“I haven’t felt this alive in years!” 2015 has been a landmark year for our family as we moved to Uganda and jumped in with both feet trying to make an impact in the lives in others while being changed in the process. In looking back in this year, here’s how each of us were touched.
Drew and Blake
This year, our boys spent as much time with Ugandan children as they did with other Western missionary families. Our Ugandan neighbors had three boys who would play with Drew and Blake at every available opportunity. In addition, we decided as a family that Drew and Blake would have Ugandan sponsor children from Compassion that they could connect with. Our hope is that this lasting friendship, with someone who has little more than their basic needs met, would remind them to see how they can befriend and help others less fortunate than themselves.
We met their sponsor friends, Charles and Innocent, for the first time in a mall in Kampala. For Charles and Innocent, it was their first time being out of their village and in a city, a mall, or a play area. Probably even their first time riding in a car. As you can see from the pictures, the 4 boys got along fabulously and hopefully made memories that will last a lifetime.
I have been tremendously proud of the way Jalina invested her time and energy into serving the mothers and pregnant women in the slums of Namuwongo. She went to the places that most of us would try to avoid and quite literally got her hands dirty sharing the love of Christ. These women have next to nothing and it is heart breaking. I remember one time Jalina coming home and awkwardly wanting to thank me for not beating her like so many husbands in the slums do; for not kicking her and the children out of the house, or not controlling her by forcing her to stay in the house. Many of these women are desperate and while we can’t fix a systemic economic and cultural problem, Jalina has been able to breathe words of eternal life to those that may experience very little comfort in this world. Just by coming to their meager homes, listening to their story and praying for God to touch them she is powerfully showing love.
Jalina is now 39 weeks pregnant and has surpassed the 34 week mark when she had Drew. She is feeling well, but was being closely monitored by weekly ultrasounds and doctor appointments. Jalina already had an overnight stay in the hospital for IV fluids and fetal monitoring due to low amniotic fluid levels. We are praying for a healthy delivery.
This past year has challenged me to invest in individuals even if that means sacrificing progress towards a big picture goal. Christ instructed Christians to make disciples and that takes individual attention, but previously I have found myself too frantic doing other good work to have time for people’s “mundane” lives… and I’ve missed it. By inconveniencing my schedule, ministry opportunities have reveal themselves to me. For example, I’ve been able to make time for my neighbor Wassuwa as he came over sometimes at 7am while I was eating breakfast looking for help with his financial troubles and someone to be there for him. Wassuwa told me he views me as his best friend and asked me to be his honored guest at this wedding- I was blown away. Additionally, investing in Semei at work was the highlight of my time at the office. And then there’s Martin, who I’ll have to also tell you about in a future update. All of these relationships had a profound impact on me and my understanding of discipleship. In 2016, I hope to invest in people while simultaneously doing good work through EMI’s mission.
Living in Uganda has been a wonderful adventure, informative experience, and a great opportunity to serve those in need more directly. We’d encourage everyone to give it a try.
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