We wanted to take a few minutes to fill you in on what life is like now that we are fully transitioned to working with Freedom Church here in Uganda. We have had a great few months settling in to our new roles. We’ve been excited to see God moving already and look forward to how He will continue to in the coming months. Here’s an explanation of the new normal:
The church. At Welcome Home, we believe in the importance of calling people into a place of belonging where they can discover who they were made to be. There is no better place to do this than within the context of the local church. We work through Freedom Church to see people find love, acceptance, support, care, calling and purpose. We believe that God has established the local church as the way to fulfill the great commission in the earth.
Although we can share the gospel with people, if we are unable to connect them into a community where they will be made disciples, we cannot possibly live up to the standard that God set forth in His word. At Freedom Church, we believe that everyone matters and that God cares deeply about you- whoever you are and wherever you are. In addition to the traditional Sunday church event we have weekly small groups where people can share more personally with each other and encourage each other to grow in their faith and become more like Christ. Richard and I host one of these weekly groups in our home, in addition to regularly engaging in authentic relationship with people throughout the week.
When Freedom Church says everyone matters, they mean everyone, including the kids. There are no children too young to be valued highly by their creator. Richard and I have the privileged of being the kids pastors at Freedom here in Kampala. This means that we help plan and coordinate the Sunday event for our kids from 0-12 years of age in addition to caring for their families. We believe that God placed children in families for a reason and that one of the best ways to serve kids is to serve their families. When parents are supported and encouraged in their personal lives and parenting journeys, kids are the ones who benefit. While we don’t have all the answers (because let’s be honest we’re all just making it up as we go sometimes), we know that we serve a great God who gives wisdom to those who ask for it. We love to see parents engage in the discipleship process with their kids while also being practically supported and encouraged as they navigate life with littles.
We also get to help disciple those who serve on the kids team with us. We love to see people use their unique skills and passions to show Gods love to the kids in our ministry. Calling out vision and passion in our team and seeing them step into what they are called to is a great joy.
The fruit. It can be hard to measure the “success” of a ministry that’s focused on individual life change, especially since none of us are ever done changing and growing. There are however a few areas of growth that we have seen recently that we want to celebrate with you!
- Our small group has about 30 people who regularly come and engage in community.
- Recently four of our small group members have expressed an interest in being baptized this Easter Sunday!!
- One of our small group members was motivated to share Jesus with her sister after one of our meetings and came back the next week to tell us that her sister has accepted Jesus as her Lord and savior and they are now having regular discipleship times together.
- Our kids team of volunteers has TRIPLED in size in the last two months!
- We have 30-40 kids who regularly come to our kids event where they learn about Jesus, get to have fun, and find a place where they can be family together
The family. Our family is doing great. Jonathan and Elliana are thriving in school, and I am finally figuring out how to teach to their personal learning styles (by the way homeschool is NOT for the faint of heart). Isabelle turned two at the end of January. It’s hard to imagine that when we first came to Uganda she was just a few months old. Now she spends her days roaming around the yard, talking up a storm, eating kalo (her favorite local food) and enjoying the eternal summer of Uganda. David is doing great as well. He has some minor developmental delays, but this week he started to move from one place to another! We gave him a million baby toys to inspire him, but in the end it was a trusty shiny coin that did the trick (don’t worry we didn’t let him put it in his mouth). We are just a few months away from being able to go to court to finalize his adoption, and still need a few more paperwork issues to work out, but we are SO excited for the day that the courts make official what’s been true to us since his birth- that he is our son.
The needs. We would love if you could continue to pray for us for the following:
- Life here is hard and slow. The normal tasks of living that most of us take for granted can be so tedious and consuming. Please pray that we have efficiency as we handle these things and that we find the space for rest that all of us need.
- We still need to complete David’s home study. Since we don’t live in America is it is proving to be extremely complicated (which they can be anyway). Please pray that we are able to complete (and pay for) the home study as expediently as possible so that we can get a court date.
- Speaking of court dates, pray that when we do make it to court it all goes well.
- Start praying now that after the adoption we’ll be able to get him a tourist visa to visit the US later this year! If not we may visit Canada, or have to wait until next year for his immigration.
- Now that we are running our own nonprofit, have 4 kids, and have new opportunities to invest in the church building we have an increased need for financial provision. We have to cover the cost of things like payroll taxes, website hosting, and credit card processing, while also believing for more resources to fund the vision God has joined us with to reach people around the world. Please continue to pray that God would bring the financial partners that we need, and know that if you are already one we are SO grateful for all you do to make Welcome Home’s vision come to life!
We love you all so much!
Richard, Anna, Jonathan, Ellie, Isabelle, and David