Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Off and Running

We thank God for continuing to lead us this year. The year has started off well and full of excitement for what it might hold. Beckie had a young women’s retreat the last week in January which went on well. The ladies were able to spend time away and connect with God in different ways then they are used to. We had a visitor, Beckie's friend Meredith come and teach and share with us on the retreat and in other programs with the young people last month. Their lives were blessed by her contributions.
The ladies at Sisiyi Falls

 The various men’s fellowships, youth service and bible study for the children in the sponsorship program have continued to hold and we thank God for such avenues to go deeper with the discipleship of young  people.
Gabriel talking with the children in the sponsorship program
December and January Birthdays celebrated at the youth service

This month of February school is starting back up and so will most of our school ministry programs. Please pray with us as we start purity clubs back up for the new year. Also we had an outreach at a secondary school at the beginning of the week. Our new speakers/sound system arrived with Meredith, and this outreach was our first time to put them to use. They worked well and we are so thankful for this addition to the ministry. 
Singing with the students

Ruudy and Pastor Fred talking with those who received Christ

Our dance team and choir have been hard at work. And gave inspiring performances during the outreach.

dance dance

 You can pray for our dancers by name, that they would continue to grow in Christ and keep using their talents for the glory of God. They are Evelyn, Moses, Gladys, Scovia, Lydia and Jacob. 
Also we hired a new volunteer this past month, Everine. Please pray with us for her as she begins to minister with us in various capacities. She is a worship leader and she loves Jesus. We can’t wait to see how the Lord will work in and through her these up coming months. 

Our new volunteer Everine

Thank you for standing with us. 
We are beginning to raise money for a keyboard for the choir to use, as we keep borrowing one currently and sometimes its not available for us to use. For about $500 we can buy a good keyboard here in Uganda with a stand. If you would like to partner with us in such a way, you can give online at: www.locodi.org then send an email to info@locodi.org letting us know it's for the keyboard, or you can send a check with a note to: 
Loveworld Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 2139
Spokane, WA 99210

We always pray for you and trust that the Lord is keeping you. 
Wishing you a blessed February.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Why did the turkey cross the road?

Waiting. Whether it's waiting for water to boil or a president to retire, waiting can prove to be quite tiresome and trying. Wait for the rain. Wait for the meeting. Wait for the beans. Wait for the garden to grow. Wait for electricity. Wait for shops to open, fires to start, cows to cross the road. The other day we were almost "late" for church because we had to wait for a mother turkey and her young one who thought it their personal responsibility to make sure we missed the beginning of the service. There's waiting for the internet, waiting for the ATM, I mean like 86th in line kind of waiting, waiting for the road to get repaired, the document to get signed, the truth to be told, the nurse to wake up, the doctor to be found,  the chicken to be caught, the pork to be served, the tea to cool, Edimu to learn his letters. I could continue. As I write this I'm actually waiting for water to boil. And then I will wait for my porridge to cool. Did you know it actually takes 2 minutes for me to pour the entire contents of the kettle into the thermos? 2 whole minutes. Oh there is no waiting at traffic lights, but then there's the traffic jams that kind of make up for it. We had 6 doors made for our house in April. It's now October. Still no doors. We took the motorcycle for repair around the same time. We got it back last week, and yet we are taking it somewhere else to get it repaired again today.
Then there's the current thorn in my flesh, the water filter. I always promise myself as I put the empty water jug under the filter and let the clean water begin flowing that I will wait patiently nearby until it fills completely. I've even tried just sitting there staring at the thing, but then it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r...Easier said than done. How many puddles have I left on the floor this week?? Let me not confess the exact number.
What am I trying to say here? We wait. Whether we like it or not, whether it's easy or not, convenient or not, it is a part of life. Now days we're not so bothered to wait because of the introduction of the smart phone. Chances are that you are even reading this blog because you are waiting for something..Though we can still get slightly annoyed, we can be busy then even while waiting. Last night as I was waiting for dinner to get ready, (it was around 9pm), instead of hopping on the smartphone (if I sit for a minute the mosquitos under the table and hovering over the couch wreak havoc on my exposed feet) I decided to go outside and watch the storm roll in. The sky was full of flashes of lightening, clouds you could see were dark even in the dark and a nice strong breeze (that thankfully kept the incessant little insects at bay).
I just stopped to take it all in. Beautiful, terrifyingly beautiful. And it wasn't like the Lord suddenly spoke to me and I had an aha moment. No. I just got to enjoy the beauty of the moment. Just being in that moment, it did something to my soul, it restored something in me that I can't explain. I write this to just encourage you to try to experience the beauty in waiting. Nothing is wasted by our loving Father, so even time spent waiting is not wasted, but can be used by Holy Spirit to teach us, to mold us, to speak to us, to use us to speak to others. There's a song that has really ministered to my spirit concerning waiting over the last year by Kristene DiMarco called, Take Courage. In it she uses a the phrase, 'He's in the waiting.' Yes. He is there. Even in the midst of the waiting, He is there. In this busy day and as we head into this "busy" season. Let's encourage each other to slow down, listen and just be. Just take a minute to look around you, really look around you, and you might be surprised at what you see.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bringing new life again

