Back in Mbale

Thank you for being patient for an update as we have been settling back in to life in Mbale over the past month and a half. We had a wonderful time in the states this summer. We spent lots of time with family, were able to catch up with some friends, and were grateful for opportunities to share updates with the churches that support our family in so many ways. We were greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm and interest that many of you all had in what our first year in Uganda had been like, how things were going at Lulwanda, and how you could even help in some way at Lulwanda. Thank you!

Once we were all back in Uganda at the end of August, we had about a week before Audrey and Simon began school again. After that first week, things picked up pretty quickly. The big kids were back into the routine of school, Ryan was busy at Lulwanda in the clinic, and preparing for kids’ discipleship and Bible study, and Megan and the twins found our place and routine again, balancing between home, community, and Lulwanda. The Lulwanda children were all at home when we returned in August for one of their holidays from school. We really enjoyed being able to spend quality time with them right off the bat. We had missed them this summer, so we were thankful to have time to play games, study God’s Word together, hang out, do crafts, play sports (specifically, basketball), and more. There were special gatherings twice a week for prayer and music, in which children took turns leading worship. One of the favorite studies during this holiday break was one in which we were reminded in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” By looking at the lives of Jeremiah, Josiah, David, and others in the Bible, the children learned and discussed how they are never too young to be a Godly example to those they know.

Lulwanda’s first group of children began University since we’ve been back in Uganda as well! They are all doing well and are taking on the responsibilities of a college student. One of our girls, Mercy, was even elected as class representative at her university!

Thank you for your prayers, support, and thoughts of our family, Lulwanda, and the ministries here in Uganda. We are greatly encouraged knowing our family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ think about us, reach out through email, text, postcards, or messages, and especially pray.

With love,

Ryan and Megan

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hello, summer!

Well, we have quickly realized that no matter what side of the world we live on, “springtime” is a super busy time of year. The last couple of months have been full of fun and unique activities, both at Lulwanda and at home. We enjoyed time with Grandpa and Grandma King, visiting the Entebbe Zoo, hiking at Sipi Falls, a variety show at Audrey and Simon’s school, lots of time with the Lulwanda kids since they were out of school for holiday, Bible study with all ages at Lulwanda, and more!

We enjoyed having all of the students out of school at Lulwanda, and our Secondary students home from school, through the month of May for their school holiday. There were fun activities and classes for the kids, ranging from making popcorn, making mandazi (think donuts, yumm!), bubble blowing, and more. We were also able to coordinate Bible studies twice a week with all of the Lulwanda kids. We were thankful that so many of the Lulwanda Staff were more than willing to help lead small groups! It was neat to hear the staff teaching the children, sharing what they were thankful for, singing with them, and seeing them praying together. Our focus throughout the holiday Bible study was friendships/relationships. We looked closely at different pairs of people throughout the Bible and what was unique about how God placed these people together to work together, love, support, encourage, and assist each other to bring glory to God: Jonathan and David, Naomi and Ruth, Moses and Aaron, Elisha and Elijah, Christ and Man, and more. It was a good time of discussing how we can be good friends to others who can help draw our friends closer to Christ.  And, what kinds of characteristics we should seek for in friends, so that we can seek to honor Christ in our relationships.

At the end of May, we welcomed two new girls to Lulwanda! Their names are Patricia and Sophia. We first met Sophia when we visited her and her grandmother. They lived in a small mud hut on a plot of land that was about 20 feet by 20 feet, which did not allow any room to grow food. Sophia’s mother passed away, and her father is unknown. Her grandmother was her guardian, but is quite old, not well, and is going blind. Both girls have only been at Lulwanda for two weeks now, but are doing amazingly well! They are both so full of joy and life! There are several pictures of Sophia and Patrica below.  A couple of the pictures show Sophia the day we met her, along with she and her grandmother standing in the doorway of their hut.  The girls are happy, love to play, give great, big hugs, and are simply enjoying their new life at Lulwanda. Please pray with us that they will continue to adjust to their new home, that the other children will continue to be welcoming to them, and that they will come to accept and know Christ as their Savior. How thankful we are to be at a place that provides care and love for orphaned and vulnerable children, for we know that God loves them so much and wants to provide for them even more than He does the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

