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15 September, 2018

Self-care: Sometimes we need it just like this

When nothing in a week goes as planned. When projects get started but meet delays and disruptions. When you plan to move linearly from point A to point B and you get derailed almost before starting. When your eyes and brain are “screened out” and you can’t stay inside another minute. When your spirit and heart cry out for relief, what do you do?

Sometimes self-care looks like this. Start a project that can be completed, in a straight line, without needing to reference any screened device. Drive in a couple of stakes. String the plumb line.

Dig in the dirt. Stop and smell the roses. Lay out the concrete bricks. Measure and level. Dig some more. Check the level. Lay the next brick. Have great conversation. Move on down the line, the very straight line.

And add friends. Really good friends. Friends with whom you share history. Friends with whom you have:
ü  wept
ü  laughed
ü  served God
ü  celebrated
ü  mourned
ü  shared meals
ü  problem-solved
ü  met challenges
ü  shared chai
ü  searched God’s Word
ü  prayed
ü  worked hard
ü  listened to football (soccer) matches
ü  learned
ü  built something together
ü  revealed our hearts
ü  served each other

This is today. This is self-care. This is sharing stewardship of 
creation with friends who also worship our Creator. Friends with 
whom we share life here in Uganda. Friends whom we love dearly.

This is making the space we are given care over to grow in reflecting the beauty of God. This is worship. This is hard physical labor and this is relief.

What do worship and self-care look like for you today?

03 July, 2018

Leaving Behind . . . Looking Forward

Our time in Oregon is complete and we are now in Indiana.  Last week we attended meetings at World Gospel Mission (WGM) International Headquarters. This next week we will be with family here in Indiana.  On  July 11 we will arrive in Uganda, assuming all flights will be as scheduled.

We are looking forward to returning home. It will be good to reunite with those whom we love on that side of the world. We are eager to see how God has been moving during our absence. The notes we are receiving from our African colleagues warm our hearts.

It will be wonderful to hear first-hand from colleagues how they have seen God at work in their various avenues of ministry and in their own lives. We look forward to rich times of sharing together.

Christine is eager to hear from those she volunteers with how their training in Biblical orality helped them share God’s Word with women and children. It will also be good to hear how Women’s Cycle of Life trainings are progressing. We want to hear stories of God’s work in the hearts and lives of women.

Jeff is interested to hear how God has been speaking to the men with whom he met weekly for the past few years. We expect to hear of victories, challenges, trials, dreams and disappointments. God’s Spirit has been with these men, we know, and hearing their stories will be a great encouragement.

We look forward to how God has been moving in readiness for expansion in the WGM and Africa Gospel Church ministries to refugees. We are also listening to God for plans to increase ministries to children and youth. There are exciting possibilities and we expect God to direct us as we move forward.

As we lean into this next two-year term of service in Uganda we eagerly look forward. We know God is working His plan and we count it a privilege to be in His service. He has given us the work of making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He commands us and we are eager to resume the work in Uganda.

Please pray with us to stay devoted to Christ Jesus Himself and not to programs or causes. Oswald Chambers wrote, "There is a difference between devotion to a Person and devotion to principles or to a cause." (My Utmost for His Highest, July 2nd) We know there is a risk that the focus of our devotion could become the tasks, people or desired outcomes rather than remaining devoted to our Lord."To be a disciple is to be a devoted love-slave of the Lord Jesus." (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July 2nd) Thank you for praying for us to be faithful, devoted disciples of Jesus.

Jeff and Christine

06 March, 2018

We are a Bridge

This is a season of travel for us because it is a season of connecting with people we rarely get to visit. We love people most of all and we are grateful for time to connect. In this season we have newly realized something about ourselves. We are a bridge.

We are a bridge between cultures. Now we are physically present in the United States of America but a very big part of our hearts and brains are in Uganda. We span these two cultures like a bridge spans a canyon We have deep pillars in each of the two cultures, supporting us as we bridge the differences. Life is very different on either end of our bridge and yet, for us, through us, the two are connected.

We are a bridge between resources and service. As we connect with people we share what we get to be a part of in Uganda, how we see God at work and how he invites people into his work. We are asked questions about the ministries and people in Uganda. Often they also want to know how they can participate in serving in Uganda. Many people are sacrificially donating money every month to enable us to connect people to Jesus in Uganda. Resources and service are the framework for all of us collectively serving in Uganda. Together we are a bridge in the Kingdom of God.

We are a bridge between the past and the future. This is obvious in so many facets of who we are and what we do, but perhaps no more so than in grand-parenting. We connect our grandchildren to the past and they connect us to the future. In the same way, we help to bridge the gap in knowledge of what has been in the past with what is now, as we look with our colleagues into future ministry opportunities in Uganda.

We are a bridge, and sometimes we need to lighten the traffic load on us for maintenance to take place. This is part of why homeland ministry assignment (HMA) is necessary. Stepping away from the responsibilities we carry in Uganda and connecting with loved ones in the U.S. brings us renewal and refreshment. This is also why we take Sabbath time every week. God knows just how to repair and restore us for continued service. He often uses His own people to touch us in restorative ways, and for these we are forever grateful.

We are a bridge designed by God. We are a bridge held up by strong supports, ones that have names and faces and we know parts of their life stories. We are a bridge, common in sort, bridging uncommonly good people and places and times. We are a bridge designed by God.

Jeff and Christine