Thursday, December 2, 2010

Starbucks Gets It

So I was walking in to Starbucks the other day and saw this sign on the door:

And I thought to myself, "They get it. It's not just Africans that love stories, we all do." And then I realized that Starbucks understands people better than a lot of churches. (This blog post has nothing to do with the book The Gospel According to Starbucks, at least not that I'm aware of; I've not read the book.)

Too often we in the West want to make Christianity about mental assent, and so we preach about concepts  and conversion means accepting certain propositions. But in reality, Jesus is inviting us into His story. That's not to say that right thinking is irrelevant to us as Christians, but right practice, right action is where our thinking is lived out. He wants our whole life.

The Bible is full of stories. In fact, the Bible tells a story. Did you know that 75% of the Bible is narrative? (Side note; have you ever thought about the number of sermons you hear from the epistles compared to the rest of the Bible?) People love stories and we have the best Story to share. But do we share it? Do we invite people to participate in what God has been doing and what He is going to do?

Telling stories is going to be a big part of our ministry in Uganda. Not just any stories though, the Story of God breaking into the world to redeem and heal it. As we teach these stories to the African pastors and help them discover what God would say to their people through them, we are giving them Scripture in a way that is accessible to the people in their communities and tools to open up those Scriptures to them.

In just over a week I'll have the opportunity to travel to Louisiana to participate in a training that will equip me to share and empower others to share those stories. The training is put on by Simply the Story and is the same method our friends have been using in Uganda already. I'm very excited to have this opportunity and I'm excited to see how God is going to prepare me for ministry in Uganda through it.

As I end this blog post though, I want you to think about the Story we've been given, the Story we're a part of. We're in the midst of the Advent season. We're looking toward Christmas. Christ didn't come to earth just to come, He came with the cross in mind. He lived, died, and rose so we could be reconciled to God. What a Story we have to share! If that Story is not a gift, I don't know what is. How could we not share it? 

Who can you share this Story with this Christmas season?

Friday, November 26, 2010

We are Thankful

Given that we recently celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, we thought it would be fitting to share with you some things related to our journey to Uganda that we are thankful for. I know, it’s a little cliche; but here goes. In no particular order, here are a few things:
Monthly support increase: we received an email from our boss letting us know that some cash in our account, beyond what we need, will be converted to monthly support. This increased our monthly support from 46% to 54%. We’re officially over the hump! But God also used that news as the beginning of an answer to the prayer that we are praying for 11% of our support to come in each month until our visas are ready (You can read a bit more about that in our Nov. ’10 newsletter). 
Chances to be real: we had an opportunity to have dinner with a family that has recently moved to the States and started attending a church we’re connected with. When we met, they shared that they had never met a missionary before. Now, we didn’t have some super-spiritual conversation about missions or God or anything like that, but we did have a chance to share our story with them and show them that God calls and uses ordinary people, just like them.
Time with family: Since we’re not in Uganda yet, we get to spend another holiday season with our family. It has been so sweet to see Tim and Ben interacting with our extended family and, Tim specifically, building relationships with them. (Thanksgiving crew to the left)

People who pour into us: As we’ve been feeling more tired and stretched thin after an extended time of homeland ministry assignment, we recently made a conscious decision to put a group of people around us to hold us up in prayer and be an encouragement to our hearts. God has honored their commitment and we’re thankful to have them in our lives.
These are just a few, concrete examples of things we are thankful for, and they only begin to scratch the surface. God has been so good to us and has blessed us so richly. We have so much to be grateful for and are striving to live lives of thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tim Turns Two

As a proud father, I need to take a moment to brag on my son, Timothy. Tim just turned two today and we are so pleased with the little person that he is becoming. That's not to say that we're happy about everything he chooses to do, but we love the trajectory that he is on. We're excited that he knows his colors (most of the time), that he is working on his numbers (although not always in the right order), and that he can identify the animals (in English and Swahili).


