Saturday, November 13, 2010

A week of resting after 10 months of running: WHM team leaders meetings

We are sitting in the cozy home of the Stonehouses who have generously agreed to house us on our way to NYC for a two day date (catch up after 10 months dateless) and meeting with our dear friends the Lin-Liaos whom we lived with in Boston.

What a blessed week to meet with the other team leaders for WHM fields that are scattered around the world. Sitting with the East African leaders delegation, I was encouraged by their years of experience and input as we are the newest newbies on the field.

In one week it is hard to imagine so much can happen:

-Lilli had a stomach bug (thank you Grammie for taking care of her!)

-Travis and I were prayed for during the Grace Community Church services (though we missed it because we were in the church lobby talking with supporters! Oops!)

-We met with the Grace short term team that is joining us in January, hearing their personal stories and sharing ours.

-We almost missed our flight through Newark to Philly because the time between the first boarding call and the final call was 30 seconds.

-Travis appreciated the fine molding work behind the Stonehouse’s toilet as he also had the stomach bug the night before the meetings.

-We reconnected with Scott and Jennifer Myhre, sharing stories of life in Bundibugyo, over a mug of pumpkin latte in a cool artsy cafe.

-Topics such as strategic planning, individual personality typing, mobilization process, financial policy, conflict resolution, and team leading were covered in a week of meetings.

-Though Travis was sick, we shared about our journey and work with our dear friends at the Westchester Community Bible Study and were loved by Paul and DeeDee Cass.

-Patton’s broken tooth (that initiated from a fall in Boston to the breaking off in Kenya to the pinhole in Kampala to the major breakage in SC) developed an absess which resulted in an extraction. Thank you, Dr Paul Galloway and Grammie and Poppy for taking good care of Champ! We hear he was rather humorous when he was under the gas!

-We had enough streaming internet to watch our favorite show, Psych, on our computer.

-Having a cell phone with unlimited minutes (our Ugandan phone charges per second), we contacted 6 individuals interested in Bundibugyo.

-We heard from two families that we are friends with in NC that are praying about upcoming vision trips!

-We ate ice cream. And cake. And brownies. All that someone else baked!

-We slept through the night without waking to the call to prayer being played over the mosque loudspeaker at 5am.

-We laughed at stories told around the lunch and dinner tables.

-We took a walk, holding hands, without neighbor children following us or calling “mzungu!”

Though this week was rather full, we needed the time and space for processing among safe and seasoned missionaries. It was restoring for our weary souls. Thank you, WHM, for caring enough to invest in your leadership. And thank you, supporters, for making it possible to attend a week of investment. We feel encouraged.

Friday, November 12, 2010

If there is ever a birthday to celebrate…

A year ago Aidan Birch came into our life and we could not be more thankful for the child God graced us with. He took his time coming- about two weeks past his due date. After this past year, I understand why. It was as if he knew that last moments of sitting still in peace and quiet he may ever have were in the safe little home inside Amy’s belly. Since that time we have spent significant time in 5 different states, 5 different countries and 3 different continents. He has logged well over 20,000 airline miles, seen the world’s highest deep -water lake and crossed over a mountain range with peaks over 15,000 feet- 11 times. He has moved into the jungles of the Congo, is learning two different languages (English and Lubwisi) and has endeared himself to our community in the Semiliki Valley. He has seen eagles, buffalo, giraffe, warthogs, elephants and a lion. He has fed giraffe in Kenya, practiced Kung Fu in Greece and boiled an egg in the Hot Springs of Uganda. Mostly he has helped his sister, brother and bhootu survive their first year on the mission field. And he has done all this while maintaining a growth rate in the top 75% and maintaining social and intelligence development way above average (unbiased doctor assessment.) This kid is awesome and we love him!

When we left a year ago, we were fearful about taking a 3 month old to Africa. He has thrived. God has been so faithful. It is definitely a good day celebrate.

Happy Birthday Aidani!

A smile

We were able to catch up with Baraba Paul last week before we flew to the US. He is doing well. He has been in Kampala receiving treatment now for 3 weeks. The tumor was confirmed to be Burkett's Lymphoma and has responded to the chemotherapy. The tumor has decreased back to the size it was when we first saw him (It had doubled from that size before he made it to Kampala). He has at least two more courses of treatments scheduled over the next several months.
Most importantly, we noticed something about him we did not see when he was in Bundibugyo. A smile. When he left to Kampala, he held a handkerchief over his face and would not look anyone in the eye. He was understandably sad and scared. When we met with him at the International Hospital in Kampala, though his face remains disfigured, their was an unmistakable smile! We were able to rejoice with him for the current progress and pray with him for complete healing.
Thanks for praying and stepping into this young boy's life with us!