Thursday, 22 December 2011

Happy Christmas and every blessing for 2012

Thank you to all our faithful family, friends and supporters who have stood behind us during this past year.  We appreciate all that you do for us and we want to wish you a blessed time over this festive season.  May you reflect on the true meaning of CHRISTmas in the days ahead.
Matthew 1:18-25

Friday, 9 December 2011

Has rainy season ended???

As I write the sun is shining outside and there is not a rain cloud in sight.  We have had a long rainy season and the temperatures have been quite cool.  However, I am sure we will be wishing for rain again in a short while when the dust increases :)

Thanks to all of you who prayed for Simon when he was in Juba last week.  He had very full days (a normal day was at least 12 hrs).  He did everything from helping one of the staff with their driving after only recently passing his test, organising ground operations and loading and unloading aircraft.  He said he found muscles he never knew he had.  It was an enjoyable experience for him and gave him a good perspective on the real needs of the team in Juba.  One thing that made the job all the more difficult was working in 40c+ degree weather.  I think I would have just melted into a puddle.

While Simon was running around in South Sudan Joshua, Zara and I held the fort at home.  The kids did really well with Simon gone although they were looking forward to him coming home at the end of the week and so there was much celebration when he walked into the house.  He definately knew he was loved :)

Joshua and Zara have their last day at school today.  By the sounds of things there won't be much work happening but end of year parties.  They are ready for a break and I hear a lot of the parents say that their children are tired.  Ours are no different.  Of course what adds to the excitement is the fact that my Mum is supposed to arrive today for  Christmas.  However, the way the weather is in Scotland at the moment we will need to see if she makes it on time.  We are praying that it all works out and she arrives he safely.

I had my last Bible studies this week.  It has been a great time of studying God's word together and wrestling with some of the passages as we worked through Genesis.  It was supposed to be an overview study but there are so many gold nuggets to be found that we ended up taking it at a slower pace.  We should be finished Genesis in January when we restart after the children have gone back to school.  It is so exciting to see so many women enjoying studying God's Word together.  I pray that that passion never goes away.  So far it is working out to split the Bible study into two groups and gives people more of a chance for discussion.  There is a possibility of another lady joining us in January so the groups seem to get bigger. :)  A good problem to have!

This week Zara has been struggling with a cough and I have been battling a cold that I pretended wasn't really coming.  However, it has let me know its here and so I pray that it won't linger.  Do pray with us for good health over the Christmas holidays and that we have a rest during this time.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Rain, Rain and more Rain

This month we have seen a lot of rain.  This morning when I took eight children to school the road in the valley was pretty much impassable.  The water was up to the windscreen of a small bus and one car was already on its side.  I was so grateful I didn't have to go that way.  As I passed that way on the way to pick up the children the field next to the road was basically a lake.  It is going to take a while before all that water recedes.  With all this rain comes bad roads or inpassable roads and collapsed houses.  As I drove today I saw people putting sandbags in front of their shops and houses so that the water wouldn't enter.  I guess too much of a good thing can also be a bad the dry season we are glad to see the rain.

We are also experiencing a lot of power outs sometimes 24hrs at a time.  This has had a detrimental affect on businesses who rely on power to get their work done.  It is getting to the point whereby when we have power it is a bonus.  The reasons for the power shortages are as long as a piece of string so I won't even try to explain.  Last week there were some demonstrations in town as people become ever more frustrated at the situation. 

On a different note...Simon is currently off to drier climbs.  He is spending a week in Juba and will return on Friday.  Due to changes in how we have to do our flights in South Sudan this has meant more work for the MAF team in Juba.  Because of this some of our MAF Uganda staff are going up there for one week at a time to do various jobs.  We will see what Simon gets up to whilst he is there.  No doubt he will get a project or two :)

Work for me has also increased this month.  I have gone from teaching two Bible studies to four.  The international ladies Bible study has grown so we decided to split it into two groups so it doesn't become impersonal.  This means that I teach two on a Wednesday morning.  On a Thursday morning I go down to the MAF Guesthouse and teach the staff there and then once that is finished I head to the MAF office to teach one there.  Thankfully I have made Friday my day off.  My brain is pretty much "mince" by then so its a good thing nothing is normally scheduled.  It has been a blessing and privilege to teach these Bible studies and to have ladies from outside of MAF come and join us.  This helps us to not become too insular :)

Along with all of that I keep my hand in member care.  Sometimes it is just connecting people so that they can talk to the right person; other times its going out for coffee and having a chat with somebody.  Just this week there was a request (outside of MAF) for somebody who needed a counsellor.  The staff member who needed some help had undergone a severe trauma.  We will see if our contacts can start the process of helping this person.

Joshua and Zara are doing well.  They keep very busy with school commitments, clubs and, of course, their social life.  This week Joshua is taking part in a play at school.  He has a dancing part in the play and also has to dress up like an old man.  Rather him than me :)

If you think of it pray for Simon in Juba and for us in Uganda.  Pray nothing breaks while he is gone :)  Our car has undergone a few replacement pieces last week.  It is showing its age (20 years) but after some work it has burst into life again.  Pray that it has no further problems this week. :)

Thursday, 3 November 2011

A last minute visit

Last Thursday we had Summer and Eden come to stay.  We have known Summer and Zane for a number of years now.  Zane, in the last two years, has been Pastoring two churchs upcountry in a place called Kitgum as well as developing a farm.  They meet under a mango tree for church :).