But even more than all of that, we're excited that he is learning to love Jesus. Each night before bed he can hardly wait for us to read him his Jesus Storybook Bible. After that we both take a turn praying, and each night he needs less and less leading; he's learning to pray on his own. If you ask him about Jesus, his answer is, "Jesus lives my heart." Not that he fully understands what that means, I don't know what that fully means, but his heart is already being oriented to God. This evening ritual has become one of the sweetest times of my day.

We know Tim isn't perfect, no two year old is, but we're excited to see that the parenting choices* we made are bearing fruit. We pray that this is just the beginning. We can't wait to see the man that Tim grows up to be.

*We owe a debt of gratitude to Matt Friedeman, one of my professors at Wesley Biblical Seminary, and his wife, Mary, for the godly example of parenting they set before us and for their willingness to share that in a classroom setting. Meg and I were taking their class, "Discipleship in the Home," when we found out that Meg was pregnant with Tim and the concepts they taught there significantly shaped our idea of family and parenting. They recently distilled that semester-long class into a book, Discipleship in the Home, that I would recommend to anyone.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Orphan Sunday

So I saw on our friends Nathan and Cydil Waggoner's blog that this Sunday is National Orphan Sunday. I know that this is dear to their hearts due to the fact that they have adopted two beautiful, precious children from Albania. But when I saw the link on their blog, it tugged at my heart as well for entirely different reasons.


If you don't know already, Uganda is home to roughly 2.5 million orphans. Many of these children live in Northern Uganda and have lost their families due to the rebellion of the Lord's Resistance Army. Roughly half of those 2.5 million orphans lost their parents to AIDS. 


This Sunday, Orphan Sunday, would you join us in praying the words of psalm 82, asking God to

3Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
4Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Doing Ministry Where You Are

While I was "waiting" for Ben to arrive I had lots of time to think. I realized that I was so focused on getting to Africa so that I could start doing my ministry that I was missing all that God has for me here. God's "still, small voice" has been working on my heart. He has showed me that there are things here I can be, and should be doing. If I believe that God has called me to share the joy He has given me, why am I waiting to share?
So, I started calling around. I have found some womens groups that are a part of local churches. The first group was the UMW from Pitman UMC. I was invited to come to their meeting and give the devotional. I shared how God has given each of us something special and He wants us to use these gifts for His glory. Two evenings later I got to share with the Friendship Ring of Evangelical UMC in Clarksboro. The ladies were so welcoming and I was able to share the call God has given me for the women of Africa. It was wonderful to be used to encourage and bless these two groups.
As I am learning to serve where I am, I realized that was exactly what these ladies were doing. They are serving Jesus right now, in their church, community and family. In some ways their ministries look different than what I will be doing in Uganda, but the heart of it is the same. We are encouraging, mentoring, teaching and doing life with other women.

I will be doing this by having ladies to my home and sharing a cup of tea.
Some of these ladies meet at the local coffee shop to chat.
I will have bible studies and small groups. 
These ladies meet regularly to open God's word and pray together.
I hope to have English classes, cooking or sewing classes. 
These ladies have social groups from quilting to baking to scrapbooking.
I hope to develop a program to train the women leaders of the church in women and children's ministries. 
These ladies are doing the women and children ministries in their church.

I was so encouraged to know that what is going on around the corner will teach me and train me for what the future holds. It is important for us to keep looking and striving to get to Uganda, that is where God wants us. As we all look forward to what God has for us, we need to be careful not to miss all God has for us right now, right where we are.

"Wherever you are, be all there." -Jim Elliot

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Babies, Bedtime, and Hope

Sorry the blog has been so quiet recently. If you haven't heard though, Benjamin Daniel Rambo was born at 9:37pm on September 23, 2010. Needless to say, things have shaken up quite a bit in our home. Everyone is healthy and adjusting fairly well to the new realities of life, although I don't think any of us would argue with a little more consistent sleep.

