December 28, 2015

HEARTACHE AND LITTLE SPARKLES OF JOY


The month of December has been filled with heartache, and little sparkles of joy splashed here and there. I'm not just referring to the heartache we have personally faced as a family, the loss of our unborn child. I am referring to the pain, and inner turmoil that face so many people surrounding us on a daily bases. Hurt takes on many different forms, and it is not just reserved for the people living in the third world. Hurt can grab you at anytime, no matter where you live or your station in this life. We have found such peace that truly passes all understanding, by placing our lives in the hands of Christ.

As many of you know, we have had a heart towards adoption for many years now. We are open, and are willing vessels if the Lord so wills. Last year I came across a great blog post that someone shared on Facebook, in regards to foster care and adoption. So if you want to know the (Why) behind bringing more children into our home, please read. <(Why) I don't want more kids... >And don't let the title fool you. :)

"What I want is to get to the end of my wants. I want to get to the end of controlling and taking on only what I can do. I want the immense privilege of seeing what God can do through me. That fills me with unspeakable, illogical joy at the prospect of being used as He wills."

Towards the beginning of the month, we had the privilege of meeting some pretty special people from Sonrise Ministries in Jinja. They do an incredible job caring for children-- little babies through teenagers.  We actually were able to make a visit when our group from Massachusetts and Kentucky were here this month.

After holding some of those babies, and seeing the need for good Christian homes we could not just walk away and do nothing. The hard life many of these little ones have lived is heartbreaking. But they are very much loved, and well looked after. So we have gone back and expressed our interest in fostering to adopt. At this point, the staff would like to get to know our family better and have us come around for a time and volunteer. They love the children they look after, and truly want to make sure that they would be going to a secure, compatible home. I am thrilled at the prospect of volunteering for a time. In fact, Rehema and I will be leading a women's bible study every Thursday starting on January 14th for all of the aunties at the baby home, children's home, and girl's home. We are praising the Lord for this opportunity to spend time with these amazing women, and share the Word of God.

This past week we also had an unexpected chance to help a 15 year old young women reunite with her grandmother after four years of being apart. It's
really quite a long story, and very personal to this young women, so I will not go into details on here. But the moral of the story is that God certainly answers prayers. This grandmother has been praying for this young women for years, and had tears in her eyes retelling the tale of praying to our Lord for this girl to be brought back home. So, next time you look at someone on the streets, or a young person that may be making some terrible choices. Please remember that everyone has a story, be slow to pass judgment but be quick to help, and always use discernment.


This month we also started incorporating Favour into our kindergarten home school class. Ava absolutely loves having a friend come over to do school with her. Favour is Joseph and Rehema's five year old daughter. They have started the transition from having their children in public school, to bringing them home for discipleship and educational learning. Our two families actually had the opportunity to sit down with the main advocate for homeschooling in Uganda. It was certainly a very fruitful meeting, and we received a lot of information that should not only help the Joseph's, but future Ugandan families. The man we sat down with is actually in the process of putting together a curriculum geared towards African families. We found out that there is about 50 home school families in Uganda, and most of them use some sort of American curriculum. They love what they use, but it is not from an African perspective, nor does it have the history that would be extremely beneficial for the youth. We hope to be of some assistance in helping to get this curriculum put together.

The highlight of December was having our dear brothers and sisters from the States come and stay with us in Kampala. Charlton will actually be posting a more detailed blog on all the adventures we had with them. We miss all these guys very much, as well as Elizabeth who headed home for a few weeks. But not to fear, she returns in January-- and we are looking forward to having her back again.


May the Lord bless you, and keep you. Until the new year...

Natasha



December 06, 2015

A PIECE OF OUR HEART

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21

It's with a heavy heart that we write this blog post today. This past Wednesday (December 2nd) we discovered through several ultrasounds that our baby had no heartbeat. This week the baby was suppose to be 15 weeks old, but according to our ultrasound the baby stopped growing at about 12 weeks. On Friday (December 4th) the baby was delivered naturally at about 12:30pm. He had such a perfectly formed little body. Ten fingers, and ten toes. Beautiful! The baby was a precious boy, and we named him Isaac Ray Sweazy. 

