Monday, June 19, 2017

Sweet 16

Today is Toby's 16th birthday!!!!


We took him to Kampala for a special lunch and an added bonus of hover-boarding.




I had arranged with Sam (who had to go to school today) to meet a bunch of people at our house in the late afternoon to surprise Toby with "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" and LOTS of water (!!!) once we returned home.


Elisha, Junju and Uncle Russel grab the birthday boy in preparation for a sweet dousing!!! Aunt Grace starts the party by throwing confetti.


Toby was definitely the wettest, but a close second were Russel and Gabe who helped hold him while the David Family girls aimed to drench the birthday boy.

Kelsi, a fellow missionary, made Toby's favorite chocolate cake which we shared with those who came to meet us once we arrived home from Kampala. Supper was prepared and delivered by our investment year staff at the forge, so I didn't have to cook.







If you put a sign prohibiting people in Kampala from doing a certain something, in this case parking or loading, that is the thing they are FOR SURE to do! There were about ten cars parked and loading as we passed this sign.









 As we made our way through Kampala, at one point there was an overloaded lorry blocking the road, causing a huge traffic jam. As taxis and cars began turning around to take a different route we followed suit. To the left you can view the village route--one lane dirt road jammed with cars crawling along in both directions and people in the neighborhood conducting their business perilously close to the moving cars that were trying to avoid both the people, the trees, the buildings and the ditches!




We're thankful we were able to spend the day in the way we did.

Toby is a wonderful son and we loved treating him today!

He's already announced that "This was the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!"

Saturday, May 27, 2017

One Thing

I had one thing on my list for this morning.  Write a blog.

It is coming to 3 p.m. These are the first words I've written.

I had ONE thing on my list, but others had ME on their list.

There was the friend from the village representing a government mosquito net program. She came in and we shared a drink and news of late after I explained that we didn't need any new nets at this time.

There were two sisters that came laughing and giggling together. I kept them smiling as I gave them my lecture AGAIN on the health benefits of drinking enough water. It was probably about the 59th time they'd heard me spew on the topic, but their smiles betrayed their nodding heads--one of the reasons we were revisiting water consumption was because of their recent health challenges most likely brought on by low water intake.



Fresh bread was delivered at some point this morning. A German family who ministered a few years ago in the nearby town of Luweero taught someone how to make French Baguette, German Muesli, Sweet Breakfast rolls and savory onion loaf. We benefit weekly from her fare.

One of our special needs children is currently struggling to make it through her post-operative recovery in a Kampala hospital so I also engaged in some discussion this morning via text and phone calls on how to manage our concerns and approach the management of her care.

There were the texts from Geoff about a young man he was with who seemed to have an infection  and wanted advice on how to treat the problem.

There was the David Family son who came just to pump his bike tire as he was headed to a job site, but I got confused and thought he was here to sit and talk as well. So, talk we did. Twenty minutes later he informed me that he had simply come to greet and didn't have a lengthy discussion in mind. Oh well, it was nice to chat.



One of the daughters of the family also stopped by to pick up the keys to our neighbors house. The neighbor is visiting our special needs child in Kampala today and this daughter came to help her by hanging up some washing and washing the dishes.



And so goes the day. When it was all quiet again and I began to turn my attention to writing. A few seconds later I got a text from Geoff regarding the youth camp agenda. Seems the culmination of the week, an opportunity for baptism, was happening in the valley dam at that moment. I decided, just as I had throughout the morning, that what was at hand was more important than writing.

I grabbed the camera, called the dog, (she's always looking for a good excuse to wander away from the confines of the compound) put on some shoes and took off down toward the valley.

I arrived just in time to see the first person wade into the water. He was the first of ten!



What a GREAT day! In reflection I see that it doesn't matter that the one thing on my list has taken ten more hours to complete than I had planned.

What matters is the giving of myself, a little here, a little there. At the end of the day I am happier for all the people I've seen and all the experiences I've been a part of, even if it was mostly a matter of moving five or ten feet from where I sat at the computer to welcoming the next visitor at the door.

I also have enjoyed the beautiful flowers Geoff surprised me with! He secretly arranged for someone in Kampala to pick them up and deliver them. They smell gorgeous and I am blessed!
It is now coming to 6 p.m. and Sam, Toby and Acacia are now back home after spending the week at the EYO youth camp.

I am happy for the noise again.

Sometimes this week it was just too quiet.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Our latest newsletter

The Brittons - Geoff, Mary, Tobias, Acacia, Kevin & Sam
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BRITTON CURRENT EVENTS

APRIL 2017!

