“Standing on this mountain top, seeing just how far we’ve come, knowing that for every step You were with us. Kneeling on this battleground, seeing just how much You’ve done, knowing every victory was Your power in us.”
We are just days away from celebrating 6 months of living in Uganda and reflecting on all The Lord has done to us and through us since saying goodbye to our American lives. We are amazed in all that can occur in just half a year’s time, and have been doing our best to be intentional in processing this wild journey that is impossible to truly prepare for. One of the hardest things we have encountered here is how to present or explain what are lives look like living in this unique culture that seems worlds away from the familiarity of America.
We try to convey the beauty we see, the triumphs we feel, and the simple joys that come with living in this amazing place, but in sharing these things we glaze over the daily difficulties of cultural and spiritual divides, we sugar coat the unpleasant, and skate over the reality of our struggles.
-We’re choosing honesty and vulnerability over a superficial facade because we don’t want to feel alone-
In the words of our neighbor on moving day: “Africa isn’t all sunshine and rainbows”
We have been emotionally broken and spiritually attacked. We have witnessed the enemy’s ugly workings that come in the worst forms like devastating poverty, child abuse, negligence, conmen posing as trustworthy friends, and mother’s choosing not to feed her children because they are unwanted. We have stood in the presence of evil, praying for the demon possessed and those cursed by witchcraft. I know this sounds crazy but spiritual warfare in Africa is no joke.
“But through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You. And through it all, through it all, IT IS WELL”
We have experienced the darkness surrounding this place but even more so we have undoubtedly experienced the mighty power and grace of our God who is forever faithful. He continues to provide for us giving us daily joy and hope. He lifts and restores. He loves, He unites, and He conquers.
We have our fair share of struggles here. I honestly never thought I could live without Starbucks, TJ Maxx, and Amazon Prime. But here I am!
We have done a great deal of growing as individuals and as a family. We are learning to live without conveniences but are relishing in a beautiful thing called time. We live in a place where schedules are meaningless, it sounds frustrating but we are so thankful God has granted us time to pour into our relationships. I never realized how much time I spent distracted until God took me away from the distractions. When we’re not schooling or in the villages, Jamison and EZ can be found climbing trees, doing art projects, building forts, reading books, dressing up, playing soccer, swimming, or chasing chickens. (I know swimming seems random, but to our surprise all the hotels here open up their pools to locals, it’s been God sent and a weekly pleasure) Our kids are flourishing with creativity and thriving in new found freedom from rigid schedules. Of course we have work, have meetings, and appointments but our week looks very different without 35 hours of school, 40+ hours of work, school or sport practices, appointments, and 10 hours of various organized bible studies and our community of friends and family (who we miss terribly). Even after removing so much from our lives, we sincerely feel that we have accomplished more over the last 6 months than all our combined years of adulting.
In our 24 weeks of living and loving in Uganda we have repaired 25 village wells. Each well we repair we hold an outreach in the surrounding village where our staff nurse educates on general hygiene and sanitation, our in field representative assists in implementing community savings accounts for well repair, our education director discusses on the importance of education, I lead all the children in attendance in games and songs, and our fearless leader/Global Belief Project founder Jake shares our reason for being there and the truth of the gospel.
We have had the opportunity to build relationships, establish friendships, answer questions, shower people with love, and lead people to Christ.
We have an amazing team who have become like family to us. They each hold special gifts and have a beautiful vision for Global Belief Project in which they are actively working toward with passion and zeal!
One of the things we have been intently working on is our scholarship program to put children back in school. We are so passionate about this project and have been forced to be very patient with it’s launching. This project is precious to us and important that we do the children involved justice with it’s operation and presentation. We are confident God is in the midst of this work and cannot wait to see what He does with it!
Day after day we see His workings and how He’s using us in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We love that God has used our presence here as an open door, giving people the opportunity to come witness and serve God in Uganda.
Over the course of 6 months Jessa has lived with us for 3, our mission pastor Lane has come to visit, both Jake and I’s moms have come, and we currently have a group of three men from Minnesota & California who came as complete strangers to serve alongside us. (Talk about a leap of faith! These guys had NO idea what they were getting themselves into!) What an amazing opportunity and ministry that fell into our laps! God has used each visitor to show us love bless us immensely!
Lane coming at the beginning of our journey here encouraged us and spurred us on with love. Jessa has been seamlessly woven into our family. What a gift she has been to us and Uganda! Witnessing her grow in faith and courage has given us great joy. Our moms coming to visit brought adventure and excitement in a time that we were so in need of the familiarity of family! And now we have Tom, Terry, and Nate who untied over this trip to Uganda. These guys have been an unmatched source of laughter and encouragement. We couldn’t possibly be more thankful for these former strangers who have come to speak life, serve faithfully, and make us fall even deeper in love with our God.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”-Isaiah 43:2
As we look back at the path the last 6 months has lead us on we are filled with humility and thanks. We ask ourselves how we measure success? Is it through numbers? Financial status? Triumphs? Overall happiness? We don’t have all the answers now, or know how God will use this time to benefit us, the people we serve, or our children’s futures. We only know that this is where we are meant to be right now, we are happy, and we are grateful. We have witnessed God in every step of this journey, we continue to actively seek Him and His will throughout it, and are in constant need of His guidance, grace and mercy. We are on a winding road and a great adventure! Thank you for sharing in it with us!
-In love- Jake, Taylor, Jamison and Ezekiel