I'm writing this on New Year's Eve 2011. First thing this morning I woke up and started thinking about when we had spent New Year's Eve in Kenya. Believe it or not, two years ago we were in Kenya trying to figure out if God had called us to work there. We were given the affirmation of the Lord to go ahead. Only later did we realize that it was the affirmation for Africa, not Kenya. Later we would find out that it would be Uganda. Now we celebrate this New Year in Jinja, Uganda which, by God's grace, is rapidly becoming home.
So much has happened in these two years that it is hard to recollect. Not long after we returned from Kenya I began this blog, so those who don't know the whole story can go back and read. For those of you who do, we thank God that you have been beside us on this amazing journey to Africa. God has done some amazing and miraculous things in these last few years. He sold our house in just 3 weeks, 100% of our support and start-up funds were raised, we have many new friends and churches that are working with us to further the Kingdom, and our family is adjusting amazingly well to life in Uganda. None of this could have been possible apart from God and the Lord has moved as a result of literally hundreds of you who consistently pray and support us. It has been an amazing ride and we so look forward to what the Lord will do in 2012.
Since living in Uganda we have met some amazing new friends. The missionary community here has been so supportive and helpful in our adjustment to life in Africa as well as seting up our home. We know it was/is divine intervention from the Lord. The people who are helping in and around our home have been such a blessing. Mbusa who is helping with the outside work, Grace who helps with homeschooling and cooking, Prossie who helps with all other housework, and Peter who is our night guard. They may all think that we provide so much to them, but they don't realize how much they have given and taught us. There have been times when we were able to assist them, but we pray that those times they saw Jesus and not us. We are blessed now to have Prossie's two children, Manilla Hope and Dean, in our home daily with her. We have the opportunity to teach them about Jesus, so that they and the generations that follow will know the love of Christ. We also love the fact that God has placed us in the lives of our neighbors across the street. We pray that every interaction we have: taking the children to church, buying medicine for their child who has malaria, purchasing chapati/rolexes(tortillas with eggs) from the father at his duka (his shop), that they clearly see Christ and how He brought us to this new land to serve the people of Africa whom He loves so much. Even the times we spend talking to the parking people who collect the parking fees (there are human parking meters here), we pray we are seizing every opportunity to teach about Jesus and His sacrifice of love for all humanity (John 3:16). We even had one of them ask us to buy him a Bible :) We pray we have made and continue to make an eternal difference here in the lives of those the Lord has placed us here to serve.
I haven't even begun to tell you about the seminary. Right now the school is at capacity with student enrollment, and Aaron has been overseeing the building project of the newest dormitory. The next building project is tentatively slated for March with two new classrooms. Aaron is thrilled to have the opportunity to teach deep biblical truth to hundreds of preachers, teachers, and church leaders, who then take sound doctrine all across East Africa. It's almost too unreal to believe where God has put us and how He is using all of us!!
I have also had the opportunity to help out where needed at the school. For two weeks I was able to fill in for the nurse on site while she was traveling. I was stretched beyond what I thought I could do and learned so much during that time. I also have been working in the seminary textbook room, making sure that books are issued to students and then received back from them at the end of term. I'm also looking into other ways that I can support the work going on at Uganda Baptist Seminary.
In this last term at the school, Nicholas and Dylan had the opportunity to take Aaron's New Testament Background class. They really enjoyed it and did very well. In Jan. they look forward to taking another class on church history. It has given them a chance to learn more from the Africans in class and also gives them some time to discuss life and the Bible with others. Last term they spoke at length with a Rwandan pastor who lived through the genocide there in the mid '90s. Quite an education on world events and perspectives! We plan to continue to use the classes at the seminary to enhance their high school curriculum. What an amazing opportunity God has blessed us with to help us raise our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)! Marie and Joey have had fun learning Luganda, the local tribal language here. Marie is picking it up faster than any of us. Joey's favorite word is Bulungi which means good. He is either saying "No Bulungi" or "Bulungi" to Manilla Hope since she only speaks Luganda right now.
In reflection we want to thank God and thank you all for your vital role in this incredible adventure for Jesus. Please continue to pray for our family and our ministry here during 2012. We pray that this is only the beginning of many years to come!!!! Thank you again for being a part of what God is doing here in East Africa.