December 01, 2016

WESTERN UGANDA COFFEE TRIP






Just the other day I was telling someone how much I enjoyed living in the city. All the diverse people that we have had the privilege to get to know has been a joy for our family. The Netherlands, China, India, UK, and USA to name a few. People from all over the world visit Uganda for one reason or another, and we have the unique opportunity to share the gospel of the Kingdom with them-- it’s amazing.

As much as I enjoy being in the city, we recently got away to Western Uganda for a couple of days for an exploratory tour of some organic, fair-trade coffee businesses and farms. It was fantastic! So clarifying for the mind, and refreshing for the soul to breath in the fresh country air. Simply watching the cows graze in the green splendor of the Rwenzori Mountains had a calming effect. Our drive down from Kampala was around six hours, and I could not even tell you how many giant termite hills I saw gazing out the car window. The reds, purples, and yellows of the flowers in the trees was beautiful. Watching the women going about their work in their brightly colored head scarves and kitenges was equally beautiful. Many of the villages we drove through, it was obvious that the people did not have much, but Jesus' words continue to ring true.

"Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" Matthew 6:30


Recently, we had a family move back to the States after being in Kampala for about seven months. It was certainly a very challenging time for us both collectively as a body, and individually. Agonizing prayer, fasting, and a heavy search of the Word of God consumed much of our time and we ultimately had to part ways. We love our friends dearly, and were saddened to see them go. These peaks and valleys of the Christian walk I have come to know well, especially over the past few years. It has been amazing though, the peace and strength that the Father has showered down on us. Peace, direction, unity, and a renewed vigor for all the work that needs to be done here.



Progress on the coffee shop and book store is going well, but this past week we did hit a few bumps in the road regarding building permits. That did not take away from the excitement that we all share for this unique outreach opportunity. Our trip down to Western Uganda was a total dream come true, it was inspiring to see the love and care the farmers put into their work. To be able to support that effort in a fair and safe way, even on a small scale, is exciting. We spent a lot of time in the car driving, and ended up bringing Boaz and Hadassah with us. Wanda watched all the children for us, and we wanted to lighten the load a little. It was good for Boaz to get out of his comfort zone, he is definitely our homebody. And Hadassah loved running around everywhere we went, she is quite the adventurer.


We hiked the Rwenzori Mountains to meet some fair-trade farmers and see their organic Arabica coffee fields.
  


We drove through the savanna and saw wild elephants, wort hogs, gazelles, zebras, and even a hippo running close to road!

The Rift Valley, our view from the car.

 We visited a fair-trade coffee company, that collects the beans from the farmers, sorts and cleans them before they are exported. It was there that we had a delicious freshly roasted Robusta with nothing but a small spoonful of fresh honey it. Truly one of the best cups of coffee I have ever had. http://www.acpcultd.com/

Charlton in a field of coffee!



It was hard to choose which pictures to post, but I think these capture our trip pretty well.
 Much love from this side of the world.

Because of Jesus,

Natasha




















































October 06, 2016

Kampala Happenings


Oh the laughing and screams, running and playing. These are the moments that I want to hold onto and cherish. Thinking back on this past week, I am filled with joy remembering all the children having a water fight outside. Watching Charlton take 30 minutes out of his crazy day to chase and spend time with the children was beautiful.

I feel like these moments with our children pass by too quickly. Last weekend when I was out and about running errands with several of our children, we ended up stopping at a restaurant for breakfast. At one point I looked over at my five year old Lokke,  and he was glancing up at me with his 100 watt smile, hoping to find my approval with his drawings. Whether he is practicing his letters, putting a puzzle together, or singing a song-- all it takes is a little reassurance from us that he is doing a fine job and his little eyes glow.

The boys licking spilled ranch off the table. It's a hot commodity around here.
In my short time being a mother, I am really realizing the importance of spending quality time together with our children. Spending time together as a family can pose to be a problem anywhere, but especially living in more of an eastern culture, where collectivism at large seems to be the moral stance. We live in a land that is truly rich in culture, diversity, and community. So we need to be open, willing, and even expect to have visitors stop by unannounced throughout the day. Errands take ten times longer to get done here then in the States. Simply walking down the street to buy vegetables could take an hour because greeting people and chatting is so important. So we are strong believers that if the Lord wills, we will do this or that-- and the Lord is blessing that.

One exciting announcement that we would like to make is that our church body is going to be opening up a bookstore/coffee shop here in Kampala directly across from the University! This is going to be a place we will be able to reach out to collage students, provide Kingdom resources, as well as hold seminars and studies. We hope to be keeping everyone up to date on the bookstore/coffee shop on the ministries website, www.fotw-ug.org.
Here is the bookstore location. As you can see, we have a lot of work to do.

Just thought I would post a little update, that we are all doing well and things are continuing to move forward. Through celebrations, laughter,  and tears... torrential downpours, disappointments, ups and downs. We are still holding strong-- sojourning in Uganda.  

Because of Jesus,

Natasha

Ava's 6th Birthday
Rainy season is upon us.
Source of the Nile with friends.
Boaz helping Charlton build a dog fence.

September 02, 2016

Why We Homeschool




I was one of those kids who picked out their "back to school outfit" weeks before school even started. The excitement of getting prepared for that first day of school after a long summer break, is something I clearly remember. I have fond memories of shopping for new trapper-keepers, and Lisa Frank school supplies. As this school season is getting geared up, many of my thoughts, once again, and much of my time has been focused on preparing for this upcoming year. You see, we are doing things a little bit different then the way we grew up, we are teaching all of our children at home. Homeschool.

We believe that true education is so much more then conventional academics. Granted, with home education you can really hone in on children's strengths and weaknesses, moving as fast or slow as needed in any given subject. But our main objective is our responsibility to shape and mold our children's character, and to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We do not sow seeds in our neighbors yard, and simply hope something will grow. We sow those seeds in our yard, and then we water, fertilize, weed and make sure our garden is being well looked after-- and our aim is to do the same with our children.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. ~Deuteronomy 6:4-7
Throughout the book of Deuteronomy, Moses is being used as God's instrument to instruct the Israelites. He seems to be continually exhorting Israel to remain loyal to God, and respond to Him with pure love from their innermost beings. It's truly inspiring! What a beautiful stage this sets for the devotion we should be nourishing in our homes for the Lord.

Our hope is to have a life giving home, not only for our children but for all who may enter. It is important for us to cultivate an environment of joy and rest. A place where our children can be grounded in the truth, and develop a true love of learning. Honestly, we just really enjoy having our children around. And seeing them develop such strong relationships with each other has been an unexpected gift that we want to encourage.

We praise the Lord in all things, and look forward to another year of learning.