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Settling In

As some of you know we have been waiting “un-patiently” for our shipment of three pallets that we sent in May to Uganda. Well after much stress and craziness the shipment is finally here. I will spare you the details of the entire crazy process. So since Monday we have been sorting and settling in. Today it hit me the most that wow we are in our new home. It’s crazy how “your” stuff can make a house a home. I love it, pictures on the walls, books on shelves, even the toys for our kids that have already been strung out all over the house. It is also a bit scary, we have been here in Uganda for only 4.5 months, but it does seem a lot longer. It brings a feeling of home away from home, but it also makes me miss home a bit.

It is definitely a weird feeling.

Now that the house is feeling more like home the next task is to re-organize the ministry center/office. I bought stickers and colored them and will be using them to organize the books. Our kids have a tough time with putting things back how they found them as well as picking books at their reading level. The idea is to color code the books so they can put them back on the matching colored shelf, as well as follow the color codes to pick books at their level. It is wishful thinking I am sure, but my organizational and a little bit OCD self loves the idea. The other big task is to go through the shoes for football (soccer). Again, I am going to organize them by size and then they are getting numbers put on them to keep them organized. I also might have the kiddos that regularly “earn” boots to borrow have specific shoes that they wear. It may help with keeping them from getting ruined, another ambitious thought but one that we will test out.

Jacob has been settling in to a great routine of school. He is definitely growing leaps and bounds socially. Some great things that we are working on is sharing, accepting not being chosen, and following all directions. He is making friends and even has his first birthday party this Saturday. He earned his first merit the other day and he was so proud! He is praying at dinner every night, and is really thoughtful about what he is praying for, not the typical thank you for the food, amen. If he can’t think of anything toward the end of the prayer he will simply say, “Thanks for everything else.” So funny! He is often making us laugh and is still our little firecracker.

Parker is also adapting to spending a day with our neighbors and friends who have a 3 year old who she loves playing with. Innocently she refers to Emily (their mother) as her “new” mom. So funny, because we always just refer to Emily as Seth and Simon’s mom so she thinks that must just be her name. The past few days she has been fighting a fever and sore throat so keep her in your prayers that it will clear up once and for all as it keeps coming and going.

We said farewell to our “Muzungu” friends today as they head back home to Kentucky, they will be missed. We are thankful for our neighbors and new friends for the blessing they have been, the friends to our kids, and the sense of family that they bring to our lives. We are truly blessed and feel the love as we have gotten some lovely care packages from family, and enjoy skyping weekly. God is good and we are still settling in but we know that this is where we are meant to be at this time and for this season in our lives. God is always blessing us and keeping us motivated to continue to make His name known in this world.

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Wise Council…when people only tell you what you want to hear, Watch out!

2 Chronicles 18

When people only tell you what you want to hear… Watch Out!

The story of Ahab and Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles is one to consider in our lives. It was interesting to me that they both agreed that they should seek council before making a big decision. It was ironic that King Ahab hated Micaiah merely because he spoke truth that didn’t always favor the King. It’s also interesting that the “prophets” only told the King what he wanted to hear.  The difference in the prophets was who they were getting their information from, for Micaiah it was from the Lord.

It makes me think about my life as a parent. I try to advise my kids in the dangers of life, teach them what will make them in the end better off. But if they choose to not listen it usually ends worse than if they would have just took my word for it. Example, “Please wear your shoes if you’re going to ride your bike, because you could hurt yourself.” Moments later… “Mom, I need a Band-Aid (crying), I stubbed my toe.” “What are you going to do next time you ride your bike?” “Wear shoes.”

Sometimes in life we can advise, but we can’t always make our kids listen, so we let them learn the hard way. I think that God does that for us to strengthen our belief in Him. It says in the story in 2 Chronicles 18:18-27, that God allowed a lying spirit in the mouths of the prophets. So sometimes there will be people out there that are only telling you what you want to hear, but don’t have your best interest at heart. They are only looking at what telling you what you want to hear will do for them.