Summer has been having some health problems and was due to fly to Kenya but because of the recent bombings there decided against it and to wait a couple more weeks.  She did, however, need to do some testings which couldn't wait so travelled, with their youngest daughter, Eden, to Kampala.  This was an 8 hour bus journey which is not pleasant at the best of times but more so when you are not feeling well.

Thankfully they arrived safely and we enjoyed catching up on their new life in Kitgum.  It is very different to what we experience in the City.  To get a glimpse of their ministry you can check out their blogspot at

Due to the uncomfortable bus ride and needing an additional trip to the doctor Summer was able to fly back on a MAF plane on the Monday instead of taking the grueling bus trip back on Saturday.  Due to the airstrip being in a bad way at Kitgum she had to get off at Gulu and then take a 2 hour bus journey to Kitgum.  Still it was better than sitting in the bus for 8 hours :)

Above you will see a picture of Eden with Zara.  Joshua and Zara enjoyed having a little sister for the weekend.  Thankfully she is used to brothers and sisters as she has 12!.  Summer and Zane have two biological children and 11 adopted.  They have a busy home :)

Bunny Update

As you will know from a previous post that we have bunnies.  We thought we had 5 babies but it turns out we only have 4 but that is enough to keep up going I can tell you.  Joshua and Zara love them and they get cuddled and kissed at any free moment.  Some of  J and Z's friends come over to play with them too so they have a been a source of great entertainment.  It is difficult not to get attached to them because they are so cute and mischievous.  I will let you enjoy the photos and see for yourself.

This and that

For some of you reading this post you are in the midst of Autumn/Fall and heading towards the winter season.  For us we are just coming out of a heavy rainy season and cooler temperatures.  A couple of weekends ago we went out to visit some friends in the West of Uganda in place called Fort Portal.  They are starting a new ministry there which includes discipleship and possible a prison ministry.  It was great to see where they are living and have an idea of what their daily life is like.  That side of the country is very green and we know rains!  It felt more like Scotland in February and it was definately cooler than Kampala.  We were also able to hook up with some other people we knew there and also attend Calvary Chapel Fort Portal and to hear of the great work that is happening there.

However, during that time away I wasn't feeling 100% and continued to feel under the weather the following week.  A trip to the doctor showed that I had a bacterial infection so antibiotics were required.  I just finished the medication the other day and am feeling much better.  Praise the Lord for modern medicine.

As I write Simon is currently in Kenya.  He left Monday for a Safety Officers/Quality Manager conference.  When I skyped with him the other day he said it can get overwhelming what needs to be achieved but as the saying goes Rome wasn't built in a day so one step at a time.  We are happy that he will be home tonight and we will all be altogether again.

Thank you to all of you who pray for the Bible Studies I teach.  We are having a wonderful time studying together.  We are halfway through the book of Genesis and enjoying the time of fellowship together.  God is doing an amazing work through His Word.  This week we were studying the story of the death of Sarah and Isaac and Rebekah.  It was interesting to note that despite the mistakes that Sarah made in her life God considered her a Godly woman and someone we can look up to.  This is mentioned in two other places in Scripture.  Isn't it great that we serve a God who forgives and uses us despite our weaknesses and failings.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Medevac and installing inverters

Simon was called on last Thursday to do a medevac (medical evacuation) for a man upcountry.  He was very ill with malaria and possibly typhoid also.  When Simon arrived at the destination the man was visibly pretty sick.  Simon flew him down to Kampala to go to hospital for vital treatment.  We haven't had an update yet on his status but pray that he was able to receive the correct medical treatment and is on the road to recovery.

On Saturday Simon flew out to the West of Uganda to a place called Bundibugyo.  This town is on the border of Congo.  The team he flew out were going to be putting an inverter system in for their mission organisation.  The plan was for MAF to fly them in and then they would stay overnight and return by bus the following day.  This journey takes just over an hour by plane but many hours by bus.  I know which one i would choose :).  Thankfully Simon has had experience with inverters (a system that enables power when the main source of electricity is off.....a regular occurence in Uganda) as he put our one in and also the MAF guesthouse.  Due to this he was able to spend the day helping the team put it all together which meant they finished earlier than planned.  Because of this he was able to bring the team back in the plane to Kajjansi which meant they didn't have to take the bus the next again day.  Praise the Lord for a handy husband!!!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Rocky, Fang and the babies

 This wee bunny is nicknamed "Baby Rocky" because of his colouring.  He is like his Daddy.

Zara holding one of the white ones for the first time.

Joshua holding one of the smaller babies....maybe the runt of the litter :)
We had just gone swimming hence the lack of clothes on Joshua and Zara :)

Fang the mummy rabbit who did all the hard work.  The picture of Rocky didn't come out well so we will show him another time.
The Wunderli family has significantly grown in the last month.  When we returned from furlough we had promised that Joshua and Zara could have rabbits.  To cut a long story this was achieved and we were the proud owners of Rocky (boy) and Fang (girl).  Joshua had picked the girl rabbit unbeknownst to him at the time and Zara the boy.  Hence the names :).  Well 31 days later we are now the proud owners of an additional 5 rabbits.  Joshua happened to be down at the hutches when Fang was giving birth.  He saw two of them being born and was very excited about it all.  One of them fell out so had to be rescued but seems to be doing alright.  That was a bit of a drama as Zara was crying thinking it was going to die.  Fang must have wondered what on earth was going on.  Anyway I will let you enjoy the photos of the babies.  They are a bit bouncy so it was difficult to capture them all at the same time and get them to stay still for any length of time.  However, they are very cute and its difficult not to appreciate them.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

