Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Guest House Update

Since our post a few months ago about raising the roof of the guest house, the place has changed quite a bit.  During the month of June, the crew of our local contractor were hard at work pouring the floor, bricking and plastering the walls, and putting up a thin concrete ceiling in the bedrooms.  Meanwhile, our guys were doing plumbing, electrical, gutters, and some landscaping.  The last month has been focused on painting the interior walls, installing solar equipment, and installing cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms.  There are many details remaining but hopefully it will be completed in the next few months.  It is so fun to see all of the progress, and we are so thankful for all of the men working on it!
Working on the brick interior walls 
Baggie & Nathan prepping some concrete

Dan helping with the painting
Let there be color!

A view of the big double doors onto the back porch that over looks Lake Victoria




The partially installed kitchen cabinets
The first lights to be installed
Solar equipment on the roof




Friday, August 11, 2017

Baptism

This last Sunday we held a baptism at our church where sixteen people were baptized.  Several of the people were on staff with us here at Musana Camps.  Among the rest were two women who just came to trust in Christ in the last few weeks and a family of a father and a son with each of their wives.  Each one of these people has an amazing story of the way that God has worked to draw them into a relationship with Him.  

One of them was a man that we have known since we came to the camp over six years ago.  He has changed from a man who drank too much and often mistreated his family to a man who's main concern is taking care of his family, studying the Bible, and sharing the gospel with his neighbors.  His family has recently been going through a rough time with some health concerns, but he testified at the service on Sunday that even this sickness has shown him new things about trusting God.  It has even been a picture to him of the sin in our hearts and that the only way to be healed of that sin is to come to Jesus.  Many people in his village are mistreating him because of the disease that his wife now has or they are telling him to leave her and take another wife.  But instead of fighting with the people around him or separating from his wife (which is something he very likely would have done six years ago), he has remained calm and faithful, trusting God to provide for their family and bring peace in their community.  After his testimony, several others in our congregation stood up to speak words of encouragement to him and his family, reminding them that God knows and loves them deeply and is always working out what is best.

After hearing these testimonies and listening to each person proclaim their faith in Jesus Christ, we headed to the edge of the lake to watch each one be baptized.  As they entered the water, one of our ladies began singing in praise and worship.  The singing continued through all sixteen baptisms and for several hours afterward as people just enjoyed praising God for who He is and the grace that He gives us in Christ.  It was beatiful.  


As we enjoyed the beautiful time of fellowship together, I thought back through the journey of our little church...from when we began meeting every other week with mostly just a handful of camp staff...to the Sunday when we had twenty kids from the community show up...to the weeks when it was almost all children coming to church...to the times when parents of the children began coming...and the story continues up to today when we regularly have sixty or more adults along with over a hundred children.  But more than just a story of growth in numbers, to me it is a testimony of the power of the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of people to bring them to faith in Christ.  Being a part of that journey and seeing God's hand at work has been one of the biggest highlights for us in our time here in Uganda.  God is amazing, and it is amazing to see His handiwork.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Family Farm

We did not come to Uganda to begin a family farm, but living in a remote place has allowed us to keep some animals from time to time.  We enjoy the benefits of fresh, "grass-fed," "organic" meat, eggs, and milk, and we also enjoy the benefit of having our children learn responsibility as they take care of animals.  Our current animals are a turkey and four dairy goats.  (We were also given a chicken as a gift recently, but the crowing at four o'clock in the morning was its death sentence...It tasted very nice in some barbecue sauce!)


Keeping animals also opens up some interesting conversations with our kids.  Hannah asked me the other day, "If the boy goat marries one of the girl goats, will it marry another one at the same time?"   (And then came the awkward pause on my part...) My answer was something like, "Well, yes, probably so.  God tells people not to do that, but goats can because they are animals."  Her response was, "Of course, Mom.  Goats don't know what God said so they can't obey that."  


It was so simple, and yet so profound.  Thank you, Hannah, for reminding me to be thankful that God actually speaks to us and that we can listen to Him and know what He wants us to do.  I am so thankful to be a person, made in the image of God, and able to have a relationship with Him!  So, I will enjoy our animals as gifts God has given us, but thanks to Hannah I am reminded to be thankful for the ability as a person to be in a relationship with the Creator of the universe.


Abigail singing to the turkey 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Family

Out for a tour of the camp
We recently enjoyed a visit from Kendra's mom and sister for two weeks.  Many things around the camp had changed since they were last here a few years ago, so it was fun to show them around.  The kids loved all of the "Grammy" and "Auntie" time, which included tea parties (for the girls), crafts, books, and lots of games.  Aunt Erin and John even created their own chess board and pieces just so that they could play it together.  On top of playing with our kids, they also managed to clean the house, keep up with dishes and laundry, can tomato sauce and pickles, and even give Nathan and I a date!  In other words, they were superwomen!  Or at the very least, they were a joy and blessing to our house for the last few weeks, and our time with them passed by all too quickly.  Abigail has described things so well for all of us the last few days.  On the way to the airport on Monday, she said, "If Grammy and Aunt Erin go on the airplane, I will be so sad!"  And today she prayed, "Thank you, Jesus, that Grammy and Aunt Erin get to come another day!"

Abigail's "school" with Aunt Erin

Holding a baby bird
Games with Grammy

The hand-made chess set

Auntie Erin & Hannah
Mother/daughter/sister time (thank you, Angela!)



Dan & Grammy

A tea party for "girl time"

Monday, June 12, 2017

Camp Life

We have enjoyed having several camps happening here at Musana over the last month.  It is always a joy to see this place being used to impact lives for God's kingdom.  The camps have included a youth group from Kampala, a family retreat, and a Biblical manhood and womanhood camp for high school students.  We also have another Biblical manhood and womanhood camp for college students coming up this weekend.  

As I helped teach and lead activities recently, I was reminded of how I appreciate the interactive learning that happens at camp.  So many times, we as people can listen to lectures or sermons or go to seminars and conferences, but we often fail to put into practice the things we "learn" there.  Somehow, experiential learning often brings those lessons home and we begin to realize the little ways that we follow our old self instead of living as a new creation in Christ.

I have also appreciated the freedom that people often feel at camp to ask questions and dialogue about issues.  This atmosphere often comes from being in a new place with new people, out of your ordinary circumstances of life.  During one of the recent camps, we spent several hours around the campfire one night just letting the students ask questions about life, relationships, the Bible, and their faith.  Their questions ranged from, "People have told me that I need to have a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy.  Is this true?" to "What do I tell someone who asks me what I have gained since trusting in Christ?"  As we talked through each question, I was thankful that these young people felt like this was a safe place to ask hard questions and seek God's truth about each one.

Sometimes camp is a crazy place to live, and I am not always excited to live here.  But God has a gentle way of reminding me of the good things He is doing in the lives of people through this place, and I am thankful to be part of that.