The day after Benjamin was born, in an effort to help Tim not feel completely abandoned, I came home from the hospital to eat dinner with Tim and put him to bed. Per our normal bedtime routine I got him dressed in pajamas and we sat down to read a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible (which, by the way, we highly recommend)As we opened up the Bible to pick up where we had left off it just so happened (quite providentially) that we came to the Christmas story. And as we read that story, retold to point young hearts to Jesus, I found myself struck anew by the glorious reality of what happened on that momentous night.

Just hours before I had held in my arms our tiny, 8lb 7oz baby boy so many emotions swelled in my heart. On one hand I saw how frail, how helpless, how needy he was; and as I read that story of God breaking into our world I realized again that was how He had chosen to come. So humble, so dependent, so powerless. But I also saw in Ben's fresh, new life hopes and dreams and desires for what his life would hold and as we read I couldn't help but wonder what aspirations and hopes filled not only the heart of Joseph, who had been told his son was Immanuel--God with us, but also the heart of God.

As we prayed that night and thanked God for breaking into our lives with His "never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love" I couldn't help but be humbled and astonished and glad and maybe even a bit skeptical that God has chosen to invite us to be a part of sharing that love with the world. But what great news this is to share, what a glorious story it is to invite people to participate in.

I'm so thankful for Benjamin (and Timothy, for that matter), but I'm also so thankful for this reminder that God doesn't choose to work in the ways that we would. I'm thankful for what God accomplished through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son and I'm hopeful for what he will accomplish in and through the life of my sons.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ways to Pray

We wanted to pass along a list of ways you can be praying for World Gospel Mission's ministries in Uganda. Those in bold relate specifically to ministries in Northern Uganda where we are headed, but all of WGM Uganda's ministries need prayer. Thanks for being part of the team.

How you can be Praying for WGM Uganda…

Please pray for the physical & spiritual health of the missionaries & their families…

