Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chicken!

So, our story begins with a small church in Nebbi District. We were visiting the congregation of Akaba Africa Gospel Church to encourage them and Scott was the guest speaker. As a thank you gift, they gave us a rooster. And so begins our chicken adventures.

We kept the rooster, and named him Rocky. We decided to embrace this idea. Scott built a chicken coop. Tim and Ben enjoyed helping in the process. And start to finish, it was a process. Going to the market to buy nails, buying wood in one place and having it carried across town to be cut to size, and finally trying to explain a hook and eye latch to people who do not have such a thing. It worked out and he found everything he needed and built a chicken house.

Next we had our watchman get us two hens. We named them 'Chicken Big' and 'Chicken Little.' We waited and waited for them to begin laying eggs. We expected Chicken Big to be the first to lay, but it was Chicken Little, who laid first.
Meanwhile, we received another rooster as a gift. This one was from the church of Okollo but it was sick. We did not want it to get our other chickens sick so we ate it the next day. Our watchmen and house worker were quite helpful in the process of getting it ready to cook. 

After some time, Chicken Little began to lay eggs. We heard a loud comotion in the window. When we went to check, both hens and the rooster were trying to sit on the windowsill. About half an hour later we found an egg on the ground next to the window that had decided to play Humpty-Dumpty. Similar thing happened the next day but we got the egg before it jumped. We then taught the hen to lay in the house.

She was laying eggs well, and we let her sit on them while we went to Kampala for Thanksgiving. Not long after we got back we had three chicks. Tim and Ben loved chasing the chicks around. Wilmore, our dog, did not seem to care about the chicks until one day when her previous watchmen came by. She caught and killed one as a trophy for them. We, especially Tim, were crushed. That day we went from three chicks to one. We decided to build a new chicken house that could keep the chicks inside. We also decided to keep the rooster. By this time we had another rooster who we named Rambo. The plan was to give Rocky and Rambo away as Christmas gifts, but now we needed to keep Rocky to get more chicks, so plans changed.

We had the Hallahan's up from Kampala for Christmas. We had our other rooster for dinner one evening while they were here. So now, we have one rooster, two hens and a chick. The hens have been renamed; Chicken Little is now bigger than Chicken Big so it did not seem to fit. We now have Rachel and Leah. Rachel is more beautiful, but Leah is the one who is laying eggs. I thought it seemed to fit. Tim has named the chick Jacob after reading the bible story of Rachel and Leah. I tried to explain that Jacob was the dad but... we now have a chick, whose gender is not yet known, named Jacob.

I am sure there will be more adventures to come with animals around our house. Next addition comes in a few weeks, a kitten!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Just had to Share this Story

Something I've found, even in our short time here, is that even though a given group of people might have the Bible in their language, but they still cannot read it. It could be that they cannot read at all, it could be that their language is difficult to read and write, it could even be that they just aren't wired (like many Americans) to read a page of text and understand or remember the information. Over the past few weeks I (Scott) have been talking with our team leader, Billy, about the possibility of using solar-powered media players as a tool in this ministry. The thinking behind it is that they would be loaded with stories from the Bible in the heart language of a people and would be able to be used by a storyteller or pastor to 1) learn new stories, but also 2) maintain the integrity of Scripture. 

Anyway, we were looking for opportunities for me to be trained in the process of translating Bible stories orally (in a language you don't speak) and recording and formatting them for use on these devices. The Simply the Story (the storytelling method we use) coordinator for Africa lives in Nairobi and Billy had been talking this over with him and they thought it would be a good idea for us to send someone there to check things out. Well I had a gap in our schedule when we would be in Kampala in between meetings and I thought there might be some dead time. So I suggested trying to make it work. It sounded like a great plan, until I didn't hear anything back. This week I resigned myself to the fact that it probably wasn't going to happen since that gap in our schedule begins 10 days from today.