New Hope Academy, our secondary school (7th thru 10th grades), has received a great opportunity to compete nationally. Last weekend both boys and girls teams participated in the regional competition and, by God's grace, finished third. This is despite the fact that we were the youngest and possibly smallest team in the competition. They have now begun to train in preparation for the National tournament which is in southwestern Uganda in May. They are preparing physically, but also doing their best to raise the funds necessary to attend. Each student is doing their part to work at raising the funds through odd jobs. Toby has also started a Go-Fund-Me campaign to do his part, please take a look and see what he has prepared. 

CLICK to see NHA go to nationals
Everyone is involved! Kevin spent time at regionals keeping score, though even with him scoring we still were losing that game. The umbrella is to protect him from the African sun.
IMPROVEMENT
Just take a look at Mary’s blog from last month and you get the picture of what things were like for me (Geoff).  My work load had exceeded my abilities and I was struggling with the beginnings of real burn out. The good news is that things have been alleviated and I am feeling much better than I did the first part of the year.  PRAISE GOD for His provision.  We have a new head of Child Care and my three jobs have been reduced to only one and a half--definitely more manageable! 
A home project that has been waiting for 9 months was finally completed during my 2 weeks of leave. You notice the creative way to use the van as a ladder.
One thing we love to do when time is available, bar-b-que and of course Kakande is always willing to help.  All he requires is little taste :-)
GEOFF'S MAIN JOB: "EA," WHAT IS THAT?
Sometimes people ask what is EA? Early Adulthood, Post Kasana and Post IY are all names we have coined over the years for that which is our Early Adulthood department.  Geoff is the coordinator of the department which deals with all our young adults, currently numbering 128. As children here in Uganda grow up they face many challenges: high unemployment, cultural pressures, corruption, and the universal need to find themselves and understand the way into their future.  EA has many components, but the most commonly known piece is the Investment Year Program which you can read more about below. It is definitely one of our most exciting components.  In summary, EA exists to guide our growing children into a prosperous adulthood where they live as God-fearing, productive members of the nation of Uganda and see their further education realized.  Through counseling, guidance and discipleship we aim to see our sons and daughters become the parents of the future who will be a part of reducing the orphan crisis in Uganda.  Please pray for our young adults who are served by the Early Adulthood staff of six members.  More info can be found on our website.
During our most recent Post IY meeting 29 students gathered to be taught, encouraged and share their struggles with one another. We had a great time and a nice meal together. These students often have not seen each other for quite long as life and education keep them moving apart.
The culminating point of the New Hope program is when EA launches out our students at the end of their educational journey. It is great to see the finished product and you can see the joy on Uncle Simon's face when Kikanya finished last year.
New Hope Uganda Investment Year
The vision for IY came more than 12 years ago as one of our senior staff members saw the ever increasing need to help our growing children find their gifts, passions and apply them to God’s plan for their future.  IY serves to instill “SKILL, KNOWLEDGE and CHARACTER” into our sons and daughters through a "gap year" which we apply after their S-4 year (10th grade). The year is filled with intense discipleship, skills training through three internships and training periods as well as gift/calling assessments which help our students find confidence in the direction for their future. A key launching pad for the EA department, our students finish the year knowing what education choices to make, leading them into their future careers.  This year we have 33 students in the program, please pray for them and their pivotal year in IY.
UPCOMING PLANS
We are planning a quick trip home in December as a gift to my parents.  In 2016 they celebrated 50 years of marriage, but had to do it without our family.  We wanted to spend Christmas 2017 with them as our gift and appreciation for their longevity and commitment to loving each other and us all. Please pray for the provision of plane tickets for our family.  We will be stateside for about five weeks, mainly in Colorado, but will have a short stay in California as it is the best place to fly in/out of.
Kevin cutting his birthday cake
Surprise visit from some friends to wish him happy birthday
2017 is what we have been calling the year of milestones. One of the first took place in March, Kevin turned 13. We now have nothing but teenagers for children, oh how time flies.  We are currently looking towards Toby's 16th birthday! Of course this milestone makes him of legal age to drive (though the license won't come until later in the year.) In July we celebrate our 20th anniversary and in August Sam will turn 18 and officially be considered an adult.

THANK YOU ALL AGAIN FOR YOUR FAITHFUL LOVE & SUPPORT!
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Monday, March 27, 2017

Time

It is the season of Lent. Time to focus. Time to reflect. Time to give time to sacrificing something of our normal indulgences. Such sacrifices take time, effort, a pause and change from the routine. 

