Giving Thanks Always

(July 15, 2015)

May and June are always such busy months for our family, not only because of the typical end-of-school year activities and events, but we also have several birthdays to celebrate.  Audrey was especially excited this year about her birthday:  the cupcakes, party, presents, decorations, everything!  On her birthday, we planned to have her wait to open her presents once Ryan was home from work, so that we could enjoy the time together.  That afternoon, she was drawing and asked me to spell “thank” for her.  After a few more minutes, she brought me what she had been working on:  a thank you card to us for her birthday presents.  She said that even though she didn’t know what her presents were yet, she wanted to go ahead and say, “thank you” for what we had gotten for her.  This was such a reminder to us of the type of attitude that we should consistently have:  one of a thankful heart, giving thanks to God always for all things, in all circumstances.

As we are planning and preparing for our trip to Uganda in August we have been reminded time and time again that we are to give thanks to God in all that He is doing to prepare the way for us, whether it is something big, small, seen, unseen, known, or not yet known, just like Audrey did with her sweet, little thank you card!  There is so much to already be thankful for as we have humbly watched God’s plan begin to unfold.  A few months ago, we began to keep a journal of all of the ways in which God is providing, showing His plan, how we see His hand in the details, etc.  This journal of thankfulness will help us to be reminded to continually give all glory to God.  It will also help us in the times that are stressful, overwhelming, and difficult, as it will be a reminder to us of all of the ways in which God was faithful in the past and will continue to be faithful as we move forward.

As far as an update on what is going on:  we leave for Uganda on August 3!  We cannot believe that we are quickly approaching this time.   Many of the logistics have been taken care of, plane tickets were purchased, vaccines received, we are beginning to work through packing, etc.  We will fly into Entebbe, Uganda on August 4 and then drive to Mbale on the 5th.  There is another family who live sin Mbale who will be out of town for the month of August, so we will be staying in their home.

There are many things that we plan to do while we are in Uganda next month.  Much of our time will be spent at Lulwanda as we begin to get to know the children and staff there.  We also have many things we want to experience that pertain to everyday life such as shopping at the local market and stores, visiting the local hospital where we would receive care, going to the bank, etc.  We will also shadow the Palmers to learn how they buy and fill power, purchase airtime for their phones, cook from scratch (somehow, we think this might look much different than our perspective of cooking from scratch!), and so on.  Ryan will also have much to look into in regards to getting Lulwanda’s clinic up and running again.

It brings us great encouragement knowing that we have family and friends, and even people we don’t know, praying for us.  Thank you so much for continuing to keep us in your prayers.  Here are some specific prayer requests for our family as we prepare for August and are in Uganda for the month:

*that we will begin to form bonds with the children and staff

*that Audrey and Simon will begin to form friendships with the children there, as well as an excitement to move full-time

*that the kids will eat well and be willing to try some new and different foods

*that we will be sensitive to differences in Ugandan culture as opposed to U.S. culture, and that we can learn more about the culture there, so that we can be effective

*for wisdom and insight to begin seeing where and how we can help the children and staff at Lulwanda develop deeper relationships with Christ

*for safety and good health while traveling and during our visit

*for patience (all six of us!) as we travel to and from Uganda on the long trip

*that in the moments we feel nervous, overwhelmed, stressed, etc., that we will remain focused and as it says in Proverbs 4:25:  “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze straight before you.”

Ephesians 5:20, “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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