2 Years in and God is still amazing us!

On the 4th of July, we celebrated two years in Uganda. It’s a time to look back at what God has done over the last year. His faithfulness and provision has been apparent. We also look forward to what God is going to do.

For the last few years we have had such a desire to take the Biblical Training Schools into South Sudan. We have had a few opportunities, but each one of them dissolved for one reason or another. If you received our last newsletter(if not, you can read it here) , you are aware that South Sudan has been in a terrible civil war. There are many refugees here in Uganda.  The Bidi Bidi camp alone has around 300,000 refugees.

We have been working with the refugee camp to build a structure there. We asked for your help to build a dormitory that will house 50 pastors and church leaders. We have built a kitchen, outside shower and pit latrine bathroom as well as a classroom. This will enable us to continually run a school at this camp.

The cost of feeding these students as well as sending our teachers this great distance is high. I am so excited to report to you that a great amount of this need has been supplied. The dormitory is completely paid for! 6 months of the feeding program is completely paid for! Thank you for praying and for faithfully giving.

 

Praise God! Not only are we going to have a consistent presence in the refugee camp, but these projects are generating some income for these refugees.

We have 70 pastors signed up with 16 already on the waiting list. These pastors have already planted 25 churches in the camp, with plans to plant more. God is moving!

Thank you for the part you play!

As much as we rejoice in what God has done, there is still considerable financial need to complete the buildings. If you feel led to contribute, you can do so online at www.macedoniancall.com/#/give or to Macedonian Call P.O. Box 573 Dryden, Va 24243. Please earmark gifts to South Sudan Refugees.

Over the river and through the woods….

Last night Cady and I got a full 7 hours of sleep, from midnight until 7 am. This is a huge victory! It was just what I needed to get my head on straight (well as straight as my head gets anyway!) The effects of jet lag are no joke. Between the emotions of leaving family and friends in the U.S., the timezone change, and the breakneck speed of life, it’s amazing what a good night of sleep (thanks Benadryl) will do.

The last time I wrote, I shared that my grandmother had passed away. We received the phone call late on Mother’s Day. I spent the next three days listening to counsel, battling with myself and seeking the Lord over whether or not to travel.

Brian was sick. Cadance was finally settled back into life in Uganda. There were so many questions… Would bringing Cady back to the U.S. with me cause an upheaval again? (the answer is yes, but God is good and we can see Him working in her through the grief) I wanted to be there for my mom, but would having to say goodbye to us after saying goodbye to her mom be more difficult for her? We heard there was a travel warning about driving the road leading to the airport. (Yikes!!!) The debate went on and on. I priced flights. I made lists. I prayed like crazy and I cried like I was seriously crazy. Finally, after we took Brian to the clinic on Tuesday (where we discovered that he had a nasty bacterial infection), I said, “You are just too sick. I can’t go.” But when I went to sleep I mentioned to him that I felt like I was making all of my decisions out of fear.

The next morning, after 12 hours of antibiotics in his system, Brian was feeling a little more like himself. He said, “I thought about what you said all night. We don’t live in fear. We live in faith. You’re going.”

I wish I could say the agonizing stopped there, but there was a lot of crying mixed with lots of excitement and frenzy. If we were going to go we had to leave our house by 2 pm. We had no power so we had to use a backup battery and mobile internet to try to get my plane tickets. I charged Brian with that task while I did the most necessary thing… dying my hair. Really. That’s what I felt like I needed to do at the moment. I guess because I couldn’t control anything else I figured I could at least tackle those grays!?

I really wish you could have seen us sitting in the bathroom. Brian was on his phone with all of our credit cards sitting out, trying to make one of them work. I was bent over the tub, washing out the dye in cold water while shouting out directions to Cadance for what she should pack. We just kept moving forward as if we were going, while waiting to see if we could even get tickets.

We kept hitting dead-ends with the tickets. So, at lunch time, I said, “If we don’t have tickets within one hour, we just can’t go. We won’t be able to make it to the airport on time.”

5 minutes later, the ticketing agent called and told us the credit card payment had gone through. We were going!

We were picked up at the airport by Brian’s parents and drove straight from D.C. to eastern North Carolina. We missed the visitation that night, but surprised my parents just an hour before the funeral started the next morning. We made it! God made the way for us.

Cadance returned to Virginia the next day while I stayed with my mother and aunt in NC for the next week and a half working through the endless pile of things to do post-funeral.

