Friday, 18 December 2009

Trip to the Islands

A pow wow with the local leaders of the village
Checking out the dirt. One of the problems is all the termite hills on the land. Not good if you land on one of those and your plane disappears!

Walking the potential site of the airstrip and pegging it. We heard that not long after the team had been there someone had come and uprooted all the peg marks. I guess the wood was too good just to leave in the ground and could be used for something more useful

At the end of September Simon and a team went to a village called Kamese where MAF hopes to have an airstrip built. I have delayed in showing you some of the photos due to lack of time and I only have three at present due to not being able to access the file for some reason in the office. Just another day in Uganda.

The work has been slow going. It has also been hampered due to trying to acquire permissions from different people for authorisation to go ahead. Please pray with us that we will see fruit from this labour.

Also we had our first Strategic team meeting last Monday. Please continue to pray for the team as we go through all the data and come up with a plan for MAF Uganda in the next new year and the years to follow. Pray that God gives us real wisdom as to where we should be focusing our resources and time. There is much need all around us but we can't possibly do it all so pray with us that we might know the mind of Christ for the future of MAF Uganda.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Was it a jumping spider or something else?

Last week I was aware that I had been bitten by something on my back but didn't give it much thought until the itching was driving me mad. Well, once i check it out i realised I had been bitten by something about 12 times (Zara and Joshua confirmed for me as they enjoyed counting all the red marks). I tried different potions to relieve the itching and pain but to no avail so off I went to the doctor yesterday. He confirmed that I had been bitten by something and that they were now infected. I walked out of the clinic with two different creams and a 5 day course of antibiotics. The doctor said I should see an improvement in three days and to come back in five for a check up.

Well jumping spider or not something had an enjoyable time munching on my back. Let us hope its had its fill and won't come back :) Just another day in Africa!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Strategic Plan

This Friday MAF Uganda is having its Fellowship Day. We usually all get together and have a time of worship, a guest speaker and, of course, fellowship wouldn't be complete without some great food.

This Fellowship day is going to be slightly different in that we are going to be praying through and discussing a strategic plan for this programme. The plan has been dividied into different catergories and staff have been asked to look and research various areas. Some of these divisions are the political situation, environmental, social, geographical, etc. I volunteered to do the Geographical analysis which I have enjoyed looking at as I was covering both Sudan and Uganda. One of the other pilots has taken on Congo for me and our OPS Manager has helped me with some insights into Sudan and Uganda along with looking at the islands in Lake Victoria where there is a great need.

The needs are so great in this part of the world that it can be overwhelming as to where our focus should be. Northern and Southern Sudan will be voting within the next couple of years as to whether they will stay as one country or divide. These situations are never simple and often lead to war. Our window of opportunity could be short lived here. The Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria are also needy in the areas of spirituality, medical, education and the list goes on.

Our prayer is that God would lead us to where we should focus our attention. He knows the beginning from the end and it is so much easier when we walk in the light than stumble around in the darkness. We need to be proactive rather than reactive to the needs that are around us in each of these three countries.

Please pray for us as a team as we seek God on this issue that we would have the mind of Christ and be unified in our decisions.

Class Trip

Rainbow and Banunule children together for a photo shoot

Zara with one of her class mates, Elijah (left) and a new friend from Banunule

Banunule children teaching Rainbow children a new dance

One of the bright smiley faces of Banunule

In October Zara's school class went on a trip to Banunule School. Each year the Reception classes pay a visit to this underprivileged school. The children all mix together to play games or sing songs. Before the trip the classes at Rainbow have a bake sale to raise funds for the school. The money raised buy toys, games, pencils and notebooks for the children there. Above are some of the photos of the outing. Simon's sister, Therese, and I joined in on the trip and took some photos.

