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."

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.

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!