Wednesday, July 20, 2016

12 years!

Newborn Isaac
 12 years ago this sweet little baby changed our lives together. He ushered Eli and I into the world of parenting -a role that has brought the most joy, challenges, miracles and excitement into our lives! Today our firstborn is 12 years old and I can hardly believe it.

In some ways it feels like it was just last week that we cuddled and nurtured this little baby. But then I look at this kid now and I can't believe the young man he's growing into.

It is such a joy and encouragement to my heart, after 12 years of parenthood, to see the sweet, kind, responsible young man Isaac has become.  Isaac does well in school, speaks Arabic, is a friend to many - young and old, helps me so much around the house and is a good leader for his little brothers to follow. Happy Birthday Isaac!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Finding Joy in Uncertain Times

Quiet time away 
     As many of you know, we had a quick change of plans last weekend. We were packed and ready to fly back to our home in South Sudan until we found out that all airplanes were required to go through the capital city of Juba. After what's been going on there in the past week, we didn't feel comfortable taking our family through so we decided to postpone. Knowing we'd need a few weeks to wait and see how things go in South Sudan, we traveled back to western Uganda where Bethany's parents live and do ministry. Though it is always challenging when you don't know your next step, it is a comforting place to be - in our Heavenly Father's hands and at home with family. We are deeply grateful how God worked things out.
     Last week Eli and I were able to leave the boys with their grandparents and take a few days away at a quiet, beautiful place on the edge of an animal reserve. We spent most of our time taking in the spectacular scenery, talking through heavy subjects and praying over different aspects of our lives. Our time away together was everything it needed to be.

I was pleased with my lunch

So thankful to have each other to go through life with!

Drinking evening tea on the porch of our little bungalow
 Last Thursday my parents drove us to Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. We thought we were on our way back to South Sudan so we spent some time doing last minute shopping and enjoying some special treats.

Gelatto ice cream with Mimo

Lattes with my Mama

On our first night in Kampala we got to spend the night with the Boland family, teammates of ours. We had served together at Gideon Theological College in Melut. They are now based in Uganda and teaching in a Bible College where many of their students are Southern Sudanese.

The kids camped out in the yard for the night

Lunch at Java House

My Mom and Dad
The day we returned to Mbarara, where my parents live, I was unpacking our things once again and thinking how crazy it was to be back at my parent's house moving back in when I had just packed us up a few days before! But the overwhelming feeling I had was GRATEFULNESS. We are so thankful that if we can't be in South Sudan right now, we get to be with family in a beautiful part of Uganda.

Josh & Grandpa

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Rest, Sweet Rest

Snuggles with Grandma 
The day before the boys and I got on a plane to leave South Sudan and come to Uganda to spend a few weeks with my parents, I came down with a nasty bout of strep throat. It had been a very stressful week and being sick as I tried to wrap up things in our house and pack to come was almost more than I could handle. I spent my first week "home" with my parents, sick but it was such a relief to be with family and have the extra help from my parents. 
Picnic in the yard

Playing Monopoly
 This has been the most restful R&R I can remember. Our days have been full of eating good food, playing games, playing in the yard, watching movies, and getting to know other missionaries in the area.

Enjoying lunches outside

Eli's 1st breakfast in Uganda
 After wrapping up his responsibilities in Doro, Eli joined us and we spoiled him rotten with good food and plenty of time to rest and play.

Rugby/wrestling with the boys 
Morning coffee with Mom
 One of my favorite things has been the many heart-to-heart talks that my mom and I have had.

We have had many yummy things to eat but one of the coolest treats so far has been the Dr. Peppers I found in town. You have to understand that the food available in our part of South Sudan is very limited so food is one of the most important parts of our R&R/breaks out.

Josh is fortunate enough that his birthday happened to be while we're here with the grandparents. I'd say he's had a very memorable 8th birthday with cinnamon rolls for breakfast, whole fish for lunch (his favorite) and cake with lots of friends.

We can do what we do in South Sudan, year after year, because of the breaks and times of rest we get out of country. We are so thankful for the refreshment we're receiving while we're here and the cherry on the top is getting to be with family!