We laughed.  We cried.  We got a little angry. We went from one office to another looking for direction.  We reminisced through piles of papers, pictures and cards revealing so much of our family history. We got tons of wisdom and love from cousins who had recently walked through similar experiences. It was a time of bonding for my mother, my Aunt and me.  God is so good!

I will never regret going home for this time.  Faith conquered fear and I’m so thankful!

Thank you for your prayers for us— your encouraging and sympathetic words. Thank you for your support which allows us to be here serving as the Lord has called, but also allows us the flexibility to be with our families during these challenging times.  Finally, a special thank you to the people of Seaford Baptist Church for paying for my plane ticket in full and then some, so that we could more easily afford to go.

We are blessed by a faithful God who comforts us in times of trouble and overcomes our fears!

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The pond behind my grandmother’s house

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

My Momma Mae

One of the hard things about being on the field is not experiencing life with your family at home. Yesterday as we watched through Facebook everyone’s Mothers’s Day celebration, we received news of my grandmother’s passing.

She was 97 years old! She lived a full, strong, faithful life. My mother has been their to care for her and was with her at the end. She said it was a sweet time at the end. She sang to her, read Scripture and prayed with her until her final breath. We rejoice that her life here in earth ended well.

Are we going home? I don’t know. Since we just returned, not all of us would be able to return. Possibly one or two of us could come home for a short time. Please pray for wisdom for us as we make that decision.

I ask for your prayers as the final things are taken care of as well as for comfort and peace for our extended family.

Determination

Today we met with one of our Bible School teachers. He told us of an incredible testimony that I had to share with you! 

One of the students finishing up at Kitgum is blind. He lost his sight in high school. He walks every day to class 6 miles. That’s 60 miles a week! He even arrives first for class! 

He works hard to come and study God’s Word. How often do I complain that I am too tired, too busy or it’s too hard to study God’s Word?

I asked how does he read the Bible? How does he prepare to preach? The teachers only response was that he has God’s Word memorized! Oh, that I would do the same! 

This blind man is one of the best students in this class. What a picture of determination to study, know and apply God’s Word despite obstacles. We too often spend our time seeking lesser things. He was a great inspiration to me today. I pray he will be a great inspiration to you as well.

Blogging

When we first started this blog, we were here in Uganda for three months. It was a time of exploration. We had been coming to Uganda for a few years bringing teams. We used those months to seek the Lord and He used that time to solidify His call for us to be here in Uganda.

Blogging became a way to communicate to you, our ministry partners in America. It was a way for me to process the events that were happening. It was an avenue for our family to give testimony to what the Lord has been doing as well as to share our hearts.

It has been a long time since I have written in this blog. As I sit here I am enjoying writing even this small letter. It’s like I am sitting down to coffee with you my friend. It really does help me to be still and think things through.

As we approach two years into our time here, I have realized that there just hasn’t been a whole lot of time to still myself enough to write. There is constantly a note in my to do list that says …. BLOG. To be honest I have about 7 that have been started, but I never seem to finish them. Please forgive me. Facebook has been a quick way for us to give you a glimpse into our lives.

There is another very important reason I have not been writing, something that paralyzed my writing. In the time that we have been here, we have learned a few things about our Ugandan friends.  Information is very important. They are very free to give generously of their things, but information about them and their life is very sacred.  We have heard stories about missionaries who share testimonies without permission and leave the person feeling very exposed. Instead of rejoicing together at what the Lord has done, it broke trust between them. Never do I want to share at testimony that causes pain or hurt to one of our Ugandan friends.

Another thing that I have learned is that sometimes as a Westerner, we like to discuss things that are different about the culture here. We laugh sometimes at things we see, or get frustrated about things that are different than our home culture. Sometimes through these “culture shock” experiences the Lord teaches us great things. However, sometimes as we share these things, our Ugandan friends read/hear them in a different light than we are meaning to share them. They can feel as if we are talking negatively about their people and home.

We are guests here. We love Uganda. The Lord has us here for a season and a purpose. As our supporters/followers expands, we now have many Ugandan friends who read what we are writing.  I never want my words to hinder any of the relationships that the Lord has so richly blessed us with.

Finally, that doesn’t mean that the blog is finished. I almost feel revived, just sharing this with you friends. I will do my best to ask permission before sharing testimonies and pictures. I will seek perspective before commenting on cultural differences. But know, there are so many incredible things that won’t get shared.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.IMG_8533

Christmas Calendars

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

This year we are working on Prayer Calendars for our supporters instead of Christmas Cards. Each month will include pictures of different aspects of the ministry and a suggested prayer request.

