Molding a lump of clay

Molding a lump of clay
I am a work in progress, molded by my Maker, refined by His fire, shaped with His love. Walk the journey with me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Operation Mombasa

I normally don’t write blog posts about financial needs, but John and I felt like sharing this particular need with the wider world, so please bear with us as we tell you the story.

Stephen and Jane Orem are a Ugandan couple with 3 kids who have been friends of ours for 14 years. Stephen is the base leader of YWAM Soroti base, and serves on the YWAM National Leadership Team as well as the Regional Leadership Team. Jane serves on the Hospitality team and helps out with the Discipleship Training School.

A few months ago we were with Stephen for a National Leadership Team meeting, and were discussing the upcoming East Africa Regional Staff Conference in Arusha, Tanzania. Then Stephen suggested, “What do you think about going to Mombasa with us after the conference for a holiday?”

John and I thought it was a great idea, and started making plans with Stephen, who knew of an AIM guesthouse there available for very affordable prices (only $40 a night for each family!) When we looked at the timing, Stephen said they were planning on going for only 3 or 4 days, as they only had 300 pounds (450 dollars) towards the whole trip.

However, John and I thought it would be great to get a ‘full’ holiday…two weeks, ideally…so we could really relax and enjoy the break. With both John and Stephen serving in high-stress leadership positions, we felt they both could use the extra time to really get refreshed.

So we as a family decided to help cover the extra expenses of the Orem family so they could spend the whole holiday with us, and still be able to attend the regional conference.

But then we went back to the UK at short notice to see John’s dad who was very sick, and passed away just before we reached home. During our time there we spent more money than we had planned. When we got back to Uganda, we reviewed our finances and realized we only had enough to cover our own expenses.

We would very much like for the Orems to be blessed with this holiday, as well.

So we thought we would share the challenge with you readers, many of whom already support us (many thanks!!), and just ask if anyone would like to contribute to the Orem family so they can enjoy a much-needed break.

The total cost of their holiday is: $1100. They have about $450, so that still leaves a need of $650.

If you would like to contribute to the Orem family’s holiday, please donate through the PayPal donation button on the sidebar to the right called "Operation Mombasa".

(If you don't see the button, please scroll down to the bottom of the posts where the sidebar may be located if your computer is formatted differently than ours. The PayPal account is John's personal account, but all monies donated in the next few weeks will go towards Operation Mombasa. The currency on the account is British pounds, but I believe people can donate in any currency which will then be converted to British pounds.)

Many many thanks from us, the Wrights, on behalf of the Orems! May God bless you so much!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's drying up around here

Just last week I was complaining of the cold and rain we were experiencing in England, and looking forward to getting back to the nice warm weather in Uganda.

And it definitely has been warm and comfortable since we’ve been back.

But just today, a lazy Saturday spent without me even leaving the house, the only two people I interacted with other than my family both said something that made me rethink this lovely warm weather.

The first was a guy from the Water company who had come to read the meter. We shared the usual pleasantries, asking about homes and families, and then he said, “The only problem is this dryness.” He clicked his tongue and shook his head and said, “It doesn’t look too bad in town, but out in the villages…it’s toooo dry. People are crying for rain.”

I shook my head as well and said, “Sorry! It’s not easy.”

The second guy was our milkman.

“Karibu!” I said…Welcome.

As I held the saucepan for him to pour the milk into, I again followed the greeting custom and began to ask how he was, how was home, etc., but before I had gotten far he said, “Things are not good. No rain! All the crops are burnt. If you put fire they would just burn very easily. The sorghum, the maize, everything…just burnt.”

I clicked my tongue in commiseration and shook my head saying, “Sorry, it really is a very big problem.”

And he agreed and we both shook our heads some more and sighed.

But the reality is that this nice warm weather I’m enjoying will have terrible consequences for many people, and although I’ll notice the rise in prices and complain with the rest about how expensive everything is getting, it won’t stop me from putting food on my table 3 times a day. But for them…they’ll be eating beans and posho once a day and often going to bed hungry. It’s not easy.

So pray for rain over this dry land, and this time I’ll be happy to see it come!

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm tweeting, Miranda!

After reading a post by another YWAMer and Communications Guru in South Africa, Miranda, I followed her link to a Time magazine article all about Twitter and how it is going to change the way we live.

I've been hearing about Twitter, but out here in the Pearl of Africa, with no broadband...only dial-up Internet that often crashes...the details of all these new social networking and communication innovations tend to whiz past us somewhere else in a cyberworld light years ahead of our own.

I have thus far avoided joining Facebook because I find it hard enough to keep up with e-mails and blogs and such given the hours it takes to download pages, but this article made Twitter sound so intriguing that I decided to give it a try.

So now I am an official Twitizen, and still not sure exactly what I've gotten myself into.

