----- African Connection --------------
There is lots going on amidst our transition. We send out e-mail updates regularly. If you are interested in receiving them, drop us a note at jeff.stanfield@wgm.org and we will add you to our list

21 April, 2019

We Choose Joy

Transition is a real phenomenon. What happens between already and not yet is not easy to articulate or to navigate. But here we are, full on in transition. We know we are not alone, but it can feel like it. That’s how it is.

An author whose writing helps us as we transition reminds us that it is very important to acknowledge our endings well, so we leave no unfinished business of heart, mind or hands when heading into new beginnings. She also makes a metaphor for Easter from the phases of transition. She notes that the disciples of Jesus suddenly faced an unexpected ending when He died. Friday night and all day Saturday we can imagine the “disengagement, dismantling, dis-identifying, disenchantment and disorientation they experienced.” (https://www.wattsyourpathway.co.uk/2019/04/12/endings/)

We are moving back and forth within these components of transition as we prepare to leave Uganda and begin life anew in Indiana. But unlike the disciples of Jesus, we know ahead of time about Easter morning. We know the resurrection joy even as we contemplate the suffering of the cross. We know that even during our disengagement, dismantling, and so on, that Christ is present. He is with us. He is the One whom we follow. He is our anchor.

Still, even though our Anchor is sure, we get a little storm-tossed in transition. But this is not something new to us and we have learned a few coping skills through the years. Self-care is important and acts of worship help to keep us grounded in Christ, focused on His goodness even when we feel like an island all alone in a deep sea.

So, this Easter weekend, while contemplating the Love of our Lord that compelled Him to suffer and be crucified for us, we chose to celebrate Love Himself. For us, celebrating the marriage of friends was the perfect scenario for us to celebrate God’s faithfulness to us all. And our acts of worship included dancing with joy, serving food to friends, praying blessings over others and reveling in God’s Presence with us. Listening to praise and worship music kept our hearts rejoicing and our minds focused on Christ.

This may be an ending for us of African celebrations like this, but we believe that the celebrations to come at the Feast of the Lamb will be even better. So, for now, between the already and the not yet, we choose joy, resurrection joy.

Credits: Photos at celebration of Colby and Natalie Gillespie, in Namuwongo, Kampala, Uganda
              Photos by Jeff Stanfield and by Lena M.

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