Thursday, February 19, 2015

Back to the Familiar and the New

My first sunset back on the island.

Two weeks have passed since I stepped foot again on Ugandan soil.

For those who thought I had fallen off the face of the earth because of my silence here on the blog; have no fear, I am still here. ;)

I enjoyed a very blessed furlough, Nov.-Feb., and I am so grateful for the special times I had with my dear family and friends, and the amazing opportunities to share about the ministry here.

In the 14 days since my return, I have had a grab-bag mix of emotions – excitement about my re-entry and being reunited with my Ugandan “family” and friends here; blessed relief at finally reaching my destination (after my customary 30-hour trip extended into four days); some uneasiness and anxieties as I reorient myself again to the island and school life; refreshment and replenishing at last week's ministry staff retreat; so missing home and the dear people I left behind; readjusting to the heat, the humidity, the dust, the insects, the litter, the lines, and the sometimes laborious ways of life here; but having a perpetual gratefulness to my God who is so faithful to show His abundant love and grace on a daily basis.

A few days after my arrival, I joined the SHIM family for our annual staff retreat. With the theme of “Appointed to Bear Fruit” (from John 15:16), it was a great way to kick off 2015 as a ministry and as individuals. A mix of teaching, fellowship, rest and fun filled each day's schedule. I was grateful for this time to help me transition back into life and ministry here.

Most of the SHIM family at our annual staff retreat. Sadly, we were missing a few members who were not able to be with us or who had to leave early.

On Saturday I journeyed across the waters back to my Ugandan “home” - the island. Friends had already helped to set up my room, even making up a bed for me. :) On Monday, I resumed my classes at the secondary school and continued through the week. I am happy to see many returning students and a number of new faces as well, even among the teachers. God blessed us with three new individuals to help fill some gaps on the staff.

New teachers and school alumni Danze and Sarah bring with them a familiarity of life here, a deep love for the school and the island, and an even greater love for Jesus and a motivation for others to know Him. My heart is full as I see these young people with such an earnest desire to “give back” to a place that was so formative for them.

This week I have been reminded of one of my favorite scriptures:

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” - Philippians 1:6

God is continuing the work on the islands, at the school, in SHIM, in me, and in you. And He won't give up until it is finished. What a blessed assurance.

I thank God for a new season and all that He has in store for this year.


  1. I'm so happy you're there again, and you are quite a helper, leader, teacher, worker. I hope you connect with Elise again. You two seemed to have fun. I know so many I'd love you to see, meet, one couple especially in Jinja. BUT I'd love to be there with you. Visited Jinja a number of times, but was never truly on the ocean. I can't read things very often any more, BTW, with my brain and body issue, but I know you are a special missionary and, whether I read or not, I always think of you and was BLESSED to meet you back then at Niki's and spend those hours and meet your mom. Thank you for sharing so wonderfully. Made me smile and rejoice for you. Blessings...

    1. Thank you, Joanne! You are always such an encourager! I know I will get to meet up with Elise again and am looking forward to it. I wish you were here to introduce me to the people and places you knew! Thank you for still following my blog! Blessings!!

  2. It seems strange to my American way of scheduling to think that a new school year is starting in February. ; ) I'm so glad you finally made it back and that you got to participate in the staff retreat. That picture is wonderful!

    1. Yes, it initially was quite an adjustment for me in how differently things run here in terms of the school year, seasons, breaks, etc. I am thankful it is has become more normal now. :) I am very glad I was able to participate in the staff retreat, too! Blessings! :)