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."