24 December 2008

Jeff’s Top Ten for 2008…Part 2

…reasons why blogging is getting harder and Uganda is getting better all the time…

Sorry to leaving you hanging yesterday but I have too much to say about 1-5…

5) Noah & Kadin – there is nothing more rewarding than living in a house full of laughter, grunting and body slams… the boys are best friends and genuinely love each other… whether they are wrestling on the couch, hunting lions in the yard or exploring the local village the boys love being together… sure they have their days but as they grow older and are able to express their love for each other, Christine & I and their growing love for Jesus life couldn’t be more rewarding for this parent…

4) Gaba Bible Institute – its hard to talk about GBI without bragging about what God is doing… we worked our way out of debt and are seeing our highest student enrollment ever in the middle of a leadership transition… the principle resigned in September and Pastor Peter assumed the acting role of principle while I having been overseeing the everyday running of the school … the school is becoming more sustainable each day while the quality of the program and facilities continues to improve… I look forward to going to work each day and hearing the testimonies of the students as they go out encouraging me that we are truly having an impact in equipping leaders to transform society…

3) Christine’s Ag Projects – I think the only thing more exciting than the success of GBI is watching Christine thrive in her field… she had to start out with 2 strikes against her – she’s white and she’s a woman working in a (Ugandan) man’s field… but over and over this year I have sat at a table with Christine and a groups of men (white and Ugandan) and they are coming to her for advice about their livestock, crops or both… even this last week we went to visit a thriving self-sustaining ag project and a few days later the farm manager starts emailing Christine with questions and seeking advice… all the while she has been able to increase her expertise by pursuing her Masters, interning in January at ECHO and participating in the World Livestock Health and Production Conference in November… and in her spare time she is working on rabbit, chicken and dog projects at the house to help generate some income to offset the drop-off we are facing in support raising… it’s pretty amazing!

2) Supporters – I’m not sucking up here because our financial support is sagging in the final months of 2008… we truly have some amazing supporters… and what’s different about this year is that individuals and groups are truly hitting the mark on supporting us emotionally, spiritually and physically on the field… whether it’s Big Al and the Westside Simi team emailing weekly for prayer requests and to give us encouragement…. the Moorpark team hounding us for prayer and praise reports… the Cornerstone Pastor visits which leave me on a personal high (special thanks to J-Walker for his encouraging words and Spencer for a surprise visit at midnight)… or individuals like HB who love and support my wife with amazing prayers of encouragement and packages of gold (AKA Trader Joes)… I could go on and on but as we talk with other friends on the field I can testify over and over that we are loved beyond compare…

1) Joining NMSI – I was embarrassed when our first partnership didn’t work out and we had to resign from our original missions agency… my fear over what people thought of us (whether true or things I only imagined) got me depressed and I didn’t want to find a new agency… its one of the few things I have never dared to blog about… Christine found NMSI and I did my best to get them to reject us… I wrote a 5 –page document outlining the mistakes we made in our first year… but they took us anyway… and not only that they believed in us, encouraged us and wanted to see us thrive in Uganda… they are the community of grace that we desperately needed… even though we have only been with them for 11 months I couldn’t imagine staying in Uganda without their encouragement and support...

Overall, 2008 has been an incredible year of growing and thriving with a new found confidence that Uganda is the best place for this family to call home…

1 comment:

Mandy Renfro, NMSI said...

I'm glad you guys found NMSI. God is doing great things through you and we're encouraged by your work and your connection with NMSI.