What a year it has been! A massive roller coaster of up and downs! My guess is that would be what you experienced as well. After all, we live in this thing called Life. I have often said there are 3 stages of adversity: I am going into it, I am coming out of it, I am in the middle of it. I have noticed this year that we haven’t experienced periods of calm. We face different difficulties over here but like anyone anywhere on the globe, that would be normal. After all, we live in this thing called Life. Oh, I seem to be repeating myself.
When we had our lives radically altered and moved here, we signed up for whatever was here to face. That includes Christmas seasons apart from our traditional family celebrations which bring us warm memories. Having snow falling, a brightly decorated house and being able to go see the Nutcracker & enjoy the season was a wonderful thing for us. We miss that. As most of you are experiencing winter, this is becoming our summer.
It is weird listening to “The weather outside is frightful” when the sun is blazing and the fans are running and dust is everywhere!
But since when was Christmas about snow, trees, lights, gifts and fanfare? Our culture pushes that and the farther people grow away from God, the more they commercialize and rename the season. But no one can ever erase the fact that it is all about Jesus and what God did for us! Every year, I am more drawn to the real meaning of Christmas. That brings me to gratitude. We are surrounded by gut wrenching poverty and desperation. Christmas means we have to be extra diligent as we are more liable to get stolen from than at other times. We always have to be aware of our surroundings but theft is up during the season.
It is ironic that people steal so they have something for Christmas. But that is how it is.
There was another missionary and her Ugandan husband who recently got into a bad accident on the highway (way too common here) and the vehicle flipped several times. One person ran out to help and many ran out and stole everything out of the vehicle.
That isn’t a rare occurrence. It is almost a given. We are far better off than most here even though we are trimmed back greatly from what our life was like before.
We are grateful that we are in a position to help others and don’t face many of the challenges many do. God has been so good to us in so many ways this year despite all of the challenges. He has blessed us with growing relationships with both Ugandans and other muzungus. he has blessed us both with purpose and the gift of serving Him and others in several areas. I am at a crossroads determining what the next year will bring.
I am reassessing the courses I am teaching and what that will look like but I know that the Lord will fill in those blanks because that is how He works.
Honestly, the only thing we did was be willing and through that willingness we have gained far more than we ever thought possible! We have discovered the past 3 years of being here that we become more grateful every day even when we run into strong adversity and spiritual attacks.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8 NIV)
We get to experience Paul’s words here. Everything we have, our very lives are nothing compared to what we gain through Christ!!! Gratitude is knowing that Christ has given everything for me, has given me the gift of salvation and the gift to serve. There is nothing greater. As Christmas unfolds, as you go through this season and see another year draw to a close, know that Jesus came to this world to not only save us but give us life here as well as eternity.
If you know Him, if you have surrendered your life to Him, you have everything to be grateful for! If not, you can! Thanks to all of you who make it possible for us to be here. You have answered God’s calling to support us through your prayers and financial support. You serve us and we are very grateful for all of you! If you would like to donate to us, please follow this link to our giving page. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!