Wow did we get rain! I guess that's understandable when you are in equatorial Africa in the rainy season. Our neighbors, the Vogt's asked us to take in their wash hanging on the line if it started raining. They would be gone a few days and their house workers leave at 1:00.
Just as I drove into our drive with our groundskeeper (Kipeti) after a trip to Kiwoko (my second drive) it began to rain. By the time we began to get the wash off the line it was beginning to rain harder and by the time we got under cover it was a downpour. Then I realized I didn't have the key to their house so I gave all the wash to Kipeti and ran to our house to get the key. As I looked up coming across our yard, there were all of the McFarland's chickens OUTSIDE the chicken coop. So much for house sitting. Oh well, this is the third time, we'll get them back in. By the time I headed back to the Vogt's house, it was a torrential downpour. As I was putting the clothes into their house, I realized I hadn't shut the shutters in our house. Just then I looked out the window and saw Kara running down the drive in that torrential downpour toward our house. She was running to get out of the rain but also running to get the shutters closed. I ran to help her get the shutters closed. Thankfully nothing had yet gotten THAT wet.
We got all the chickens back. And as I write this we are getting another rain. Whoops I left the mower out. Gotta go. Only by God's grace, Tim
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I'd never thought I'd be trying to explain snow to someone. It's hard, not that I think many people have tried. It's just been a natural thing for me, snow. Every year during winter time it snows, and preferably during Christmas.
During one of our hard rains that we've experienced in the past two weeks, our compound worker, Kipeti (pronounced Japetti), came inside to take cover from the wind and rain. Dad showed him some pictures of family, friends, Colorado, and other such places. Explaining snow to him was harder than I ever imagined it would be. He asked us "How do you hold it?" Well... gosh I never thought of that. How would you explain snow with just a few seconds to think?
When he saw pictures of our house he said "it's so big!" in America, our house isn't that small, but it's smaller than many houses in the US.
He was always asking questions, even why there was no snow in Uganda but there was snow in America. I felt very grateful at that moment for being so well educated. Thank you Lord for such blessings!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
"Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever." 2 Chron. 20:21
We praise God for His provision both for our protection and for Kara and Micah. Kim and I took our first shopping trip into Kampala and left the kids at New Hope. Thankfully we went with other Americans and Uncle Dan, a Ugandan driver. Food and electrical differences cause the initial challenges.
Our challenge with food is not just doing our standard American menu but having enough familiar so that our cuisine changes slowly. No Mac n' Cheese, though. Because of traffic and distance (1 1/2 hours) and multiple stores and multiple people shopping (6 of us plus Uncle Dan), it is a long day 7:30am to 6pm.
Our challenge with electrical is the conversion and step-down (220V to 110V), after shopping for surge protectors and converters, I believe I may have fried our 4-in-1 copier, because I didn't look whether it was dual voltage or single. Unfortunately, it was only 125V. Yeowch. I don't know whether it is reparable or not. Tough and expensive lesson.
This morning, reading the story of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah (2 Chronicles 20) God's Word impressed me with his heart compared to his counterpart Ahab, ruling in Israel:
"After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
'Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.'" (vs. 21)
To put the singers and worshipers at the head of the army was a practice of the day but Jehoshaphat's faith and the faith and obedience of the people was blessed by God but the next line struck me:
"As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated." (vs. 22)
"As they began to sing and praise..." Amazing, the faith and trust in God that they would go to "certain doom" singing and praising. Grow that faith in me, Lord.
Only by God's grace, Tim
Monday, May 24, 2010
Waking up to the crowing of roosters is going to be a common theme, at least for awhile. But as the sun lightened the horizon, I looked over the valley right out our front yard and realized the beautiful country our great God had brought us to.
Yesterday, our family took our first trip alone into town. Yes, I drove (on the "wrong side"-the left side-of the road) shifting with my left hand and trying to remember that the blinker is on the other side also. Thankfully it was raining so the road, virtually one lane, was clear of vehicles, buses, pedestrians, bicyclers, motorcycles, etc. Kim did great at the shop buying beans, posho (a ground maize meal) and g-nuts (a ground nut paste) for our workers, Fiona, Kipeti (pronounced Chippeti) and Justine.