Then last night I get an email from Billy saying that he had spoken with STS coordinator and things might still work out. I called him this morning, he said, "Come on," and I bought plane tickets this afternoon to spend 4 days in Nairobi being trained in this method.

All this might sound amazing enough in and of itself, but it gets better.

A couple weeks ago I got an email from a contact back in NJ asking if we had any immediate financial needs, then we had some internet issues and some illness going around the house and I hadn't ever emailed him back. So this morning I remembered that and so I sent him an email telling him about the trip and the training and that I was estimating it would cost between $400-500 for plane tickets and to cover expenses while I'm there. Here is the email I received back, after the tickets were already purchased:

"A year ago a young person's auto ran into my car. The driver lied and told the state trooper that I had hit her. He wrote up the report that it had totally been my fault, when it wasn't. It was an uphill battle getting my $500 deductible back because of the police report.
I prayed that if I got back my deductible (under these seemingly impossible circumstances) the money would be given back to God.
Six months ago my insurance co. said they weren't able to get back the deductible but would still try.
A couple weeks ago as I walked through my living room I remembered that it had been almost a year since the accident. I then prayed, "God, it's been a year but nothing is impossible through you, and the money is yours " The next night I received an email from [the insurance agency], 'We have gotten 100% of your deductible back and will send a check for $500.'
Scott, I was hoping you needed $500! God is amazing!"

I was floored as I read that email. I remembered him telling us, over a year ago, about that accident just after it happened. I had prayed that God would bring justice for our friend. But honestly, I hadn't given it another thought since then. I don't think either of us ever expected things to work out this way, but isn't that how God so often works? There is no other option but to point to God and say, "He did this." I think part of an email back from him later in the day sums things up:

"God laid on my heart that your ministry should be the one to benefit, and you confirmed that when you said you could use $400 to $500. That blows my mind!"

Blows the mind, indeed.

"God's work, done in God's way, will never lack God's supply." Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission

Friday, September 23, 2011

Link: What Bible Storytelling Isn't

When people hear that a major part of our ministry here is Bible storying, they often have a lot of questions and sometimes even objections. Here is a good article I came across today. Hopefully, it will help people understand this vital part of our ministry better.

You can read the article by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Beautiful Wedding

We were blessed to be able to attend the wedding of one of our watchmen, Fedreck. We wanted to share some of it with you. There were some beautiful parts and some funny parts, all around God used this time to bless us and for us to bless our employees. We brought the other three full time watchmen with us and the Coppedges house help to the wedding. Our car was quite full plus we had to bring our present (see below!)


When we got there we were greeted warmly by Fedreck and the Priest. After a little while, the bride showed up. There was much singing, dancing, yelling and celebrating at her arrival. The wedding started with the African version of flower girls which was really young girls who danced out. It was fun and festive. After the girls came the women of the church. They came in wearing simple yellow or white cotton dresses. Each had a piece of fabric called a kitenge around their waist. As they came in they laid their ketenge down to make a "runner" for the bridal party. It was such a show of service, it was one of the highlights for me (Meg).
Next the bridal party came in and they were so formal, more dressed up in western ways than I expected. As they came up the "aisle" the dancers and singers continued.


The service seemed a lot like what we are used to. There was a time of the Priest speaking, there was a time where he asked the couple questions and the couple responded with various forms of "I do." Most of the service was in the local language of Lugbara so we did not understand much. I was quite thankful that we had brought Mathew, Simon, Joel and Jane along, they were quite helpful in translating at times. Benjamin wasted no time making friends. He did not like sitting still so he would crawl around until he found someone to play with.

After the ceremony the bridal party and "honored guests" were invited into the church building for a light meal to hold us over until the reception. Yes, we were the honored guests. I was so humbled to be included in such a special time with the bridal party. The reception was amazing. A couple of highlights, part way through the wedding party left for pictures, when they came back the groom hid in the crowd and the bride had to walk around trying to find him. It was a fun game. The other highlight was the way they give gifts. It is a big party and celebration.