Southern Uganda Missionaries
  • Jonathan & Lisa Mayo (Jordan & Ethan)
  • Kenneth & Delight Hopson (Kaleb, Austin, & Emilee) 
  • Lisa Fish (Home Ministry Assignment)
  • John & Beth Muehleisen (Home Ministry Assignment) 
  • Jean Komline (beginning her 3rd year teaching at Heritage)
  • Brent Duncan (in charge of housing and vehicle maintenance, works with university students, pastoral training)
  • Karli Elsrod (teaching physical education at Heritage)
  • Jessie Mittleman (teaching art at Heritage)
Northern Uganda Missionaries
  • Billy & Joanna Coppedge (Elsie Jayne & Lucy Mae)
New Missionaries Preparing to Serve Throughout Uganda
  • Josh and Kelly Hallahan (Caleb& Seth - preschoolers) will be the chaplain at Heritage International School, working with university students
  • Scott and Meg Rambo (Timothy - preschooler) will be in Arua working with Coppedges
  • Michael and Brenda Guilliams (Luke - preschooler) working in Jinja
  • John and Nancy Ferg (Carly & Jamie - both in high school) will be in Kampala helping with maintenance
  • Matt and Joy (Morse) Burke (Judah & Lily - preschoolers) will be working with pastoral training/community health & development
Uganda Field Pastors
  • Rick and Janie Burkhalter (visit Uganda missionaries twice each year)
Ministry Prayer Requests
  • Matt and Joy Burke praise God for the little bundle of joy He has brought into their lives, Lily. They also ask that we pray for their Home Ministry Assignment schedule. It's difficult for them to work full time and make contacts. 
  • Josh and Kelly Hallahan are heading to Colorado fornew missionary training (SPLICE/PILAT) September 13-October 15. Pray that the training would sink deep into their hearts, equip them for the field, and at the same time, that God would help them keep building their support team! 
  • Two families will arrive in Uganda this month. Michael and Brenda Guilliams will arrive on September 3, and Billy and Joanna Coppedge will arrive on September 7. Please pray for both of these families as they adjust to living in Uganda as well as for wisdom and guidance as they engage in ministry (Guilliams in Jinja and Coppedges in northwestern Uganda and southern Sudan).
  • Heritage International School has an urgent need for a principal and English teacher. Praise the Lord the other teaching positions have been filled.
  • The income tax situation at Heritage is still unresolved. Please continue to pray for God's intervention.
  • The Uganda field has an urgent need for a business manager/treasurer. We don't have anyone at this point to fill this very important position.
  • Please pray for the MK’s during this school year: Kaleb (10th grade), Austin and Jordan (8th grade), and Emilee and Ethan (6th grade).
  • Scott and Meg Rambo are expecting a new baby, Benjamin, to arrive around September 13. Please pray for the last weeks of this pregnancy, for a healthy delivery, and for all of the family adjustments that come with this happy event.
Ongoing Prayer Requests for the Field:
  • Please continue to pray for the field housing situation. With rent increases and more missionaries arriving, the need for affordable field housing continues to remain a need. 
  • Please pray for the pastoral training program in 2010. The training syllabus is being updated and revised to a new discipleship/scriptural knowledge/leadership model. 
  • The Africa Gospel Church will be going through a time of transition in 2010 as they will soon get their registration from the Uganda government. They will be learning how to govern themselves as well as how to budget the church's finances. This is a huge step in the life of the Africa Gospel Church. 
  • Pray for the Community Health Empowerment ministry (CHE) that was launched last February. Pray that those involved in this ministry will be true servants of Jesus Christ and will help lead not only their local churches but also their communities toward transformation. 
  • Please pray for the youth pastor’s training as well as a devotional book that is in the works for the youth who are away at school. 
  • Please pray as we continue to look at new areas for outreach. New ministries have already begun in South Sudan. We are now looking at ministry opportunities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and 5 strategic locations within Uganda. 
  • Please pray that the Lord will provide 42 new missionaries in the next 10 years to meet the needs of the expanding ministries. 
  • Please pray for the printing ministry that Kenneth and Delight Hopson are involved with. The print shop touches every area of ministry of WGM in Uganda. 
  • Please pray for land to be purchased to build an Urban Center or to be able to purchase land with an existing building for multi-purpose ministries inKampala. This Urban Center would be a place for the 600 plus students from 11 African countries in the University Ministry. It would be a multi-purpose building for a church to reach professionals, a place to begin businesses or to rent out to other businesses to help fund the ministries of the church. 
  • Please pray that God will provide the necessary resources to meet the needs within all of the ministry opportunities. 
  • Please pray that we would all have the attitude of Christ, that we would keep Him the center focus of our lives, marriages, families, & ministries, and that we would be a light to Uganda.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mango Muffins

As we look toward living in Africa we are trying to do little things to get ready. Our most recent preparations is learning about cooking in Uganda. We asked our friends the Coppedges lots of questions about what is available and what is most commonly used. We asked about stoves and refrigerators. They are very gracious and answer all our questions. When we are living in Uganda, we should have a stove and oven. We will have a refrigerator and it will run on a generator. The Coppedges said that they don't use their fridge much, they choose to eat mostly fresh food. I am so excited about the idea of our food being fresh :)

We will be able to get mangos and bananas most of the year. To get me ready for cooking and baking, Scott found me some recipes for mango muffins. We tried all three muffin recipes this week, one each day. My favorite was the simplest, which is very convenient. Scott found the recipe here. I also included it below in case you want to try it. It was so good that we tried it again later in the week.
 
Another way that we are preparing is looking through, and hoping to try some recipes, from More-with-Less. Some new friends gave it to us when we joined them for dinner. The Browns were missionaries in Arua, Uganda and are planning to go back. They not only shared their cookbook with us, but they shared many stories of what life will be like. We are so thankful for all the little ways God is preparing us at this time. We are ready to go, but God is teaching how to use each day for His glory and become ready for what the future holds.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We're still here

Greetings friends. We are still alive, although our blog activity recently may indicate otherwise. Since our last post we have spent time in NJ, NH and just last weekend returned from spending 3 weeks at Delanco Camp.