As I began to read Deuteronomy this morning, I was stopped at chapter 8 verse 10,
"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you."
I have to remember God's goodness as I sit and watch the sunrise and hear the sounds of the morning waking up. But God says remember and obey. Even as I get accustomed to driving on the left side, as we are going to the market where I don't know any prices nor do I know Luganda (even though they speak English), as we begin to try and understand the culture including having workers in our house doing work that we could do (at least right now before we get into the Institute, start homeschooling and begin working outside the home)...I have to remember to listen. I can't neglect the people God has already put in our path:
Andrew who came over to the house Sunday and said, "I need to play with Micah"
A staff member who needs guidance
Kipeti who told me how pleased he was with an American who discipled him but then moved back to the States.
"Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land..." Deut. 8:6,7
That He is. Obey.
Only by God's grace, Tim
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Visiting here last year, we had a lot of fun, even though we were missing are animals. Then when we got home it felt like we were coming back home. But then after a couple months it felt like God was telling us " This isn't your home". So we prayed about living in New Hope and soon we had places for all of are animals, vehicles, and all of are other things. Then we got tickets to go on May 16. Then we had last minute things to do. But eventually we got here. We got to the guest house, unpacked, and it just felt like we were home. We are now living in the McFarlands house and planning to build our house in the secondary site. We are planning to have furlough in 2-3 years and go back to the States to visit friends. We will have a lot of fun.
Only by the grace of God,
And yes, finally. After over two days flying and hanging around in the airport with less than ten hours of sleep, the jet lag is catching up to us. We were living in the guest house until the McFarlands moved out of their house (going on furlough). We are taking care of their dog, chickens, and house until they return. And as for their car, we own it!
God has worked out many things for us to prepare us to come here. One example would be our car/cars. Before we left we sold both of our vehicles to friends, and for that exact amount, we bought our car here. New engine, old car, just what my Dad was praying for.
It's been fun here, hot, but fun. This weather is unusual for the rainy season. Boy and if this is hot... I'm going to be steaming in the next few months!
As the McFarlands are going on furlough, most of the other American families are also. God must of set that up. With the white families gone, getting to know more Ugandan kids is more likely. I already know a few, and Micah has some pretty good friends.
Missing everyone back at the US! Can't wait to see who's going to visit!
Monday, May 10, 2010
I ended up in Luke 17 this morning wondering why Luke had put these three stories (pericopes) together in one place. It was interesting that the NIV has the heading "Sin, Faith, Duty" above verses 1-10. Luke seemed to be putting a person who makes another stumble (though he can and should be rebuked and forgiven) next to a person with just a little faith and then shows the example of the Samaritan leper and the Pharisees.
I think I saw the tie-in. The Pharisees being the example of the stumbling block, asking a lot of questions and wanting the answers but Jesus says the kingdom of God is right here. We have an opportunity to live out the kingdom of God. It is caring for others, loving others. Living each day carrying our pain and rejection, our frustrations of the day, our headaches of daily worries to Jesus for relief (i.e. the lepers). Then, in faith, when we obey and are healed we turn back to Jesus to praise and thank Him. In turn, He heals all (Greek word for "heal" also meaning "saves"). I think He saves us from our arrogance and pride.
When it is all said and done, as the servant in verse 10, we can only respond, "I'm only doing my duty." Humility.
I needed this today with my cares and worries and stress and headache. To cast all my cares/burdens/infirmities on Him and obey, moment by moment, gentle prompting after gentle prompting and then when He heals/saves to thank and praise Him, it is the only way of life in chaos.
Praise You Jesus for healing and saving. Only by God's grace, Tim
Saturday, May 8, 2010
I was pretty weary last night after having an all afternoon early birthday party for both Kara and Micah at the same time. It has been a long time since we had sixteen kids in our house at the same time. Our kids enjoyed it and were grateful. Dad was tired though.
