Throughout 2015 our minds often echoed the phrase from Psalm 31:15, “My times are in Your hand….” We landed back in Oregon near the end of 2014 with many plans in mind, schedules laid out, and travels arranged. Our days in the first half of 2015 were full of special times with family, GFU basketball games, and opportunities to share our passion to cultivate faithfulness. “Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness” (Psalm 37:3 NASB).
Along the way we celebrated milestones, grieved losses, covered many miles, laughed, and wept. It was an amazing six months of planned Home Ministry Assignment, time intended to renew and prepare us to return to dwell in the land of Uganda. We had tickets in hand to return to Uganda on July 7, 2015.
But our times are in God’s hand, and in June we received the news that Jeff’s congenital heart defect had worsened to the degree that he needed heart valve replacement surgery before returning to Uganda. The physician called to give us that report, saying, “This surgery is a big deal and will require a minimum of three to four months of recovery time before you will be released to go back to Africa.”
We were very surprised with that news but quickly began to see how having surgery this past summer was indeed part of God’s plan. Friends and family immediately rallied around us, helping make the necessary adjustments for our extended time in the U.S. and for others to cover our responsibilities in Uganda. Colleagues have selflessly and generously given of their resources. God’s faithfulness is evident in every way.
Our focus throughout the summer and fall was Jeff’s open heart surgery and recovery. He worked hard in cardiac rehabilitation classes/workout sessions. Together we learned what it means to live with an artificial heart valve. We thank God for his healing.
Mid-December we were given clearance to return to Uganda. As we returned the first of this year Jeff began a new role as the acting country director for World Gospel Mission. He leads our missionaries, attends to administrative tasks, and directs our mission partnership with Africa Gospel Church Uganda. We participate in several ministries through which we have opportunities to cultivate faithfulness, connecting people to Jesus.
Community Health Empowerment is one of these ministries. We are grateful for this curriculum that integrates health, development and evangelism. Both of us participate in training others (training of trainers) who will then share the information in their own communities, replicating the training they received as they train their own community members in preventive health practices, community development using local resources, and evangelism.
We also count it a privilege to be part of the university ministries in Kampala. We join with others ministering to students from several international universities. Teaching in small group settings, speaking in church services, participating in special gatherings, and discipleship are some of the ways we help to cultivate faithfulness in students. It is a blessing to help students grow in their faith in Christ and then connect others to Jesus.
Thank you for sharing your resources for us to be able to return to Uganda. Thank you for praying for us, helping to provide for us while we were in the Newberg area last year, and for giving financially. We count it a privilege to represent you as we minister in Uganda. It is a joy to serve with you. We would love to have folks from NFC come and visit us to see first hand how you are involved in connecting people to Jesus in this part of the world.