Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Home


We are home in Uganda. God did it! He really did it! We have so much we want to share with you in the weeks to come, but for now let us tell you about our kids. 
It took us 31 hours to travel from our front door in America to our front door in Uganda. The kids handled the car rides, plane rides, airport stops and bumpy African roads like champs. Sure, there were tough moments of exhaustion but they redirected their thoughts and conquered! 
In historic African fashion, we were greeted once again by no power at home. For the last 36 hours we have been without electricity. The kids didn’t skip a beat when Nathan read them their bedtime story by flashlight last night. 
This morning I walked Maddix, Sophie, Ezra and Ruby to school. We thought they would want to wait a few days before starting but they were eager to see their old friends and meet new ones. As we arrived at school, several friends noticed them and cheered. That made my momma heart so happy! 

To all of you who pray for our kids, thank you!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Uganda, Here We Come!




Our suitcases are packed and we are ready to head to the airport Friday morning. Uganda, here we come! 
Some time ago, God gave us a family word: LINGER. Uganda taught us that word and we lingered in every way we could, with every person in front of us, to the best of our abilitly.
We are convinced that our lingering with others ushers in the presence of God. His presence saw the healing of our son, the restoration of our souls, the energizing of our spirits, the orchestration of our schedule and a wide-spread community impact that leaves us humbled and heartened. 
We have no idea what the next 3 years will bring, but we are far more impressed with the Planner than the plan. He has been faithful and we are merely checking the ink in our pens to insure we have enough to write His story. 
Thank you Church for joining our plot by inserting a chapter that is nothing short of epic. We love you!

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Countdown Has Begun


This week is a giant community win! Today, we booked our tickets to Uganda! We leave January 5th. Friday will be 3 months since Ezra’s miracle brain surgery. He still is seizure free and thriving! 
Ruby Ann has a countdown to Uganda on our fridge. She marks an ‘X’ for every day that passes and if she forgets her siblings remind her. We are so proud of these kids of ours. They aren’t counting down the days until they get to open Christmas presents. Instead, they are counting down the days until they GET to move back to the mission field. What a faithful, faithful God! Many of you have told us that you have specifically prayed our kids would be excited to go back to Uganda and God’s answered that prayer! 
We love you all!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

His Descent, My Going

Hut! Hut! Hike!  They were all lined up as Dad hollered out to Maddix and cousins. I watched as giddy children concocted secret plays for backyard football. The setting sun painted a dreamy backdrop with  glowing shades of yellow, pink and blue. We devoured pork from a hog dad started roasting early in the morning and laughed until the evening logs on the fire fizzled out.  The day’s activities were a paradox of soulful glee and searing pain.  Come January, these events will begin a three year pause as our family moves back to Uganda.

I love my father’s work ethic and wisdom. I love my mom’s tenderness and generosity. I love how my stepdad’s eyes are leaky like mine. I love my stepmom’s go-with-the-flow attitude making the kids always feel at ease in her care. They each add so much value to our lives.

For weeks I have been wrestling with the pain of leaving. In the middle of sleepless nights, while I scour the Word, as I jog and pray, I hear the words, “But Christ, He compels me to go.”


Nathan and I just got back from a 9 day trip to Uganda. One afternoon we went to visit our dear Kenyan friend. After a few minutes of chit-chat, she said she wanted to talk to me privately.  She took my hand and gave me an article called, ‘Girls from Poor Families use Cow Dung as Sanitary Pads’.  The article described how school girls were so tired of getting made fun of for their soiled uniforms that they had resorted to using dried cow dung to construct "sanitary" pads. The article resonated deeply with me because just last October we gave 166 Dignity Project Kits to girls who were using the very same methods. My friend said, “Thank you for the work you are doing with The Dignity Project. It is important. Thank you for your sacrifice.” I inhaled a deep feeling of warmth.  I was seen and known by God. He knew I needed a reminder of why we are leaving backyard football games, hog roasts and campfires.




“But Christ. He compels me to go.”

I go because He saved my life when I was dying in sin. I go because He asked me to. I go because I can’t turn my back on girls dying from an infection over something he’s shown me how to fix. I go because I know a Man named Christ who wants to be the closest friend to hopeless inmates and lonely women in psychiatric wards.  I believe there is a direct relationship between my perception of Christ’s descent for me and my willingness to descend for others.  As Jesus was sent into this world, so He is sending us.  For His glory, I'm going.


*****


To my parents,

I hope you are proud of my going.

It is painful to leave you.

Love,
Jade


  


Sunday, November 5, 2017

See You Soon Uganda




Goodbye for 9 weeks, Uganda! Today we concluded our time here worshipping with our church family. As we pulled into the parking lot we could our brother’s and sister’s African voices singing. Tears began to well up in my eyes. I’ve been dreaming of this moment. We greeted the congregation and thanked them for fasting and praying for Ezra. They cheered as we shared that Ezra has been seizure free since his surgery. “Children die from this very thing here”, friends shared. Pastor James led the congregation in a very moving time of prayer for all the children in the world who suffer from epilepsy. To our delight the choir had prepared a special song for us, ‘Just A Closer Walk With Thee’. We laughed in delight! It was beautiful! In true African fashion, Nathan preached for one hour. After he finished, Pastor James said, “It’s over?! I thought you were just getting started!” We were very touched following the service when dozens of people took time to greet us personally. One Ugandan said, “it’s no longer time for goodbye, just say ‘see you soon’”. So Uganda, see you soon. 



Thursday, November 2, 2017

Nesting


My legs are burning, my back is aching, her skin is sunburnt, our sweat is thick and our hearts are full. Today we moved our belongings to the new house, preparing for an exciting three years of ministry in Uganda. The nesting stage of this transition is hugely important. We learned last time how meaningful and impactful it is to patiently make our house a home. From a house, we receive shelter, warmth, and protection. From a home, we receive love, comfort, and hope. The hard work will pay off tenfold! We can't wait to wake up tomorrow and continue the work preparing our home for the big move in January. We'll work two more days before Nathan preaches on Sunday and we head straight to the airport after church!


Monday, October 30, 2017

We Will Celebrate


Nathan and I are in Uganda. Right now I can hear the birds singing, chickens clucking, cows moo-ing, horns honking and the call to prayer at the local mosque. There is a cool breeze blowing in after this morning’s rain. My skin has a thin layer of red dust covering it from these gorgeous red dirt roads. We are home. Next to me is my prayer journal. As I scroll through the pages I see a woman who’s heart was in tension of surrender and begging. In the weeks leading up to Ezra’s brain surgery I wrote over and over, “Lord, I surrender the possible future pain of not moving back to Uganda.” I spelled out all the possible outcomes and what if’s and wrote, “Even though____ may happen, even though ____ may happen, I trust you, Lord.” One month before surgery I sketched out the map of Africa and wrote a promise God gave me about our return. 
These next 7 days in Uganda are a celebration of God’s faithfulness. As we prepare our home for our January family arrival, we will celebrate. As we meet with our Dignity Project seamstress, we will celebrate. As we laugh and chat with our boda driver, we will celebrate. As we pack up 70 discipleship kits to be distributed in Congo, we will celebrate. As we buy mattresses for our children, we will celebrate. As we pick out the perfect shade of turquoise for Maddix’s room, we will celebrate. As we eat meals with our dear friends, we will celebrate. As we worship Sunday with our home church, we will celebrate. 
Today, I echo the words I wrote on Ezra’s surgery day; “For who is God, but the Lord!”