All these months into the pandemic have altered so much of our thinking. We would have never thought that the world could stop. We would have never expected that the normalities and freedoms we have joyfully experienced could be threatened so abruptly. This has been shocking and disturbing.
We all are well in Uganda. We have been rejoicing in the slower pace during our continued lockdown. Every missionary is using this time to care for his family and accomplish some much needed administrative projects. This has also allowed us to deepen relationships with those living within our campus (teachers, Hurley students, professors, and missionary families). One major highlight has been the opportunity to spend extra time with the missionary families.
These past few months have been challenging times, as local churches around the world have not gathered. For most of the world, zoom calls, online streaming, and the like have served to fill the gaps of missing fellowship. While we all agree, this has helped, it continues to leave our hearts longing for in-person fellowship again.
Fighting for peace may sound like an oxymoron, but anyone who has battled anxiety knows that it is truly a fight. Peace is a quality we all want to have. Spurgeon defines peace as, “The deep tranquility of a soul resting on God.” Who wouldn’t want deep tranquility? Everyone from mystics to Buddhists to Hindus to atheists long for deep tranquility. Yet, so few people seem to have it. Sure, we all experience moments of peace, pending on our circumstances.
What a crazy time in all of our lives, as most of us experience our first ever worldwide crisis. By God’s grace, so far the COVID-19 virus has not yet reached Uganda. Until a few hours ago, we could only hear its sounds from the media, its effects from cancelled visitors, and its precautions from compulsory hand sanitizing in Kampala.
It’s Wednesday afternoon at 3:30. I gather my Bible, notebook, old beach towel, and a prayerful heart and I head out the door. I pick up a friend or two at the gate and we drive towards Kitedde. On the way I wave to lots of happy kids, try not to get stuck in a trench in the road, chat with my new friends, who giggle like we are on a roller coaster if I go faster than 10 mph, and stop by a local elementary school to pick up Margaret, my trusty translator.
We moved to Uganda 14 years ago because our heart broke when we saw the dire condition of the people there. Extreme poverty, rampant sinfulness, and the breakdown of the family left children to fend for themselves. No church existed anywhere near our village; Christ was not anywhere on the minds of the villagers.
Dear Friends,We have some unexpected sad news to share. Those of you who have visited SOS within the past couple years probably would have met Helen and her two children. Helen grew up in our home, but during a rebellious season, left school and our home, which resulted in an abusive relationship in the slums with a drunkard and the ensuing births of two children. When the sicknesses of her children became overwhelming, Helen returned home to us with her two babies.
Dear Ladies,A couple weeks ago, I bought a new cookbook. Cooking is one of my favorites (which is a good thing since it is a rare night that I cook for less than 20!). But this cookbook was not just a cookbook. When I started perusing for inspiring recipes, I found tips on health, tips on fitness, tips on decorating, tips on beauty, tips on homemaking, tips on relaxing, and lots more tips.
As Bible believing, Christ following believers, we don’t believe in sainthood, as has been taught by those holding to the Catholic faith. We believe that all Christians are made saints upon salvation, not due to their own merit, but as a result of Christ’s merit, which has been freely given to them. This key doctrine, however, does not take away from the fact that some people deserve great honor for their significant Kingdom achievements.
Yesterday, my 17 year-old son, Ezekiel, said, “As I watch you and Dad adopt again, I’m seeing more similarities between physical adoption and our adoption into God’s family.” He leaned against the kitchen counter as I prepared for dinner and thought out loud, “Out of all the kids in Uganda, how did I get to be chosen to be in our family?
Who is Ella? Ella (formerly known as Rachael Wamanga) came to our home over 3 years ago. Some of you may remember her grandfather, Sam Wamanga. He was the first president of the Baptist Union of Uganda and was persecuted by Idi Amin in the 70s. In 2012, he came to work at SOS as the Church Strengthening Manager.
Last Tuesday, police unexpectedly arrived at the SOS campus and arrested a 22 year-old high school student who lives in our home on the charges of defiling a minor. The young man, Joseph, was as shocked as the rest of us who knew his character to be above reproach. We tried to sort out the issue here, but the police were determined to take him to the city jail.
Who is Elijah? Elijah used to be Ivan (nicknamed Ivan the Terrible at the beginning). But much haschanged since that name. On August 13th of last year, Ivan’s mother died in childbirth. After giving birthto a beautiful baby girl, she hemoraged and most likely didn’t make it to the clinic, bleeding to death onthe boda (motorcycle taxi). His baby half-sister is in the adoptive process with our teammates, Damonand Jen Cupp.
A few weeks ago, Community Bible Church of Kubamitwe celebrated its 10th anniversary! Upon relocating to the Luwero district after 3 rocky years in Mukono, God seemed to be opening up gospel opportunities in a community where the true gospel had not yet reached. The year before SOS physically moved into Kubamitwe, an SOS missionary family from New Zealand faithfully prepared the groundwork by teaching Bible studies to our first employees (a group of construction workers).