People get into groups based on how they know the couple, the groom's family, the bride's family, the groom's friends, the bride's friends, the groom's company (that was us) and so on. Again, much of this was in Lugbara so we did our best to understand. Each group took it's turn going out of the reception area, getting organized and then forming a conga line to bring their gifts to place before the couple. It was a lot of fun seeing the different gifts coming it. In the picture above you can see a mattress all rolled up and a large metal cooking pot. To the right is the presentation of a goat. Some people brought money and they put it in the bucket when the got to the front of the line.

We also brought a gift. We gave him a goat, yes a goat! I feel so African. :) Our watchmen decorated it, isn't it pretty?! It was a lot of fun to present our gift to the couple. It is not done in a flashy, look at me, kind of way. The gift giving is a celebration and  a joyous time.

After gifts came the eating. It was a feast! And it tasted so good. There was meat, rice, vegetables and cassava bread.

You must know that cassava bread is a staple here. Everyone eats it. It is the cheapest food and it is filling. For lack of a better way of explaining it it is like mash potatoes but the consistency of play-dough. They take it and mold it and use it to scoop broth, rice or meat. When you come to visit us we will provide an opportunity for you to try it. The picture is the amazingly huge pot of it. There were a lot of people, and there was a lot of cassava bread.

We ended up leaving before the very end of the reception because the boys (and us) were getting tired. We were told the only part left was the cutting and giving of cakes. They have the cake that is cut and eaten at the reception but they also have a few small cakes that the wedding couple gives as gifts to thank people who contributed to the wedding. Another fun tradition.

When we were leaving we ran into a traffic jam, African style. This big truck ran out of gas. So, he was stuck in the middle of the road and therefore the road was blocked. We got to this point, asked some questions, turned around and found another route home. Always an adventure!




Saturday, July 30, 2011

Asbury Team and More

We were so blessed to have a team of five girls from Asbury University come be with us for two weeks. They were a great group who were a blessing to us as well as to the orphans they served. Check out Meredith's blog or Jeri's blog for more stories. We also had the blessing of a VIA from Kampala, Jon Ewing, join us while the team was here. It was amazing to see how God worked in those two weeks.
Meredith has stayed on with us for an extra four weeks. Her ministry has been a continuation and follow up of some of the work the team did. She has been a blessing to many children who do not get much love and attention. Not only has she loved on Ugandan orphans, she has been so kind to Tim and Ben. Both Scott and I got a stomach bug and Meredith has been so great with the boys. She babysat for us one morning and when we returned she said that the hardest part was that both Tim and Ben wanted her to themselves. We are thankful.
We had to say goodbye to Billy and Joanna Coppedge for six months. They have returned to the states to give birth to two baby girls. As you think of them, pray that the twins would not come early and they would be healthy and ready to travel to Uganda in January. We are doing fine without them, but we sure do miss them. Tim misses his friends Elsie Jayne and Lucy.
Scott is still working with the Sudanese pastors in Arua and is continuing to build relationships with the Africa Gospel Church pastors in Nebbi. I (Meg) am trying to get to know my neighbors and am praying that God will connect me with those I need to build relationships with.
The boys are getting bigger. Ben has taken some steps and is oh so close to walking. Tim talks like a grown up and gets frustrated at the phrase, "you are not big enough yet."
What next? On August 11th we leave Arua for Kampala. We will bring Meredith down to catch her flight to the US and the Rambos will fly to Arusha, Tanzania for Swahili language school. We will be there for three weeks. I will be in the beginner class and Scott will be in the intermediate class. The boys will be in class too. Mostly being watched, but they will pick up as much Swahili as we do!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ministry, Fun and Getting Settled

We are settled and into our Arua house. We love it! I am hoping to find time to blog and include pictures of our house soon. For now I just wanted to you know what we have been doing for our first month in Uganda.