Or do they? 

 
It was at first hilarious to see an image of one church's approach to the beginning of this season of sacrifice, but then disappointing to realize what it epitomized--a state of being unaware of the minuscule amount of time "sacrificed" when desiring to give something up for Him. If we're giving something up for Him shouldn't we also give ample time in acknowledgement and dedication?

We all cut short our devotion to Him in various ways. God, open our eyes to how we short-change You. Let this and every season be a time to truly hone in on His perfection, His ultimate sacrifice and our desperate need of Him.  

Beautiful, strong, abundant, life-giving things take T-I-M-E. We must take time to cultivate the spiritual, emotional and physical aspects of life.


This past weekend Sam's older sister stopped by to report that Grandma wasn't doing very well. She hadn't eaten for almost two days and was very weak. Sam's sister requested that I go out and check on her. Two hours later I was on my way. These things take time.

I first went to visit with Aunt Lucy of David Family to ask about which David Family children could accompany me. (Sam was in class lectures) We agreed on which two girls would go after they'd finished the garden. During that time I gathered medical supplies--I didn't know what state Grandma would be in so I needed to be prepared for almost anything.

I also gathered bananas and cooked some rice. I knew I'd need to have some bland, soft foods to help coax her into eating again.

Just before we got into the car Sam showed up from class and he went out, too. One young lady translated the more difficult words for me as I examined Grandmas while Sam and the other young lady washed sheets, clothes and other soiled items.

Our time with Grandma took about two hours and thankfully showed us that Grandma wasn't actually suffering from any illness other than a healthy dose of stubbornness. She didn't want to eat mostly because she succumbed to frustration over needing others to help her with simple tasks. If she couldn't do it her way, in her time then she didn't want to do it at all.

Once she saw the bananas and rice, she began gobbling them up.

It took time, but she finally understood and agreed to eat a little bit a few times a day and to also sleep on mattresses on the floor. (There had been a disagreement between Sam's sister and her over sleeping high up in the bed (a struggle to get up and a fall risk) and sleeping down on the floor.

It is amazing to me how much of myself I saw in Grandma once I objectively processed what happened in the two hours of our visit.

I often stubbornly refuse to receive from others, from God and from His word. I then become weak and am frustrated as others try to help me.

But, if I take time to "eat" from His truth throughout each day I remain strong and healthy. Lord, help me! I still forget this basic truth and am slow to realize I need to take time with You.

Spiritually, we need to devote time to Him!

Less than an hour after leaving Grandma's I was on the road again in the other direction. One of the staff members I mentor lives in Kiwoko and we shared news and struggles and then we prayed together.

From the old to the young. Definitely time WELL spent and I am grateful for their presence in my life. What a privilege to be able to be a part of people's lives! Spending that kind of time is an emotional boost! Grandma must have said, "Thank you," a dozen times. Likewise, my friend expressed a heart felt, "Thank you," more than once. Yet, I received so much at the privilege of receiving blessing while giving blessing!

About a week ago Geoff and the kids spent the greater part of Saturday in the gardens around our house. It took time to get our compound looking nice, but it was worth it!

Acacia cleaned up the overgrowth near the goat house.
Slashing grass outside the goat house
Our back yard, freshly mowed and cleaned

Geoff loves being in the garden. He enjoys showing others the fruit of his labor in our compound.




Kevin also LOVES working in the garden. He planted maize, beans and squash in mounds, "like the pilgrims," he explained. He has spent much time in the garden this month as the rains have begun and the soil is soft.

Toby helped to cut and collect grass to add to the mulch in the garden.
Acacia found a snake skin in the goat house. We're just glad we didn't run into the new-skinned snake!

Kevin paused long enough to let a baby chameleon rest in his hand. 

We found a family of chameleon's in our bamboo: mama, daddy and little baby. Can you see the mom and the baby?



A few days earlier, little miss Bubbly was found with undeniable evidence that she'd been places she wasn't supposed to go. I couldn't resist snapping this shot of her extreme remorse and guilt-laden demeanor once caught with sticky burrs all over her upper body. 
Yesterday evening, Sam and Sharon (one of the girls in David Family) wanted make a birthday cake for a couple of classmates. The kitchen smelled so yummy as their creation took form. They spent the better part of an hour working on their creation. And, it was enjoyed and appreciated today.