We had a great time at Delanco, despite the number of campers being on the low end. It was interesting to see camp from 3 different perspectives (adult camper, program director, and missionary) in 3 back to back weeks. We had opportunities to share the vision God has given us for Uganda in both corporate and individual settings, and even had some people join the team! But we also got to see people coming to know Christ in new and deeper ways, which is always an exciting thing to be a part of.

But, in some ways, it was also a hard time. You see, there was a sense in which being at camp this summer brought us to grips with where we're at in our journey to Uganda and in our homeland ministry assignment specifically. At this point last year we anticipated that we'd be gone, or at least leaving, at this point in the year. But here we are, sitting at 46% of our needed monthly support.

We don't know why we're not in Uganda yet; we feel that we are working hard to get there. It could be that God's time table is different from ours and we haven't accepted that yet. After all, we will be leaving with the blessing of another son that our parents will get to see as an infant. But at the same time, we have to wonder if there is something else holding us back. We know that God is doing new things in Uganda, Sudan and Congo and that Satan is fighting that work (Eph 6:12), and maybe delaying and discouraging new missionaries from reaching the field is part of his strategy to hold on to power there.

But we do know that our calling is still to be in Uganda, and to be there as soon as we can. We are learning with Paul to be content wherever we are and with whatever we have and we are trusting that God will continue to supply all our needs (Phil. 4:10-19). At the same time, we are not content to let Satan have his way. In Daniel 10, as I was reading recently here, we see a picture of God responding to the prayer of Daniel, but at the same time that response was delayed because of a spiritual struggle. When Gabriel arrived he said this:

12"Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come." (Daniel 10:12-14)

We don't know why we're not in Uganda yet; whether it is God saying not yet or spiritual forces obstructing us. But we do know that our God is greater than anything that can stand against us (Rom 8:31). Would you stand with us, as Michael came to help Gabriel, praying that nothing but God would keep us from getting to Uganda?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

All around update

We had a great time in MS.  I failed at taking pictures with all the friends we saw. What can I say? I really just enjoyed the time together and forgot. We were able to enjoy 3 Sundays with Bellwether Church and it was wonderful to visit our home church again. We saw so many friends from our time in MS who helped to start the church plant, and so many new friends from this visit.

I wanted to let you know what this summer looks like for us. We would love to see you or meet with your small group while we are in your area. Also, we are looking for churches to connect with through the summer and fall. Look at your schedules and let us know when we could set up plans.

Time in NJ
June 4-6: Delanco Camp's Women's Retreat
June 7: Sharing at South Jersey Christian School's Chapel Service
June 12: Richwood UMC's pancake breakfast

Drive up to NH
June 13: Countryside Community Church
June 20: River of Grace

Summer in NJ
June 27 - July 3: Delanco Camp Meeting
                           (as guests)
July 4-10: Delanco Camp Junior High 1
                           (as Dean)
July 11-17: Delanco Camp Teen 1
                           (as missionaries)
July 18: Evangelical United Methodist

Out to IN
July 25-31: Orientation Camp at WGM Headquarters in Marion, IN

Back to NJ
September 13th: Benjamin is due

Lastly, I want to keep you updated on our support. We are currently at 42%. Each month I hope to put up a pretty little graphic and let you know how much support we have and what we still need. So here is our information at the end of May.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On the Road in Jackson, MS

We are back in Jackson, MS for most of May. It has been great to see all our old friends and to make some new ones. I must admit that I am terrible about taking pictures. I will work on this, but I did want to keep you updated on our travels.

All is going well so far. We had a few days of being sick this week and sadly had to cancel on some friends, but other than that things have been great. We got to stay with Scott's Uncle and Aunt on the way down. I always love that.

Next we stayed with Bill and Amanda Blair. They have a little boy 3 months older than Tim. The boys had such a fun time playing together and they also got to work on sharing. They also have a sweet 6 month old little girl who I just loved.

Now we are staying with our friends Marcus and Ashley Dukes. They were a part of our small group at Bellwether Church. They have a beautiful dog named Coltrane. Tim has bonded with him and we are thankful since Tim has missed our dog Chief.