I (Beckie) had a plant in an old paint can, while I was away, there was this hard, long dry season. When we came back to Soroti there was only hard, dry dirt remaining in the pot, not a leaf to be seen, let alone a green one. So I thought to myself, let me start watering this dirt to make it soft again and then I can plant something else in it. About a week after I started watering, I saw something trying to peak out, it looked like maybe there was still something there yet. So instead of planting something else I just kept watering. Slowly by slowly, the leaves came back, beautiful leaves, green with splashes of white and pink and red, so full of life, so full in fact that I’ve transplanted them to an even bigger pot.
And our good Father knew enough that I needed that message and He chose that plant that was right outside my door, so every time I go in or out I am reminded of His sweet message, “I am in the business of bringing things back to life.” I share this with you because maybe you are feeling the same, maybe there is something you thought was dead, a dream, a marriage, a business, a friendship, but maybe,  there is still life there, and it could just need a little watering, or a little sunshine. A little time in prayer and in the Word. Our Father is an expert in raising from the dead, just talk to Him about it.

Last week we went to check on all of our students in the sponsorship program to make sure they are attending school and to pay their fees. I was able to share briefly with one class as we visited the students. They were so excited to hear from us and have also requested a purity club to come to their school. 

There is such a huge need for this and a hunger for the word of God but it has been challenging to recruit volunteers to help teach in all of the schools desiring purity clubs.

Please pray with us that the Lord would send out more workers, more Ugandans who are willing to live a life of purity and also teach about it in schools.
This past weekend we were able to meet with the students in our sponsorship program to give them school books.  We are happy for the partnerships that we have formed in town. One of the local Indian-run supermarkets donated a box of notebooks and a book shop gave us pens at a discounted price.
This helps us a lot as we are able to then even give books to kids who are still waiting to be sponsored.
Also we checked on our student Henry who is in his third year of training for construction. He was given a goat by his sponsor 2.5 years ago and they have now multiplied to 5. 
Soon he will be able to get a cow with some of these goats. We are proud of him for taking good care of them even while also being in school full time. This is so encouraging for us and him.

​The Men’s fellowship seems to be a big hit and the number of attendees keeps increasing each week. We can’t wait to see the impact of this fellowship in the lives of the men and their families in Soroti.
On a sad note, our faithful dog Muffin died. We don’t know the cause, possibly poisoned, but it was a big surprise. She was both friendly and tough. She always kept guard at night for us and warned us of anyone walking by. We had just gotten a new kitten and she tolerated her so well. She had been with us about 3 and a half years but was older than that as we inherited her from another missionary family.
She will be missed.