Their cake smelled Sooooooo good, in fact, that Kevin couldn't resist joining in on the baking. He decided he wanted apple cinnamon muffins, so I helped him find a recipe and he made them completely on his own. The only help his friends gave was amazement that he was going to tackle such a project.
 The more astute of you will ask why I have on my sunglasses while perusing recipes. Kevin, Geoff and I had just returned from a bike exploration out in the neighboring villages--and some inadvertent forays into our neighbors' garden plots! We took Bubbly whom we believe narrowly escaped death given the way she was panting and refusing to move after we arrived home. She is back to normal now folks. no worries! And the muffins were wonderful!


Taking time out to create yummy treats and to explore the great outdoors around us involves investing  time and effort. It is definitely worth it!

Our milk delivery has been a bit sporadic of late so we received milk from our former neighbors yesterday and this morning. It was not our usual delivery from a milk can on the back of  bicycle, however, as we received ours in a laundry soap container today! 
And from there it went direct to the sauce pan where we boiled it for about 7 minutes to ensure the necessary death of any harmful organisms. Once we finished boiling said milk our usual milk delivery person arrived and we started the process all over again. We now have an abundance of leche/amata/lait, but with four teenagers in the house it won't last long! Milk doesn't take much time sitting around our house!


I can't resist slipping in a photo of the beautiful Lake Victoria at Musana Camps. A sunrise or sunset happens relatively quickly as solitary events, but the entire process between them takes hours. We need to appreciate the daily bookends marked with their splendor, but let us do so in tandem with acknowledgement of the required orbital movement of the heavenly bodies.  It all takes time.

Beauty takes time. Devotion takes time. Sacrifice takes time.

The garden doesn't produce without effort, hard work, attention.

People don't grow without an investment of love and care.

A cake doesn't make itself.

Enjoying a "bush bike ride" takes loads of energy.

Milk requires heat to present itself useful and not harmful. This takes time and ATTENTION (milk boiled over takes MORE time to clean up, ugh.)

And we must take time. Our beauty comes from Him. Time given in devotion and sacrifice to Him yields a deeper appreciation for all the time He has given us.

May we thrive and grow in love with Him and in thankfulness for all He's given.

May we give adequate time to recognizing Him.

And may we give Him time to cultivate in us what is truly life giving.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Two Weeks

Geoff just finished two VERY NEEDED weeks off.

He had crashed and burned. Something had broken. All was not right.

After a deep, real, "help me" conversation with our director and then the manager, he was "sat down" and told to take two weeks away from the things that had obliterated the Geoff we know.

This desperate state did not suddenly materialize. Since August, when the head of child care had to abruptly leave, he had acted as director of child care--our largest department here at New Hope besides our schools. This on top of his regular position as leader of the Early Adulthood department; a member of the management team; an elder; a mentor, a husband and father. I think there might have been only a handful of nights that did not include emails, phone calls or meetings well beyond supper time. Most nights he was still working diligently on the computer until after 9 p.m. But, even then, he started the next day with left overs. Left over assignments from previous days, left over conversations cut short due to emergent needs and left over pieces of Geoff hanging on to God's hand.

The numerous demands crowded out his ability to keep one-on-one time with the young adults entrusted to his care as part of the early adulthood ministry as well as staff that he usually mentors. This inability to relate on a personal level due to other time constraints was the most life-draining aspect of his packed schedule.

Finally, it became too much, "Something has broken inside of me," he said.

The Saturday evening before his two weeks off began, he read to us at the dining room table as we began our weekly Sabbath. He had randomly marked a chapter in a book we'd been reading together as a family called, "Created for Work," by Bob Schultz. But, God knew the relevancy of that random chapter before we did. As the words tumbled from his tired lips he recognized the words were describing him.  "Have you ever ridden in a car when the timing is off a few degrees? Ka-pow-pow-puh-pow. The whole car shakes, jolts, and sounds like a Fourth of July celebration. Few cars drive very far in that condition. Like engines, sometimes our hearts get out of time. They begin running poorly, leaving us frustrated, discouraged, and sometimes angry. Few of us like to admit we're running rough, even when folks around us clearly hear it. Though it may seem complicated, like repairing an engine seems to me, resetting the timing of our hearts is really quite simple. The standards by which a man tunes his heart is the nature and attributes of God."

These past two weeks have been spent in the garden preparing soil, planting maize and weeding the beans; at home repairing shutters, painting doors, unstopping drains and RESTING. We weren't sure that home, in the middle of New Hope's primary site, would yield real rest and opportunities for prayer and reflection. But, surprisingly Geoff was able to spend a great deal of time praying, studying, listening, and worshiping God.