We have also been enjoying some visitors recently. Amelia Claire, a friend from McDonough, is currently visiting us for a couple of weeks. We, and our kiddos, are enjoying having her at our guest house! She is pretty much doing life with us here in Mbale: going to church, spending time at Lulwanda, helping cook weekly meals for the Tendo kids at our house, playing with our kids, even helping with chores around the house! What a treat it is to have a friendly face from home here with us for a bit!   We also had Eddie, Lucas, and Leah Kim with us for a week recently, and we had a nice time with them. Ryan used to work for Eddie’s brother, Dr. Kim, at Clayton Eye Center. Lucas just graduated from UGA and is looking forward to beginning medical school soon. Lucas and his father, Eddie, who is also a doctor in the states, had several opportunities to see what the medical world is like here in Mbale, by visiting places such as the maternity ward at the Main Hospital, helping out at Joy Hospice (a clinic in town, not a hospice in the sense that we know in the states), and at CURE Hospital, a hospital that specializes in Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. They even got to watch a surgery for an 11-day old baby! Leah is a high school student who thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the children at Lulwanda. Before coming, she made necklaces for each of the kids, and they were so excited to receive them. It is really neat to see Uganda through our visitors’ eyes, and as a friend recently said, it gives us a fresh and renewed appreciation for where we live and serve!

We are making plans for our furlough this summer, and we hope to have the opportunity see many of you, catch up on what you have been up to over the last year, and to give…and receive…many missed hugs!  Thank you always for your prayers, encouragement, support, and for thinking about us.

 

Chickfila, Mickey D’s, and yo quiero Taco Bell

Good Afternoon!
We pray you are all doing well! As we are now in our 7th month of living in Uganda, we have moments of feeling like this is really becoming home, but also moments of missing our family, friends, and even random things about “home.” For example, at dinner recently with some friends, we played a game of “if you could eat any fast food item right now, what would it be?” Answers ranged from Chick-fil-a spicy sandwiches, McDonald’s big macs, Taco Bell beefy cheesy burritos, Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffees, to name a few. It was fun to think about these yummy things and the memories that come along with them…kids playing with cousins in the playgrounds, quick runs to get a coffee with family (and maybe a donut hole or two!), and more. We feel like we say it so many times on a weekly basis, but we are so thankful for the community of missionaries that God has placed us with here in Mbale. We are blessed with wonderful friends who we can regularly have a good time with, have fun conversations, share stressful situations, ask for advice from those with more experience, pray together with and for, etc.

We have also been so sweetly encouraged lately by many of you who have sent cards, notes of encouragement, or emails to let us know you’re thinking of us and praying for us. It seems God orchestrates your messages perfectly, for days or moments when He knows we need the support, hope, and comfort that your messages bring.

Things have continued to be busy for Ryan at Lulwanda. There are typically at least a handful of children a week who contract malaria, but if caught early, with treatment, they feel much better normally within even a day. His days are also filled with taking children to the dentist, checking on students at the Secondary Schools (there are Lulwanda children at about 5 different Secondary Schools, some are in town, others are about 45 minutes-2 hours away), keeping the clinic stocked with supplies and medicine, etc. He is continuing to build relationships with the kids and staff through caring for them. He has been given really neat opportunities to be able to get to know them better, since when they have the need to come to him, he often is able to spend a good bit of time with them, talking with them, learning more about them, praying with them, and sharing Bible studies with them. Ryan is also working with the Lulwanda Primary School staff to find a time each week that we can better delve into studying God’s Word with the children. We are excited about this, and pray that the children will begin to have a hunger for learning more about God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit and how they can have a personal relationship with Him that affects their daily lives.

