Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Summing up the last few weeks

Eli preaching in a refugee camp church
The month of March has been really full. Not only has God set a lot before us, but due to the hot season, it's taken a lot of perseverance to push through, knowing each and every detail is part of what God is calling us to in this season. We can't believe we've only been in Adjumani for 3 months - we are already so at home and getting to be involved in so many things.

The boys tried to play with kids after church

Eli meeting with church leaders
For Eli, the month of March has meant a lot of meetings, sitting with church leaders from different denominations and explaining what the theological education by extension program entails to try and mobilize as many lay leaders and pastors as possible to commit to further training. Almost 2 weeks ago, the program started off in 2 different locations with other camps hopefully beginning soon. It is a lot of work for one person but it is what he loves and is passionate about. We are so thankful and honored to get to be a part of this here in Northern Uganda.

Our silly but wonderful boys
These boys keep us on our toes. My (Bethany's) primary job every day is homeschooling this 5th and 7th grader while also keeping my eyes on our almost 1 year old. They work hard in the mornings to complete school by 2 pm so they can play with their friends. You can find them up in a mango tree, rat hunting, swimming in our water cistern/pool or playing soccer. In this particular photo above, they dressed up in mechanic suits thinking those outfits would somehow protect them from the red ants on the mango tree as they climbed.

We are thankful for fun family evenings
Mama's helper

Joshua is trying to show you how big this rooster's crest is!
Joshua is proud of his chickens. We have about 16 and the hens have started laying eggs. Joshua triumphantly brings them in every day and is always eager to show me how much bigger they're getting.

Speaking of getting bigger every day - our youngest sure is growing up fast! He will be one year old in just a few weeks and we can't believe it's almost been a full year that he's added so much joy to our family. Carson goes by "John" or "Johnny" in our community which is his middle name. For some reason they can't say Carson. He is beloved and his favorite time of the day is when we go out after his afternoon nap to visit our neighbors. He loves to watch the cows come home in the evenings and growls instead of moos back at them.

Bethany with neighbor friends in our front yard
While Eli is busy running from refugee camp to refugee camp and organizing different theological education groups, my ministry is on the home front. After school is done for the day I have loved getting to know our neighbors and trying to learn the tribal language here called Madi. The most encouraging fruit I've seen of these relationships was a few weeks ago when my friend Scovia (pictured on the left in the above photo) chose to follow Jesus. Now begins the discipleship process of helping her get plugged into a church, reading her Bible, learning how to talk to God, etc.

Evan turned 13 this month!

Games at Evan's party

Handing out birthday cake

Teammates came to visit
Another highlight this month was hosting our teammates/team leaders here in Adjumani. They'd never been here before so they came as a family and stayed for a few days. They were such an encouragement as they entered into life with us and brought thoughtful gifts like fruits and veggies from the capital city.

Guess who else came to visit? Grandparents!!!

My parents who live on the opposite side of Uganda, traveled for 2 days to come see how we live and see our new home. They were rock stars in the heat. Mom went around with me meeting all our neighbors and Dad tagged along with Eli on his busiest day of the week.
Feeding Carson
After an evening stroll

Sunday, March 03, 2019

From East to West

 This week we had a cool opportunity to drive as a family from the Eastern side of the refugee camps in northern Uganda to the Western side. Our destination was a big town called Arua which serves as a hub for missionaries and other organizations who work with refugees. Our main purpose for traveling to Arua was for a meeting with a group called Borderlands. Borderlands is a co-op made up of different mission groups who are ministering to refugees, people who live along the border. We joined this co-op when we first arrived in Uganda 6 months ago, knowing we needed this support and source of networking.

Another great perk of this trip was getting to see our good friends, the Kruse family. The boys played hard all day and had a sleepover. They slept in hammocks, even through the rain (with tarps over them) and cooked breakfast over a fire in the morning. Our hearts were greatly encouraged after spending time together.

On the way, we have to cross the Nile River by ferry and on our way home we had to wait an hour for the next ferry. We ended up sitting and visiting with a group of Sudanese ladies who were surprised to find that we spoke Arabic.

The Nile has so many special memories for us.

It was a quick 2 day trip but such a neat adventure for us as a family. Our 4 hour drive both ways took us through many remote areas but many refugee camps as well. We couldn't help but pray for more workers.