A couple of nights ago I drove to the airport in Entebbe and dropped Nathan off to begin his long journey back to the States (he made it to Tulsa late Friday night). Yes, my eyes were full of tears as he turned away to enter the labyrinth of security screening and health checks, and yes it was a sad night. However, I must say that my heart is so filled with gratitude and joy that I can’t stay depressed. We had the gift of Nathan spending seven weeks with us in Uganda, and that fact blows me away. We made many wonderful memories and had such good times with him. In addition to being our son whom we love more than we can ever say, Nathan is such an incredible man of God who is filled with kindness and compassion and zeal and love for Jesus. His company challenges and comforts us constantly, and even though we miss him a lot we are very, very thankful.
The morning after my emotional farewell to Nathan, I drove to a retreat center to spend the day with around 75 leaders from various parts of Uganda. We gathered together as part of Global Advance (GA), a ministry that has become one of our primary partners in the work of the Gospel in Uganda. The GA Uganda team put on a wonderful event, and it was an honor and pleasure to be part of it. Each participant came with a particular area of focus and were able to join others in learning and strategizing about making disciples within that sphere. The focus areas included making disciples among the youth, marketplace leaders, women, pastors, and church planters. We also had a team coming together to discuss and plan for mobilizing prayer for the work of the Kingdom in Uganda and beyond. It was a thrilling moment to stand with these men and women and to dream together, pray together, challenge one another, and commit to labor together as servants of God and of each other.
January was a busy month for us. We moved into our house the first week of the month, and two days later began a five-day disciple-making residency. We learned some significant things through the experience, had a lot of fun, encountered the Lord, and rejoiced in fruitful Gospel outreaches. As we went into various communities to share Jesus and make disciples, several people committed their lives to the Lord and are continuing to come together to be encouraged and learn what it means to follow Jesus. It is a beautiful thing, and I’m so happy and thankful.
We are continuing our ‘Mustard Seed Fellowships’ - small groups that gather together to be discipled and learn how to disciple others. Again, we are learning a lot through this process and are also seeing some fruit. It is a simple and yet awesome thing to walk with people who are eager to learn how to make disciples and partner together in the gospel.
A huge highlight for me recently came on a trip to Kampala to see our friend Wilson and join in the CPx (Church Planting Experience) that he leads each year. I was overjoyed to find that three of the participants at this years month-long training are from the Mening people group of South Sudan. For the past couple of years, the Boiler Room and Believers Church have been partnering with All Nations and Wilson to send a Ugandan missionary to this previously unreached and unengaged people group. What an amazing answer to many prayers to actually meet three new believers from that group who now have a passion and the training to go reach their own people with the love and power of Christ. This is amazing!
There is so much more I could write. It has been so great having Emily and Michayla here with us, adding significantly to our mission and to our lives. Our family is doing well. Philip and Hannah are champs, plugging along with online school while participating in various mission endeavors with us. They make me so happy. Jill is busily setting up our home (and by the way, that phrase does not come close to communicating the work and frustration and sweat and difficulty of the task) as well as forming simple discipleship groups with new believers, building relationships, being a loving and caring mama to all, and doing so much more of course. What can I say? She’s incredible.
We miss you and really love hearing from you.
God bless you!