Friday, 13 November 2009

The house of the healthy

We are thankful that this week everyone is back to almost full health and strength. Zara and Joshua have got over their stomach issues although we were wondering if Zara was heading for a cold the last two days as she was coughing but nothing serious at least. Simon is doing a lot better and was able to resume flying yesterday. He is still very tired in the evenings but I have been told this is normal after fighting off high fevers over a few days. It is just great to see him returning to normal and so we are thankful for all your prayers for our family.

A longer update will be out soon.......

Friday, 6 November 2009

The house of the sick

We would value your prayers for Simon. He is down with Malaria and not feeling too good at all. I did a second malaria test this morning which confirmed it. He is now on medication and so we hope to see an improvement soon.

Zara was also off part of this week too due to a stomach bug but went back to school yesterday. Joshua is off today complaining of a sore tummy but seems to be alright. As I write he is munching on some bananas so can’t be too bad J

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Medical evacuation update

In the last post I mentioned that Simon was doing a medevac for a man who was suffering from convulsions. He had had a stroke the previous day and so was in need of treatment from the hospital in Kampala. Last night I received a phone call to say that the man had died. Simon and the medical staff did a lot to keep this man alive even during his transporation to Kampala. Before they took off the man had stopped breathing. Fortunately they were able to get him breathing again and Simon was able to hook him up to the oxygen in the plane. It can be quite frustrating for all those involved to make this medevac happen and then at the end of it the man dies. Pray for the family, his co-workers and friends as they mourn his loss. Also for Simon and the MAF operations staff as they come to terms with it too.

As believers we can hold onto the fact that God has all our days numbered and this does not come as a surprise to Him. He had a purpose in all of this even although we can't comprehend it.

Monday, 26 October 2009

A long awaited update...

October has been a busy month for us between one thing and another. As you can imagine there is lots to tell. I will omit the photos for now otherwise this update might take a bit longer to complete.

This month we had more visitors. This time from Switzerland. Simon's two sisters and brother-in-law made a three week visit to Uganda. They were able to enjoy some of the delights of Uganda and took in a trip to Kidepo National Park. They saw lots of animals including a leopard which was a special treat. It was great to spend some time with them and Joshua and Zara loved all the extra attention.

Simon had a special trip out to Buvu Island in Lake Victoria this month with some other members of the MAF team including Sam from Jesus Film Ministries. This day was set aside to go and mark out a possible airstrip and meet with the local people there including visiting a school and donating some gifts. It was a productive day but you could tell that no women were on the team as most of them got sunburned (didn't put enough sunscreen on) and some didn't drink enough water. Simon's face was peeling for days. :)
We now just need to be patient and await what is next for this project on the islands.

Two weeks ago Zara had a school trip to Bananule Primary School. This is a local school that her year supports. The classes had a cake sale and the money raised went towards new school supplies and toys for this local school. Zara's teacher asked if I would join them so Therese (Simon's sister) and I went on the class outing too. The children all mingled well together and even did a dance together which was fun to watch. I will post some photos of the morning in the next few days.

Last week was half term for Joshua and Zara so we decided to take a few days off. We went to Jinja (2 hour drive from Kampala) to a place called Kingfisher. We have been here many times for holidays because it is reasonably priced and has a swimming pool which is a necessity when you have two fish in the family. :) Joshua and Zara swam everyday and almost all day till we had to drag them out of the pool for their meals. They had a fun time especially as some of their friends also turned up for a holiday too so they had plenty of friends to play with.

Zara had her first sleepover this month too. One of the other MAF families has a daughter who is slightly older than Zara and they are good friends even although they now go to a different school. Zara was invited for a sleep over and so we decided to let her do it seen as the family don't live too far from our house. It wouldn't have been too disasterous if we had had to go and get her during the night. As it happened she had a fantastic time and didn't want to come home. This, of course, started a chain of events and before we knew it Joshua was having a friend over for a sleepover. This weekend they both want to invite a friend over for Saturday night. Our family of 4 will increase to 6. We shall see how it goes.

