Crickets in Karamoja

If you’ve been looking for updates here recently, you’ve probably noticed a lot of silence. The metaphorical blog crickets have been chirping gently, just as they are in this warm African night. “Is it really that quiet over there?,” you may be wondering. In truth, it’s been very busy! But besides our ordinary labors, two things in particular have recently held our attention.

Sickness

Since arriving in Karamoja, we’ve struggled with various illnesses – some mild, some major. Upper respiratory stuff has gotten the kids and me down a few times, sometimes with fevers. Everyone but Rashel has a little cough that doesn’t want to leave; it’s probably allergies – part of getting used to a place. When things are more severe, we are so grateful to God for the mission clinic! It’s just a short walk away.

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This picture is from a few weeks ago. Hannah and I are in the clinic waiting area. We were both feeling miserable, but our malaria smears came back clear. We’re doing fine now.

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Rashel, on the other hand, was hit with a really bad case of strep throat (or something like it). It came on fast, and before long, she had a very high fever and was having difficulty swallowing fluids because of intense throat pain. She was so sick she missed church, which is saying something! The clinicians put her on first one and then another antibiotic, and then this past Monday, because she wasn’t getting enough fluids, she was given two IVs of saline solution. Here she is, laying on the examination table at the clinic, waiting for a treatment. While we were there, she said, “It’s good that the Lord gives us sickness, just like the Karimojong, so we can sympathize with them.” In that sense, getting sick is actually an important part of ministry here. Even so, we are praising God that she made a good recovery and is back on her feet again!

It needs to be said that our team was a tremendous help to us while Rashel was ill. They are such a blessing and encouragement from the Lord. We are so glad the Lord has put us together with this group of lovely Christians!

The “can”

Back at the end of December, we packed our container, and it began its voyage around the world. (An aside: we never could have done it without the help of our wonderful family and a team of folks from Reformation Fellowship in Roseville, CA! Thank you for supporting us, and for showing us the love of Jesus!) From the dock in Oakland, CA, the “can” went to Mombasa, Kenya, where it was unloaded and shipped inland to the Uganda border. We were told that the tax inspection would take place on the mission compound. We were told that there should be no problem getting it through customs; since I already had a work permit, the fees would be minimal. Well, according to the eternal counsel of God, nothing quite happened the way we were hoping! The inspection took place in Mbale – nearly everything was taken out, even the smallest items were counted and logged, and then it was all put back on to the container. Bob Wright, our resident deacon, oversaw the whole process and did an amazing job. I wasn’t on site – but it must have been a crazy amount of work. We were levied a substantial amount in fees, but not as much as we feared.

Then it finally came, just over a week ago!

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Here we are starting to unload…

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…these are some of the guys who helped: Jesse Wright, Emmy (one of our Bible study teachers), Jesse Van Gorkom, and Lokwii David (one of our translators, who is also helping me learn Karimojong).

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And here is Bob. What took huge amounts of effort to pack only required an hour to unpack. What a blessing, to be able to close the door on this process!…

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…Well, not quite. We still have a lot to unpack. Right after our stuff arrived, Rashel came down with strep, and I had a touch of the flu, so things look pretty much the same as they did when things first came. But we are making progress, and the kids are thrilled by each new rediscovery. And for those who remember loading the 800 lb. piano – there it is on the right! There are some minor exterior scratches, but otherwise, it’s just fine. It even sounds like it’s still in tune!

Please pray for us: that the Lord would preserve us from illness, and that we would be able to get our things organized quickly. And when you hear the crickets, please continue to lift us up before our Father!

More updates coming soon!

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Myganda

It was 2015. We were exploring a potential call to foreign missions. “Who knows,” we hinted to our children, “Maybe the Lord will send us to Karamoja. That’s in the country of Uganda.” “No,” our two-year-old playfully corrected; “It’s MYganda!”

Now it is 2016. Next month, “Uganda” will really become “Myganda.” By God’s grace, and for his kingdom, we want to embrace the people of Karamoja with all our heart: to learn their language, to leave our world and enter theirs, to walk beside them in the mud and the dust so they might be saved. John Knox prayed fervently for his Scotland; and so we pray for our new home – “Lord, give us Karamoja; give us Uganda.” For Jesus’ sake, it is now my Uganda, that at last it might be his.

Surely that is the Bible promise. The Lamb is worthy of praise, worthy to unseal and unfold God’s glorious purpose in history, because he ransomed his people “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). Karamoja is no exception. We trust that Jesus has many people in this place. From the lost and dying tribes around us, he is even now calling his own, saying to those who were not his people: “You are my people.” Uganda is his possession, his inheritance.

This record is dedicated to the glory of the Triune God in all the earth, and in the Karamoja region of Uganda in particular. May Jesus Christ be loved and worshiped here! To this end we go, joyful and expectant, to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9-10). We invite you to follow us and to pray with us as we undertake this great work.