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.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Raising the Roof


Nathan and the crew have been working last week and this week to put the roof on the new guesthouse.  It took them over a week of cutting, welding, and painting at the workshop to build the fifteen trusses.  Then they had to figure out how to put them up without the use of "normal" construction equipment like an all-terrain forklift or crane.  Thanks to scaffolding, ladders, poles, and muscles (although they are now sore ones!) they were able to get all of the trusses and purlins in place and are about to install the metal sheets.  We have been so thankful for no injuries during the process, despite a couple close-calls!  


Friday, May 12, 2017

Rain, Rain, Rain

We are in the midst of rainy season here in our part of Uganda.  One of our friends asked us this week if this weather was like spring back in the States.  There are definitely similarities, but when I compared the average annual rainfalls I found that you have to combine the average annual rainfall received by each of our parents in order to equal how much rain we receive here each year!  All of this rain is wonderful for growing plants but it does make our day to day lives a bit interesting.  We have been hanging our clothes on the trusses inside our house to dry, and Nathan often has to put earplugs in at night just to be able to sleep since a hard rain on a metal roof gets very loud!

All the rain also makes traveling a bit interesting.  On a recent trip to town to get fuel for construction, Nathan had to pull many other vehicles out of the mud just so that he could pass and continue on his way home.  He also had to pull the truck carrying the fuel out of several holes of mud and up several slippery hills.  At one point, he even had our truck stuck for the first time!  Thanks to some shovels and helping hands, he was able to dig out and find some help from a 4-wheel drive tractor to pull the truck the rest of the way here.  What a crazy trip!

With so much rain, it is hard to remember the drought that was here only a few months ago.  Thank you to everyone who prayed for us during that time.  Despite the challenges, we are enjoying the rain that brings life to God's creation around us!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cultural moments

On Friday, Nathan and I had the privilege of attending a graduation ceremony for our friend, Evelyn, who was graduating from her vocational course in hotel management and catering.  We are so proud of her for persevering through her studies and training.  There were many difficulties for her including fickle supervisors, constant demands for more school fees, higher living costs in town, and of course the hard work of studying and learning new things.  But she stuck it out, passed very well, and has several job opportunities before her.  

Not only did we enjoy celebrating this time with our friend, but we also enjoyed the cultural experience of the day.  The invitation had said that the graduation would begin at 8:00, but we found out when we arrived that 8:00 was the time for people to BEGIN arriving and being seated.  Later the official guests would arrive and finally the real ceremony would begin around 10 or 10:30.  We were welcomed to the "equation" (I think they meant "occasion") and told that the "procession would proceed" as planned.  Between each part of the program, we listened to painfully loud music, sometimes with two songs being played at the same time.  

While we smiled (and sometimes cringed) at these different cultural elements, our favorite observations involved the relational nature of the Ugandan culture.  Each important guest who got up to give a speech made sure to greet everyone present including the graduates, the parents, the faculty, the board of directors, important people from other schools, etc.  During the "music interludes," it was so refreshing to look out and see everyone conversing with their neighbors instead of checking their phones.  One father who's daughter had received a special award was so overjoyed that he danced with her all the way back to her seat.  And those moments reminded us of one of the things we love about living here, the importance of relationships.