Thanks, Miranda!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Processing death and faith in the midst of it

I’ve been feeling kinda low since we’ve been back. Partly due to the strain of the last several weeks, partly due to the exhaustion of travel, partly due to John heading off to Jinja for the week and me coming back to Arua to settle the children back home alone.

But it’s also a bit because I haven’t really had time to process my father-in-law’s death very much since things were so busy in the UK with preparations for the funeral and such.

One of the things that bothered me the most was the timing of Sam’s death. We asked ourselves, Why couldn’t God have given him just 24 more hours? Then we would have made it home and seen him alive one last time. We were so close, and yet we were too late. At least that’s the way we saw it.

In the end we just accepted that God’s timing is perfect and we just have to believe He had very good reasons for taking Sam when He did. But it still stung.

This morning I was working in my Beth Moore Bible Study book called Living Beyond Yourself, and the topic this week is the character of the fruit of the Spirit… Faithfulness.

Beth challenged me by asking, Do you base your faith on what God does or who He is?

If my faith is based on what God does, then I can easily start to question God if something happens that doesn’t seem right to me. Does what looks wrong in my eyes mean God is any less faithful? Of course not. But it’s easy to question the rationale, which is the same as questioning God.

And yet a faith based on God doing what is right in my eyes is no faith at all, because faith is not conditional according to things working out the way I want them to. Faith is being sure of what I hope for, and certain of what I do not see. (Heb.11:1) And that means believing that God exists and rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Heb.11:6)

That kind of faith pleases God, and that’s what I want…to be known as one who walked with God, like Enoch…he so enraptured God with his faith, that God raptured him and didn’t even leave a body to bury. I bet some people questioned THAT death.

My faith was seriously shaken when my mom died of cancer when I was 15 years old. For 13 years I blamed God for her death, and turned my back on Him. But God, in His faithfulness, pursued me until I finally came back to Him.

I don’t ever want to live without Him again, no matter the circumstances I’m facing. Whether I agree with His ways or not, they will always remain higher than mine, and so I will struggle to trust Him anyway, because He IS faithful.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Quirky Side of John

Just a quick note to let you all know that we made it back safely to Uganda Monday, and then John headed on to Jinja where he's attending the National Leadership Team meeting for YWAM Uganda. I travelled up to Arua yesterday with my lifesaver, Alyssa, who came down from Arua to help me on the journey back up with the kids.

Everything went well, the kids were ecstatic to be home, and we're now trying to get back into routine. Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us!!

And now just a quick glimpse at the quirky side of John's nature. He took these photos of himself in the Parrot Zoo when we were in the UK. Maybe I should leave him alone with my camera more might teach me more new things about this guy I call Hubby!

He called this series.... Lunch

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fun moments from the UK

The kids have been great while we've been in England. John has been very busy helping his mom and sisters plan his dad's funeral and start the long process of sorting out all Sam's effects. I've been trying to keep the kids busy, but they've spent a lot of time in doors entertaining themselves. They were very well behaved at the crematorium and the funeral service, and John and I finally managed to get an afternoon to take them out and have some fun.

So here are a few pics of some of the things they've been doing this last couple of weeks.

Cousin Naomi Gillham makes cookies with Kez

Noah and Kez race through the playground

Naomi with Kez on the old rocking horse in John's childhood home

Granny Pam and Aidan get some fresh air and exercise

Aidan at the Parrot Zoo

Noah decided he wants to be a parrot feeder when he grows up

Noah and feathered-friend

Kez with a rather "Holy Spirit dove" looking bird

I was kinda scared of this big ol' green one sitting on Kez's head, but she didn't seem to mind

The weather was beautiful so we stopped to pick strawberries on our way home from the Parrot Zoo

Yum yum...we ate the fruit of our labour with whipped cream over meringue nests.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A bit of a brag about an amazing Jag

I am blessed to have a brother-in-law who works for Jaguar, and not only that, but who's willing to let me drive his car!

Yesterday we enjoyed cruising through the English countryside in this magnificent machine on a beautiful sunny Spring afternoon, along a narrow windy road across picturesque fields, listening to the Eagles and overtaking tractors. Ahhh, yes, a fantastic afternoon.

And did I mention...I was driving?!

Thanks, Andrew! That was brilliant.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We love you, Grandpa

Walter Henry Samuel Wright

24 June 1920 - 4 June 2009

John's Dad has been sick for several years, but gone steadily downhill the last few months. John and I decided to come home with the children to see Grandpa while he was still alive, but sadly we were one day too late.

Grandpa Wright died Thursday afternoon, June 4th, in his home in Boston, Lincolnshire, England. He was a lovely, generous man, and is greatly missed.

John and I have struggled with the fact that we didn't get home in time to see him alive, but we are so thankful that we are here now with John's mom, sisters and the rest of the family to mourn Grandpa's death and celebrate the life he lived.

The funeral will be Monday June 15, and we plan to fly back to Uganda on the 21st.