We’ve been learning about leaves and trees and apples during homeschool the past few weeks. It’s really making me miss all things fall. I hope you’re all enjoying the beautiful colors and crisp air of this changing season. Please drink some hot cider and a pumpkin spice latte in our honor. As I’ve been longing for the changing seasons of home I can’t help but think about how life happens in seasons. Change is beautiful and exciting, but sometimes preparing for the change can take work and faith. We are currently finding ourselves in a season of change.
One thing that we have learned since launching into missions in 2010 is that man makes plans in his heart, but God determines his steps. Life in missions (and in general) requires constant flexibility and willingness to follow God wherever He leads. When we first moved to Uganda we started to attend Freedom Church as we’ve mentioned in previous updates. We have found so much life and love in the community we have developed here in church. Within a few months of beginning to attend Freedom, Richard and I both began to sense that the next season of our lives would involve partnership with them. While we knew our time with UWP likely wouldn’t last forever, transition was not something we thought was coming soon. As we began talking with Kris and Naomi (the leaders of Freedom Church here in Uganda) and we all shared our hearts for what that next season could look like, James (the Executive Director at UWP) also began to sense that a change for our family was coming sooner than expected. To keep a long story short, our leaders in UWP, Freedom, and Victory (our home church in the US) all supported embracing this season of change and so we’re very excited to announce that in December of this year we will be transitioning to working full-time with Freedom Church!
We are SO grateful for the past five years that we have been serving UWP. Richard has had so many amazing opportunities to learn new skills, develop his leadership potential, take on enormous responsibilities, and submit to a wonderful leader. We honor James and all of the work that he has poured in to serving UWP and for the support, guidance, and friendship that he has given to Richard and our family over the years. We are so excited to see how UWP will continue to flourish and grow in the years to come and look forward to maintaining our friendships and support of all of the people who are continuing to serve the people of Uganda through UWP’s clean water initiatives.
Our New Roles
While our roles in the church are still developing and will probably always evolve to meet the changing needs of the people we’re serving, here are some of the highlights of what we’ll be doing:
- Serving as a couple as part of the Freedom Church Kampala team in a pastoral capacity.
We run mid-week Groups in the church, and we will be leading one of these groups when we move into the city (Surprise that’s also happening in November!). These groups are care communities in Freedom Church, where we help people grow in their relationship with Jesus and mentor them in the journey of life. They’re also a lot of fun, and a great place to build a stronger sense of family for people who are part of the church.
- Serving on team in a practical capacity.
Richard is already running what we call the Next Steps team in Freedom Kampala. The team talks to and prays with people who respond on a Sunday, from people choosing to follow Jesus, to people needing prayer around personal challenges. We also help people connect into the church in many practical ways. He recently stepped into this role, helping to reshape the team. Right across the church there is need for strong leaders and fresh systems and structure, so there is really no end of opportunity to help strengthen the body in this way here.
- Supporting what the church is doing internationally.
Freedom Church has 17 locations across the world in 10 different countries, and we’re exploring how some of Richard’s time can be used to help develop the systems and structures to accommodate the growth we are seeing everywhere. Additionally oversight of the Freedom Africa locations (there are currently four) is run out of Kampala, so we will be able to help to strengthen, support, and grow what’s happening across the content.
We are looking forward to how God will use our family in this next season as we step more into full-time ministry and have more opportunities to all participate in the work. The kids love serving on team too, whether its greeting people as they come to church, helping to bake snacks for groups, or making new guests feel welcome at church.
As we started to look at this next season we knew there would also be transition in our finances. That ended up being much bigger in scope than we realized as in addition to the change from UWP where many of you have given through, our avenue of giving through Victory Christian Center also has come to a close due to some changes there. As such we felt God clearly leading us to start a new US-based 501c3 nonprofit to facilitate the work He’s calling us to. We’re thrilled to introduce you all to our new organization, Welcome Home. While it’s starting primarily to enable our work in Kampala, we have vision for it to grow into so much more over time.
We are so grateful for each of you who have chosen to partner with our family in some way over the last 7 years that we’ve been in missions. With David’s adoption (read more here if you missed our last update) and increasing opportunities to reach people over the coming years, we’re in a time of seeking growth in our partnerships. We would love to invite you to come along with us in the next season and consider monthly partnership or a one-time gift. You can do that by signing up on our new website or sending your checks to our new office at the bottom of the page.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions. We regret that we aren’t able to meet with you personally and discuss all of these changes together, but because of David’s adoption process we won’t be leaving Uganda any time soon (ok this is my shameless plug-COME VISIT US!!).
Love you guys!!!
-Anna, Richard, Jonathan, Elliana, Isabelle, and David