A trip to R.O.S.S

On Tuesday Simon was supposed to fly to Torit in the new country of the Republic of South Sudan.  However, the passenger that he was to pick up had been out of communication contact so it wasn't sure if the flight was going to happen or not.  However, about 9am the office got a phone call to say that the passenger had made contact and was ready to be picked up.  Simon called me to say he was heading out to the airstrip to do the flight.  In a moment of impulse (not usual when it comes to things like this :) ) I asked if I could join him and he said that it would be a good day to go as he was only picking up one passenger.  South Sudan was the only country that I hadn't been to yet with MAF and was one of my goals before we left Uganda (if we ever leave Uganda).  Simon picked me up on the way to Kajjansi and while he was pre-flighting the 206 (it wasn't going to be a fast flight)  I talked with some of the team members from MAF Holland who were visiting our programme this past week.

Soon after Simon and I set off for R.O.S.S and I appreciated flying over Uganda again and seeing the changes in the landscape as we flew.  On approach to Torit we crossed some rugged terrain and also dodged some weather systems.  It was amazing to see the cloud formations at 10,000 ft and marvel at the size of them.  It was remarkable to watch Simon navigate these clouds and find holes that I couldn't see until we were closer.  I was thankful I was flying with an experienced pilot who knew his weather :)

On arriving at Torit we met with our passenger who works with Sh*lter f*r L*fe in Sudan.  This organisation works with farmer and tillers of the land to help them move from just sustenance farming and to think bigger and work towards commercial farming.  This organisation provides tools and seeds to the farmers to help them on their way.  I am always amazed when I get to fly with Simon and meet some of the organisations that are working up country.  It is fascinating to learn of the work that they are involved in and the difference they are making to peoples lifes.

It took us just over two hours to fly to Torit and we would have the same journey home.  I couldn't imagine doing the journey by road and, again, it was an invaluable experience to see how MAF makes a difference in people and organisations lives.

On our approached to Entebbe Airport there was quite a bit of traffic in the air.  You would think it would be quite easy to spot other planes around you but it wasn't easy at all.  It makes you realise how important air traffic control is for a pilot.  We landed safely at Entebbe and Simon was able to take the passenger through immigration before getting back on the plane again to fly him 6 minutes to Kajjansi.

When I told Joshua and Zara that I had got to fly with Simon they were definately jealous and would have skipped school to go to.  Thankfully Joshua and Zara have both had the privilege of flying with Simon on occasions to experience more of life in Uganda.  They are looking forward to their next holidays and the possible opportunity again.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Through the Bible

Since returning from furlough I have restarted the Bible studies.  This time we are doing things a bit different in that we are going through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  We, obviously, can't go quite as deep as we would if we were just taking one book at a time but the idea is that we will see the big picture of what the Bible is all about.

The International group always seems to change each time due to the ever transient ex-pat community.  However, as good friends leave new friends come and we have been blessed with new people this term.

This week and next we will be looking at the story of Abraham.  It is a fascinating story and much can be learned from his life for us today.  As I was studying today one of the main things that seemed to pop out was the fact that we can't rush God.  God has a plan for our lives and we so often want to hurry God and help Him along.  When that happens it seems to go quite pear shaped.  We see this when Abram travelled to Egypt with Sarai and passed her off only as his sister in fear that the Pharaoh would kill him.  (Gen 12:10-20) We see Sarai influencing her husband for the worst in asking him to take Hagar so that they can have a child (Gen 16) and there are also other instances of people taking matters into their own hands throughout the Bible.

As we have studied these first few chapters of Genesis one of the things that was highlighted was the fact that women have a great influence over men.  We see that with Adam and Eve where Eve gave the forbidden fruit to her husband.  We see it with Sarai giving Hagar to Abram so that they might have an offspring even although God promised this to Abram personally in 15:4 without the need of a maidservant.  The choices we make today can have long lasting consequences for the future long after we are gone. 

Abram, in 15:6, believed the Lord and He credited it to him as righteousness.  In 13:4b Abram called on the name of the Lord.  May we learn from Abram's example in this.

Pray with us that as we study God's word together that it won't be just for knowledge sake but will impact the way we live our lives with one another and those we come in contact with.

This and that...

Thank you to all of you who prayed for Simon last week on his trip to Tanzania and Rwanda.  The flight time was long and the weather proved a challenge but everything went as planned.  The group that he flew were able to complete what they wanted so mission accomplished.  We were glad to have him safely back on Wednesday evening.  He did take some photos which I hope to post once I have downloaded them off his phone :)

This month has been a busy month for visitors not only personally but also for MAF Uganda generally.  Last week we had a team from MAF Denmark visit the programme.  Many of whom had never visited the field before but took an opportunity to come and visit and see what it was like for themselves.  They were able to go on a MAF flight as well as take in some local sights.  A MAF colleague and I took three of the ladies to one of the Christian Martyrs Shrine just outside of Kampala.  This gave the history of 22 martyrs who bravely died for their faith.  13 of the martyrs were burned at this site between 1885 and 1887.  It made us consider if our backs were against the wall would we willingly die for our faith.  Good to be challenged by these questions now and again.

