Monday, September 10, 2018

Gulu: our new home

The nice ride we hired to take us to Gulu from the capital city 
On September 1st we left Kampala shortly before 6:30 in the morning while the city was still waking up and began our journey north to Gulu, our next stop and home for a while. We rented one van for us and one van for all our stuff! Though it took about 6 hours we thoroughly enjoyed watching the scenery of Uganda as we drove.
Karuma Falls

The boys' favorite part of our trip was when a baboon jumped onto our windshield to try to hitch a ride!
This is the house we'll be staying in for the next 2 months.
 Since we're still not sure exactly WHERE in Northern Uganda we'll be settling for ministry, we are beginning in Gulu - a major hub and central place in Northern Uganda. We are in the phase of learning about this part of the country, a little language learning, and lots of  "shadowing" Eli will do in these first weeks to see what God is doing in this area, what other missionaries and organizations are doing, and see where we might fit (though it might not be in Gulu). He's also going to start traveling into the different refugee camps in this area to continue gathering information, networking,  and building relationships. One hope we have is that we might be able to move closer to where the South Sudanese refugees are living in the camps (though there are many even here in Gulu.)

This is a scene of our yard - the kids' favorite place
We are amazed at our yard here! No joke these are the types of trees we have and many of them are bearing fruit right now: guava, lemon, macadamia nut, avacado, papaya, and mandarin orange!

Joshua's first pick of guavas, the day we arrived.
 We eat guavas all day and every day. Over the weekend I tried my Mom's recipe of guava sauce which is like apple sauce but with guava. Boy is it good!

Our school books all set up
 In order to establish a routine for the kids, we started our home school year right away on Sept 3. Evan is in 7th grade and Joshua is in 5th. As you may remember, our oldest, Isaac is at Rift Valley Academy in Kenya, in 8th grade and LOVING it. We're missing him like crazy but it really helps that every time we talk to him he goes on and on about how awesome everything is there and what fun he's having! Carson is not quite 5 months but joins us for part of school, sitting quietly on my lap while I read or playing on a blanket on the floor.

Auntie Hellen with Carson

A pretty typical afternoon for us these days
 We are daily amazed at how smooth this transition has been for our family. We can't believe how at peace we feel and the ease with which we've all adjusted! My favorite part about last week was when Evan and Joshua bravely ventured across the street to play soccer with a group of boys in the grass. About an hour later when I called them in for dinner, they were smiling from ear to ear and reporting to me everyone's names and that they'd been invited to come back and play every evening at 5.
They've also really hit it off with a few missionary families' children that we've met. We are praising God for providing new friends so quickly!

Another highlight last week: hosting this lovely family!
Last week, we invited a South Sudanese family over for lunch. Eli met Pastor Tito and his wife Edwina on his trip to Uganda in May and he is one of our contacts here in Gulu. We enjoyed our visit with them, the kids played nicely and we went to church with them on Sunday.

Might have been their first popsicles!

So basically I want to report that God has been so gracious, allowing us to settle so quickly and easily and giving us such joy to be here. We are really soooo happy to be here. Though there are hard parts of this transition (like missing Isaac and not having him with us) God is comforting us and causing us to depend completely on Him. We still have a lot of question marks in our future but that's OK. It keeps us always trusting and looking to the Lord to guide us. That's what we want.