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29 December, 2015

Where We Live

We are so excited to go! We are so sorry to leave! Herein is the tension where we live.

Our hearts and minds and spirits are eager to be in Uganda, settling once again into the relationships and roles we love. I find myself looking forward to the really big things, like hugging my African friends and working alongside my missionary friends. I find myself mentioning the little things, like getting to use my own kitchen utensils and not feeling cold when I go outside. We are so excited to go!

But we are so sorry to leave. Our hearts and minds and spirits are very reluctant to separate from here, leaving people and relationships we love. I find myself already missing the really big things, like shared prayer times with my parents and hugs from our children and grandchildren. I find myself mentioning the little things, like general ease in completing banking/shopping and in driving. We are so sorry to leave!

But even with this tension, even with the pain of separation from those we love here, we know it is right. We should be in this place. It is life-giving in greater measure than it is life-draining. The joy comes after the sorrow. It is right and we are willing to go through the sorrow, knowing joy follows.

We allow ourselves to feel the sorrow. We don’t ignore it. We acknowledge grief as a traveling companion in our journey of transition. We connect this companion to Jesus and He lightens the burden. He covers for us. He fills the gaps. He is enough.

 So even though grief is a companion, knowing Jesus is even closer allows our aching hearts to find comfort as we remember…
  •  recent time spent with our granddaughter, skipping down grocery aisles hand-in-hand, laughing from the sheer joy of being together; sharing Christmas music dance parties, sometimes even wearing antlers; singing, “Jesus Loves Me” over and over as we drove along  

 
  • hugs and snuggles with our grandson, laughing at his antics and marveling as he discovered independent mobility for the first time; distracting him from tearful thoughts helped distract us from the same 



  • shared conversations, hugs, worship, prayer, activities, meals and so much more with parents, kids, siblings and their families


  • special meet-ups with friends who stick close; shared celebrations, heart-aches and prayers

  • worship and learning with kindred followers of Jesus

  • quiet and beauty as we abide in green woods beside still waters

  • joy in serving, peace in risk-taking, healing after surgery, contentment in following

For all these and more we give thanks. We are excited to go. We are sorry to leave. This is where we live and we count it a privilege. 


Christine

15 December, 2015

Yesterday Was the Day!


The day Jeff’s INR (blood) testing machine was delivered and his training in use of it completed. The day when the cardiologist said Jeff is released to go live in Uganda. The day when we worked with our travel agent to get plane tickets to travel home. Yesterday was the day.

So excuse us, we aren’t taking time to add photos or any fancy stuff. We leave for Uganda on December 30, flying from Portland, OR. We have people to see, places to go and things to do.

But we invite you, in the midst of your busyness, to pause with us and give thanks. Open up your hearts and voices and spirits in praise and adoration to our God. He is worthy. When our hearts feel heavy with sorrow in loss, with grief of separation, with suffering of many and with challenges ahead it is good to give thanks. Good to praise the One who is with us. Let us be heard in resounding praise, making a joyful noise.

Yesterday was the day. We give thanks. Please join us.

Jeff & Christine

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We have just sent out our Christmas news letter.  if you haven't already seen it,  check it out by clicking here.   



12 December, 2015

GRADUATION DAY

He did it! Jeff reached a major milestone along the road of recovery. He successfully completed his weeks of cardiac rehabilitation. Friday was his graduation day. I am so proud of him!

The 32 sessions of monitored exercise provided wise instruction, helpful motivation and camaraderie for us. Jeff quickly made friends among the staff and other participants. He had good conversations with folks while waiting for his heart rate to reduce close to his high resting rate after each class. We will miss those good folks, working heroically toward healthier living. Removing his portable heart monitor after the last class brought to a close this lap on our road of recovery.

One of the “coaches” in the program went through all the “graduation” information with Jeff. We were pleased to note that their assessment shows Jeff increased his exercise
capacity 163% from start to finish. What a great payoff for Jeff. His stamina is back to his pre-surgery normal and his strength has increased.

Jeff received a certificate, piece of dark chocolate, book and papers given to each graduate.  

Unless you saw Jeff soon after surgery it is difficult to recognize the significance of how hard he had to work to get back to where he is now. When he first came home from the hospital it took all his strength to walk from the recliner across the room and into the bathroom. He napped several times a day. Now he works out for an hour at least three times a week. He walks more than 150 minutes per week, in addition to his work outs, and is able to walk at about a 4-mph pace (even including uphill!). He does not need to nap anymore, though we both enjoy the occasional afternoon power snooze.  

These are samples of the type of artificial heart valve and Dacron tube (replacing part of his aorta) that are now working well in Jeff. Amazing to know these are what now enable him to work hard and function well.  

The prayers of many people, literally all around the world, have carried us. Prayers have brought us comfort, infused us with strength, motivated Jeff to persist in his good work, brought healing and filled us with courage. We are forever grateful we are not alone on this road of recovery.

And so we invite you to celebrate with us. As we await his next cardiology appointment next week we choose to use our days celebrating the work God is doing in us. We rejoice in his provision. And I thank Jeff for his hard work in climbing his way back to strength and endurance. He forever remains my Hero of the Scar!

Christine