Over the weekend some Dutch business ladies who do support work for MAF Holland visited the programme.  We took four of them to church yesterday and then spent some time talking with them over coffee afterwards.  Today Simon is flying them to the North of Uganda whereby they will be on the ground for a few hours in Pader looking at a project there.  This will give them first hand knowledge of the work that MAF does and the people that we support through flying and other means.  We trust this will give them an even greater vision for supporting the work of MAF around the world.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Unforgettable moments

Some details in this post have been left out for privacy purposes.  The names used have also been changed.

You never quite know what a day will bring.  Last Friday John who does some work for us and another MAF family came to me to tell me that his wife Sarah wasn't doing well healthwise.  She was pregnant and had been having trouble with high blood pressure.  I sent him home so he could take his wife to the hospital.  Later that afternoon he called me to tell me that the doctors had confirmed that their baby had died.  This was going to be their first child.  Anyone who has lost a child will be able to identify with this family in their grief and sorrow.  A friend and I went into the hospital on Saturday to be with John and Sarah during this difficult time.  Due to them not being from Uganda they didn't have many family members around them for support.  We arrived to find his wife Sarah in a room with 3 other ladies and coming to terms with her loss.  We managed to find a doctor to speak to who explained what had happened and what the procedure would be from now.  The high blood pressure was still an issue but they were treating it.  In the afternoon they gave her inducing medication.  However, the baby wasn't born until Sunday afternoon so it was a worrying time for them. 

One thing that really struck me as we prayed and talked with them was the fact that they would never hear their baby laugh or cry or be able to hold him and enjoy those special first moments. Due to being in the maternity section of the hospital these were sounds that we could hear. During a time of prayer a lady in the next bed was soon in the midst of giving birth and then was whisked away to the labour room. As I write it is difficult to convey the sights, smells and sounds that we saw but is one I won't forget.

Another issue that they faced was where the baby should be buried.  Because they are not from Uganda they didn't own land for this purpose.  Thankfully someone we knew came to the rescue and organised something for them.  John asked that we would come to the burial so my friend and I went to the hospital on Sunday night for the burial only to find that the place that they had chosen wasn't suitable.  Now what do we do?  Thankfully other arrangments were hastily made which meant our car needed to be used as a taxi and a hearse.  The little card board box, which acted as a coffin for their son, sat protectedly on John's knee as we bumped along to the burial sight.  When we got to the place where their baby boy was to be buried it was pitch black as the power was out and it was already late.  The price had to be negotiated with the owner of the land so us "mzungus" (white foreigners) couldn't be present.  We walked up a narrow, very dark lane and using our mobile phones as flash lights found the house we would wait in.  As we entered this one room house there was a little light that was bright enough to disturb the darkness. This enabled us to see each other and find where we would sit.  We chatted with the lady and her two children while we waited.  Other wee faces appeared in the doorway through the course of the time we spent there and so we shook quite a few little hands that evening.  The time came for us to leave as the baby had been buried and John said he would go back the next day in the daylight to attend to the grave.  Everyone went their separate ways and were left with their thoughts of the day.

Please pray for this family when you think of them as they deal with the loss of their son whom they never got to spend time with on this earth.  Pray that they might know God's love and comfort during this time and that we would be sensitive to their needs during the days ahead.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Furlough Photo update

 A beautiful part of the world - Bonnie Scotland

Who says the weather is not good enough in Scotland for some time on the beach? :)

Joshua and Zara look more ready for a trip to the moon with those helmets rather than karting

A wee trip to a Highland Games - Tossing the caber was one of the competitions

Joshua and Simon on the boat to visit the seals

This was the 1st August in Switzerland.  Waiting for the fireworks to start.

Joshua and Zara with Alison Haswell.  Alison was their first teacher at Rainbow International in Uganda but who has since moved onto work at a school in Switzerland.  We were able to catch up with her and her family in Bern, Switzerland.  It was a lot of fun to hang out together again.  Joshua and Zara really enjoyed it and we got to meet wee Emily Zara!

The bears in Bern

Joshua and Zara enjoying an ice cream before their hike in the Swiss Alps.

Due to an unforeseen delay on our return to Uganda we ended up having to spend two days in London.  We took advantage of this time to see some of the sights albeit by bus.  Joshua and Zara slept a bit of the journey due to a very late night the night before but it was a fun day and the weather was perfect.

We took Joshua and Zara to a climbing wall one afternoon.  Zara was like a wee monkey climbing up as if she had been doing it all her life.  Mmmmmm I wonder where she has grown up??? :)

It has taken me a long time to download these photos so I apologise that they are not in any specific order.  These were some of the fun things we got to do in between all the speaking and visiting of family, friends and supporters.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Speedy update

Since returning from furlough life has been a bit of a sprint.  The Apostle Paul likened life to a race but more of a marathon that a 100m dash over and over again.  I am hoping that from now it will be more like a steady marathon.  Time will tell. :)

Since I last wrote we have had friends stay with us who now work on the western side of Uganda who needed to renew their visa for living in Uganda.  These things are never straightforward but thankfully they were able to get it by going to Rwanda and then coming back into Uganda again.  I think, however, they had more faith than I did because they opted to take the bus.  Not sure they will repeat the experience in a hurry though.

We also have had MAF's Pastor Care member, Tony Horsfall, staying with us for a week as he met with all the MAF Uganda families as well as leading our Fellowship Day last Friday and our first MAF Uganda retreat at the weekend.  Tony worked through the book of Nehemiah. It was an encouraging time.  We valued the time he spent with us personally and Joshua and Zara enjoyed having a "Grandfather" figure in the house.