Construction on our house is coming a long. We hope to put the roof up over this next month.We are already praying through the house inviting the presence of God, declaring it a place of refuge, of new life, peace and joy in the Lord.

​Last but not least, if anyone would like to join a small group that is planning to come on a short term trip in October let us know and we will give you more details. The dates are from the 6th of October to the 18th. The tentative plan for this group is training different groups in soap-making, farming God's way, and jewellery making to help provide people with income generating activities. There are also opportunities for playing with kids and encouraging them, helping them with school work and sharing in purity clubs, and also to see what God is doing in Soroti.
Summarized Prayer Requests:
-Health of family members
-Building - especially finances
Children in Sponsorship program
-spiritual growth
-more sponsors

Purity Clubs
-more volunteers who are willing to lead a pure lifestyle
-students to have strength and courage to commit to a pure lifestyle
Men's Fellowship
-more men would come and discover their calling as men of God

Also please keep praying for Soroti. There is still a drought and people are hungry. Pray for rain. Pray for multiplication of food and seed.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

a wet noodle

I think one of the hardest things about coming back to America for some time can be summed up in the handshake. If you are American, then you've probably at some point in your life been taught how to shake a hand properly. Grab the hand firmly and look them right in the eye. You want to show everyone you are confident, self-assured, independent and strong. No wet noodle or fish handshakes allowed, those are only for the wimps, the cowards, the weak. Make sure you make a good first impression. We are taught to shake hands when we meet someone for the first time or when we haven't seen them in a long time perhaps, and you need that handshake to define the relationship, to prove that my handshake is as firm as your, I'm as strong as you are. Things are a little different here. Every time someone comes to our house they expect to be greeted with a handshake or a hug. It doesn't matter if they just came over yesterday. You still shake their hand today. And rarely do you get someone who will over squeeze your hand. And after the handshake you can keep holding hands as you finish up your greetings and inquiries about the family, etc... Actually you don't even have to actually shake the hand, you barely have to touch, but just enough to say that I'm with you, I see you, you are welcome. Greetings in this culture are so important, people are important, time with people are important. Things will still eventually get done but not at the cost of relationship, they will get done because of relationship. Everywhere you go there are people, walking up and down the street, whenever I go shopping in the market I have to take time greeting the people who are selling me their fruits and vegetables. Whenever I see someone I know, I must take the time to greet them. To touch my hand to theirs. Or they will wonder, why have I refused to greet them. Am I proud that I think I don't need them? So coming from this culture of greeting, community, relationships and going to the american culture of strength and independence can be really hard.  Do you realize that in america I can spend the whole day without even talking to anyone outside of my now house? Not just staying at home, because you can do that in any culture, but I can go the supermarket, I can go to the car in my garage, go to the super market, buy everything I need, checkout at a machine. And come back home all without having to talk to anyone. I have never gone to the market here without talking. I don't think it's even possible. Well...maybe possible, but people wouldn't be very happy about it. First I have to greet them, then I have to ask how much tomatoes are today, because it can change from day to day depending on what's in season.
It's hard stateside because people who we love are too busy, and we can even take a month to try to get together because of their busy schedule and then if we are lucky enough to get a meeting with them, they probably only have one hour or two hours or 30 minutes, and if they tell you they only have 15 minutes, then that's all they will give you. There are even some we failed completely to arrange a meeting in the 5 months we were stateside the other time. I know, crazy right? Well maybe not crazy to you, but crazy to us who are so used to taking time with people. Here we never know how many people we might be serving supper to. And we have to be ready with tea any time, because we want our visitors to feel welcome. And we get people who just stop by. People who just want us to pray for them or counsel them. Then we go back to the states. We know no one else is coming for dinner unless we invited them. We know that no one is just going to stop by and say hi. We know unless we work hard to schedule meetings with people we won't meet with anyone.
 That is why, even though we are so excited to be back stateside to see the people we love and to share what God is doing in and through us, we are also a little nervous and hesitant, because to be honest, it's hard. And to top that off, many people think while we are stateside we are on vacation, and yet for me, personally, it's the most challenging part of the work that we do. One, just the living in a different culture (How do you really choose one loaf of bread from the million options?) it is hard, then there's the asking people for money, not only the asking, but finding new people to ask, because, heck I've lived in a different world for 6 years and rarely have chance to meet new Americans, and if I do meet them, rarely do I have a chance to build a relationship with them.
I hope this doesn't sound like complaining, I'm not trying to complain. I'm just trying to express myself, to put down all these scattered thoughts in my head about why I'm hesitant to travel in just 10 days when I have so much to look forward to. Anyway, so if you managed to read this, because let's be realistic, many are too busy to read this, but if you managed, thank you for taking the time. And if you are willing to spend a little more time to pray for us as we transition to a different world and a different part of our work that can cause added stress, thank you. And if it's hard on me, imagine how hard it is on Ruudy who was born and raised and lived the last 30 years in this culture. And if I happen to see you, don't be afraid to give me a wet noodle or fish handshake, because I might just give you one too. And it might just communicate to me that I'm in this with you, I'm here for you. And that might be just what I needed to know.