We also have a wonderful praise to share: there was a Muslim man, Kaseem, who had been doing some carpentry work at our home. Through several conversations, Ryan had been sharing with him about Jesus, what He did for us, what His sacrifice means, and more. At one point, the carpenter really did an awful job on a particular project. Initially, we were going to find someone else to fix it. However, we felt we should give him a second chance, and also use it as an opportunity to continue talking to him about God’s grace and His gift of salvation. Over time, he began to ask questions and eventually wanted to come to church with us. On the Sunday that he came, a guest speaker who we have not seen before was giving the message. He was a former Muslim, and was teaching from the book of James. During the sermon, Kaseem had many questions and explored more of God’s Word. Afterwards, Ryan introduced him to the speaker and they spoke for a while. Ryan could see after a while that they were praying. Once Kaseem and the pastor were finished praying, he came over to Ryan and with tears in his eyes, said that his name was now, “James.” He accepted Christ as his Savior! We mentioned him a couple of months or so ago in our prayers requests, so thank you for those who have been praying for him. Please continue praying for him as he begins to grow in his walk with the Lord and that his personal relationship with Him grows and becomes more and more intimate and meaningful. What a gift it has been to see God working in James’ life! It is humbling to watch God’s hand in so many different areas. While our focus is most often on the children of Lulwanda, we were able to see how God was also working in a carpenter’s life that He placed in our home. It has helped remind us that God is always at work, and perfectly orchestrating things in His amazing timing. It has urged us to pray that we all will not be too distracted by our own agendas, to-do lists, worries, stresses, etc., but to keep our eyes and hearts open to seeing where, how, or who God wants us to spend time with, talk to, share Scripture and experiences, and pray for/with. We want to live Psalm 16:8 which says, “I keep my eyes always on the Lord” (another translation, “I have set the Lord continually before me.”) This is the same, whether we are in Uganda or in the U.S., and we seem to see more and more that although life here can sometimes feel so different than what we were used to, there are also so many similarities and lessons to be learned in terms of working out our Salvation, obeying God, and loving Him and others (just without the Chick-fil-a, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc., haha!).

 

Go Falcons

Thank you for your continued prayers for our family; we are often humbled to know that we have friends and family who think of us and pray for us regularly. It is a great encouragement to us.

Over the last month, we have been quite busy with many things going on at Lulwanda. The New Year started off with a visiting team from Texas. There were three different teams of people total visiting Lulwanda during December and January, two from Texas and one from Korea. The visiting teams were such a blessing to our family, and especially to the children and staff at Lulwanda. Just like most of us, when our children are on a break/holiday from school, we try to plan fun and different activities. It was so nice to have the teams here to help provide the same for the Lulwanda children! During the months of December and January, Ugandan children are out of school for their biggest break, like our typical summer break. So during this time, the Lulwanda children had the opportunity to do different Bible studies, make some fun Christmas and other crafts, play fun and silly games, learn new sports (like ultimate Frisbee), learn about different cultures (India and Korea), learn new dance styles, learn to juggle, and more! It was neat to watch our own children as well enjoy some of these activities alongside the Lulwanda kids. The holiday time/break was a time that we were able to see our own kids begin to play more and jump into activities on their own more than before. For example, they would just go and sit down and start doing crafts with the kids, jump into a circle of children dancing and singing, grab a ping pong paddle and play (or try to play), etc. Audrey and Simon have typically been in school during the time that Megan is at Lulwanda with the twins, so they have been a little slower in warming up. It was nice to have the additional time at Lulwanda, activities to help facilitate, and visiting teammates that really cared for our children as well encourage and make things fun for them to enjoy their time over holiday as well. It really was a great couple of months.

Around the middle of January, the majority of the Lulwanda children got to visit and stay with relatives they might have for about a week (some a little longer, some a little shorter, depending on circumstances). This is a requirement of the government, but also something we see as important. One day, the children will grow up and will need to have connections with the village and family they come from. Having them visit at least once a year helps them keep these connections. Overall, the children seemed to really enjoy their time with their families. Some wish they could have stayed longer and others were ready to be back at Lulwanda. Ryan has also been busy over this holiday time running children to dentist appointments, eye check-ups, and getting caught up on vaccinations, also things we typically seem to try to take care of for our children when they are out of school.