I (Pam) have begun a new Bible study series with the ladies.  We are doing a walk through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  How long this going to take is anybody's guess.  We are on our third week and we have just finished the flood.  It has been a great time of fellowship as we learn from one another and from God and His word.  It is exciting to see people passionate about the Bible and when someone exclaims "I had never read that that is amazing".  One thing that is an overarching theme as we start in Genesis is the greatness of God and His true love for humanity.  Right from the outset He was preparing a Messiah that we might be redeemed from our sin.  Praise the Lord.

Simon started back in Uganda at a fast pace also.  Last week he flew 6 days and this week he has had less flights but more meetings with an organisation called EMI who are looking at ways we can develop Kajjansi (where MAF's airstrip, Hangar and possible future office will be).  Simon has been involved in plans and coming up with ideas on how this will all work out.  It is something he enjoys and makes his job with MAF quite varied :).

Joshua and Zara are settling back into life in Uganda.  It has taken Joshua longer to settle this time.  He is a wee boy who likes order and doesn't welcome surprises in his day so between furlough (Scotland and Switzerland), returning to Uganda, possibly Mum being in Kenya for 4 days and having guests has meant that life isn't quite as structured as he would like.  However, we are hoping and praying that as things have quietened down a bit he will also feel more settled.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Back from Nairobi

I am now back in Kampala after spending 4 days in Nairobi last week with the Advisory Council for MMCT EA(Mobile Member Care Team East Africa).  This was a first for MMCT EA (made up of 2 staff members currently) to have such an Advisory Council and it was a blessing to be part of the group.  There were 4 Advisory Council members there full time, one person joined us who was passing through Nairobi from Sudan onto Thailand (and I thought I had a crazy week of travelling) and then we had two people join us via skype for one part of it.  It was a rich environment and lots of ideas were put forward aswell as gathering additional resources for our member care roles within our organisations.  There was time for prayer and worship, showing how far MMCT EA has come, staffing needs, tactical planning, signs to look out for when a person might need professional help and looking at the member care needs of hot spots in Africa to name but a few.

Now it is time to process all the information and see how things can move forward in 2012.  There are plans to hold SYIS courses (Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills) and possibly a MCMC (Member Care while Managing Crisis) aswell as other events that are yet to be nailed down.

It is exciting to see how MMCT EA will and already does, to an extent, help people on the field whether it be a national staff or international staff member.  We look forward to what God has in store in the future.

On my last day there I had the opportunity to visit Tumaini Counselling Centre in Nairobi.  This is a place where people can go for counselling and debriefs.  You check out all that they offer you can click on the link beside this posting.  I will also put a link to the MMCT at some point.

By the end of the 4 days it was good to know I was going home to see Simon, Joshua and Zara again.  However, as seems to be a trend at the moment I was delayed in flying out of Nairobi due to a problem with the plane.  All passengers had to disembark and go back into the terminal to await the readiness of another plane.  Thankfully, one was available and so I was able to go home that night albeit a bit later than planned.

Thanks to all of you who prayed for me and MMCT during this time.  It was much appreciated and prayers were definately answered.

Monday, 29 August 2011

We made it....

After a unplanned stop in London for two days we finally made it back to Uganda.  On arriving at Zurich airport we were told that we would miss our connecting flight to Uganda due to the delay of the British Airways flight to London.  The reasons we were given for this was bad weather or a closed runway at Heathrow.  We never found out which one it was.  Anyway British Airways gave us the options of re-routing through Johannesburg and picking up a flight there to Uganda or waiting two days and flying direct from London to Entebbe.  We opted for the latter.  The thoughts of sitting on a plane all those hours didn't inspire us at all.

We made use of our time in London as we had one full day.  We took a bus tour round London and saw many of the sights that I had only seen on TV.  Yes, I had never been in the centre of London before.  I know it sounds crazy but the opportunity never presented itself and there were always other places to go. Anyway now I can officially say I have been in London.  Joshua and Zara slept quite a bit on the bus tour as they didn't get to bed till 1am that morning.  However, it all worked out and we made it back to Uganda on Friday morning.

Chewy, our dog, was so excited to see us and made us feel very welcome.  She ran around the house (outside) and didn't let us our of her sight in case we thought about leaving again.

The weekend was busy due to unpacking and friends that popped in to say hi on their way to Rwanda.  However the bus they had planned to take was full so they stayed the night with us and departed last night.  They will come back and stay with us on their return this week.

Yesterday we had a houseful for Sunday lunch as more friends came over so it was a fun time of catching up and enjoying some fellowship time together.  Today is very quiet as Joshua and Zara started school and Simon started flying.

However it is good to be back home and getting back into a routine again after two months away.  Thanks to all of you who made us most welcome for either breakfast, coffee or dinner.  It was good to see you.  Sorry to all of you whom we didn't see this time around.  Maybe next time.

As usual we seem to be in the fast lane on our return to Uganda.  Tomorrow morning I head to Nairobi, Kenya for the Mobile Member Care Advisory Council meetings.  I am looking forward to what is planned and how, as a board, we can move things forward in Member Care for East Africa.  I will let you know how it went on my return.  I would also value your prayers for these meetings that God would lead us to what He has planned.  Also for Simon, Joshua and Zara as they remain in Kampala that all would be well.

Well this is just a wee update and to let you know that we got back safely.  Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Furlough happenings....

