Friday, July 11, 2014

Family life in photo, part 2

Meet our lovely-all-the-way-through friend, Hope. She's stayed with us weekly on the days she's spent in our office--and we're thrilled to report that she'll now be working with John in Human Resources.

J. collecting avocados in his jammies.

Taking ballet this year!

Playing football "jackpot" with Dad.

I've waited so long for this post that now he's riding without the training wheels--!

J. is now the big 5! Cannot BELIEVE the blessing of his energy, love for people, and humor for our family. God knew just what our family needed!

Having a real "American" cookout in our driveway, complete with hotdogs.

Family life in photo

It's been embarrassingly long since I've updated you with pictures, or anything in general. In my mind I chalk that up to the "tyranny of the urgent"...excuses, excuses. But we've accumulated so much fun I'll have to spread it out in a couple of posts!
B. exploring our avocado tree.

I would call this "excitement," but somehow this look surpasses that. B. had a fantastic tenth birthday. My personal highlight: The next day, he told me he would like to do the dishes so I could go take a nap. ?!! Every once in awhile, God gives you a little glimpse to encourage you as a parent. Love this strong, thoughtful boy.

More birthdays. Can you believe this sweet girl is 7? This was taken on her birthday! But I'm the one who feels like she got an incredible gift. Can't believe this compassionate, beautiful (inside, plus out!), intelligent, creative little lady is our precious gift from God!



J. with "Oliver the Great!" They are fantastic friends--and she is an invaluable resource to us here. We love watching her grow in her love for God and witnessing her heart for the poor...what am I talking about? We love her, period.


Playing "Continent Twister". We've started school already so we can take off school whenever we need to--like when family visits us in September? Can you hear our shout of glee from over there?!

A handful of our crazy, incredible friends over here. I cannot take for granted that we are surrounded by such a supportive community--including a ton of friends for our kids.

Dissecting a cow eyeball for school. This is when you're thankful the other homeschooling mom has a zoology degree and you get to take the pictures.

C. at Family Fun Day.


This is the smile I get right after he plays sports! *Man,* I am in love...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Oh, yes we did: Ate grasshoppers.

'Tis the season for grasshoppers here! You'll see them in translucent buckets cupped by the hands of street vendors, served up in paper cones. Ours today were fried with garlic, onions, and spices; legs removed. Mommy did not make these. I leave that to the pros.
The verdict?
"These are actually GOOD!"
"I can see how John the Baptist lived in the desert!"
And of course, "They taste like...chicken!" John thinks they taste like Doritos.
If you're interested in some, you know, leave a comment. I'm sure we can work something out.

Monday, May 12, 2014


 Today and tomorrow, John's seizing an invigorating opportunity as he trains mission-, non-profit, and church workers from Uganda in conflict coaching. Janel is operating in the role of faithful sidekick. It's a lot of prep and a lot of material...but a lot of potential for great things in God's kingdom--its unity, and the know-how to love as Christ loved us when we were His enemies. Would you please pray for us?

Thankful things

Started Mother's Day out with one of these: a malaria test. We test with pretty much every fever...and we're thankful for every single negative result! Plus, he's feeling better. So much to be grateful for!

When success means sacrifice

In honor of Mother's Day this past weekend, I wanted to post the following, about my mom--and as a shout-out of tribute to those of you who offer your kids for the sake of the Gospel.


It was past eleven this past Monday evening; my children’s fingers curled limply around the edges of their mattresses, and my husband contentedly read in our bedroom. But my legs were crossed Indian-style on our thinning rug in the living room, the glow of a screen reflecting on my face: time to talk with my Mom, overseas in America. My four sisters and I are flung onto four separate continents around the earth’s axis.

Compared to missionaries in the past, I’ve got a pretty cushy gig. My kids giggle with their grandparents on FaceTime, parading across their latest Lego creations. I own a microwave. Kampala imports Oreos. This is not a bad deal. But you know, there is only one mom. Did I hear a catch in her voice, or was that simply the iffy wi-fi reception? “I’m so glad you called,” she said, her tone a little throatier than usual. “I was just really missing you.”...

Read the rest here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

More than interns!

One of the parts of eMi's ministry that continues to amaze me is its internship program. Three times a year, our offices all over the world welcome in newly-minted design professionals and construction managers from the Western world, and more recently, our own local areas. Each intern travels on a project trip, is assigned a project that they hope to finish within the term, volunteers for a ministry outside of eMi as well, and is coupled with a mentor from our office.

Our office, the largest field office, has increased its capacity to about nine interns a term. Our kids typically adore them, horsing around with them during eMi lunch, jumping on the trampoline with them when they're over for dinner or strategy games, or telling them no-doubt fascinating stories about their daily lives. I am so impressed with the caliber of young people that arrive here in Kampala. It gives me great hope for the next generation of Christ's Bride, and for the compassionate vision and ministry with which they kick off their new careers. It's even more encouraging to see them return now and then--on project trips, brief stints in a slow season in their jobs, or for our latest Kilimanjaro fundraising climb.

John mentors an intern nearly every term! And this is his first term mentoring an East African intern. Faraja is an easy-going Tanzanian architect who we've loved getting to know. He, like Valerie (below), volunteers at the local refugee center, and delves into fascinating conversations with John about faith and life. You'll meet him next week in a post from John.
Valerie and Janel
This term, I (Janel) took on my first mentee: Valerie Rubombora, a Ugandan architect. Valerie's been educated here as well as in Kenya and South Africa, where she acquired her degree. Wednesdays find us curled around steaming mugs of tea on my back porch, when we eventually meander into the kitchen to finish concocting dinner and usually on to a strategy game. Her wide, easy smile and spiritually hungry, creative, intelligent discussion ("Valerie, I love that you just used the word 'idyllic' in conversation!") always excite me. Valerie's willingness to share her life with me, and our family, is an unbelievable privilege. I am so excited about the plans God has for this young woman! The time for John and I to invest in some of East Africa's brightest and Christ-centered new professionals is humbling, energizing, and just plain fun.
Because so many have poured into me, it's cool to be on both sides of things. Just like Paul, we all need a Timothy and a Barnabas, right? Who knows?! Maybe there's a mentee waiting for you.
P.S. Shameless plug: If you're interested in mentoring, be sure to check out FamilyLife's e-Mentoring program.