Monday, August 22, 2016

untitled update

 The past couple months have been full. With both joys and sorrows. One, our aunt who had been fighting cancer for the last few years finally is finished suffering.
Our Aunt with some of her great nieces
She left behind 9 children and her husband. 5 of those kids are under 16 years and the husband is an alcoholic. Also, this year there is famine in the area, so they are having trouble getting what to eat. Please keep praying for this family.
Also, one of the former child soldiers from deep in the village that I had worked with and we also helped sponsor in school with the help of some one from the states, also died just a few weeks ago. We had received a call a few weeks before that that he was sick in the hospital, but were surprised to find out that that sickness led to his death. It doesn't sound like they even knew what was causing him to be sick. They just said they had to keep "adding blood" whatever that means. Health care in this country can be so frustrating and it's so sad to lose a young man like Emma when it seems so preventable. Keep praying for Emma's family, he was the oldest son of his single mother, so he was the one helping to keep her well.
Emma inside the house he was building for himself
In the beginning of August we had a team of 6 come for a visit. Teams. Well...it's hard to explain. We love having visitors, but it takes a lot of work. Teams are complex, and there's so much controversy over the effectiveness of short term missions, but they can also be so encouraging to us who live on the field day in and day out. We recently had a team from Kalamazoo/Ludington come for a trip. We started planning with them about a year ago. And after many Skype meetings, and schedulings and budgetings they finally arrived. And thankfully they were the easiest group we've had so far. Even though at the end of the day we are tired. You know how it's hard to feed a group of people something that everyone likes? Well, try doing it in a foreign country with foreign foods. Anyway, the team did a great job, they led a Vacation Bible School for the kids at Welcome Home Orphanage, one of them did a much needed marriage conference, they visited one of our purity clubs in Soroti and shared the gospel with them, they met LoCoDi sponsored kids and some sponsored kids in another program. They donated 51 Ateso bibles. They hiked waterfalls and had boat rides in the Nile.  Saw lions and giraffes and warthogs. They blessed others and were blessed. Those ten days came and went. Kind of like when you spend hours in the kitchen preparing a delicious meal and it's eaten all up in a few short minutes.
As much as teams are hard work, we love them. It's so fun to share our world with people who days before only had a social media sketch of what life is like in Uganda. And every one who has visited at some point usually has to say, "Now I understand why you have a hard time describing a 'typical' day here." We are encouraged when people get to meet the people that we are pouring out our hearts for and can see first hand the need for the work we are doing here. And when they go back to their comfy homes stateside they are different. They think differently, talk differently, spend their money differently, pray differently.
Also, through all of this Ruudy has been struggling with sickness. He has been feeling achey and tired on and off for over a month now. We treated several things, and tested more things, but haven't found out anything yet. From the blood tests we've gotten it shows that his body is fighting something, but telling what it's fighting is the problem.  He has a doctor appointment in the the states on the 28th of September and we will hopefully find out more then. We haven't bought our tickets yet but are looking at mid September to the end of November or beginning of December, depending on how we are coming along solving Ruudy's sickness.
 While we are stateside we would love to meet up with you. Maybe you've been considering a trip to Uganda for sometime or maybe the thought never crossed your mind until today. We would love to share with you more and see if the Lord leads you to come for a visit. But even if you are not interested in coming for a visit to Uganda we would still love to visit with you wherever possible.