Today Simon was supposed to fly to Congo but due to some difficulties in getting clearances MAF Uganda couldn't fly into Congo and MAF Congo couldn't fly into Uganda. Simon flew up to a place called Arua in Uganda and then the passengers were then transported by road, across the border, into Aru, Congo where they would be picked up by the MAF Congo team. Not the best way to travel but the only solution at the moment. We are praying that the clearances come through soon so normal operations can start again.
Also while Simon was in Arua he got a call for a medical evacuation. A man was having problems with convulsions which the local hospital couldn't deal with. Simon and the OPs team were organising for him to be transported to Mulgao Hospital in Kampala where they have "better" facilities. We pray that his condition will be diagnosed and the correct treatment administered.

A week from Thursday I will be leading the ladies Bible Study in the MAF Office. I would value your prayers as we look at Proverbs 31 - The virtuous woman. The ladies seems excited to study it and i ask for prayer that I would be a clear communicator and that God would guide me as I lead. Pray that these Bible Studies would be life changing and that we would allow God to change us accordingly.

Well I think that gives you a snippet of what is going on with us right now. I will try and do a picture update soon.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Ladies Bible Study

We are now into the fourth week of Ladies Bible study with the employees in the office. Luan and I have been encouraged by all the ladies who are so willing to participate and learn from God's word. We have already heard comments like "...I never knew that before and I am learning so much.." It is great to see each woman contribute to the study either by asking questions or sharing what they have learned. We are going through the Women of the Bible and are spending two weeks on each women. So far we have covered Eve and are half way through Miriam. Please continue to pray for the women that they continue to grow in their knowledge of the Bible and that it would transform their lives. Thanks to all of you who have been praying. We are seeing God answer prayers.
In addition to that we have a Bible Study for the International Ladies on a Wednesday. I am hosting it and Luan is teaching it. We have about 6 ladies getting together to study the book of Daniel. It has been quite an eye opener to us all as we study. Daniel's complete confidence in God is quite amazing and as we study the prophecy section of Daniel we see very clearly that we are indeed living in the end times. Exciting times!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

A visit from a friend - Sharon

Daddy and his little princess - enjoying the fact that the storm passed and its not raining anymore

Have we discovered the Loch Ness monster - no just a salamander enjoying the rain.

The first time we have seen chimps so active. Due to the storm it was a lot cooler and the fact they had been sheltering in the trees for an hour waiting on the rain to pass they had a lot of energy to expel.

Auntie Sharon and Zara outside the ostrich enclosure

Auntie Sharon and Joshua

Sharon returned with us from furlough and stayed with us for a couple of weeks. Despite being grounded for a couple of days due to the riots and getting rained on during a day out at the zoo we had a lot of fun together. Enjoy the photo highlights.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Route checks

Simon is now back with us in Kampala after having a successful Safety Officer course in Nairobi last week. He had his route check today with another pilot. Every six months each pilot has to do certain checks on all the types of aircraft we have plus do a route check. Today was his day for a route check. This took him to Bunia, Congo as this was where the flight was booked to go. Thankfully the weather was kind to him and he had no trouble passing the check.

Last week pilots had quite a bit of trouble with the weather as rainy season is now upon us. One pilot flying into Bunia last week had to turn around and head back to Entebbe due to a storm that covered a 60 mile radius. Thankfully the weather was kind the next day so they were able to complete their journey.

Please pray for the pilots as they deal with difficult weather situations and also for all of us driving on the roads during this rainy season. It can be quite challenging.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Chief Safety Officer Course

Simon is in Nairobi this week doing a Chief Safety Officer course. Simon has been Chief Safety Officer in the MAF Uganda programme for almost a year now and was doing on the job learning. Now he had this opportunity to go on this course and solidfy some of the things he has been doing. Pray for him that he will enjoy the course and that it would be helpful for him and the MAF Uganda programme. He is not used to sitting down all day so that will probably be one of his biggest challenges ;)

Meanwhile back at home we had another answer to pray in that some mains water came through last night so we were very excited about that. Thanks for praying with us.

