On the Roof
Emma & Grace riding on the roof of the car looking for wild animals while on safari.
“The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you… so Abram left as the Lord had told him…”(Gen. 12:1&4)
I love this scripture, and the one in Gen. 22:1-3, where Abraham was tested and asked to sacrifice Isaac. Verse 3 tells us that “Early the next morning, Abraham got up and saddled his donkey…” Obedience in its truest sense!! Transition has been in our thought process for a while, as we have experienced God nudging us to take the trauma rehabilitation to other war-affected regions. However, thinking about it and obedience to it are two different extremes. God had recently made it very clear, however, that we were to take that great leap of faith into His more than capable arms and jump full-time into Tutapona’s expansion; to some extremely hurting, war impoverished and God impoverished areas… Here we go! Letting go of the “human comforts” of salary under a large umbrella organization; and clinging to the “heavenly comforts” that the Creator of this universe provides when He tells you “GO!”
Therefore, these past few months have kept us extremely busy with transitions. We shifted
away from the full-time work with Watoto Child Care Ministries as of May 1, 2012. This change means that we will exist solely on the donations raised through Tutapona. However, we believe strongly, that God has lead us to this point and we have no doubt He will continue taking care of us as we strive to serve Him completely. He is! Just after leaving Watoto, we received several contacts from friends, asking if we are okay, as they had felt God’s urgency to pray for us.
Carl just recently returned from South Sudan. It is always a long, difficult trip; but very energizing after seeing all God is doing. Carl took 3 American friends and 1 Ugandan friend who wanted to see the work. The trip included about 24 hours of driving in 4 days, over difficult (almost impassable, since it is rainy season) muddy roads. The car took a severe beating but survived. However, once we arrived it all felt worth it. We were there for the conclusion of the program facilitated by Tutapona team members; David, William, and Ochaya. Almost every participant raised their hand to express their desire to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.
The people are SO hungry for the Gospel. Once we come with the love of Jesus and address the emotional pain they have experienced, they have such a desire to open their hearts to His love and the only Source of true healing and restoration. So many changed lives and so much transformation in the community. What a blessing to be part of it all! A fourteen year old girl, who lost her parents and entire family to the war, stood up and recited a poem she wrote after attending the program; expressing such healing, hope and appreciation. This was followed by a choir singing about Tutapona and their gratitude – glory to God alone! He is coming down and meeting with His hurting children that He loves so profoundly! What an honor!
Later that evening, we met with community leaders and hosted them for a dinner. They spoke openly of their appreciation for all Tutapona has done and the significant need for more work. They spoke how all of South Sudan is traumatized from almost constant war and conflict since 1955. Trauma rehabilitation is exactly what they need, what they long for. The community leaders recognize the need,
Facilitating Trauma Rehabilitation
Carl facilitating trauma rehabilitation in South Sudan with Pastor Larry looking on.
and they requested us to continue taking the program to more communities. They realize people will not change the destructive patterns and the community will not move forward unless the emotional pain and trauma is addressed. Once the trauma is resolved, people are ready to make radical transformations in their lives. People forgive, establish goals for the future, reconcile their families, and most importantly experience spiritual healing through entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is so exciting to see God at work healing and drawing people to Himself.
In addition to time spent transitioning away from Watoto and pushing forward with Tutapona, we were also blessed with some great time with visitors. Our first visitors for the year were Pastor Larry Szyman and Luke Owens from Hudson, WI. They had quite the adventure as they landed in Juba, South Sudan and immediately went about seeing the work. It was a fast 9 day trip, traveling throughout South Sudan and Uganda, but much was accomplished. We witnessed the conclusion of the trauma rehabilitation program in South Sudan with a celebration of singing and dancing, participated in the conclusion of a discipleship program in Northern Uganda, and even witnessed
Julie & Dorcas
During the Goodbye party for Carl.
the birth of a new church in Northern Uganda as new believers came together to worship the Lord. They only requested Bibles and training for the leaders. It was a real encouragement and joy for us to have friends from home spend time with us and join us in what God is doing here in Africa.
Just 2 days after Pastor Larry and Luke departed, Carl’s parents arrived. We spent a wonderful 3 weeks doing life with them. This was their third visit to Uganda so there was not as much need to show them the ministry since they have seen it all before. However, we did travel around Uganda quite a bit, visiting the work and also having some fun. Mostly, we just enjoyed having time together in the evenings after Carl finished working.
Then, one week after Carl’s parents departed, Julie’s parents arrived for a visit. This was their third visit to Uganda also, so there was not as much need to show them all the work. We took them on safari and enjoyed time hanging out as much as possible. They also participated in the beautiful farewell party that Carl’s Watoto Psychosocial Services team facilitated
for him. What a humbling time listening to the way they appreciated how Carl has mentored, cared for, discipled, loved and parented them. They refer to him as “Baba” (father) and Omara (I am loved). We were all crying as they sang songs, and recited appreciation letters – many begging him to stay.
Julie’s parents left just after Carl’s contract with Watoto ended. So, we jumped into full-time work transitioning completely under Tutapona. There is much work to be done setting up all the necessary logistics. We need to finalize work permits for Carl & Julie and dependent passes for the girls. Tutapona is registered as an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), however, we are already beginning the process for renewing the registration due in a few months.
We have also been extremely busy trying to get all the paperwork in order to get a travelers visa for Judith and Elijah. We hope to come back home this summer and would love to bring Judith and Elijah with us. There is so much left to get ready for a visit home. However, we are anxious to see everyone and reconnect with family and friends.
We also celebrated Elijah’s birthday
last Friday May 11th
. It is hard to believe he is already 1 year old. Judith’s birthday is in a few weeks, on May 24th
, she will be 16. Between Julie’s birthday celebration (April 30th
), Elijah’s birthday, Judith’s birthday and Mother’s Day; we have had a lot of celebrations in the past 2 weeks. It has been great enjoying these times together as a family. Judith and Elijah are such blessings, what great additions to the family. People often ask how Emma and Grace are handling the transition. They have been amazing! There have been huge changes in our family and in our routine, but they have done remarkably well. They are incredible girls and it is so fun watching them continue to grow and develop. They have changed so much. Grace was 4 years old when we moved to Africa, she is now 8. It is wild to think she has lived half her life in Africa.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers and financial support. We feel your prayers constantly. We have continued facing spiritual attacks and resistance from the enemy so please continue lifting us in prayer. Also, please continue considering financially supporting Tutapona as the work cannot continue without your financial assistance.
Hopefully, we will be in America for a visit in less than 2 months and we would love to see you. We will keep you posted.
Carl, Julie, Emma, Grace, Judith & Elijah
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