“And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that come through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11
The above verses that hang on our refrigerator, found in Philippians, were a take away for the middle school youth from our Community Churches VBS this Summer. I’ve read these same verses many times but as the kids were about to return to school and Audrey to Middle School and then move to Uganda in January, I was able to see a direct correlation and relevance of these verses in the lives of our children over the next few months of transition. These verses speak so directly to the desires of my heart for our kids, I want these truths weaved into every fiber of who they are so that they may be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that come through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.” I am so abundantly grateful for Audrey’s middle school VBS leader, Ms. Tracy, who worked tirelessly to pour this knowledge into Audrey and many others.
Summer seemed to pass with the blink of an eye! For the first time ever, I wasn’t working while the kids were out of school, it didn’t help summer to pass any slower but it sure did give me time with Audrey and Gabe that I’ve always desired and I’m so grateful for this specific time God had provided.
We loved spending extra time with each other and extended family! Most of the month of June was spent preparing for our first ever Community Churches VBS. Our Church, Childrey Baptist Church , partnered with 4 other churches in the Brookneal area to bring VBS to the center of our town in our local Elementary School. It was an incredible week and we got to be witnesses to the Lord working and moving in ways we never expected, you can learn more about the details of the VBS week in a recent article written by the BGAV: “Community-based VBS: How five churches came together to reach more people” .
This VBS was extra special for me personally because it marked my 8th year having the opportunity to Co-Direct VBS for our church. Six of the past 8 years have been alongside my dear friend Dana, who God has used to encourage and grow me in my faith as well as be one of my biggest cheerleaders on this journey to Uganda. I am eternally grateful for God bringing us together for His purpose! Although it’s bittersweet this was our last VBS together for a while, we giggled as God amused us with the fact that next years VBS theme is ROAR: Life is Wild – God is Good…an epic African adventure! God always does this, reaffirms us in big and small ways!
Throughout the Summer we’ve been connecting with the stateside coordinator for Amazima and he’s been guiding us through the fundraising process as well as discussing African Friends and Money Matters that Ben has been actively reading and that they want us to complete before we arrive in Uganda in January. It will help us in our new relationships and have a better understanding of their culture and the differences that exist, so that we will be better equipped to interact in a way that will cultivate a genuine relationship as opposed to creating hurdles due to our Western mindset. We’ve already learned so much through this process of just preparing. We are in the process of raising necessary funds for our monthly expenses while serving at as Family Mentors at The Amazima School. The whole process of fundraising has felt very foreign and uncomfortable to us, we are slowly learning that this is God’s mission and our going is to glorify, serve and complete what He desires to accomplish in the lives of those we’ll love and care for. It’s not about us, it’s about Him and the name of Jesus being glorified “to the ends of the earth.” A few things we’ve learned about support raising:
- The body of Christ supports one another
- We definitely need prayer warriors, but as people are able we ask they give to the mission of God through our journey
- Direct support gives our family and friends the opportunity to invest in what God is doing in the world
- Support isn’t about the amount of money someone is able to contribute, it’s about joining God in His work and it drawing the giver deeper into His global mission
- We aren’t seeking to just raise financial supporters, rather a “support team” who will cover us in prayer, encouragement and guidance as we walk out the call God has placed on our life
Your monthly gift of support will allow us to love, mentor and disciple 18 Ugandan Secondary students that will live in our care while attending The Amazima School. We will lead daily Bible Studies, model a Biblical marriage, pray with and for our students, and not only engage them with the Gospel but also their families. The Amazima School is an Ugandan National School, it’s not a private institution, therefore many of our students may have heard of Jesus but are influenced by other religious practices indigenous to their culture, that’s not to say we won’t have any students who already know Christ as their Lord and Savior, but many who do not, and we’ll daily have the opportunity to introduce Jesus to them and by building relationships, show them who He is through the love He’s placed within us. This newly released video tells in depth how The Amazima School is already changing Ugandan culture through their model of intentional relationships with the students and their families, take a look The Amazima School – The whole story.
