Saturday, June 30, 2018

Eli's Uganda Trip - May 2018

The Trip Route
 As many of you know, we've been very specifically praying, fasting, seeking advice and networking since January of this year to find where our next ministry will be. It has become clear over the last year that South Sudan is no longer a good option for our family and yet our hearts are still very drawn to South Sudanese people and we long to continue ministering with them. God has opened a beautiful opportunity for us to move to Northern Uganda where more than a million Sudanese and South Sudanese refugees have fled.

Last month Eli was able to go on a 10 day vision trip to Northern Uganda with our good friend Bradley from our home church. They were able to travel to 7 different locations, meet people, hear about needs and try to get a picture of where/how our family might fit in that context.

Eli and Bradley leaving from Charlotte Airport

It was so encouraging to us that our friend Bradley from our church here in Columbia went along with Eli on this vision trip as an extra set of eyes and ears. Since our home church helped with his ticket, it felt like our church was coming along, supporting us in this new endeavor.

A group of missionaries gathered for fellowship

Driving into the refugee camps

Islam is widespread

They got to stay with lots of neat people and dream up lots of great ministry possibilities

They also got to sit down and meet with pastors and leaders

What a beautiful country
Many of you may know this: I grew up in Uganda from the time I was 4 years old until I graduated from high school. It is crazy that now all these years later we are returning and jumping into a whole new ministry and location.

Our timeline is a little up in the air. Carson's adoption will be finalized on July 27 if all goes as planned and then we aim to leave for Uganda by mid August so Isaac can start his first year at Rift Valley Academy at the end of August. 

We would treasure your prayers as we now switch gears and tackle large amounts of paper work and shopping to prepare our family for another 3 years on the mission field - this time in a new place and with a new baby! We are very excited to be heading back to Africa but I'll admit that we're also dealing with some grief as it becomes more of a reality that we cannon return to South Sudan at this time.

Dedicating Carson to the Lord

4 families in our church dedicated their babies to God. 
 At the beginning of June we had the privilege and opportunity to dedicate our newest son to the Lord in front of our dear church family. From the beginning, we have known he is not ours but God has entrusted him to us to love and care for and in a few weeks he will be ours til death do us part. It was a beautiful reminder that he is a precious gift, completely loved and belonging to His Heavenly Father.
It was so special to stand up there as a family
This picture represents the "giving over" of this precious child. He belongs to God first

Our Boys' Big Step of Faith

Our family as the boys prepare to get in the water 
 Less than a week after returning from out of town where we brought our newest son home, Isaac, Evan and Joshua decided to follow Jesus in baptism. What a monumental day it was for our family!

Isaac sharing his testimony

Evan telling people about his faith story

Joshua's turn to give his testimony

Isaac with our pastor

no words!

Now Evan's turn

Joshua's turn

Praise the Lord!