Please be sure to send me an email with your current address if you have moved in the last year so that we can make sure you get your calendar. jerilynsemail@yahoo.com

Thanks printingcenterusa.com for doing some incredible work for us at an incredible price.

http://www.printingcenterusa.com/printing/catalog-printing , http://www.printingcenterusa.com/printing/calendar-printing

 I would definitely recommend them for your printing needs this Christmas.

Multiplication

” From the beginning of Christianity, the natural flow of being a disciple of Jesus has always been to make disciples of Jesus. “Follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). This was a promise.  Jesus would take His disciples and turn them into disciple makers. And this was a command: He called each of His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching themto obey   Him. (Matt. 28:19-20). From the start God’s design has been for every single disciple of Jesus to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples until the gospel spreads to all peoples” -David Platt, foreword to Multiply

  

This picture defines multiplication to me. 

This is Sam. Sam graduated from one of our village Bible Schools. Brian taught alongside Andrew Muwanguzi in the school Sam attended. Sam is now receiving further training through our BTCP class and is training to teach in our Bible Schools.

Andrew is also one of our Bible School teachers. East Africa Outreach has been investing in Andrew for years, helping him further his education and training. 

So here we are joining these two men in a ministry opportunity they have initiated in their own to continue to encourage and strengthen these pastors who have graduated from the program. These pastors are in turn inviting their church leaders and fellow pastors to come along and join the fellowship.

Multiplication!  We have found it a great investment to teach, train, and disciple pastors and church leaders. Reaching one who reaches many is the strategy of the Bible Schools, but how encouraging it was to see it play out today.

  

We are planning on returning back to the states in the fall for a few months. We hope to get around to all of our support churches. If you would like to schedule a speaking engagement to hear more about what God is doing in Uganda please email us at jerilynsemail@yahoo.com
 

Never doubt the power of prayer.

I feel like the last few weeks, we have been moving a mile a minute and there are so many things to update you on. The last thing I wrote to you about was my “lack of visa” problem. Well… if you follow me on Facebook, you know that we did in fact get the visa and made the trip to Kenya. The trip was amazing by the way, but the way the Lord worked it out for me to get the Visa was an absolute miracle.

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We were scheduled to leave on Sunday and this was the Friday before. I sat outside to have a quiet time and basically I told God that we needed to hash out this whole Visa thing. I made a list of all the reasons I wanted to go. I told Him that in my mind, none of these things were incredibly selfish, and that His Word says that I don’t have because I don’t ask. So I started another list of the specific things I was asking for. One being that we would get the visa by Monday, so that we could actually make the trip, just shorten it. Finally, I again surrendered to God’s plan, even if that meant we didn’t get to go. As I was finishing my list, the Lord brought to mind a man named Isaac that works in Immigration here in town. It was as if He was saying…. “Go see Isaac.”

So asked Brian to go by there and see him. A few hours laster, Brian called and asked if I could be ready to go to Kampala in 15 minutes.  Much later, all of our day’s assignments were delegated, we had a driver and we were on our way.

We arrived at the Immigration office and there was NO ONE IN LINE. I mean there were like two people in the security line. Last time, there were hundreds. We walked right in. A man directed us to the right building. We walked right up to the man we were looking for and told him our situation. YOU WON’T BELIEVE THIS…. He said, “Your passport is right here.” We walked in and out of immigration in 5 minutes. We called the driver to come get us and he hadn’t even found a parking place yet. Other missionaries we have talked to said that I am probably the only one in Uganda who has ever gotten what they needed from Immigration like that. It was unbelievable! Thank you for praying!

I also want to update you on a few other things we have asked prayer for:

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  1. 3 Stones Ministry.  We just finished module three about Biblical roles in the family and children’s rights. With women and children often being dispensable in this culture, this was a controversial module. The last few sessions the women at one of the classes have not been attending. They have been cooking the lunches and then after the meal, returning to the garden. So, this time we hired a cook to help them and encouraged the teachers to focus less on writing. None of these ladies have any education and the thought of taking notes has to be overwhelming. We also had our trainer spend some extra time during their home visits to encourage them. He was actually very surprised to find that many of these ladies were taking very seriously the sanitation teaching that they were learning. Our next module in March will be about prenatal care and early childcare. This is another module that has the potential to make real life change.  The two villages where we are doing the training have really been very receptive. We have even scheduled another training to work with the parents of a Compassion International Site to teach them how to make tippy taps and fly traps.IMG_5276
  2. Hannah Moshi Child Sponsorship Program. On February 27th we have our first meeting with the sponsored children! We still have just a handful of children who need sponsors. I have faith that they will be sponsored as well. If you are interested in sponsoring one of these last few ones, please SIGN UP HERE. This month we are working on getting all of these guys new uniforms, school supplies and personal letters from each of their sponsors. Can’t wait to tell you how things go. God has absolutely paved the way for this program to get started. In 50 days, these 50 children’s lives have been changed. Thank you for being a part.
  3. Terry and Debbie fly back this weekend. For some reason they trusted us enough to leave us in charge after just 3 1/2 months of being here in Uganda. Well, I am happy to say that we didn’t burn down the church and with the Lord’s help, I think we kept everything floating. Please pray for them this week as they say their goodbyes. It’s such a difficult thing to say goodbye.

Thank you again for your prayers. We know that we can do NOTHING without HIM.

Now we have a new prayer request. In just 16 days, we face our first Election here. It could pass smoothly, or it could be a complete upheaval. You just never know. We are stocking up in case we get stuck and fueling up and gathering our bags if we need to get out quickly. Thankfully we have my passport and could leave if needed.  Our prayer is this, please pray for a peaceful election and wisdom for the Western population as we go about our daily duties during this time.

Love you all! Thank you again.

 

They told me there would be days like this

Back in July we started working on the paperwork to get our resident visas. After lots of redo’s Brian received his work visa in October. The children were approved for their student visas as well. My visa is a dependent visa, so once Brian’s was approved mine should only take a few more weeks. That was the end of October.

After many emails and phone calls, still no visa.

We had a plan to visit Kenya after Christmas. One of my closest friends’ family is planning to move there to work with the Masaai people. They were going for a vision trip and well… I want to see her! I want to see where she will be living. I want to share this with her.  I wanted to take a little trip with our family for Christmas.  SO WE NEED THAT VISA.

Again after many emails and phone calls leading up to Christmas, nothing.

We decided to go up to Kampala and sit in the office until we got some answers. Finally on the way to Kampala we get a response. They won’t be in the office again until next week. So we decide to go to immigration and try to get it ourselves. When we finally find the immigration office, there is a line completely out of the complex and down the road. There were hundreds of people there to be seen on the first office day after the holidays. We realized that even if we stood in line, we wouldn’t be seen that day. Later on we found out from the lawyer, that no one in immigration would have been able to help us, because the receipt for our payment is held by the lawyer.

Are you getting frustrated? I know I was.

Brian had to stop and add some minutes to his phone, which usually takes a while. I pulled out my journal and began documenting all of the things that I felt the lawyer had done wrong. The more I complained, the more the still small voice reminded me that He is in control.  My ranting became replaced with a submission to whatever He wanted. I began writing out this verse:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him….

My plotting was replaced with a desire for my actions and attitudes to reflect Christ no matter what happened that day. And then the rest of the verse came:

and He shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

So we never got the visa. In fact, we had to leave our car in Kampala for a few days to have some work done on it. And, in the middle of the craziness I accidentally threw Brian’s fake tooth away with our lunch trash.  The day was full of possibly frustrating situations. But I remained with great peace! You know I have read about that somewhere, that peace that passes understanding.

So what about that visa? Well, the office doesn’t open until one day after we are supposed to leave. If we can get it then, we will postpone the trip a day. But if not, we don’t go. And as much as I want to see my dear friend, I am at peace either way.

How about you? Is there something robbing you of the peace that God promises? What do you need to trust Him with?

 

Finish the year by starting strong

Thank you for making 2015 one of the most incredible years of our lives. Thank you for partnering with us to bring Biblical Truth to East Africa.

Yes, we primarily serve in Uganda. Being here for six months has shown us, however, that this town is a strategic spot for reaching all of East Africa. Jinja is a melting pot of East Africa. If we can reach them and train them before they return to their home, they can bring the gospel to places we would never be welcomed.

Would you consider helping us start off 2016 strong with a end of the year gift?

Here are some needs we see for the upcoming year:

  1. New roof for Acacia Community Church, about $1,000
  2. BTCP Class funding, Biblical Training Evening Course for those who work during the day in Jinja. Each student pays a small amount for their book, but there are other financial obligations to keep the class running.
  3. New Classroom for Acacia Community Church’s Children’s program.

Thank you for giving towards our general fund! If you feel led to give to any of the above items, we say thank you in advance.

To donate, click here.