We ask that as the Lord leads you, would you consider supporting us in our call to Uganda? We greatly appreciate a one time gift or a recurring commitment. You can give online at Support the ministry of Ben & Tally Updike , and they will send you your tax deductible receipt for your contribution. Your support will help us to fulfill this call together. We need about $3,200 per month for our family of 4, this covers health insurance, supplies, groceries, our Ugandan partner, travel and taxes/fees. A gift of any amount will be used to further The Kingdom here on earth. We so appreciate those who have already committed to being on our support team, your partnership in this mission glorifies Jesus and encourages us more than you know.
God provides in the most unexpected ways sometimes. As we approached a new school year I’d been praying for God to provide me a job at His will. It’s a little hard to apply for jobs where you’ll have to tell your perspective employer “I’ll be moving to Uganda in 4 months, oh, I’m going on a mission trip in October to Guatemala and by the way I’ll have to take off a few more days for training before I go to Uganda.” I’ve been on the hiring end of this scenario before and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want “me!” However, as usual God had a surprise! At Back to School Day for our kids I learned that Brookneal Elementary, where our son attends 4th grade, were still in need of an Instructional Aide, my heart immediately jumped because I thought maybe this is it. I’ve served on the PTA board there for the past 3 years and have a great working relationship with our Principal so I decided I’d ask about the job, laying full out the disclaimer that is my Fall calendar, and he said yes, they’d take me! Y’all, I’m not even kidding when I say I LOVE this job! I get to spend the majority of my days with the sweetest group of 1st graders you’d ever want to meet and their amazing (that’s an understatement) teachers. I’ve prayed that daily God would show me why I’m there and make me sensitive to His purpose for me that day, and everyday He’s made it abundantly clear! I am so humbled by this opportunity and for His provision in this season. I have a deeper appreciation for our teachers and this school my children have been in for the past years, I always knew how hard they worked and how much they cared, but across the board they love and care for these students in a way you cannot even imagine and I’m blessed by this opportunity to work alongside each of them. Brookneal Elementary will forever hold a dear place in our hearts and we will leave a piece of us there when we leave in January.
Ben has been hard at work wrapping up our business responsibilities, as well as helping my Mom in her restaurant, in addition to church lay leader service and Uganda preparation. One thing the kids and I both love during this life season is that we get to see Daddy in the mornings! For most of their childhood Ben has been gone to work before they got up and numerous times they’d be gone to bed before he got home. It’s easy to see how important it’s been in their development that they’ve had this time of transition where we are both able to be more present and available to them before we move, I’m grateful.
Audrey is settling into middle school, she has some great teachers, who I’m so thankful for looking out for her! It’s been hard on this Mama’s heart! She’s taking band and will be picking her instrument next week, she’s talking about the trombone, we’ll keep you posted on that one! Gabe is loving 4th grade, I enjoy getting to see him when I’m on lunch duty, it’s fun to watch him interacting with his friends.
We ask that as you remember us in prayer, intercede on the behalf of our children as they are excited for our move but at the same time they’ll be leaving all that’s normal and familiar to them. It’s our prayer that through this journey they’ll come to rely on the Lord deeply, at their young age, that any discomfort, fear or anxiety will only drive them closer to Him.
We appreciate you taking the time to engage in our journey and walking this road with us, your prayers, support and words of encouragement mean so much to us and we’re thankful for your love and friendship. If anyone would like to talk more in depth on a one-on-one basis we’d love to chat with you, please feel free to contact us by email or Facebook messenger!
- Prayer Requests
- A renter for our home beginning in January
- For God to place us with boys or girls depending on His will for us as Family Mentors
- For Him to equip us in ways that we don’t even know we need to ask for at this point, knowing He does and that He’ll begin placing within us all we’ll need to love and minister in those situations “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
- Guidance over care for our dogs and for the right decisions to be made regarding the pups and our kids
- For the Lord to place His hedge of protection around our family as the enemy will seek to attack, may we be be sensitive to the ways the evil one would cause division and strife and combat it with the truth of God’s Word
- For financial supporters according to His will and for His glory