Where We've Been
We reached Arua from Kampala on May 27. It was great to see our house and to meet some people. On June 6 we drove back down to Kampala so Scott could be a part of the "Pastoral Training Of Trainers" (PTOT) and meet some of the leadership for Africa Gospel Church Uganda. It was nice to get to see the Hallahans again and to buy somethings we can't get in Arua. We then went on June 9 to Field Retreat with all the WGM missionaries in Uganda. It was a good time to build relationships and get to know each other. Each of the sessions were great and encouraging.
June 12 we drove back up to Arua and are trying to find our new "normal."

Ministry
Some have asked, "so when will you start working?" That is a fair question but know that we have been in the middle of it already. We attended a church of one of the church leaders our first Sunday in Uganda. We were able to build some relationships and also encourage this congregation. Our first Sunday in Arua we did the same. We attended Cosmos' church in Nebbi Town and went to his home for lunch. It was amazing to be welcomed into his house. It was in the village and all that you would imagine of a grass hut in Africa. God taught me much about appreciating what I have.
When we went back down to Kampala, Scott got to participate in a training session (Pastoral Training Of Trainers or PTOT as we refer to it). They were training the nationals who are teaching the pastors. (Isn't it amazing to see the national church taking ownership!) They had a good two days. Scott also got to know some of the church leadership during this time.
Back in Arua, Scott and Billy have been trying to meet weekly with three Sudanese pastors Who are living and ministering in Arua. I am sure Scott will blog about this himself sometime. This past weekend Scott and Billy were a part of a pastor training in Nebbi. They spent the night in a village on Lake Albert called Panyimur and attended a church plant there on Sunday. It was an encouragement to the congregation for Scott and Billy to be with them. Scott even got to preach his first sermon in Uganda! Again, I hope that Scott will blog about this sometime.
We have our first team coming in July and we will be hosting all 6 girls from Asbury. A lot of Meg's time is planning and preparing for their arrival. We are getting our guest bedrooms ready. Scott was busy hanging bug nets last week.
Between all of these activities we have been trying to build relationships with our guards, Mathew and Fedrick, and our house help, Regina. I am excited to see how God uses these relationships for His glory.

Fun
We have had a lot of fun since we got to Uganda. At retreat we were able to swim, and that was a special treat for me! We went on safari for a day with a fellow missionary, Lisa Fish. There will be a blog on that to come soon too :) Most of our fun has been trying to learn the culture. We laugh a lot and get laughed at even more. Our neighbors find Ben's pacifier very funny. They don't understand why he would suck on something that is not food. My favorite cultural surprise so far was the "phone charging" stands. Many people here have cell phones but do not have electricity to charge their phone. So they can go to these stands and charge their phones for a charge. So funny to me.

Getting Settled
Slowly but surely we are getting settled. We successfully went to town on our own last week. I bought all the food we needed at the open air market and the grocery store. Scott got the mattresses for our team coming in July. He even negotiated the price (which is very much part of buying anything here). We are figuring it out and when we struggle to understand or become part of the culture we call out "God Help!" And He has been faithful to meet us every time. We got internet in our house, but it took going to the office several times. Nothing happens quickly here. We are learning and God is showing us that we need to trust Him and be patient.

More blogs to come soon. I have so many things I want to share!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our First Days in Uganda

Sorry that we've been so quiet these last weeks. As you can imagine, it has been quite a whirlwind since we arrived in Colorado at the end of March. After two weeks of language acquisition training, three weeks of other preparatory training, and two weeks of packing and making final arrangements, we have finally arrived in Uganda.

We left the States on Sunday night, May 15th, spent a day in London on layover, and arrived around 7:30a Tuesday morning. From there we drove from the airport in Entebbe to Kampala where we are staying with my brother-in-law and sister, Josh and Kelly Hallahan, before we head up to Arua late next week. That first day we fought off Jet lag and tried to unpack a bit and feel settled for the two weeks we are here.