We are half way through our trip and I am hoping to be better about taking pictures but I make no promises. Keep us in your prayers as we are recovering from being sick and still have lots more friends we would like to see. If we have not made plans yet with you PLEASE call or e-mail us. We would hate to leave Jackson not having had a chance to visit.

ALSO, have you heard that we are having a baby BOY? His name is Benjamin Daniel and he is due September 13th. We are so excited.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Prayer

Prayer is such a huge part of God working in Uganda. Without prayer much of the ministry could not exist. Prayer is how God chooses to work in this world. We are trying to teach Tim how to pray. At bedtime we say a prayer and have him repeat key words back. Each night we say, "Jesus, thank you for ____ and help ____. Amen." We try and thank Him for something Tim knows and appreciates and then we ask Jesus to help someone we know is in need. If we don't have a specific request on our mind we look at our prayer map. We have hung up missionary prayer cards around the different places where they serve. Tim prays for the different kids who are serving with their parents.

Last night we had the chance to host a "Uganda Prayer Night." We had an excellent time of prayer. Sadly I forgot to take a picture of our group but we had a good turn out. We had 10 people who came to lift up the needs of Uganda and to pray for its people. I know many of you would have been with us if you could, so I wanted to pass along our prayer requests and ask that you take a few moments this week to pray over this list. Thanks for joining us!


 Uganda Prayer Requests

You can always go to http://www.wgm.org/uganda to learn more about the ministries in Uganda

Heritage International School
  • teachers for next year
  • specifically for science, math, English, social studies, art, and several elementary positions

  • students as they finish this year and have summer break
  • specifically for a 16 yo student whose dad just died suddenly of a heart attack.  The family is really struggling financially- in addition to their grief.

Missionaries on the field
  • specifically for safety, wisdom, and preparation for new missionaries coming

Missionaries on HMA (homeland ministry assignment)
  • specifically for safety with travels, good time with family, good connections with churches and individuals, transitions back to USA

Missionary Disciples raising support
  • specifically for safety with travels, good connections with churches and individuals, gain a lot from trainings

Africa Gospel Church
  • growth in their congregations and protection from false prophets
  • specifically for Mugisha Emmy, the director of youth ministry for Africa Gospel Church. He has had an infection of some sort, pray for his healing.  

Pastors being Trained
  • study hard, stay connected in current ministry, hear God’s call
  • specifically for pastors in the Northern region who are without missionary support

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hope

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23


This past weekend we had the opportunity to be a part of a mission conference in Western Pennsyvania and while we were there someone sang the hymn "the solid rock" as special music. This is a great song that holds a special place in my heart, it was our class hymn at Asbury and it was sung at our wedding, but it hit me in a fresh way as I listened to the words being sung.

I think often when I hear the word "hope" my first thought is our future hope in Christ. But when I heard it this time it hit me that the hope we have in who Christ is and what He's done isn't only a future hope, but also our very present hope in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. It is hope for salvation, hope for a life pleasing to God, hope that God will fulfill His promises, and for us, hope that God will bring us to Uganda in His way and His time.

We've been a bit discouraged recently that we are not further along in the proccess of getting to Uganda, but when this song was sung I was reminded that I cannot hope in anything but Christ; not myself, not a
church, not our organization. As we approach Easter in this Lenten season know that your only hope for whatever is facing you today is found in Christ and what He did in dying and being raised again.



"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.

Refrain:
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

Refrain

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

Refrain

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Refrain"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

10 Things That Make Me Happy

So I must admit, before we get started with this list, that I totally stole this blog idea from our friends Philip and Kara Gormong's blog. But hey, it sounded like a good idea to get us back to blogging a little more regularly. Here goes... 10 things (in somewhat, but not entirely, particular order) that make me (namely, Scott) happy:

#10. Sleeping in our own bed
While we had a great time visiting friends and sharing God's call on our lives while we were on the road in February, nothing beats sleeping in your own bed. We had gracious hosts along the way, and they let us sleep in wonderful beds, but it's just not the same.