He left his phone off during the day and our community truly respected that he was not available. He read, he napped, he enjoyed the kids, and the two of us went to Kampala for a night out and some great food.

Toward the end of the leave time Geoff spoke the words we had hoped we'd hear. "I feel hopeful again. I remember what it is like to look forward to work. I am thankful."

And so are we. Toby often was heard these past few months verbalizing his frustration at the demands his Dad faced, and when there were extra meetings or assignments Toby was the first to protest. He is especially happy to see his Dad peaceful again.

Recently, we received two personal letters handwritten by young adults whose lives we are a part of to varying degrees. I truly believe one of the main reasons Geoff was struggling was a direct result of not being able to interact with the young people we are here to minister to. The words in these letters are encouragement that even in the past few months of busy, busy, busy, there has still been an impact of God's truth, love and light in hearts dear to us.

"I have written this letter to thank you for everything you've put in for me to be able to attend Investment Year because I am learning important things which will help me in life. I am really blessed because the challenges I am experiencing during the year (are producing) growth in me, although the year has not ended. The first training spoke to me a lot and my life is changing. I wish that every youth could go through this year and challenges like I am. After the computer training my heart was like, 'I should thank the one(s) who enabled me to attend IY, Thank you so much and may the Lord bless you."

"As I look back at this ended semester, I realize that if it wasn't for God, if it wasn't for your prayers, and encouragement, I wouldn't have made it. Therefore, I want to say thank you for giving me your shoulder to lean on. Thank you for the many things you have sacrificed to see me to where I am today. You have given hope for tomorrow."

And that, my friends, gives us hope for tomorrow.

Geoff returned to the office yesterday without many of the responsibilities he'd carried these past few months. Yes, he is still an elder, still on the management team and remains as the head of the early adulthood ministry; a manageable load. He was home for lunch on time, home from the office on time and thankful for opportunities to speak into the lives of others.

Thanks to those of you who prayed for us during the past few months. We couldn't have survived without God's sustaining hand on us. The blessing of your prayer support is beyond our ability to fully express. THANK YOU.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Thankful


After more than ten orbits of the sun here in Uganda, living and working at the same place for all ten+ years, I feel both excitement for the days and ways we live in our remote village and a commonplace-ness that keeps me from seeing any of the days as special.

Today I feel particularly nothing special at all.

But, I have this pressure and angst to write something that would move you--move me--lift us off the plateau of everyday and inspire us to a beautiful view again.

Honestly, what is it that inspires us? (Insert "Sunday School answer" here: Jesus) After all, when we "don't know what to say, just say Jesus." I hate that song, by the way. As if His name is some trite magical "abracadabra" that excuses us from engaging with Him in the process of taking responsibility for our actions and reactions, and sifting through our thoughts and questions. Allowing His name to pass through the lips does not automatically fill the ugly void created by foolishness or ignorance. Jesus is not a trite answer. He could never be that. But, honestly we live often as if our lives did NOT depend on Him.

Living life in Uganda, China, California or Georgia, Nepal, Siberia, Guatemala, or Tasmania we are all His. Whether we view our days as mundane, ordinary, extraordinary, fulfilling or filled with randomness, we all come from Him. Our lack of recognizing His hand on us doesn't negate that His hand has given us life.

For that I am most grateful.

His nail-pierced, raised hand is the reason I live. My God, my Father gave His son Jesus for me. Life for life. Amen.

Whether I see today as special or I see it as regular old whatever doesn't change that it is an ordained day according to His plan.

Thankfulness changes what I see.

I am thankful.

Thankful for the privilege of living among Ugandans, meeting weekly with young people and walking with them as they desire to understand God and live for Him.

Thankful for the privilege of watching the kids entrusted to us walk past my house everyday to school or church, the football field or basketball court.

Thankful for the privilege of being the house where massive amounts of munchkins swarm the compound every afternoon, raising the din from bird banter to kid's laughter and squeals.

Thankful for the privilege of homeschooling my kids. Though, sometimes our activities surrounding such can seem to only maintain the mundane.  I've got the schedule, the plan, the handy-dandy teacher's guide, and a vision for why we school the way we do. But, we often fail to start the school day committing our intentions to Him. We run from the breakfast table--where we've prayed and talked together--off to our individual morning tasks and then show up at various intervals at our desks to begin the academic pursuits. Before I know it, we're scattered all over the place and no one wants to stop their momentum to pray together and give it all to Him again. So much can happen between breakfast and the end of the first hour of school. Why do I fail in this regard? Homeschooling as if it didn't depend on Him. Forgive me Lord, for these kids are yours and these hours are given to show them You. This is truth no matter where one lives--the mission field of another country or the mission field where you've always been.