Wednesday the ladies (Meg and Kelly) went with one of the other missionaries here to see what some of the stores here in Kampala have to offer and begin to learn the cost of living here; including how to quickly convert the currency in your head to have a better comparison of the expenses. With the exchange rate hovering somewhere just south of 1 USDollar = 2,400 USHilling, you can imagine this is no simple feat. If you brought $500 to Uganda you'd be a millionaire!

After they returned I (Scott) had a chance to take the Land Cruiser out on the roads for the first time. It was quite the experience. Check out some more in this video:



The rest of the week has consisted of more opportunities to get to know the culture like more shopping, going car shopping with Josh and some other missionaries, and just living here. We're adjusting to the time difference (7 hours when the US is on DST, 8 hours otherwise), getting used to the Ugandan versions of things we use in daily life (did you know milk comes in a bag?), and being oriented to the way Uganda works and they way our field operates.


As you can see, we're in the midst of huge amounts of transition and a lot more is coming when we move out of the big city and up to Arua. Would you pray for us in the midst of the newness that comes with each day? As you can see above, the boys are enjoying it, but that doesn't mean it isn't hard at times. Would you pray specifically for them and for Meg and I as we try to parent them through this? Finally, would you pray that in these days of transition and preparation we would be open to what God is wanting to do in us?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We are here!

We are in Uganda! There will be more later, and pictures I promise. We arrived on Tuesday and are just now feeling like the worst of jet lag is over. Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

We have to be able to say what?!?

Over the past week and a half we've been participants in PILAT (Program In Language Acquisition Techniques) at Missionary Training International in Palmer Lake, Colorado. This has been incredibly stretching but also incredibly valuable. We've been learning about how to learn a language, some techniques to use in doing that outside a classroom setting, and how to work with a helper who isn't trained to teach a language.


We've also been practicing various phonetic sounds to prepare us for some of the foreign sounds we'll have to reproduce in learning our target language. All I can say about that is, "Wow." The English language uses 44 different sounds to produce all the different words we use, but the human mouth is capable of producing hundreds of different sounds! So each day we have one, and sometimes two, "Phonetics Drills" where we focus on practicing a different category of phonetic sounds. Some are easier than others, some sound funnier than others, and some just flat out make you sound ridiculous.


In the midst of some of these drills that were a bit harder and made us feel a bit like morons when we struggled to say them, Meg got a verse in her email. The verse was 1 John 3:16, "By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers." She shared that with me and we got to thinking; it may not be our literal lives that we are laying down, but are we willing to lay down our egos and our pride, sound like idiots for a while, for the sake of those who will be impacted by the gospel through our learning a language?


And then today, the verse was this: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). If we have died to self and Christ lives in us, shouldn't we do the kind of things He did? He came and "dwelt among us." He became one of us. He came into a specific culture, spoke a specific LANGUAGE, and showed us how to live.


My train of thought then turned to our devotion time from the very first day of PILAT. Dwight, the founder of the program, shared with us from 1 Corinthians 9:19-27 where Paul is talking about submitting himself as a slave in order that those around him might be won. All for the sake of those around him, all for the sake of the Gospel; Paul was willing to be the one who laid down his rights and his identity. 


How often are these our attitudes? Do we lay down our lives? Do we submit ourselves for the sake of those around us? What is more important to us our rights, or those around us being won? Are we willing to be the one who adapts and goes to others, or are we going to sit back and wait for people to change and adjust to us, "learn our language," before they can hear the good news?


Thanks for bearing with me through this post, I don't know that I always made sense, but I wanted to share about what is happening in us as we go through this training. I welcome any feedback or further thinking, I know I'm not completely where Jesus wants me to be in this area, but I want to be and I know He will do it in me as much as I will let Him.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Radical

While we've been down here in Mississippi these past couple of months we've gotten to connect with our Bellwether Church family in many ways, but I think our favorite part has been visiting all the different small groups they have. We've not been able to attend any one of the evening groups more than once or twice, sadly, but I (Scott) have been able to meet with the men's group each week. Aside from the fact that they meet early in the morning each Tuesday, this has been a phenomenal part of our time here. I've been challenged through our time and, hopefully, have been able to spur on some of the other guys as well.