Last night I had an undesirable guest in my bed - a cockroach. I didn't realise at the time what was disturbing my sleep but it must have been the cockroach crawling over me. It has now been well disposed of :)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Calm has returned to Kampala

Thankfully we are experiencing peace around Kampala again and are not restricted with our movements anymore. Thank you for praying for us.

During last weeks troubles we also had a lot of power cuts. This has continued into this week and now we are getting no mains water either. Nothing like a challenge to keep you going. However, after dropping a guest off at their lodgings Joshua, Zara and I got into a conversation about hearing God's voice. Well one thing led to another and I said we really need to ask God to turn on our power again as we were running out of water and needed to pump some up from the bottom tank. We were also talking about how God answers prayer. Well we drove into our compound to find that our power was indeed on again and so that produced a few Praise the Lord shouts from Joshua and Zara. It was definately a time of exceeding joy! I told them now we need to pray that the water returns! We will see what happens in the morning.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Riots in Kampala

Some of you are now beginning to see reports of violence in Kampala on your news reports. For the last two days there have been riots in downtown Kampala which has spread to other areas. Thankfully we are all well and appear to be free to move around again.

On Thursday we were told not to go downtown as there were violent clashes between the police and supporters of the Kabaka (King). Rather than me try to explain it all I will post the BBC version of it for your interest On Friday I drove down to the MAF Guesthouse with a friend, Sharon Brown, who is visiting from home. We could see the evidence of where burning tyres had been but all seemed calm. Just to put you in the picture we hadn't had power for about three days and for some people it is a lot longer than that. The guesthouse remains without power and will probably not be fixed until next week. Due to the lack of power the freezer had defrosted so we asked Shiella to cook all the meat and then I could come down later to put it in our freezer. However, it was not to be as Shiella called me later that afternoon to say that there were gunshots very close to the guesthouse and that it wasn't safe to be out.

On Friday morning I had a call from a MAF colleague to say that Rainbow School was closing because of the violence. Sharon and I raced to school only to find the main road to school was blocked by burning tyres, a tree and also gun shots could be heard. We took the backroad into school and were able to pick up Joshua and Zara along with some other children who lived close by whose parents were still on their way to school. We drove out in convoy and arrived home safely. Gun shots could be heard throughout the day some far away and some close. We remained at home and waited it out. Today, Saturday, there has been calm and we were able to go out again. We drove to Entebbe and went to the Zoo. All was quiet and life seems to have returned to normal. We pray that the Kabaka and the Government will be able to come to a peaceful resolution regarding the issue at hand.

We would value your prayers for this situation and that we have no further problems. Thanks to all of you who pray for us regularly including praying for our safety. It makes a difference!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Furlough statistics

Along with all the fun things that we were able to do whilst on furlough we also did some work too.

Thanks to Simon's parents for giving Joshua and Zara some fun outings whilst we were involved in speaking at Church or visiting supporters and friends.

Thanks to my Mum and Auntie Anne and Uncle Jimmy for the times that you helped us out in looking after Joshua and Zara whilst Simon and I were travelling to various parts of Scotland. We managed to do 2,000 miles of driving whilst in Scotland, visited and spoke at 6 churchs, visited many friends and supporters along the way and also got to see some family.

In hindsight our furlough seems a bit like a whirlwind tour but it was fantastic to see so many of you, reacquaint with old friends and also make some new friends.

God willing we will be doing it all again in two years time.

Part 2 of furlough in Scotland - Friends

Sorry this photo is so small but wanted to share it anyway. Great friends from back home and we were all able to be together for a evening which was a real treat.

At Lills birthday get together. We had some fun games on the Wii. It definately wasn't my gift!

Zara doing her princess poses

Joshua doing his "I'm tough" pose.

Family photo - easier said than done ;) - Thanks Cydil and Nathan- !

Cydil and Nathan - good friends of ours from the States who celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in Scotland which they kindly coincided with our furlough. It was great to catch up with them as it has been a while since we were together. Thanks guys for the time and for all the photos..