#9. A cup of coffee and a book
The best way to start a day, continue a day, end a day... I guess it doesn't really matter what part of the day it happens, it's just great. Recently, I've been reading a book by Dr. Allan Coppedge on "The Biblical Principles of Disciplehip" and one on the interrelated conflicts in central Africa, "Africa's World War" in preparation for our ministry in Uganda, Sudan, and Congo.

#8. Oranges and grapefruit from Florida
We've been enjoying the fruits of our labor since we've been home, and by that I mean that we picked up some oranges and grapefruit on our way out of Florida. It's been fun to be eating them and looking forward to all the different fresh fruit we'll get to enjoy in Africa.



#7. Our champions
We've been continually blown away by the way God has brought people into our lives who want to be a part of what He is doing in Uganda. It is so humbling to see how different people have responded to God's call and have joined the team, and are getting involved in various ways through prayer, financial support, and connecting us to their networks. If God is calling you to be more involved in the ministry in Uganda, or elsewhere, we would love to talk to you more about how that could happen.

#6. LOST
Meg and I are hopelessly addicted to the TV show "Lost." We're excited that the final season is taking place now, while we are in the States. Recently my sister Elisa has become hooked as well and it has been fun to re-watch some of the early episodes with her and watch her get so confused, just like we were when we first watched it--and still are.

#5. Reconnecting with old friends
We had such a great time on our February trip reconnecting with friends from various parts of our life; such as college, seminary, high school, and friends we'll be serving with in Uganda. God is so gracious to have given us so many great friendships that, despite time and distance, pick back up in a moment when we are together again.

#4. Knowing we're doing what God has called us to
There is nothing in life that brings greater happiness and fulfillment than knowing we are doing what God has called and created us to do. Right now, that includes preparing for Uganda, raising Tim, and growing in our relationship with Him.




#3. Tim's belly laugh
This is a sound that was sadly missing from our home a few days after we returned, until we discovered Tim had an ear infection and we could get that treated. Thankfully that sound has returned and it is a sound that brings such joy to my heart. No matter what is going on in life if I hear that laugh I can't help but smile.



#2. Reaching 35% of our monthly support needs
Praise God! We've reached our first major milestone in raising our monthly support. This means we are now eligible for health insurance coverage and to receive a salary as we continue to work full-time to get to Uganda. Our next big goal is 50%, at that point we'll be able to schedule our remaining trainings and figure out our travel plans for the next few months.



And last, but certainly not least....!




#1. A new baby and our growing family
My family brings me such happiness and joy and knowing that our little family of 3 has grown to a family of 4 only increases that joy. Our second child is due September 13th, 2010. This means Meg is currently 12 weeks along and we're just so excited about that. While Meg is hoping for a little girl so she won't be outnumbered anymore, Tim and I are holding out for a boy so that Tim won't be the only little boy between the Coppedges and us in Arua.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Quick Update from the Road


We have been having a great time of fellowship and sharing. We started with Abbie Gagnon in Pittsburgh, PA. She is a friend of mine (Meg) from high school. She watched Tim so that we could go on a date :) We went to see the play A Midsummer's Night Dream at a local theater.

Next we went to Terre Haute, IN to see Phil and Kara Gormong. It was very precious to have time with these dear friends. We went to their church's prayer meeting and were blessed by the time with them.

From there we went north to Kendallville, IN to join Jeff and Andrea Wolheter. Tim loved the time he had with their children, Wesley (5), Ethan (3) and Elizabeth (2). He worked on sharing and enjoyed having playmates. Jeff is the pastor at Bridgeway Community Church in Kendallville. This church is very missional. They are reaching into their community to reach the unchurched and  praying and sending missionaries around the world.