It has been some time since I have updated our blog.  I am not sure where the time goes whilst on furlough.  We are now in Switzerland and are half way through our time here.  We had a good visit with people in Scotland for one month and enjoyed catching up with family and friends.  We spoke at two regional speaking events, one in Dundee and one in Edinburgh.  We were also able to have the MAF Flight simulator at the Dundee event which gave people an idea of what it is like to fly with MAF.  Thankfully if you don`t land well no damage is done unlike the real thing :).  I also had a shot at it and I don`t think Simon will be calling me to be his co-pilot anytime soon.  As always there is never enough time to get round everyone but hopefully if we didn`t see you this furlough we will on our next trip.

Our time in Switzerland has been made up of meetings, medical checks, new passports for Simon, Joshua and Zara and other bits and pieces. A few of our speaking enagements are towards the end of our time on furlough.  I will be sharing with Simon`s home Church "Seniors" at their afternoon meeting on Wednesday 17th August.  We will also be sharing about Uganda at the MAF Day near Bern on Saturday 20th August and at Simon`s church here in Meilen on the 21st with a brunch.  During the rest of the time we have had breakfasts, lunches and evening meals with different people giving them a personal update on what is happening with us and the work we do in Uganda with MAF.

We will be heading back to Uganda on the 23rd August.  Please pray for Uganda as food prices have sky rocketed as well as fuel.  Electricity is off every other day and so daily life is a struggle for many.  Pray for wise decisions to be made by the government and that basic essentials will be affordable again.

Please pray for our remaining two weeks in Switzerland that we would share clearly what is on our hearts concerning our life and work in Uganda with the people we meet.

Thank you to all of you whom we had the pleasure of spending time with.  Thanks for making us feel most welcome and being interested in what we do.  I will post some pictures on the blog once we arrive back in Uganda.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

New Airstrip opening and other flight stories

Last week Simon and another Swiss pilot, Hansjoerg Schlatter landed for the first time at a brand new airstrip at Ibba in Southern Sudan. This airstrip has been built by the Diosese of Ibba to help the people there who have such difficulty with transport in that remote area.

I have included some photos of this event to give you an idea of what it looks like.  It is amazing the difference an airstrip can make to a remote area.

The first landing of an aircraft and it was a MAF one :)

A group photo of all the people that attended the opening ceremony

Simon walking the airstrip to measure it out.

The speeches at the opening ceremony

Yesterday (Sunday) we were able to respond to a request from International Hospital to medevac a patient from Mweya. A man had a complicated fracture of his leg. He had previously had a hip replacement operation and he had stepped wrongly and fell causing his leg to twist and break. The flight time from Mweya was 1Hr 15 minutes. The alternative would have been around a 6 hour drive in an ambulance over very bumpy roads so he could arrive at the hospital for treatment. Please pray for Michael as he receives treatment for his injury.

Our Operations Manager read a newspaper story last week of 2 ladies who had died whilst giving birth.The hospital they were at is not one that MAF supplies blood with, as there are reasonable roads in that area - but they had still run out of blood and were unable to give a lifesaving blood transfusion to either of these two ladies.  This really underlined how important it is that blood is available when and where it is needed. It is a reminder of how important the MAF blood deliveries are for the hospitals and people of Northern Uganda, and of the lifesaving service MAF provides in getting the supplies to the remote areas we serve.

Monday, 23 May 2011


Last week I attended a week long course on Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills (SYIS)  by the Mobile Member Care Team (MMCT).  This course is designed that those who go through it might help others in their own organisation.  The task it too big to rely solely on professional care-givers and so Christian leaders must take some responsibility also to help those who struggle both with personal, interpersonal and work related problems.

Some of the areas we covered this past week were:

Looking at relationship killers
Listening skills
Drawing people out
Helping other solves problems
Confronting well including receiving confrontation well
Building trust
Lving in community
Managing conflicts
Helping others grieve well
Managing stress
Maintaining margin
The battle for moral purity
Being an encourager

The course was designed with lots of interaction, practice times, discussions, as well as theory.  Now the big question is what do I do with it all now.  The first thing I am planning is to look at ways that MAF can incorporate a more structured way of doing Member Care.  How that will look in reality is not clear yet but definately a goal worth pursuing.  I will keep you updated as to the developments that take place.

If you would like to know more about the Mobile Member Care Team you can visit their website at

Monday, 9 May 2011

Furlough looms

I am not sure where the time has gone in 2011 as it feels like Christmas wasn't that long ago.  Be that as it may the reality is that we are in now in the month of May and our furlough starts in June.

We have been looking at ways to make our furlough more efficient in the sense of getting round to see as many people as we can.  We appreciate that many of you support us both in prayer and through finances and that it would be good for us to touch base with you.  The way that we are going to do that is to have two regional events, one in Dundee and one in Edinburgh.  The one in Dundee will be held at Broughty Ferry Baptist Church and the one in Edinburgh will be at Wester Hailes Baptist Church.

If you would like to attend either one of these events then the dates and times are noted below:-

Broughty Ferry Baptist Church
Dundee area
28 June 2011

Wester Hailes Baptist Church
3 July 2011

We will also be speaking at Simon's home church in Meilen, Switzerland.

21 August 2011

If you would like more information then please do get in contact with us regarding either of these events.

If you would like to meet us on a one to one basis it would be help if you would contact us direct at and then we can set up a day and time.