I think that is one thing that we are learning here…many of the things we do here are really the same things we’d do if we were still in the states, maybe just in a little different way, different climate, etc. Some days, things feel so normal and not much different than our life was in the U.S.: Ryan goes to work, Megan takes care of the kids, the big kids go to school, we plan out suppers for the week, make kids’ lunches for school, exercise here and there, pay phone and water bills, etc. However, we are grateful that the Lord is allowing us to do those seemingly mundane things here in Uganda, where He has placed us with 120 kids. As we take them to and from appointments, hang out with them after they get out of school, spend time with them on Sunday afternoons, sit in the clinic while waiting for malaria test results, etc., we get to show and tell them that we love them, talk to them about how Jesus loves them, dig into Scripture with them, answer questions they have about life, God, their circumstances, and more. We all have these same types of opportunities wherever we live: we can show anyone we work with, go to school with, or do life with that we love them, that Jesus loves them, explore God’s Word with them, and share our testimony and experiences with them. God can use each of us to share His love and truths with others as we go through our everyday life, and we should pray that we will not be distracted by the things of this world that are fleeting, but stand firm and focus on what the things that are eternal. He has placed each one of us right where we are to serve Him and grow His kingdom, whether that be in Uganda, Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Hawaii, Nevada, etc. He has also gifted us with the Holy Spirit who will provide us all we need to serve and share Him with others, no matter how prepared, knowledgeable, or gifted we may feel. When we rest and rely on Him, He will guide and direct our conversations, actions, thoughts, and more, so that His will will be done and His name will be glorified.

 

Christmas in Uganda

Now that the 2017 is upon us we are taking time to reflect and update all those we love (ie. YOU) with how our family is doing, and how Christmas in Africa went down.  We have also been helping with two teams that are visiting Uganda, one of which has returned to Texas, and the other which is returning later this week.  It has been a joy to see how blessed the children have been by having their mzungu visitors bring crafts, games, water balloons, Christmas gifts, and a lot of love.  It has also been neat to see visitors who have never been to Lulwanda and how much their hearts are touched and impacted by these beautiful children.  We have so much in America, but sometimes have to fly across the world to see what we need most and what we were created for; sharing the love of Christ with each other.  Praise God, the creator of Heaven and earth, we are alive in You.

Christmas Day was far from anything we had experienced in the past.  The temperature was pushing the upper 90s, there were no feasts with both sides of our family, and no Christmas lights to see.  The day started with us waking up too early, reading the Christmas story, and the kids opening their gifts.  Megan had prepared an amazing cinnamon breakfast thingy that went well with coffee, and then we departed for Lulwanda around 10:30am.  Upon arrival we greeted everyone and made our way to the small church nestled behind Lulwanda.  Everyone was dressed in their Sunday best and praised God, then listened to the message.  After church we went back to Lulwanda and enjoyed an African feast with our African Family.  Everyone was happy and smiling and rejoicing in what God has done.  The Global Journey team then presented gifts to all the children in the form of some pretty cool backpacks.  My favorite moment was when the new children who were just brought to Lulwanda couldn’t contain their excitement or stay in their seats once they realized they were getting Christmas gifts.  After Lulwanda we returned to John and Bobbi’s and had dinner with the Global Journey team, which consisted of five college age young adults from Texas.  Once we returned home the day felt like a whirlwind, unlike any Christmas that we’d ever experienced.  While we of course wish we could have seen family and celebrated with them, we rejoiced, for over two thousand years ago a Savior was born in the city of David, the Messiah – Christ the Lord.

New Years at Lulwanda was awesome.  Myself, John, and another missionary friend from the community went out to Lulwanda and shot off fireworks for the children and staff (provided by Cathy Marshall and her team), a first for many of them.  When the first round went off they went screaming and running which was hilarious, but they soon weren’t afraid and were cheering.  We then returned to town and watched football, enjoyed watching fireworks from a couple of nearby hotels, and the kids had fun with friends shooting off fireworks and playing with sparklers.

