Saturday, March 23, 2013

99 days to takeoff!

It is hard to believe that in 99 days, we will be on our way to Uganda! That translates to 14 weeks until takeoff and 12 weeks until we move out of our house into the missionary guest house. It is exciting and a bit overwhelming at the same time. We have much to do in that time! We still need about 30% of our monthly support, we need to clear out of our house and get it ready for renters, we need to get all the curriculum for our MK school in Uganda, we need to pack up everything we are taking to Uganda, we need a place to live in Uganda, and we need to wrap up and hand off our responsibilities here to others. Yesterday as I was starting to panic when I realized that there was only 100 days, my sweet, wise friend, Meredith, gently reminded me to think of all God has accomplished for us in the last 100 days. As I look back I am so thankful! I have often recounted on this blog the many ways God has provided for us, financially, spiritually and emotionally. And I know that He will continue to do so! Even as I was discussing my most recent blog post, "The Last 3 Days" I was reminded about Ebenezers. One of the hymns I love is "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." Here are the lyrics:

"Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above; praise the mount I'm fixed upon it, mount of God's unchanging love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I'm come; and I hope by thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God: he, to rescue me from danger interposed his precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be; let that grace now like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love: here's my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above."
For me, the best antidote to anxiety and worry is worship, thanksgiving and praise! So today, I am remembering God's unchanging love, the Ebenezers of His provision both in material things and more importantly in eternal salvation through Jesus. And if you are wondering about what in the world is an Ebenezer, here is a brief explanation. The people of Israel put some stones in a pile to remind themselves of God's provision. They called it an Ebenezer saying, "Thus far the Lord has helped us." I Sam. 7:12

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Three great days!

These last three days have been very encouraging! First, we found out that all of our one-time needs for moving to Uganda have been covered! We are so thankful!!! Also, over 70% of our monthly need has been committed. The next day we heard that Good Shepherd's Fold has now purchased the land on which they plan to build a house for us. Then yesterday we heard about a vehicle in Uganda that will be available for purchase soon. It is a van which would enable us to transport more than just our family. Below are photos of the type of van that would be available there. We don't know many details yet other than the fact that is owned by a missionary family and has only been in Uganda for 1 year. We have also heard about a few possibilities for a place to rent in Jinja, but we are still looking into these and hoping for something a bit closer to GSF.
It is so exciting to have these details all coming together! We are so grateful! Please continue to pray for us as we learn to trust the Lord with everything!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My new motto: Give something away every day!

Since we have known that we are planning to move to Uganda and since we are not planning to take much with us, I have been in constant downsizing mode. At some point, I realized that even if I gave something away every day for this whole year of preparation we would still have much more than we need, and probably much more than we could even take with us to Uganda. It has been such a fun and freeing way to live, thinking, "what can I give away today?" I do not know if I have given something away every day since I began this new way of thinking, but I am so much happier than when I am thinking about what I want to acquire. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it is hard to get rid of things. But today I was encouraged as I listened to Laura Story singing, "this is not our home." This comes toward the end of her song, "Blessings" which completely turns our idea of blessings on its head. If you are going through any difficulty, or even if you are not, I encourage you to listen to this song. It definitely helps me with keeping perspective!

Friday, March 8, 2013

A full week with much thanksgiving

This week has been unusually crazy for our family, and that is saying something for a family with four kids 8 and under. But in the midst of it all we have so much for which to be thankful! One of the things going on this week is a tile and painting project in our laundry room and bathroom. So we have had a toilet on the front porch, a washer and dryer in our kitchen and all the other stuff usually in those rooms strewn throughout the house. As a person who enjoys organization, the clutter has been getting to me. But I am trying to be thankful that we have been given the money to do these projects in preparation for renting the house, and thankful that we can do them now rather than right before we leave. Below is a photo of our bathroom in process. The floor is done, the walls are prepped, and now we just need to paint and reinstall towel racks etc.

While the tile was being installed I tried to have naptime at other locations since I doubted the boys would rest with so much excitement and noise. So we have been all over town this week. I am thankful that we have so many friends and family who love us and let us crash at their houses. We truly are rich in relationships! Leaving these friends and family is the hardest part of going to Uganda. But I am trying to focus on being thankful right now, so I'm not going to think too much about that.

To add to the craziness this week, at a routine visit, the dentist noticed a sore in my mouth that looked suspicious. I was sent directly to the oral surgeon to see about a biopsy. Thankfully, the surgeon believes that everything will be fine, and I did not have to have a biopsy on my tongue, which sounded pretty painful and a bit scary. In the midst of that crazy day, after freaking out a bit, I was reminded that I have been learning to trust God with our health, and I could trust Him with this too. I could even thank Him for giving me the opportunity to meet this oral surgeon who has been on several short term medical missions trips. The next day, my Women's Bible study group was discussing the good, sovereign plan of our loving Heavenly Father as we see it in the book of Esther. We talked about so many different passages of Scripture in which God reminds us that He is in control of all things and is working for our good. The passage that I often go to is Romans chapter 8. This is one of my favorite passages. Here are a few excerpts:

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:14, 15, 18, 26, 28, 29, 31, 32, 38, 39 ESV)

There are many other passages which have also encouraged me. I am so thankful for the many years of Christian school and Sunday School where I learned Scripture and was encouraged to "hide God's Word in my heart." It is amazing how often these verses come back to me.

I was also reminded this week of God's loving care for us through our monthly support update. We currently have about 70% of our needed monthly support committed. It is easy for me to worry about the other 30%, but I want to focus on thanking God for the 70% He has already provided.

A good friend from our gospel community group reminded me that God's Word often reminds us to offer a "sacrifice of thanksgiving." As you pray for our family, please pray that God would give us thankful, joyful hearts.

So today, I am thanking God, for the provision for home improvements, for my health, for the faith to trust Him, for friends and family, for many years of being taught His Word, for 70% of our needed support, and for reminders to be thankful. God has been very gracious in so many ways. But most of all, I am thankful that through Jesus and His sacrifice, I have peace with God and the promise that He loves me and is working for my good, to make me more like Jesus. I pray that you will know that peace and joy today too!