We look forward to catching up with you and thank WHBC, BFBC and Chrischona Meilen for being willing to open their churches for us that we might share what God is doing through us in MAF in Uganda.  We also thank the team at MAF Scotland for being involved in the organisation of the event in Dundee.

If you have any further questions or queries then you can contact us at the email address above.

Sorry to those friends and supporters in the States as we will not be going Stateside this furlough.  One of these days we do hope to make it. :)

Friday, 6 May 2011

Just another day in the air....

Usually when I ask Simon how his day has gone I get the standard answer fine, went either according to plan or almost :).  Yesterday when I asked him the same question he said yes ok although one of the planes had a problem with its alternator and had to cut short its flight and return to MAF's aistrip in order to be fixed.    However, the pilot returned the plane and picked up another plane to complete some of the stops.  Due to this Simon's day didn't turn out as it was originally planned and a lot of dialogue went on to ensure that passengers weren't inconvenienced too much by this unplanned problem and help was given by the staff in Juba, Sudan also in order for the passengers to make it to their intended destination.

Today Simon was supposed to fly to Bunia, East DRC but the days plan changed again as the MAF Congo team's plane was in for maintenance and couldn't complete a flight that had been planned for.  Simon picked up the charter and was able to combine that with his shuttle run to Bunia.  He will now do an interior flight within Congo.  I believe, he hasn't been to these strips before so it will be something new for him.

I realise more and more you have to be flexible in this "job" as you never know what a day is going to bring. For the pilots it just another day in the "office".

MAF Congo team have asked for prayer due to the LRA (rebel group) being active in the northern parts of E DRC.  They carried out attrocities in Uganda in the past years but have now moved into E DRC and other places.  Just recently there was an attack on two towns.  Pray for those who have suffered at the hands of the LRA.   It is unimaginable the suffering that these people have gone through.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Member Care

Some of you might remember last year I did a course with the Mobile Member Care Team on How to Manage Crisis.  This was a course designed to help people who have gone through a trauma whether it be within their own mission but not limited to.  We addressed issues such as grief and loss, chronic stress, burnout, anxiety and depression to list just a few.  It was a very helpful course and so I have been working towards becoming a peer responder.  One who would be a point of contact to help someone manage a crisis that they have just gone through or presently going through.  In two weeks time I will be attending another course by the Mobile Member Care Team on Sharpening your Interpersonal Skill (SYIS).  During this time I will be discussing with MMCT how I can get more involved in this line of work.  The plan is to then be able to develop this kind of support within MAF if a need arises.  More talks on how this would work will be addressed with someone from MAF International in September.

As you might be aware missionaries/ex pats living overseas can face different circumstances than people from their own home countries.  Armed robberies, unrest, car hijacking, insecurity are just a few things that can happen on a fairly regular basis in some countries that people serve in.  Often times there is not a support network in place to help people who have been through a trauma hence the reason a MMCT East Africa branch has been opened up.  It is great to have people on the field with the expertise to help people through a crisis.  This can be a major deciding factor on whether the individual or family concerned remain on the field.  We hope by developing this support network within MAF and leaning on the expertise of the MMCT that MAF missionaries and national staff will feel supported when they go through a difficult situation.

In addition to this I have been asked to go on their Advisory Council.  The purpose of the Advisory Council ... "is to help the EA team understand member care needs and priorities in the region, to give feedback about how people are using our services and how we might improve, and to encourage and pray for the EA team."

I am honoured to have this opportunity and to gain experience from those in this field.  The first meeting of the Advisory Council will be in Nairobi, at the end of August, when we return from furlough.  I will keep you up to date as to how it all goes and what developments might take place.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Peace within but not peace without

We are getting used to Uganda having security issues but last Friday went to a whole new level.  There was widespread chaos around Kampala which you can read about in detail on the BBC or other news websites.  This would not be the right place to talk politics :)  The results for us and for many meant that we were to stay at home until it subsdided.  Thankfully we were getting regular updates from the B* High Commission as to where to avoid and where the main problem areas were.  For some weeks now there has been a strong police presence and that is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

Simon ended up doing an extra flight to Congo in the afternoon due to the pilot who was scheduled to do the flight not being able to get to the airstrip because of the insecurity.  Simon on his way home from the airstrip witnessed the aftermath of rioting on Entebbe Road with rocks and evidence of burning tyres etc. Doesn't seem to take long before a situation can turn for the worst.
Joshua and Zara were at school but the school were keeping abreast of the situation also and informing us of what was happening.  When I arrived at school to pick up Joshua and Zara I was told by one of their teachers that they had been kept in most of the day due to shooting not too far from the school.  They didn't want any to take the risk of stray bullets finding a target.  Thankfully the children appear to take it all in their stride.  Definately a very different school experience than I ever had as a child.

As most of you know last Friday was a special day in England with the Royal Wedding.  I managed to watch some of the event with two friends as one of them had cable TV.  It was a bit surreal watching a Royal Wedding with all its pomp and circumstance and then listening to gun fire and tear gas being shot off not far from where we were sitting.  There wasn't much else we could do as we couldn't travel anywhere so it was a good way of taking our minds off what was going on around us.

As I was studying the book of Hebrews today in preparation for Wednesdays Bible study I was very much aware that we serve a Prophet, Priest and King who is far superior than anyone we will ever have on earth.  One that is in full control and knows the end from the beginning.
Hebrews 4:14-16 - We truly serve the High Priest and can approach Him with confidence in our time of need.  Amen!!!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Catch up time

It has been a while since I have given an update and that is largely due to Joshua, Zara and I being unwell and then having some holidays in the west of Uganda for the Easter school break.