Overall the season has been a joy.  A new experience for our family as traditions are having to be forged anew, and family was missed dearly.  Despite the distance and change in temperature however we are thankful, for God is with us, this life is not ours, but His.  Thank you for all your support and prayers, we genuinely love you all.

From the kids’ perspective…

The last month has been challenging in various ways.  I (Ryan) have been hit in my vehicle three times now, and the second involved being surrounded by about 40 Ugandans (some of which were on my side, some not) on the street as I waited for the police.  Getting through the day can prove challenging as the twins are at a demanding age, no less demanding in the midst of a huge adjustment.  Having work done on our home to make more room for the children to have a play room and not have toys strewn all over the house, and preparing our home for guests to be able to visit has been a challenge.  Norah likes to hit her head because she’s a bull in a china shop, so trying to find a bubble that we can put her in, while still retaining some agility has proven difficult.  However, the month has been full of blessings; new children are coming to Lulwanda, made possible through generous donations on Giving Tuesday, our kids are continuing to thrive in Uganda, many children have returned home from secondary school safely, and no LCH children or staff have been seriously ill or injured.  God provides opportunity after opportunity to show others who He is both through sharing His Word, and through sharing who He is indirectly, wether through a hug, treatment of illnesses, providing a pair of ears to listen, or lovingly discipline.  Praise Him who created all things and sustains us!

Here are some questions we asked Audrey and Simon to share with you what they think of our new life in Uganda…enjoy!

 

 

Why are we living in Uganda?

“We are in Uganda to help take care of orphans.” (Audrey)

 

What is an orphan?

“Someone who doesn’t have a mom or dad who can take care of them.” (Audrey)

 

What is your favorite thing to do in Uganda?

“Go to my friends’ house and for them to come to my house, go swimming, and get pets.” (Audrey)

“I like to go to some people’s houses” (Simon)

 

Where is your favorite place to go?

“Isabelle’s house for basketball, Endiro Café” (Audrey and Simon)… every Tuesday evening, many of the missionary families in Mbale gather at one of the houses here that has a small basketball court. The men play basketball, the women go for a walk, and the kids play in the yard together. Endiro Café is a coffee shop in town that sells western-type food, the kids’ favorites being “chips” (french fries) and waffles.

 

What is your favorite food here?

“Nutella and bread” (Audrey)

“Spaghetti” (Simon)

The twins favorite food is chapatis, which are basically like a fried flatbread. Anytime we go past a chapati stand, the twins start yelling, “pati!”

 

What’s your favorite thing about school?

“PE and Art” (Audrey)

“Playing at school and eating at school” (Simon)

 

What is something you’ve learned at school?

“About Guy Fawkes Day” (Audrey)

 

What do you miss from Georgia?

“All of my cousins, grandpas, grandmas, aunties, uncles, and donuts” (Audrey)

“All of the people Audrey said, slushies, and push-pops” (Simon)

 

What is different about Uganda than Georgia?

“Different types of food, different words (her example was that motorcyles are called bodas), different types of trees, house windows look different, we have to sleep with mosquito nets on our beds, so we don’t get malaria” (Audrey)

“There are different things to play with, different types of beds, we can swim all year, we can go to Kingfisher in Jinja (when the kids were out for fall break, we went to Jinja for a day, and went swimming at a place called, “Kingfisher.” The kids had such a fun time with their friends who went along for the day)

 

What does Daddy do here?

“He gives people finger pricks to see if they have malaria, so they’ll get better.” (Audrey)

 

What is your favorite thing about going to Lulwanda?

“To run after the cows” (Audrey)

“Playing and swinging” (Simon)

 

What do you want people to pray for you for?

“That we are safe, that we would get used to the other people here, that we would get used to the food here, that we wouldn’t be scared of bumblebees and wasps, and that we won’t cry as much as we used to if we get stung” (Audrey)…she did actually get stung at school earlier this week, but she said she didn’t cry as much as she did the last time she was stung.

