Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Wedding Bells

Last weekend we were able to enjoy celebrating the wedding of our co-worker and friend, Moses.  He has been working with Nathan in construction at Musana for almost five years.  He is a hard worker and has quickly learned metal working.  He is a talented musician and often leads worship at our church or for groups that come to camp.  At the end of last year, he "saw the light" and realized that his friend Esther was the woman he wanted to marry.  We were acquainted with Esther from the times that she had come to volunteer at camp, but we enjoyed getting to know her better as we did premarital counseling with them.

At the wedding, there were some delays in the morning because of rain, but after about an hour God allowed the sun to shine through the clouds.  Everything went smoothly in spite of the mud and wet grass!  Abigail was a flower girl in the wedding.  She loved wearing all white, though she didn't enjoy standing up in front of all of those people!  We were so glad to stand with and support these friends in their new life together!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Yesu Aazukide!

Musana Community Church
Easter is a time of celebration here in Uganda, but it's not celebrated with Easter bunnies and pastel colors and eggs.  Christians across the country will often have prayer meetings at church on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday is a day of feasting, wearing new clothes, and joyous church celebrations.  Yesterday during our church service, we shouted "He is risen!" in eleven different languages with people coming from six different countries ("Yesu Aazukide" is the Luganda translation).  With the exception of a few visitors, all of these people live within a few miles of Musana, but as you can see, they have a variety of ethnic backgrounds!  It was a beautiful reminder to live with anticipation toward Jesus' return, when He will gather people from all nations to worship Him forever.  What a joy to be able to experience a small taste of what that will be like!

This anticipation of Christ's second coming also reminds us to be intentional in sharing the good news of Jesus with people around us.  One man that has come to church for the past three weeks is a professing Muslim, yet because of recent miraculous answers to prayer in his life, he has begun coming to our church.  We pray that his heart is softened toward the good news of Jesus Christ.  There is a woman that has come to our church off and on for several years but she has often lapsed back into a licentious lifestyle.  She testified a few weeks ago that coming to our women's Bible study has helped her to begin living out her faith in her day to day life.  We pray for her heart and mind to be transformed through the Word of God.  

These are just a few of the people that God has brought to our church and has given us the opportunity to love and teach.  Thank you for your prayers for our church!  We are constantly amazed and overwhelmed by the power of God as we see Him at work in this community!

Our family celebrating the Passover

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Catching up!

We apologize for not keeping up with our blog in the last few months!  Here are some pictures of life for us over the last few months...
We enjoyed our Christmas in Uganda.  The Sunday School kids
put on a program for the church on Christmas Eve, and we enjoyed
delivering basins of food to widows and single mothers.
In December, we celebrated two birthdays...Abigail turned three
and became a "big girl" (at least that is what she told us!), and
Hannah, our little lady, turned seven.
In January, we enjoyed a visit from Kendra's parents.  Our kids
got to play with/wear out Grammy and Papa, we got a date night,
and we all went on safari at Murchison Falls National Park!
Later in January, the new school year began for us...John began 4th
grade, Hannah began 3rd grade, and Dan is finishing up Kindergarten.
Of course, Abigail joins in also and we say she is in "baby" class.  :)
In February, we made a trip up to the
NHU main site at Kasana to do some
electrical infrastructure work.  John, as a
true Jackson, enjoyed helping Nathan with
the work!

While at Kasana, we also enjoyed spending time with many of
our friends there.  Even though we live in the same country,
we often do not see each other for months since our sites are
five hours apart. 
One of the new things in Nathan's work this year is mentoring
and training a young boy from our community.  Willy was
abandoned by his parents just over a year ago, so our church
has been helping him in various ways.  This year, he will be
attending the camp school to learn to read and write, and he
will be getting practical skills training with the construction crew.

At the beginning of March, we headed up to NHU's Kobwin site
where Nathan and several other NHU construction men worked to
put up the columns, trusses, and purlins for a workshop and vocational
school.  The building is very tall and the sun was very hot, which made
for some long days of work.  But we were thankful that God kept
everyone safe!
Once again, one of the parts that we enjoyed about going to the
Kobwin site was being able to spend time with our friends there.
We shared meals with several families, and our kids enjoyed
climbing over all of the huge rocks with their friends.
Well, that is a quick tour of our life over the last three months.  The camp has hosted many different camps, retreats, and teams, and our church has continued to grow as well.  So God's work continues even when we do not share about it!  We will try to not take so long before posting again, but thank you to everyone who prays for us even when we do not communicate well!

