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.