“For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, that I’ll learn more about Jesus” (Simon)

 

 

A month in…

…And beginning to feel like we are home.  We are sure challenges in our comfortability will continue to arise, but for the most part we feel as if we are home.  The children are thriving in school and have made many new friends which is a blessing we didn’t see coming.  The month of September was plagued with hardships getting the house in working order and free of bats, mites, etc.  Continually though I felt my blood pressure rise and the feeling of “Why can’t we just have a day of rest?” come to mind.  God continued to remind me that the things that matter most (Him, family, friends, health) had remained unchanged despite our circumstances.  Praise Him, for sustaining us during this month as challenges arose.  Below you will find the recent update and prayer requests for the month of October by clicking the link.  There are also pictures of random things throughout the month that happened.  The picture of the van is Megan’s new chariot.  We thank those who support us, whether by prayer, words of kindness, or monetary support.

October update and Prayer requests

We have arrived!

Well, we have now been in Uganda for one week! It is hard to believe in some ways that it has already been one week, and in other ways, it feels like it was such a long time ago after all we have experienced in this past last week.

The kids did really well on the flights here. They had fun watching movies, playing games, playing with a few new little toys and activity books, etc. We had a small lay-over in Amsterdam, where they were able to play in a little, hands-on museum at the airport. We also had a stop in Rwanda, but we did not get out of the plane; it was a time for the plane to re-fuel, and some people to get off in Rwanda, and for others to board. I think it was at this stop on the trip, while we were waiting and sitting on the runway, and so close to Uganda, that we all got pretty tired of traveling! The babies got fussy, the big kids were exhausted, and we all were just ready to be off of an airplane J Overall though, the kids could not have done much better on the long flights over!

When we arrived in Entebbe, we were greeted by our friends, John (Palmer) and Uncle Enoch (staff member at Lulwanda)! The next day, we made several stops around Kampala to purchase some items we needed for our home. We even purchased a car while coming through Kampala! We did not expect or plan to purchase one on the first day here, and from what we hear, it is normally quite complicated and frustrating to purchase a car here, so we were amazed that it worked out so smoothly and quickly! We got such a great deal, that this vehicle will eventually be what Ryan uses to and from home and Lulwanda. We plan to get a second vehicle that Megan can use with the kids around Mbale. The car we purchased is a silver-colored “Wish”…sounds magical, right?! It is a Toyota car, and it seats 7 people! We are thankful that the Lord provided this need of ours so quickly! It has been such a treat to watch Him provide for us already over the last few months, and we are thankful for the many ways of how He shows He loves us. It seems like often we are so busy that we don’t recognize or give glory to Him for all He does in our everyday lives, but in this move, our eyes are opening a little wider to better watch for how He cares for, loves, and provides. Just as the Lord cares for and feeds the birds, He cares for us all the more (as we read about in Matthew 6:26)!

Over the last several days, we have been doing a lot of unpacking, organizing, and just beginning to work through the ways of life here. There are so many different ways of doing almost everything here. There are also things that we do on a daily basis in the U.S. that don’t require much thought or effort, but because of lack of technology, availability, etc., are a little more challenging here. For example, lighting the stove…in the U.S., we simply push a couple of buttons to get the oven temperature that we need and we are set to bake or cook something. Here, we have to turn on the propane tank, light a match, put it in the bottom of the stove, hope it doesn’t go out, light another match (or three or four!) if it does, turn the gas on, and then wait for the temperature to get to what we need. So far, the oven seems to cut off after a few minutes, so we repeat the process again J These changes can be so many things wrapped up together: fun, challenging, stressful, overwhelming, exciting, interesting, etc. Whatever the emotions though, positive or negative, they make the days right now somewhat (definitely) tiring! We are all working on getting on a better sleep routine as we adjust to the time difference, and that is improving a little more and more each day. Despite the moments that feel a bit chaotic, we are striving to live Proverbs 4:25-26, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Give careful thoughts to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.”