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Completed Guest House

The porch overlooking the lake
Our new guest house is officially complete, and we hosted our first visitors there this last weekend.  The last week was busy getting the final details finished on the house, including furnishings, curtains, and decorations.  But the finished product was well worth all the work!  It is so beautiful with a wonderful view of the lake, and we pray that everyone who comes to stay would be able to rest and draw closer to the Lord through their time there.  (In fact, we have thought about booking a week there ourselves!)  Below are some pictures that we took before the group arrived last weekend.

The dining room
The living room
The kids' favorite place - the bookshelf
A bedroom
Picnic tables on the porch
John getting to use the grinder to build a trash can for the guest house
Finishing up the coffee tables - every little bit helps!

Varnishing the furniture
The first visitors to the new guesthouse -
They even had to set up extra tents for all of the family that arrived!

Sunday, November 12, 2017


This last week we enjoyed hosting 32 young people here at camp for our annual New Hope Uganda Investment Year (IY) ROPES camp.  For those of you who have not heard us talk about this before, ROPES stands for Rights Of Passages ExperienceS.  It was begun by a group in Kenya and we have adapted it for us here in Uganda.  The camp is designed to highlight the journey from childhood to adulthood and help kids as they transition into a new phase of life.  It is one of our favorite camps to be part of because we have seen the tremendous impact it has on young people in challenging them to step into manhood and womanhood.  Having graduated from secondary school at the end of last year, the IY students at NHU have spent the previous ten months of the year doing different internships and trainings to help them prepare for the next step in their lives.  Their ROPES camp then is the culmination and the drawing together of all that they have learned throughout the year.

Life is a journey, and often a hard one at that.  This is one of the main points of ROPES camps as we encourage young people to push through the hard times of life and let God use these times to refine us and draw us closer to Himself.   As if to emphasize this point, the challenges for these IY students began at the very beginning of the camp.  We have had a lot of rain recently, which means that the roads leading to Musana are a muddy, slippery mess.  The bus that was bringing them here decided the last long muddy hill (about fifteen minutes from Musana) was too much for his bus, so he just dropped them off at the corner and headed back to town!  Several of our staff braved the muddy roads, piled them inside and on top of their vehicles, and brought them the rest of the way.  That was the beginning of their ROPES camp journey!

The next morning the rains again made for some challenges as they were scheduled to hike throughout the day.  After much prayer and doing some activities, the rain stopped and they headed out on their 10 km hike through the bush, villages, waterfall, and other places around us before ending up (after dark) camping out on a hill on our property overlooking the lake.  Many of the girls especially thought that they would never be able to make it the whole way, but they encouraged one another, persevered, and conquered that step of their journey!

Wednesday found them at the challenge course doing activities to help them think through the practical aspects of living as a godly man or woman.  They then spent the rest of the day in fasting and solitude, pondering their past and the road ahead, their relationship with God and how to make their faith their own.  Thursday was their day to make a symbol or "memorial stone" to help them remember this week, the commitments they made, and their step from childhood to manhood or womanhood.  For the girls, this symbol was a candleholder made of clay.  For the guys, this symbol was a knife forged from rebar, which they then used to slaughter a goat for their celebration meal!

It was such a blessing to be part of this camp with these students.  Several of the guys had been out here at Musana earlier this year doing internships with Nathan, and several of the girls had been part of our family during our time at Kasana in 2010.  We enjoyed seeing their maturity as they faced challenges with good attitudes and encouragement to one another.  So many of them have come from very hard life situations, but God has done a mighty work in their hearts and it is beautiful to see their love and passion for serving Him.  And so, on Friday we sent them out from this place as young men and women, ready to step into whatever God has for them next.  

If you want to read more about this ROPES camp, check out this blog (Adventures in the Kingdom) by one of our fellow staff members who was a cabin counselor for the week.