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!