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05 July, 2016

Building an Altar

This was a weekend of milestones. We are carefully considering each one, using the stones to build a mental altar of worship to God as we see how far the Lord has brought us. Throughout the Old Testament we read of stones gathered and altars erected to commemorate God's faithfulness to his people. Here are some stones gathered for our (mental) altar.
July 1st marked six months since our return to Uganda following our homeland ministry assignment and medical leave last year. Hooray! Jeff’s health is great. He is not experiencing any heart problem. God’s has faithfully provided for our every need here. This stone we added to the altar.

We mentally picked up another milestone as we remember that one year ago we were waiting for the first appointment with the cardiac surgeon. We were eager to know the plan and timeline for Jeff’s open heart surgery, recovery and our return to Uganda. Admittedly, we were still navigating varying measures of uncertainty as we tried to wrap our heads around the news that Jeff’s heart valve was rapidly failing and he had an aneurysm growing close to a dangerous size.

During that time we had so many thoughts rolling around in our minds, some of them rising and receding like a tide but never leaving completely. “Will we ever get back to Uganda?” “In what ways will our lives change forever because of this condition?” “Should we travel for other surgical opinions?” “What if this is Jeff’s last birthday here on earth?”

But praise God, Sunday we celebrated Jeff’s birthday at our home in Kampala, Uganda! God provided for our every need along the journey of Jeff’s surgery, recovery and return to Uganda. In recent weeks, over and over we have talked of God’s faithfulness. It is still fresh in our minds how God miraculously carried us through all of that. We find it hard to believe that we have been in Uganda six months already.

Celebrating God's Faithfulness
So we had a party on July 3, Jeff’s birthday! Friends gathered with us to celebrate God’s faithfulness and wish Jeff a happy birthday. Our hearts were greatly encouraged as we shared evidence of God’s faithfulness in our lives. We heard of God’s faithfulness in provision, in protection, in comfort and in giving direction. We laughed together, wept, sang and prayed. We are still basking in the blessings of that corporate worship of our God. Another stone piled on the altar.

The third milestone in our mental altar is participation in a 5K fun run/walk here in Kampala. July 4, we joined several of our WGM colleagues and ran/walked a very user-friendly 5-K route in solidarity with a church in Indiana that is also doing a Fourth of July 5-K fun run/walk as a fundraiser. They are raising money for WGM Uganda to provide school scholarships for orphans living on Buvuma Island in Lake Victoria.   

Completing the 5-K run/walk
We remember how last year during Jeff’s rehabilitation from surgery we would encourage ourselves by planning to get Jeff’s stamina back to the point where we could participate in a 5-K run/walk. And yesterday we did it, in the hills of Kampala, no less. Jeff was able to run/walk for an average speed of about 12-minute-miles. Hooray! Way to go, Jeff! One more stone gratefully placed in worship of our God.

What milestones are you using to build your mental altar of worship to God? Please share your story so we can rejoice with you.

God is faithful and we praise him!

Jeff and Christine