In this group we've been studying David Platt's Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (God timed our visit so I could jump in at the beginning of this study and I'm only missing the last chapter next week). I, yes even me the missionary, was challenged by this book and had to struggle through some of the chapters, wrestling with what Platt was saying and what I see in life and in Scripture.

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American DreamThe basic premise of the book is that we've taken Christianity and, mostly unknowingly, softened it to conform to what would be called the "American Dream." When he looks at the Bible, Platt sees a lot of conflict between what Jesus is saying and what he sees the church doing today. He believes that we've shaped Jesus into what we'd like him to be, rather than allowing Him to shape us into what He wants us to be. He begins the book by asking a simple, but extremely probing question, "Is the Jesus you know someone worth losing everything for?" If not, why not? That's what the early disciples believed. That's what Christian's in the rest of the world live.

Platt builds on this idea throughout the book, challenging various aspects of our American Christian culture, until he challenges people to take up his radical experiment for a year. This radical experiment covers 5 facets of our lives where we need to be radical. Here they are: Over the next year to....

  • Pray for the whole world
  • Read the whole Bible
  • Commit our lives to a multiplying community (Church, small group, something)
  • Sacrifice our money for a specific purpose
  • Give our time in another context
What would your life look like if you made a commitment along these lines? What kind of impact could you make in the world? It doesn't necessarily mean packing up and coming to Uganda with us, but the result would be no less transforming. I'd challenge you to pick up a copy of this book and read it (if you've got a kindle or a kindle app on your phone or computer you can get it for just a couple dollars). Be open to the challenge and see where God might want to move you outside your American comfort zone.

You can also check out some more info by visiting www.radicalthebook.com or www.radicalexperiment.org.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why We Train Pastors

Ever wondered why we have focused our ministry on training pastors?

Check out Josh and Kelly Hallahan's blog to read the story of Pastor Wilson -- I think his story will show you exactly why we believe in training pastors.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Day at the Zoo

Today, we got to spend the morning at the Jackson Zoo. It was great fun to see Tim's excitement about seeing all the different animals. He would run up to one exhibit, look at the animal inside for about 10 seconds, and then turn to us and say, "Let's see another animal!" Benjamin wasn't quite so excited, but he did enjoy a nap in the fresh air... But as we were walking around, the zoo (like so many things these days) got me thinking about Africa and what our boys might think of the zoo the next time we're home for Homeland Ministry Assignment.

You see, this was probably the last time that our boys will see some of these animals through a cage or over a wall. They are going to grow up watching animals like that through the window of our car as we drive from Arua to Kampala (and who knows where in the future). What an amazing opportunity they will have to grow up in another context. Not that life will always be easy or as fun as safari, but when we're back in the States again (at ages 4 1/2 and 2 1/2) their worldview is going to be vastly different than that of their peers. They are going to see life here very differently than the average American kid.

But it also got me thinking about whether coming back to the States will even feel like coming "home" to them. Probably not. Do you remember anything about your life prior to age 2? Prior to 6 months old? I don't. And I wonder, how long will it take for Africa to feel like it is home for me? We know that God has called us to Uganda at this point in our lives, and to Africa for our lives, but at what point does "home" change?

These are some of the thoughts and feelings that we're wrestling through as we look toward our departure for Uganda (we're currently at 88%). I don't have answers to all (or any) of this, but I thought I'd share so you all can get a glimpse of where we're at and know how to pray with us even more. Thanks for joining us in this journey.

***A correction to our last post***
We apparently experienced our first team miscommunication (of many, I'm sure) about the vehicles in Arua. The Coppedges are actually going to continue driving the Land Rover I described below while we will be driving a Toyota Land Cruiser (which is equally exciting: more to come on that when I know more). And all that is kind of relative anyway; they're both Arua team vehicles and we'll use them as the mission requires.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Land Rover!!