Today we buried him, and it was a beautiful time. Cole (age 8), who is Steve and Kristen's son, carved an 'I' in a stone to lay over Isaac's grave. 

We decided to name him Isaac, but not because of the meaning of the name. (Isaac means laughter.) We named him Isaac because of the faith and trust Abraham had in God when he was told to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Having to "lay my Isaac down" has been a painful trial, but the Lord has given us such peace and love. He also sent us dear friends, just in time to bring hugs, tears, and sweet healing laughter. 

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to our family during this painful time. We love you.

Because of Jesus,

Natasha

November 23, 2015

I AM ASHAMED

I want to share an article written by a dear brother in Christ that I have been friends with since childhood. His name is Brandon Price he is a missionary and has lived in the Ukraine for many years. Please keep him and his wonderful wife in your prayers! May we challenged to be doers and not just hearers. - Charlton
 
 
I am ashamed 
Written By: Brandon Price

Tonight in our Bible study we were reading through Acts 23. Paul is in custody while the Romans are trying to figure out what to do with this peaceful man that so many people seem to hate. Those doing the hating, as you might recall, are the Jews. They hate Paul for teaching what they feel is against the Law, and time after time throughout Acts we see zealous Jews trying to stop him.
So in chapter 23 there are forty men who are so frothing with hate that they make a vow not to eat or drink anything until they kill Paul. Kill him. We stopped and discussed the sad irony of these extreme measures. These men were so eager to defend and keep their law that they were willing to kill a man—an act which was completely against that very law.
Their fear and hatred had blinded them to the truths they claimed to be upholding.
In Luke 10 Jesus tells the story about the Good Samaritan. A man is lying beaten and bleeding on the side of a long, lonely road between two cities. Two different religious men pass by and choose not to get involved. It’s not like they can call an ambulance; to help this man would require serious time and energy. Plus, he’s got no ID. Who knows where he’s from? Maybe he deserved what he got. Maybe he’s a murderer. Maybe I’ll end up suffering for choosing to help.
“It’s just not worth the risk.”
I can’t say I’ve been disappointed with my fellow Christians’ comments regarding helping the Syrian refugees—I’ve been appalled by them. Millions of men, women, and children are literally fleeing for their lives with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and with eyes blinded by hatred over a few who have caused us pain, Christians are taking to social media to shake their first-world fingers in the faces of those suffering and saying, “You’re not worth the risk. You might be one of them.”
I am so ashamed.
Forty men in Acts 23 were so blinded by hate they were willing to break the law in order to keep it. We will sit and read that text together on Sunday morning and shake our heads in disbelief at their foolishness, and then we’ll go out to lunch with our Christians brothers and sisters and talk about how allowing 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country next year isn’t worth the risk.
Thank God that Jesus didn’t look at us the same way. Thank God that Jesus felt we were worth the risk. Even though he knew most would reject Him. Even though he knew he would die at the hands of religious terrorists.
As a citizen of the United States, I get it. Our safety is at risk. We don’t want another 9/11 or another Boston Marathon bombing or a repeat of what happened in Paris last week. An earthly kingdom thinks in terms of the physical. A nation’s gotta do what a nation’s gotta do.
But the thing is, my citizenship is in heaven, and my King commanded me to love my neighbor as myself. He commanded me to show hospitality to strangers. He commanded me to feed and give water and clothe and visit those who need help. My King commanded me not to fear those who can kill the body but who cannot kill the soul. He told me that if I really want to be a citizen of His kingdom, I need to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me.
You cannot claim to love God whom you have never seen if you don’t love the Syrian refugees who are staring you right in the face. Please, brothers and sisters, do not fight terror with hatred. Innocent people are dying because we are afraid.