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23 August, 2013

A First Annual Reflection . . . .

One year. Twelve months. 365 days. Our lives reordered, lessons learning and finding our way. New home, new friends, new schedules and new responsibilities. Another culture, another language and another set of mores to learn. One year from 24 August 2012 to 24 August 2013. Whew!

And all of a sudden, just like that, here we are reflecting on our first year of living in Uganda. How is it possible a whole year has gone by? How is it possible that it has only been 12 months?

We still don’t have the house completely in order; the kitchen hasn’t even been repainted yet. Seriously? A whole year has gone by?

But then again, the hours of slugging away trying to understand a new language that is so different from what we have heard before and the myriad of days wondering what we are supposed to be doing and how will we know when we are doing it make it seem so much longer...like we have been here for so, so long.

All of this and so much more comprise our first year in Kampala. What an adventure it has been! Here are a few lessons learned...

  • Squash doesn’t grow very well in our little garden. So sad.
  •  If we lean just right while on our upstairs veranda we can see a finger of Lake Victoria. That little veranda is our home sanctuary. So nice.
  • It really, really matters how you pronounce words in Luganda. Missing the correct emphasis can really, really miscommunicate. Maybe that contributes to our timidity in using the language.
  • God is at work in Uganda. So great!
  • The enemy of our souls is bold and active, seeking to kill and destroy. So tiring is the battle!
  • Loving on missionaries is such a happy thing! Enjoying helping whomever whenever we can is so life-giving!
  • Living generously brings great freedom and makes any personal sacrifice seem non-existent. So freeing!
  • Prayer matters. Prevailing in prayer is absolutely necessary for survival.
  • African grey parrots are so cool, and they are loud. Our spirits still thrill to see them flying overhead or sitting in the neighbor’s tree. Parrots are cool!
  • Kampala isn’t a bad city, as far as big cities go…unless you factor in the traffic. And the best thing is, our God is the God of this city. So grateful!
  • We can do this. We can learn many new things all at once. We are not too old to change everything and still be useful. A very good thing to know of oneself.
  • It is best to take exercise walks early in the morning. The lower altitude here should make it easier than it was in Kenya to push up the hills, but the vehicular air pollution later in the day makes it harder.
  • Plantain eaters make us laugh every time they cackle to announce their arrival in the tree whose branches touch our upper veranda wall. Such funny birds!
  • Nearly every Ugandan who has shared some of their life story with us has life chapters that involve hunger, war and death of loved ones. Sobering.
  • Skype is our new best friend in technology. It has helped minimize our lesson on just how very, very far away our families live.
  • Grief is painful no matter where we live, no matter who is grieving. So tired of facing this lesson.
  • Hearts of gratitude enable us to neglect wrongs and appreciate all the rights so much more. So grateful!
  • It is best to choose to stand tall and bloom right where we are planted. (This lesson illustrated to us by our sunflowers out front of our house. They are so cheery and colourful!)
  • But sometimes we need help to keep on standing tall and keeping our heads up. (Also illustrated by our flowers. As their blooms became heavy they started to bend so they are now anchored to the porch railing!)
  • We can’t do this alone. We don’t want to. We are completely dependent on God and His people.
  • The people in the Body of Christ who are our “senders” are THE BEST and we thank you so much for giving us this privilege. So blessed! 

02 August, 2013

Change of position . . . .

“It was great once I figured out how to function in my change of position. Changing from being the player to being the coach took a little while.” That was our son’s response to our question about the first day of his helping out in a local basketball camp here in Kampala.  And his response of yesterday still has us thinking. 

“Change of position.”  This happens all throughout our seasons of life.  We change so much! From child to parent. From student to teacher. From passenger to driver. From player to coach. From cared for to caregiver. From employee to employer. Change happens.  And yes, it can be great once we figure out how to function in our change of position.

We all realized our change of position during our recent time in Kenya. It was great to visit places we frequented when we lived there. It was a delight to be with our loved ones again. We relished the experiences. And we became acutely aware of change . We had to learn to function in our change of position. (To see photos of our time in Kenya look on the sidebar of this page.)

The same is true in our spiritual lives. As we spend more time in God’s word and lean more into our lives with God we hear His invitation to change our position.  In the book, “SoulShift, the measure of a life transformed,”  by Steve DeNeff and David Drury (2011) we learned more of God’s invitation to our change of position. God invites us to make these shifts: from me to you, from slave to child, from seen to unseen, from consumer to steward, from ask to listen, from sheep to shepherd and from me to we focus. These changes of position lead us deeper in our walk with God as we allow His Holy Spirit to transform us into alignment with Himself. (click here for more SoulShift resources.)  And yes, it is great when we learn how to function like Him in our change of position.

Change happens. Having Chris (our son) with us for a few weeks is a constant revelation that change happens. Observing Chris adjusting to being home as an adult is a vivid picture of this. He is enjoying changing from being passenger to driver here. He is learning at basketball camp a measure of changing from player to coach. He has changed from child to adult and is learning to function in his change of position. (See photos of time with Chris on the sidebar of this page.)

Our prayer is that we might model the way well in learning to function in our change(s) of position. We long for others to see Christ in us. We want to reflect Him accurately as we change from being sheep to being shepherd, from consumer to steward, from asking to listener, etc. God invites us deeper in Him so others can also be connected to Him. He leads us into relationship with others so we can share Him.

May we go deeper in God and let Him transform us, guiding us as we respond to His invitation to change position. Our prayer is, as Chris says, “learning our new position(s) may take a little while, but it is great once we figure out how to function in our change of position.”