Exciting news: We found out not very long ago that there is a Land Rover sitting in the Coppedge's yard waiting for us! I (Scott) am super stoked about this (just ask Meg; I've been reading stuff online, looking for service manuals, etc. She thinks I'm ridiculous). For one, because who doesn't want to drive a Land Rover around Africa!?!? I mean, seriously, talk about adventure. Isn't that just iconic? But also, two, it means we are close to going! They are getting ready for our arrival. Jesus is making a way! That is truly exciting. (Side note: For those who care, it is a 1995 Land Rover Defender 110)


There are other exciting things related to departure happening too. Billy and Joanna have been praying and looking for a home for us to live in in Arua. We've started making some preliminary packing lists. We're heading to Colorado for our last training at the end of this month. We're studying our Swahili (although, probably not as consistently as we'd like). We're praying in the remaining 22% of monthly support that we need. Would you pray with us that God will get us to Uganda soon? If all of our support is in by the end of March we will be cleared to leave by the end of MAY!! 

If God is leading you to be a part of getting us to Uganda, you can click here to download an electronic fund transfer form to set up a recurring monthly gift, or here to give online.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Along for the Ride

Well, it's been a little (or not so little) while since we've posted anything here on the blog. Not because there hasn't been anything going on, but because there's been so MUCH happening.

Since we last posted we've spent three weeks in Mississippi connecting with our home church, Bellwether Church. It has been amazing to see God provide in every way; from housing, to support, to time with friends old and new. We've seen our support increase from 55% to 75%! Praise Jesus! Because of this we've been able to schedule our training with Mission Training International for March 28th through April 29th.

While we're there in Colorado at MTI we will spend two weeks in PILAT (Program In Language Acquisition Training), where we will learn how to learn a language, and SPLICE (Spiritual, Personal, Lifestyle, Interpersonal, Cultural, Endure/Enjoy), in which we will gain some tools to help in our transition to living in a cross-cultural situation.

We're praying for our support level to reach 100% by the time we leave for MTI at the end of March. This is a big prayer, but we serve a BIG GOD! We've seen Him do big things, over the last few weeks in particular, and we're trusting Him to keep it going.

The Hallahans, Terry & Karen Duncan
(WGM Africa Regional Directors),  and our family.
We spent this past week at WGM headquarters in Marion, IN for "Orientation Camp." This was our last training at HQ, and should be the last time that we're there before we leave for the field. We had a great time learning from the international ministries staff and got excited again by talking with our regional directors for Africa.



We're still waiting to hear about our visas but, trusting that they will come in, if God continues to work as He has then we would be free and clear to leave for Uganda in mid- to late-May. We are overwhelmed by His goodness and the way He has chosen to work and answer prayers over the lat couple of months. Over the last week, we've found ourselves pausing randomly in the midst of doing something and saying, "Jesus is SO good to us."

Would you join us in praying these big prayers and watching to see God work? It doesn't always happen the way we think it should, but He always answers and usually it's even better than what we asked for. It is an amazing privilege to trust God and watching Him work and knowing that we get to be along for the ride.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sudan Referendum less than 1 week


If you haven't heard, in one week (Jan. 9) the people of Southern Sudan will be voting on whether or not to secede from Sudan and become their own independent country and several disputed regions will decide which country they will be a part of. This referendum comes as a key piece of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed in 2005, which ended decades of violence costing millions of lives and displacing millions more.

Would you join us in praying:

  • for peace between North and South, but also between the various tribal groups.
  • for peaceful resolution of the disputed areas; their borders and residents
  • for a smooth, fair, peaceful referendum process.
  • that the church in Sudan would continue to be a witness and a minister of reconciliation
  • for reconciliation; between North and South, between government and rebels, between tribes, and most importantly between Sudanese people and God.