We headed south (which is excellent as far as I am concerned as long as it keeps getting warmer). We stopped by WGN headquarters in Marion, IN and continued on to Wilmore, KY. We are sharing at the  Asbury WGM student involvement center Sunday evening. While in Wilmore we have connected with SO many friends. We got time to fellowship with Billy and Joanna Coppedge who we will be serving with in Arua, Uganda. We saw friends from our Asbury days and met with some students still attending at Asbury. Finally we met with many of the connections we have from Wesley Biblical Seminary who have moved to Wilmore to continue their education.

God has been so good to bless us and our time traveling. Tim has been great in the car and has been a trooper visiting with people during nap time.

If you think of us will you pray for our time in Florida? We will be meeting with two small groups and we pray that individuals will feel called to become a part of what God is doing in Uganda. And also, on this visit we will see all my grandparents for (probably) the last time before we leave the US. This will be a very bittersweet visit. Many of my extended family are struggling with the idea of mission work and do not understand why we would choose to go. Would you pray for us and for them during our time?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

By the numbers

4,000 miles + 65 driving hours + 15 states + 10 beds = 1 month, February 2010


In a couple of weeks our family is hitting the road to share God's calling on our lives, to visit some family and friends, and to take a few more steps on the road to Uganda.

We're excited about the prospect of seeing some old friends, but also about making some new ones. Would you join us in praying for safety as we travel all these miles and for Tim as he adjusts to all these new people and places?




But these aren't the only numbers that have been on our mind. We've been encouraged recently by the way God is bringing people on board with us and the ministry He has for us. We still need people who are willing to commit to giving on a monthly basis, but progress is being made as God continues to provide. We're currently just past 31% of what we need which means there is still 69% remaining. This can seem like a daunting figure at times, but we've chosen to break it down when we think about it.


Think about it with me -- $4500/mo seems like a lot of money; but if we can find 450 people who are willing to give just $10 a month, we could be in Uganda doing the work God has called us to. It can be tempting to think that $10 doesn't make much of a difference, but it really does add up quickly. Could you be someone who joins our cause for $5, or $10, or $100 a month? 


For those of you interested, here is where we'll be over the course of the next four weeks:

  • Jan 30th - 31st ~ Pittsburgh, PA
  • Feb 2nd - 5th ~ Terre Haute, IN
  • Feb 6th - 9th ~ Kendallville, IN
  • Feb 11th - Feb 15th ~ Asbury College, Wilmore, KY
  • Feb 17th ~ Tampa, FL area
  • Feb 18th - 21st ~ Coral Springs, FL
  • Feb 21st - 22nd ~ Orlando, FL
Please keep us in your prayers as we travel; that we would be safe, that we would be bold to share what God lays on our hearts, and that God would bring us into the lives of the right people.

Friday, January 1, 2010

His Timing, Not Ours

Over the past few weeks we've gotten some "good" news and some "bad" news (that's how it appeared to us at first anyway), and we wanted to share that with you all. We'll go good-bad-good.

Just yesterday we found out that we have received a gracious and generous gift to our ministry account that has fulfilled our projected cash need! We are rejoicing that God has provided for that aspect of our financial support. What a great way to start of the new year.

But then, some bad news. While our one-time cash needs are taken care of, our pledged monthly support is currently at just 26%. This is the support that will provide for our ministry and living expenses, and the support that needs to be at 100% before we can leave for Uganda. Because of this reality, a week of training that we anticipated attending in February has been shifted to the last week of July. This also means that our earliest departure date moved from June to August.

But, there's more good news as well. Even though we are not where we were projected to be by this point in our homeland ministry assignment, our boss has cleared us to attend our big training session at Mission Training Institute in Colorado as scheduled (April), which means that training will not be something that delays our departure. This was an encouragement, not only because we had planned around that trip (including our visit to MS in May), but also because it felt to us like a vote of confidence that we are making progress.

We wanted you to know where we stand with raising our support so you can pray for us more effectively. Would you join us in praying for champions who will commit in a monthly way? And to remind you (as we have been reminded) that God's timing isn't always our timing, but His plan is always best. He knows when we need to get to Arua, and He's going to get us there at the right time. We can all rest in the fact that He will make a road for us as long as we trust and follow Him.