Wow….. One year ago on January 18th, 2016, early on a cold Monday morning, Debra & I left behind a life we always thought we would have: Living in America, paying off our mortgage, serving in our church & being around family, friends & all the creature comforts our birth country has to offer. LOL. There is a saying that couldn’t be more relevant than it was then: “We plan, God laughs.” Okay, maybe He doesn’t laugh; don’t inform me that it’s not Scriptural. This, however is:
[Jesus] “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:38-39)
It turns out I only thought I had ‘lost my life.’ I can still recall vividly the emotions, the excitement, the sadness & the uncertainty I felt as we boarded that plane in Denver. The 3 month insane whirlwind of selling & giving away all we owned, me retiring from a 30 year career & transitioning our areas of ministry onto others was over. We didn’t even pack until the night before we flew out! Finally, we got a chance to breathe and allow the shock of what just happened & the reality of what was about to happen to settle in. One year ago today, we flew into an uncertain future having no idea what life would look like.
As strange as it may seem to you, we still face an uncertain future. We knew that after our first year here in Uganda, we would just be getting settled into our lives here.
Like all of you we left in America, our year has been filled with trials, challenges, joys, pains…… In other words, we have encountered life. Many of our struggles are different than what we faced in the US of A. We have had to learn total trust in relation to our finances. We have had amazing people come alongside us on this Ugandan Journey.
We have some who share in this financially & others who are wonderful prayer warriors.
I laughed the other day as I was closing out our finances for 2016: Our total income places us way below the US poverty line! It’s funny since we went from making 6 figures the year before to low 5 figures! Of course, we are not below the poverty line here. We have learned to do a lot with a little.
This has come in real handy in managing the ministry of a.k.a. HOPE. I have learned that money has zero bearing on our happiness. We have struggled through the year but we couldn’t be happier with having the opportunity to live & serve here.
What has been amazing to me is knowing for a FACT that the Lord brought us here. He changed our course, picked the location, picked the people & lit the path to bring us here & He has lighted our path ever since we arrived putting us in the perfect house, the right church & the right relationships. It has been an honor to watch Debra!
All she has done in her life professionally & in ministry is being utilized by God here.
It is as if this was designed to fit her! Watching the impact the Lord is having through her makes me smile! Our aka KIDS just adore her! She has honed her baking skills & they look forwards to craft projects. Debra has always had that knack & has me save EVERYTHING including the cardboard toilet paper tubes!
I am seeing for myself in some ways how I fit here & have hope in some areas of ministry I am beginning to immerse myself in. One thing is for certain: ‘Losing one’s life’ in Jesus’ economy is gaining a far better life. We are building some deep relationships with people here & they are becoming deeply knitted to our hearts. We are constantly told that we are a blessing but we constantly remind the people here it is us who are blessed. Where can you go where a couple kids you’ve never met in your neighborhood come up alongside you & take your hand & just want to walk with you!? The culture is becoming part of us!
Sure, many who we meet aren’t the most friendly people but you have that everywhere.
A year ago as we were flying over the Atlantic Ocean I remember saying silently “Okay Lord, we lost our life & now we are trusting You to guide us into this new one.” We miss the 4 seasons, we miss our old home, we miss our friends & family & occasionally I even miss my old career. In those moments, I smile when I think of all that we have experienced in just one earth orbit around the sun. It seems like it hasn’t been a year & also that it has been longer.
As we face this next year we want to thank all of you who support us financially, who pray for us & who follow our adventures here and that goes for those Ugandans who are near & dear to our hearts! We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the support we have. If you desire to partner with us here, click here. We appreciate you all!