I am thankful for my kids' hearts, their passions, their struggles, their questions and doubts, their hopes and sadness, and the nothing special.  The privilege of being with them all day long as they grow and change and come to better understand who God is and how He is over it all and loves us all is a gift regardless of where we might find ourselves in this world.

We've spent ten years together in this different culture with all its beauty and its ugly, its fascinating and its strange, its exhibition of uniqueness and exposure of common human frailty. No doubt, it has changed us!

I'm thankful for the ways we've changed.

Never completely at home in this host culture, never again completely at home in our original culture.

In all the stretching, painful, joyful and wondrous experiences we've had we've changed. For the better.

Though I forget to give thanks in many moments of many days, I have learned that I can't go very long without being reminded that being able to give thanks for even the difficulties brings growth towards Him.

Let's not forget to give thanks . . . to GOD, to Jesus. Don't just say Jesus, LIVE for Him! I hope as much for you as I do for myself that we would LIVE, even in the mundane, with a thankfulness that lifts us, even in the difficult, to appreciate and see His hand.

In that vein I share a recently crafted poem I wrote inspired by almost losing my youngest at the end of the first week of February this year. I am thankful for all the days we have, however long they last.

In the bush of Uganda
Under wide open sky
Through the hot dry season
Climbs Kevin very high

A fruit snack the goal
His eyes on the prize
He scales trees barefoot
He scales trees of size

The young ones below
Yell, "even me, you throw!"
And Kevin climbs up

An expert hunter
A toe here, a toe there
Placed ever so adeptly
On each branch with care

Branches hold, fruit sways
Three jackfruit are spied
As he knocks them down
"Weebale!" Tikes cried

With jackfruit scored, over yonder a new reward
So, Kevin climbs up

The old jambula tree
Heavy laden with fruit
It calls, "Climb me!"
And Kevin's in pursuit

"Up, Up!" Kids squeal
"We want more snacks!"
So farther Kevin goes
Steady in his tracks

Juicy plump ones entice
And they look so nice
So Kevin climbs up

He sees few this side
But, what's over there?
That looks like a haul
With plenty to share

Grabbing branches on left
Scaling branches on right
He has no idea 
Of the soon coming fright

The branches wiggle and they prance with a 
Creak--
crack--
dance!

And Kevin falls down!

Twenty five' to the ground
Kevin tumbled straight down
And everybody shutters
At the loud smack sound

Uncle Steve and Aunt Virg
Run out their front door
The kids and the teens
Come close to see more

Kevin wails and he cries
Uncle Steve at his side
Aunt Virg calls the mom
And says bring a ride!

Uncle Paul sets him in
But there is no smile
To the hospital we fly
All praying all the while

X-rays are taken
Ultrasound done
Pronounced free and clear
And to home again we run

In the bush in Uganda
A clambering boy 
Survives a great fall
And lives to our joy.

Kevin fell from the height well beyond the top of the water tower! He began his fall near the top right of the dark green tree in the middle of the photo.


Blessings to you as you LIVE!


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Early Morning Rafting


At about 7:30, after a quick sip of tea or coffee and small bites of biscotti, we headed out to the fish ponds on our farm land. I walked with Bubbly, our black lab. The kids rode their bicycles and Geoff rode a motorbike with the bamboo raft strapped on. Once there we tightened the sisal around the bamboo poles. The sun was not too hot yet and the birds were abundant. It was a great morning activity! Nearby villagers drawing water from the pond were pretty curious as to what we were doing. The watchman observed us for awhile and then asked that we have a photo together. 

Just a little work on tightening the sisal before we set it afloat.
These red-footed birds are called, "Jesus birds," by the locals for their apparent ability to walk on water. They actually walk on slightly submerged lily pads, but are still fascinating to watch.



Taking a pause to pose with the inquisitive watchman.
Whoops! Perhaps our physics were a bit off! 
A very wet Kevin already begins to plan his next bigger, longer and more effective raft!
It is a nice vehicle for floating shoes.

Leaving the wet raft behind as a curiosity for the villagers. 


On our way home up through the livestock pasture.


That was our Saturday morning. The rest of the day shaped up to be quite restful. Our planned lunch with fellow staff was cancelled as the wife delivered her second child in the morning. Geoff is readying himself this morning to preach and we are together enjoying a quiet, albeit already hot morning. Blessings to you all!