala since the girls have more friends here, there are other home-schooled families, and they have more options for volunteering, shopping, etc. In praying through this decision - up-rooting the girls again, God reminded us “I will be with you wherever you go!” And His grace has been so sufficient! The girls have been incredibly flexible! So, it looks like Carl will spend one week in Gulu continuing trauma rehabilitation in the IDP camps, then spend a week in Kampala overseeing the trauma rehabilitation program for the children brought down from Gulu. It will be tiring going back and forth, and it will be difficult having the family torn apart half the time. However, it is currently the necessary option. And, it will only be for approximately 6 months. We were blessed to have the house in Gulu, and we will miss Gulu in many ways. However, God has blessed us once again with a great home in Kampala. We are still not settled in as we just arrived
Grace in IDP camp
Emma & Grace both do a great job of greeting new friends of all ages.
yesterday, but it will feel like home very soon we are sure.
Much of the past month was busy with the wonderful time spent with Carl’s parents during their 3 week visit. It is amazing how fast the time can go and how now, only 1 week after their return home, it feels like a dream that they were even here. We were fortunate to travel to many areas around Uganda and show them many new things. We took them to an IDP camp about an hour outside of Gulu where Carl and the team were concluding trauma rehabilitation. There were over 400 people who went through the program and many people gave testimony of how it really changed their lives. Numerous people gave their lives to Christ! At the conclusion, when hundreds of people were gathered under the mango tree, Carl asked how many people were saved during the course of the program. Many people raised their hands and some women shouted and stood and danced for joy. Later, as Carl was going around to the various groups, all of the participants in the older group (adults age 55 and above) reported they wanted to dance for Carl.
Emma in IDP camp
Emma & Grace are always surrounded by children
They wanted to go out from under the tree where they were gathered in the shade and wanted to dance in the sun so he could see well. There were probably 50 people clapping, shouting and dancing together. It was a great sight to see. Earlier in the week, Benson (Carl’s assistant) asked some of the older women in the camp if they had ever seen a white child, they said no. They had never seen a white child in their whole lives. That day they were very excited to meet Emma and Grace.
We were also able to introduce Carl’s parents to several of our friends and show them the areas where we work and minister. Mostly, it was nice just sitting and talking with them. Many of our local friends want to meet our family when they come and often ask if they can have us all over for a meal. We were able to go to a friend’s home one afternoon for lunch. The last time this friend had our family over she spent the whole day cooking chicken, rice, potatoes, etc. over charcoal. When it was time to eat, she proudly presented Carl with the “gizzard” and said that since he was the guest of honor (as a man) he got to have the prized gizzard. If Carl wasn’t there, Julie would have been crowned the guest of honor and been blessed with it. Since she was so proud to give me the gizzard, and since she was standing there watching me, I broke off a piece and gave it a go (seriously, I don’t even know what gizzard is). However, after what seemed like 10 minutes of chewing my jaw was starting to get tired. I also had 10 minutes of pondering that I was chewing on “gizzard” (whatever that is). As a recovering vegetarian, it was getting to be more than I could handle. So, I threw a handful of rice in my mouth (literally a handful, they don’t use utensils) and swallowed the chewy thing down. Fortunately, I was able to hide the rest of it under some food on the plate. This time, with my parents, there was no gizzard! However, I am still constantly amazed and humbled by the way we are welcomed into people’s homes and the way they give of what little they have to provide us with a nice meal. I am glad both of our sets of parents have now been able to experience so many of the wonderful things we experience here in Uganda. Unfortunately, just like when Julie’s parents left, it was a very lonely feeling driving away from the airport after dropping off Carl’s parents. However, we packed a lot into our time with them. In addition to taking them all over Uganda, we spent countless hours playing cards and sitting together talking about life “back home” or laughing about funny things we remembered. We even had a chance to see some of your very missed faces on a video that Mom and Dad surprised us with.
While we were really sad to see them leave, we don’t have too much time to dwell on the sadness as Julie’s sister Marrie is coming out for a visit with her son Taylor and daughter Hannah in just about a week. We are really excited to see them and spend time together as well. We have lots of fun stuff planned to pack into their quick 2 week trip. Please pray they have a safe journey and remain healthy the whole time. We will be anxious to report to you how the time went with them as well.
The girl that Julie helped into the hospital was finally released, after several months of hospitalization. She was admitted half unconscious and almost dead, paralyzed, and infested with maggots in huge bed sores. While in the hospital, she began to talk again, feed herself, move her legs, and the agency we are working with was able to help us get her a wheel chair that she is now pushing, herself, around the IDP camp. She is so happy to be home! Please pray that she her parents will faithfully give her the meds she needs to help with her seizures.
Also, please continue to pray for us whenever you think of us. We are facing some challenges, but God has blessed us beyond what we could have possibly imagined. He has remained faithful and has never left our side, walking with us each step of the way. There is no way we could even think of being here without Him. We feel His presence all around us. We appreciate your prayers so much and beg you to continue. Please let us know your needs also as we would love to pray for you. We also love receiving emails when you have time to write. Thank you for your continued support, we love you!
Oh! We have a new P.O. Box address: P.O. Box 647 Gulu, Uganda