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Photo highlights from our furlough in Scotland (Part 1)

My Mum was able to get Military Tattoo tickets for us while we were home in Edinburgh. What a treat it was.

Zara and my cousins little girl, Abby. This was our first meeting with our little second cousin. It was a lot of fun.

We were able to go to an airshow while we were at home. The sights we saw were slightly different to the Cessna's we are used to in MAF

Joshua and Zara Go-Karting. They did a great job going round the circuit!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The Wunderli's have stopped wandering....

Highlights from our furlough in Switzerland

Dog carting with Auntie Therese

Joshua and Grossvati looking at the baby peregrine falcons in the bird box

Grossmueti and Zara enjoying the view in the mountains

Yeah! we found some snow in the mountains in July.

We had a good snowball fight and all felt pretty cold afterwards.

Whilst in the mountains we came across some alp horn players.

What an amazing sight and sound.

Stopping for a snack along the way on a cloudy walk it the mountains

We are now back in Uganda after being 9 weeks away. I had hoped to keep up with blogging whilst on furlough but failed miserably. Anyway I have decided to give you a photo update which will convey a thousand words. Enjoy!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Wunderli's are still wandering

It has been a while since you have heard from us. We are now in the second stint of our furlough after leaving Switzerland last Monday. We had a great time in Switzerland with Simon's family and visiting friends and supporters. We are now in Scotland and seem to have hit the ground running. Every Sunday is taken up with a different Church and then we have midweek meetings also. We have many photos to share with you and hope to upload them within the next week. Joshua and Zara are doing well and enjoying all the attention they are getting. They have had some wonderful experiences and have adjusted really well to all the changes. Thanks to all who have been praying for us during this time of furlough. We will update you all again very soon.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Random thoughts from Joshua and Zara

Yesterday Zara and I were driving past the American Embassy in Kampala and she asked me "what is that?" I told her it was the American Embassy which I explained was the place where Americans do business such as get passports renewed etc. She said "...we're not Americans..." and I said that is right. Her reply was "..I'm a MAF Kid.."

The other day I was driving to a friends house to get my haircut. On the way there Zara turned to me and said "...why didn't Jesus have to die twice?.." I explained that Jesus only had to die once and that what He did was enough to pay the price for our sins and save us...she then proceeded to talk about the lovely orange gate that was in front of us so that was the end of that conversation. It makes me wonder sometimes what goes through kids heads :)

I have been reminded a lot recently of the passage in Deuteronomy 6 where it talks about Loving the Lord your God and impressing these things on your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road. Maybe I need to add in when you are driving in your car :)

The other day we were sitting down to our evening meal and we usually ask Joshua and Zara to give us an account of their school day. Joshua loves to talk so he always has something to say. He told us that he had learned two new words at school. Of course we said that is great what are they. He said "gravity" and "capacity". We took the conversation a bit further and asked him what do they mean. He then preceded to give us a concise definition for each word. Simon and I just looked at him in amazement and found it quite difficult not to laugh. He had got the definition for both words spot on. The things you learn about your children. I guess his time in school is not being wasted ;)

Friday, 12 June 2009

Zara's 4th birthday at the Zoo

Our little Princess

We enjoyed a birthday celebration in the morning...birthday cake for breakfast....YUM

Watching the rhinos from a safe distance

A very uptight ostrich!

Zara and her friend Kathleen

Always a highlight getting to ride on the donkeys

Two girlies watching the Zebras

One of many monkeys who tried to steal things out our bags......yes they roam free in the Zoo

Two jungle boys

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Praises and Prayer Requests

Please note some additional Praise and Prayer requests!

Thanks for supporting us in this way.

Thank you and Happy Birthday Zara!

Thanks to all of you who were praying for Zara. She has made a full recovery from the Pneumonia and is back to being her usual self. She even went swimming for the first time yesterday which she was excited about.