Yesterday evening, after a long day of running errands, figuring different things out, trying to get the twins to eat, or at least drink something (they have been sick for a few days now), we were a little stressed and tired. Natalie, who also serves at Lulwanda sent a text to us asking if she could bring the Tendo kids by to say hello. We had not seen them yet since arriving, so we were thrilled to give them hugs and spend some time catching up with them! After a stressful day, seeing them was a sweet reminder of why God brought us to Uganda and why the challenges we are facing, and will face, are worth it. For those of you who may not know, the children who live at Tendo are older teenagers who grew up at Lulwanda Children’s Home, but now that they are a little older, they live here in Mbale, when they are not at secondary school, they stay at a house that Grace International Children’s Foundation named, “Tendo.” The purpose of them being here is so that as they approach adulthood, they can begin to really learn how to do things like shop at the market, have a bank account, etc. They are at an age that Ryan and I click with, and so spending time with them is time that we truly enjoy and are encouraged by. They are beginning a school holiday, and so we enjoyed hearing about some of their plans for the next few weeks. Some of them are going to a youth conference next week, so please pray that they learn more about our Father’s love for them, that if any of them have not accepted Him as their Savior, that they will, and that they will be encouraged to seek the Lord’s guidance in all areas of their lives.

We have been so touched and encouraged by so many of you who have reached out through email, facebook messages, viber or voxer messages, etc. to say that you are praying for us, our kids, the transition, etc. We are so far from home, and knowing that we have many supporting us through prayer is such a comfort for our family. Thank you so much!

Here We Go

Over the last few days we have thankfully been able to spend some great time visiting with family and friends.  We had two commissioning services Sunday, in which the church prayed over our family.  Today we went for one last trip to Atlanta for this summer and let the kids (and the adults) play in the fountains at Olympic Park.  It was a fun day, and one we will hold in our memory for quite some time.  This evening I (Ryan) was able to run with my running buddies one last time this year, and it meant the world to me to experience that one more time before leaving.

In less than twenty-four hours we will be thousands of feet in the air headed for a future we could have not imagined.  A future far away from friends and family, but a future that God prepared us for.  While tomorrow we will say “see you later”, we will thankfully be able to stay in touch and visit once a year.  We are grateful for all of the people that have made this possible by giving of their time, prayers, gifts, support, talents, and encouragement along the way.  Your love, prayers, and support are comforting and confirming for us.  Going forward we are excited, anxious, and ready to get settled in our new home in Uganda.  Please pray that our children will do well on the long trip, and we are all able to get rest along the way.  Please also pray for our family.  We love you all.

May God be glorified in what lies ahead.

1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

The Countdown…

Well it’s official!  We fly out on 8-23-16 @ 545pm from Atlanta to Amsterdam, then after a small layover from Amsterdam to Uganda.  Thank you for all that have been praying and helping us via donations, phone calls, emails, etc.  Our family feels incredibly humbled, honored, and blessed to be able to share the gospel with the people of Uganda.  We are currently at 84 percent of our budget in recurring donations and are still praying that more monthly donors will join us in God’s ministry at Lulwanda.  One thing that I hope is obvious as our family leaves and serves God in Uganda is that God uses ordinary people to carry out His extraordinary plan.

Gideon was an ordinary dude. His story in Judges 6, has recently been on my mind. He is best summed up as an apprehensive farmer. God called him, a normal man, to deliver Israel from the Midianites, and Gideon’s initial response was “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:15). God promised that He would be with Gideon and that he would be able to accomplish what he had been asked to do. Gideon’s obedience to God’s call brought victory to Israel, and he is known as one the the great heroes of faith.

There are many examples of ordinary people being used by God in an extraordinary way.  Every time someone makes the comment to one of us praising us for what we are doing, we want to be quick to give God all glory and all praise, for what HE is doing (Matthew 5:16)  Without Him, we are nothing. He is the sustainer and giver of all things, and apart from Him, none of this would be possible.  Apart from those who have stepped out on faith and supported us through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, none of this is possible.

I write all of this to point out one thing:  God wants to use you.  No matter how many kids, your health, or what age you are, God wants to use ordinary ole you to bring glory to Him and share the gospel with His creation.  Never feel like you are not enough, or that anything He is calling you to is out of reach.  With God anything is possible.