Right now I am typing this up and Parker is sitting in my lap falling asleep. She had a quiet time with her brother and friend Simon today, but chose to be silly and loud getting out of bed. Thus, now she is passed out and will miss the rest of the time with her friends. Maybe it was worth it to her to be silly, we will find out when she wakes up.

In Uganda there are barriers and one of them is relatable to this story. We have our program that is aimed at giving kids a great experience in life. An experience that is geared toward being a well-rounded individual. Teaching them that education is important, being active physically is important and having a spiritual relationship with God is important.  We explain that with our program these aspects are made available, but it is up to them to utilize them. We have given them the formula for success, but if they only listen to what they want to hear the success they have is short lived if lived at all.

Just like in the story we may not like the answer that God is giving us, and we may go ahead and ignore it. We may listen to bad advice because it’s what we want to hear. We may also condemn the one who is advising us, but watch out because it may end in more trouble.  Through God’s word I give you this advice, make sure you know the source of the one who gives you advice and if it matches up with the Word of God then, TAKE IT!

Have a blessed weekend.

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Wisdom…the journey

It baffles me how a parent and a child don’t know their birth-date. How could you forget something so amazing? How could you as a kid not know?  Well, because your parents never celebrated you, your birthday went unrecognized. You went to school making up a date or even a year just filling in the spaces. Sometimes they didn’t even spell your name correctly or you were not taught what letters made up your name. I am also baffled by the lack of parents even knowing where their kids are. It’s like they either trust their kids so much or they trust everyone else. The other day a child maybe one years old, I don’t know it couldn’t talk but could stand. Was standing butt naked in the road, unusually common here, we honked and she started crying. Wouldn’t move, so I got out and picked her up walked up the road and then stopped at the house at the end of the road. No questions from them, I say, “Do you know who this child belongs to? She was in the road, and wouldn’t move.” The young girl maybe ten, says she is mine, (I am guessing her sister) the lady at the house starts laughing (she is cooking food and I think the kid stopped there to get some food). I hand the kid over with a heavy heart wanting to just take the kid and find a home where they actually care about her enough to watch out for her.

I want to figure out now what the process is for this new movement that instead of orphanages they are working on finding relative placement or permanent foster families for kids to be able to be raised in the same “type” of environment. What does that mean for those kids? My job in the states at one time was working with families to “reunite” meaning their kids were removed and they had worked through the system to get them back. My job, make sure they succeed. I am wondering if my role in Uganda is changing, wondering if I should be part of these processes of teaching families how they can better help their children. No one likes being told how to parent, however those willing to learn, to think differently or even knowing its ok to be different and inflict change. I am all for culture, I am not looking to change those important aspects. However, I am for informing and challenging different ways to teach, nurture, support, and supervise. It’s important to learn and to grow as a person, parent, teacher and child.

What is my role? Right now I am a volunteer for Rising Star Ministries because we are not fully funded, so I work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday specifically on the educational side of our ministry. On Wednesday and Friday I am also a volunteer at Acacia International School in the preschool and for now this allows Jacob to attend school 3 days a week Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I can’t get paid anything until I complete a teacher certification course and then apply for a work permit, allowing me to “work” and get “paid”. I am a wife and mother 24/7 and so for right now that is where God has placed me. I am trying to make sure that I am always in the Word and seeking after His plan for my life.

We are entering the 5th month of our journey here in Uganda.  We still don’t have our shipment, but it is apparently in the country though, so that’s a major accomplishment. We just finished an intense three weeks of holiday schedule with the kids at Rising Star and it was a major success. Jacob started school for the first time and is doing well (participating in songs even, for those who have spent time with him that is a major accomplishment). Parker is lovely and exhibiting her personality all over the place, and the two year old up and down behavior is exhausting most of the time. She calls everyone her friend and is a talker, she also will NOT sleep in.  I am driving in Uganda on Wednesdays and Fridays as I commute the long drive through Kampala to the other side of town for school. Pray for continued safety and success as this becomes the new routine. I just completed my 6 weeks of healing my broken wrist and still working on building up the muscle and flexibility. Keep us all in your prayers and continue to share what we are doing with others.