As I got up this morning, thinking about all that needs to go on today, the Spirit took me back to Psalm 29 where I was yesterday and I wondered about what was going on when David was writing it. I looked in the ESV study bible we have and I appreciate their perspective. David may have been observing a thunderstorm come over. I took that and ran with it. It was a good perspective to think of that thunderstorm rolling over David out in the fields and little David calling out to the heavenly beings to give glory in the right place, to the God of the Universe. Then he ends the psalm, possibly with the flood of a fast, strong thunderstorm pouring water through the dry gullies to the point that David uses the word for flood that was used in Noah's time. And even in that God is giving strength to His people.
The next stop was Isaiah 40. I saw my fragility next to the power of God but I didn't fully realize my weariness until I got to verse 28:
"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
(that's what David was trying to get across in Psalm 29)
He will not grow tired or weary,
(that's good because I need someone to lean on)
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary,
and increases the power of the weak.
(this is where I realized how weary I had become, yet it will be God strengthening me)
Even youths grow tired and weary,
(that's good to know because I think I'm still young but I have gotten weary)
and young men stumble and fall;
(Lord, hold me up. Matthew 11:28-30 comes to mind)
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
(Yes! Praise and thank You, God)
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31
The interesting thing in all this, is that one of the things that has most concerned me lately is selling our van. I had not yet gotten the title though we had paid it off almost 2 years before. I have been trying to find out how to go about getting it from Kansas. This morning, Saturday (go figure), the moment I sat down to have quiet time with God I noticed an email came in on my Blackberry...from Kansas that they had not received my lien release. I faxed it and as I was writing the above blog about Isaiah 40 I got another email saying they had received my fax and would have the title in the mail on Monday. Praise God. Now I don't have to get a Power of Attorney to sign the title for me after we leave.
This is just a little way of how God has been caring for even my anxieties and strengthening me tangibly...even as I write about what His Word tells me.
"The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!" Psalm 29:10,11
Wow! Only by God's grace, Tim.
Friday, May 7, 2010
I was reading Isaiah 6 this morning and realized I don't have a grasp of my uncleanness like Isaiah did but then I got to verse 11:
"Then I said, 'For how long, O Lord?'
And he answered:
'Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,
until the Lord has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken."
I started thinking about how empty our house is appearing and what it is like to have lived in a place and then have it empty, deserted, and people taken away. I have never felt at home in any house like I have felt in this house and it grieves me leave it.
I know I have to hold this world with open hands. God seems to keep returning me to that point but it is sad to leave. To remember that I am a stranger here and this is not my home, is so essential. I have to return to longing for an eternal home and when I do the grief is not so sharp but still there.
My mind goes back to the words we have said to the kids: We have to not only think about the things/people we are leaving but what God has for us ahead of us. He is not taking away, He is giving in addition. If we had never left Clay Center, we would have never met the people of Colorado Springs. If we had never Colorado Springs, we would have never met or experienced...
It is interesting that the next chapter in Isaiah contains:
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
I know God is faithful. As we are packing and thinking about leaving, I keep telling Kim that I'm glad I'm doing this with her. It makes it easier to move knowing she is going with me. How much easier to know that Jesus is going with me.
Only by God's grace, Tim
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Our garage sale is done. Praise God. Both that it is done and the wonderful result. Actually it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Other than books we probably got rid of more than 90% of what we were trying to sell. We also sold most of the furniture we were trying to get rid of.
It was difficult going through things that I had held on to much of my life. My dresser was the hardest, I think. Dad got it from the men's dorm when he was in seminary and I've had it all my life. I realized it on the way to the lady's house who couldn't transport it.
Praise God that we sold our van and our car. Praise God we had someone look at our house today. We are trying to rent it. Praise God we have places for our animals. And praise God that our support continues to come in.
It is now one week from when we move everything out of the house and stay with my Aunt & Uncle in Woodland Park until the 16th. Lots to do before then. This Saturday, Mountain Springs Church is having a dessert as a goodbye. If you're in town, we would love to say goodbye.
Only by God's grace, Tim