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.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Water buffalo
Thanks to the generosity of some good friends we spent the first few days of our vacation time this month on safari at Kidepo Valley National Park in the far northeastern region of Uganda.  Since coming to live in Uganda seven years ago, we had never been on safari together as a family.  Thankfully our kids are old enough now to really enjoy getting to see all of the animals.  They got excited anytime we saw something moving in the grass as we drove along, and I think they all expected to see a lion start chasing a zebra at any moment!  
"Come here little elephant!  I won't hurt you!"  -Abigail

Supper around our little hut
Sunset in the park
The scenery of the park was as stunning as seeing all of the animals.  The valley is surrounded by low mountain ranges which were a beautiful backdrop as we watched the rain rolling in or the sun setting.  Our campground in the middle of the park held small round huts or places to camp with a tent.  There was no fence around the campground so we saw zebra, jackals, warthogs, and waterbuck all roaming freely around the little huts!  

We had a wonderful time together as a family seeing the beauty of God's creation.  Thank you, friends, for helping make this time possible!  

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