It’s been a wild ride since we wrote our first blog post on June 19, 2018 to today, where it’s about 6 PM here at the Amazima School and we’ve had our first worship service with our new friends and Amazima family at their campus chapel affectionately named The Rock. We have seen God’s faithfulness in moving in so many supporters hearts to invest in the kingdom through supporting our family through prayer and finances. We’ve seen Gods timing and abundance in the weeks leading up to our departure date from Dulles Airport last Tuesday. He opened doors for us to praise His name and share His work in our lives and in Uganda at Childrey, Brookneal Baptist, Kedron, Ebenezer on Sunday mornings and Clover Bottom and many other smaller group and individual opportunities to declare that He is worthy of our praise and is doing an incredible work all throughout our ever-expanding community of believers! We’ve seen God’s goodness in the fellowship of an amazing commissioning service that brought together Pastors of influence in our lives to preach and affirm, friends to bless us with an amazing reception to celebrate and send off, and countless prayers visits and words and actions of affirmation and unity that fill us with the love of our community.
We’ve seen God’s sovereignty as He weaves together an amazing story that only He could write to bring together individuals and groups, old friends and new ones in incredible ways to equip, comfort and affirm our new journey. In fact we had an amazing opportunity to see this from a new perspective as Tory and Matt welcomed us to their house last night and for the first time since we’ve been here we told the story of how did God bring you to Amazima on this side of the Atlantic. We re-lived the years leading up to this arrival, much of which is covered in our first blog post, those days still spark wonder and awe for God in my heart. What is truly incredible is to see that God continues to weave it together, in fact He’s just getting started in this part of His story in our lives. As we told Matt and Tory our story it was incredible to see that they could relate, but perhaps my favorite part was seeing their faces when we said the name of the missionary Terry that God used last spring to affirm our call to Jinja and they smiled and said that they too were friends with Him. The interactions and lives that God weaves together for His glory and His purposes to bring the gospel of forgiveness and redemption to the world is truly amazing, and while our communities that we know well have just as much to marvel at, we often take it for granted until we see people from all over America have been woven together with stories that don’t just lead them to serve in the same place here at Amazima but with the same heart and unbelievable connections that span wider than this place. We serve an awesome, personal, mighty God that loves relationships and uses some of the most complicated and difficult to predict things on earth to display His heart…..through normal people made new by surrendering to Jesus!
So now to the everyday details that have been so much fun, and a little of what’s next. First, leaving at 8 AM on Tuesday after staying up past midnight trying to fit everything you need into 12 bins that we stretched into 18 and driving for 4 hours, flying for 22 including layovers, landing in Amsterdam, then Rwanda, then Uganda clearing customs and loading the truck to finally arrive at the hotel in Jinja they gotten for us for the night at 3AM local time on Thursday….. well it makes for a long day!
On Thursday one of the first orders of business was to learn to navigate the ATM to get enough Ugandan Shillings to cover some start-ups, like cell phone SIM cards, groceries and power converters. Being a Shilling-aire is a strange feeling until the start-up cost sees that first million shillings leave as quickly as the ATM spit it out, however after the conversion rate it’s pretty amazing the amount and quality of fruits and veggies you can get for under $13 US Dollars. The central market is an experience unto itself!
We only have one entry on the power conversion fails “Wall of Shame,” which hangs 110 volt appliances that have blown up from plugging them into 220 Volt power by accident, for our house right now. The award so far goes to an unnamed family member (but not an unpictured one!!! ) ….
an alarm clock that wasn’t real expensive! I hear other houses have severely strained/shortened the life of a blender and killed one TV, not too bad overall score for the first week, but we’ll keep you posted. I will try to include some pictures of Gabe but honestly they’re hard to find because he is away from the house all the time playing ripstick soccer or basketball with friends from 8 to 28 on campus and in town!
So today I drove the Mystery Machine for the first time, it’s the 1996 Toyota Super Custom Diesel Minivan that we share with another family on campus. Kelly helped get me oriented yesterday, and it’s a little tough to kick your old right hand side of the road habits especially when in not normal traffic situations, emergency manuevers or parking lots. While driving a trash truck gets you used to being on the wrong side of the road with others coming at you head on what it doesn’t do is prepare you for them to go right and you to go left or for you to need to enter the left side of a divided road (especially weird when making a left turn… think about it…), or have someone meet you head on in a van or with a herd of cattle while bodas (Motorcycles) are passing you from behind on both sides! I like it and Tally says I am fitting in too well too quick when it comes to driving.
We still feel an amazing range of emotions as we miss family and friends for a season, and adjust to a new culture with a group of friends and ministry partners who will undoubtedly expand the size of our family over the next few years. We miss you guys who are supporting us from the States, Guatemala, Italy, Columbia and other parts of the world doing work for our Lord but are thrilled to be here preparing to invest our lives in his kingdom. God has been honoring your prayers through our transition, the travel was smooth and even though check in was stressful the agent was helpful and got us on our way. At every step God has answered your prayers to establish our hearts and put people in our path to love us and the kids and I’d say we’re really comfortable and starting to settle in. Thanks for being part of our team or just following along to see what God is doing in our lives and in Uganda, we’re looking forward to see what’s next and are praying over receiving the boys and what Biblical man to name our house after. Stay tuned and keep praying that we can see the Lord move, follow His lead, see his fruit and lay crowns down at His feet together that He just lets each of us be a part of during His work in and through us. Christ is faithful, i would Encourage you this year to Abide (John 15), know his heart for your (John 17) and delight yourself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4-6) and see what he will do! – Ben