Mzungu Memoirs

Nudges and Billboards

Last week we reached the half-way point of our time here in Africa.  Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking: “Half-way?  Your math is a little off.”  And you are right.  The half-way mark for the year commitment we initially made to eMi was about two months ago.  But we feel God calling us to stay longer and have extended our commitment to eMi through the end of May, making our new half-way point last week, roughly speaking.

Our decision to stay longer was based on many signs and occurrences, some subtle, some as bold as a billboard.  The first sign was within a few months of coming here.  Caleb started saying that he wanted to stay longer, not a request one would expect to hear from a five year old.  It felt more like a nudge from God.

The small projects Robert works on, which were the initial draw for him to come to Uganda in the first place, keep coming in.  There continue to be more ministries applying for eMi design services than there are personnel to perform these services.  In fact, just this past week, the number of small projects on Robert’s list for the fall was increased by one, now up to six.  Another nudge.

As far as Caleb is concerned, we feel it makes more sense to wait until the summer to head back to the States rather than trying to move during the middle of the school year.   Transitions made in the middle of the school are bad enough from one city or state to another.  I can’t imagine how hard it would be to transition from one continent to another.  So Caleb will be able to experience his entire year of kindergarten here in Uganda.

And lastly, after a seven month struggle and multiple trips to the immigration office, Robert’s work permit was finally approved earlier this summer with an expiration date of 06 June 2012.  That one didn’t feel like a nudge.  That one was the billboard.

So we have answered the call to stay longer and have embraced it with much eagerness.  That is the easy part.  The hard part is raising the money to allow us to do this, not one of our strong points.  However, we know that if God has called us to be here, he will provide us with the means to do so.  We are continually amazed at how He provides for us.  Since we are now planning to stay longer, we are looking at additional costs, including our return airfare next summer, Caleb’s school tuition for the spring and housing, food, design project trips, etc. for the spring.

You might be questioning why we have to raise additional funds for our return airfare and why we did not plan for this in the first place.  Initially, we did have round trip tickets.  They usually do not let you into the country without a return ticket or a current work permit (which we did not have yet).  We bought our tickets with the intention of rescheduling the return dates (you can’t actually reserve plane tickets a year out).  However, when Robert went to reschedule the tickets, he learned they were only valid for six months despite “one year” being clearly printed on the tickets, and could not make changes without a hefty reservation change fee despite being told we could have one free reservation change.  All this was learned after a visit to the local KLM office, a partner with Delta who actually issued our tickets.  After multiple failed attempts to contact Delta directly in an effort to resolve the issue, we ultimately were forced to abandon the tickets.  We are now left without return tickets back home to the States.

Tickets or no tickets, we still feel called to be here.  Heather has become very involved in a card ministry serving local Ugandan women and both of us have become quite involved with our local church, Kampala International Church.  Our service to eMi has also increased in that Heather has starting working in the office in the mornings while Caleb is at school, providing much needed drafting support.  Since her work is not full time, we joke that eMi is getting one and a half architects for the price of one.

All joking aside, we ask that you prayerfully consider whether God is calling you to begin or continue support of our work here in Uganda.  Your support empowers us to be the hands and feet serving ministries as we strive to design a world of hope.  Not everyone is called to move their family to Uganda.  Those of you who financially support us are a vital part of our team.  Likewise, those who pray for us are a vital part of our team, although we might argue they are the most important part.  Just as we read in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, we all have different gifts, but are all of one body and one Spirit.

One-time or monthly support, all tax deductible, can be sent to Boulder Valley church of Christ or directly to engineering Ministries international, whether by check, credit card or electronic check.  eMi has also just launched a new page (link here) on their website with even more secure fund transfer and the ability to set up an online account to track donations.  eMi prefers the use of this new electronic check option as it lessens overhead costs.  For more information on supporting our ministry (at least financially), please see our website under the tab “SUPPORT US” or click link here.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Ephesians 4:16

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