Marriage Conference

Marriage conference participants
The Purity Club
Beckie greeting the students

The good samaritan

Some of the LoCoDI sponsored kids

Fun hiking

Fun on safari

no...she does not have an extreme fear of hippos

Our Team, just hanging out with the giraffes

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The New Normal

After 6 years of life in Uganda I have achieved a new normal. Things that I used to be shocked by no longer shock me. Like, now days I can bravely and confidently, well mostly confidently, carry a plastic bag with 60 raw eggs packed in it through the crowded market without breaking even one. I used to be shocked when I would wait 2-3 hours for a meeting to start, and now I may be the one they are waiting for.
I used to be shocked, maybe disgusted is a better word, that people could enjoy popping large fried bugs into their mouth, and they would actually lose precious sleep to harvest said "bugs" late into the early morning hours. Now I love the white ants and I'm also there, alongside my family, catching them late into the night. I can find myself wondering when are they coming back into season, we've taken long without eating them. And no, we don't call them bugs, they are ants, not bugs. Bugs are not food. I used to be shocked that I only had the time and energy to accomplish one task in a day, now I'm shocked if I can manage to get three things done per day.
Now imagine me trying to prepare someone from the states to come for a visit. We have a team coming to visit the first week of August, and it's good we have an experienced team leader who will help prepare the team for their trip. Because by now I can even forget what it is that I should warn them about. I remember when I first came to Soroti, I was visiting a village church with some teammates, after the morning training we went to a local restaurant for lunch. My friend, who had lived in Soroti about 3 years by this point, ordered a dish called eboo, and was so excited about it I decided to get the same. One taste and I wondered...why in the world was she raving about such a "unique" dish, and yet now I cook it at least once a week...I no longer gasp when the power goes out in the middle of cooking, shopping, bathing, or any other somewhat inconvenient time to not be able to see anything. Gone are the days of valuing personal space. I used to wonder, when I was "obviously" in line at the bank, and someone would come and cut right in front of me, with a smile none the less. But now I know that unless my belly is brushing up against the back of the guy in front of me I am obviously not in line.
I don't think I should even go into driving, suffice it to say...no...let me not even try...though the phrase "Every man for himself" comes to mind. Hearing that a man has more than 40 children doesn't shock me nearly as much as it once would. Then there's the chasing after and the killing of your supper. The amount of people you can fit into or onto a vehicle. Think of your car. Most cars fit 5 people. Now, if a motorcycle here can carry 5 people or 8... what are the possibilities for a car, a van, or a truck? Endless.

I guess life is like that, what we get used to becomes the new normal. It's funny how weird, or disgusting, something can seem when we're not familiar with it, but with a little bit of time, and perhaps some effort, we don't even think twice about it. The ants in the bread, ants in the water, ants on my toothbrush and in my cupboard, wait, what ants?  I guess there is both positive and negative side affects of the new normal. On the positive side I can now live in this country very comfortably, and try to convince others from outside that they shouldn't be so scared of this place. Especially now days, as it looks more dangerous to live in the states then here...which brings up the negative side of the new normal...as I watch the disintegration of the country where I was born I wonder about what has happened. Isn't there some saying about a frog in a boiling pot?