We hope to go to Entebbe Zoo on Saturday for Zara's birthday (May 28th). We can't quite believe she is 4 years old already. It has been a fun packed 4 years and we are so blessed to have her.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Zara has Pneumonia

Last Sunday Zara was quite unwell with a high fever and bad cough. We took her to the Doctor where we were told she was very dehydrated. Over the next couple of days, despite drinking lots, we couldn't get her fever to stay down. On Tuesday I took her back to the Doctor and he confirmed a diagnosis of pneumonia. Thankfully with some good antibiotics and cough medicine she is recovering well. She still looks a bit pale (peely wally for the Scots) but her sense of humour has returned and her cheekiness so that is a good sign. We just pray for a full recovery and no further problems.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Busy days..

I was looking at our blog today and realising that its about time I filled you in on what we are up to these days apart from celebrating birthdays and escaping work for a few days :)

Simon has been really busy with flying recently and has spent most of his time flying into Sudan and the Congo. The Sudan days can be long and it seems to be catching up with him at the moment. Thankfully he has a lighter schedule this week thanks to auditors who are visiting the programme. They will be doing two audits on the programme. Simon will be involved in meetings concerning the safety audit side seen as he is Safety Officer. We are hoping for a postive result at the end of the week.

Amongst all of that we are planning our furlough home for this summer. We have been gathering material for our presentations in order to put something together that reflects our lives and work with MAF here in Uganda but also Congo and Sudan.
Thankfully all our speaking engagements are booked and pretty much finalised. We will have a particularly busy time in Scotland as we have committed to speaking at six churches of which 2 are new to us. In addition to this we have personal supporters, family and friends to catch up with all in five weeks. We are sure it is possible. :)

Joshua and Zara are looking forward to all the travelling this summer and are already reminicing about previous times in Scotland and Switzerland. Now that they are a bit older they should remember more about this trip.

We are grateful that the plumbing work and the two new bathrooms to be installed in the MAF Guesthouse should start this week. We pray for good workmanship and that everything will be functional at the end with no leaks or problems.

Since handing over my job as Learning and Development co-ordinator for MAF Uganda to a colleague I have been able to take things at a slower pace. As many of you know I have been doing a counselling course with BTI (Barnabas Training International). I am now over half way to completing the first course. The first 6 modules plus essay were returned with positive feedback so now I hope to complete the final 6 modules before we head for furlough. Well I can always be optimistic.

As well as studying for the counselling course I have also picked up my German lessons again. I hope to put in quite a few hours before we head to Switzerland. I pray that my brain will soak in the information like a sponge. Oh to have the brain of a child that is eager to learn and to absorb.

Last but not least Simon and I have been doing some Bible studies via CD by Chuck Missler. I am in the midst of the Genesis series and Simon has moved onto a study in Ezekiel. The insights we have gained are fasinating and I wish I could share them all with you but there are too many. It is satisfying to know that the more we spend in His word the more we will get to know Him. What better way to spend our time ;) If you are interested you can check out Chuck Missler on the Internet and purchase some of his studies online.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Sunrise over Kampala

The other morning we were awoken early to flashes of lightening and crashes of thunder and heavy rain. However, once the storm abated and moved away we were able to experience a wonderful sunrise. The photos don't do it justice but thought I would share with you anyway. You just can't beat an African sunrise and sunset!

Birthday Boy!

Zara was all partied out by the time we arrived home!

Zara with two friends, Ivan and Deborah on the trampoline

Normally we take a photo of the beautiful cake before its eaten but unfortunately that didn't happen this year. I won't bore you with the details. Anyway this is a photo of the end of the cake! I managed to find orange food colouring for the icing on the cake. This was the colour that Joshua had chosen for this years cake.

Joshua and his best friend, Anguci, being silly together on the trampoline

We had planned to go to the Zoo for Joshua's 6th birthday but it had rained the previous day and rained on his birthday so we had to have a plan B. Thankfully there is a restaurant in Kampala that has trampolines so this was a good alternative. We had 9 kids with us and thankfully some of the parents came too so we had a good time together.