Prior to the holidays Joshua first of all came down with a stomach bug which lasted about a week on and off.  Then Zara and I came down with it.  Thankfully Joshua and Zara only had a stomach bug and it righted itself within in a few days although Zara was given medication from the doctor to stop her being sick.  I, unfortunately, had an amoeba (will let you google that one :).  I haven't felt that sick in a long time.  The medication also had some side effects so it took a while to get over it.  Thankfully, as of today we are all healthy again.

Simon and I took some days off while Joshua and Zara were on school break.  We headed with our tent to the west of Uganda to Lake Albert.  It took us 3 hours on a tarmac road and then a further 2 hours on a dirt road to finally arrive at our destination.  If we had taken a MAF plane we would have been there in 50 minutes.  Ah the luxury of flying!  Anyway we enjoyed the drive as we got to see parts of Uganda that we hadn't seen before.  It was a hot few days and not cooling much below 100F each day.  Thankfully the lodge had a small swimming pool which we were able to take advantage of which cooled us down somewhat.

We had plenty of adventures while we were there.  Two nights we slept in the tent, well Joshua, Zara and I did and Simon slept in his hammock outside.  The third night the owner of the lodge came to us and asked if we would like to use one of his little cottages as he wasn't busy at all.  We took him up on his offer since we hadn't slept much the last two nights due to the wind blowing quite strongly.

Throughout the week we encountered snakes, one being a black mamba (a very poisonous snake) which was in the cottage two down from us.  The owner of the lodge is a hunter so he came with his rifle and shot it.  It was 8ft long.  Photos to come.  The next day I was lying on the bed reading when something dropped from the roof, it was a bit of the grass (thatched cottage) and low and behold in the rafters was a snake.  Thankfully it wasn't that big and we found out later that it was a grass snake so we were in no danger.  Felt a bit odd going to bed that night not knowing where the snake was though.  Praise the Lord for mosquito nets.

Joshua and I also encountered a very large baboon which kept popping out of the bush as if it was stalking us.  Thankfully it didn't try and come in and steal any food.  They can be known to be quite vicious.  I had plenty things nearby to throw at him if he did try and come any closer :)

A couple that stayed at the lodge for two nights were professional hunters from the States.  One night they had gone out and killed a very large warthog.  We were able to go and see the staff skin and prepare the skin for it to be sent to the States in two or so months time.  It was quite the sight.  Joshua and Zara enjoyed all these experiences and thankfully took them all in their stride.

Unfortunately we had to cut our holiday short due to Joshua having very bad earache.  We drove back to Kampala on Sunday and went straight to the clinic.  He was given ear drops and then to come back in three days for his ear to be syringed.  He is back to normal now and in no pain which we are grateful for.

Another blessing of coming back on Sunday which, we believe, God orchestrated was that we missed the riots on the Monday.  During the time we were away there were some problems around Uganda including Kampala due to the increase in fuel and food costs.  The road we would have travelled into Kampala on was a hot spot for trouble which included riot police and tear gas.  We were glad we didn't have to witness that.  There has been more trouble this week but thankfully we are getting reports from the British High Commission and from other sources as to where the trouble is located so we just stay at home or avoid those areas.  We would value your prayers for Uganda that these troubles don't escalate into what we are seeing further north in Africa.

Friday, 11 March 2011

A family day out...

Joshua and Zara playing before they go on the Northern shuttle flight round Uganda

Simon preflighting the plane and getting the plane ready for the arrival of passengers

Showing our position on one of the legs of our flight

Flying over a village on our way to Kaabong

Kaabong airstrip which looked more like a disused path from the air

More scenery as we were flying from place to place

Joshua enjoying some time outside the plane at Kaabong
Kalongo - one of the first places I flew to when I arrived in Uganda over 9 years ago

Children excited at the arrival of a plane.  Simon had a challenge keeping them away from the plane when he started up again.  Thankfully security came and were able to move them out of harms way.

A boy taking a stroll along the airstrip coming to see what all the commotion was about.

Zara stretching her legs when we arrived at Kaabong

Due to an extended half term break for Joshua and Zara because of elections and possible unrest we took the opportunity as a family to go on a flight with Simon. It was fun to be able to visit places that I hadn't flown to before although the names the names were very familiar. Great time had by all.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Elections this week

On Friday we have elections here in Kampala. So far it has been peaceful and there have been no cases of riots. This week we are seeing more and more rallies taking place as the time gets closer to people voting. Today we had the opposition leader speaking at a rally round the corner from our house. Apart from being loud and busy things went well as far as we know. Museveni (current President) brought parts of downtown to a standstill today as he went on his campaign trail.

We would value your prayers that the situation would remain peaceful during the voting process and the results would be fair and a correct representation of how people voted. Pray also that the opposition of whoever gets in will accept the decision and not retaliate with violence.

Joshua and Zara have a week off from school starting Wednesday for half term but also an extension added on because of the elections. They are not complaining :)

We have made provision in case things do go pear shaped in stocking up on some supplies and making ourselves aware of the contingency plans that MAF has put in place. We pray we won't need them.

According to some of our Ugandan friends they believe everything will be fine and there will be no problems. That is comforting.

Joshua said the other day "What will happen if the current president doesn't get in again and a bad man gets in instead what country will we go to? Got to love the thoughts of a 7 year old.

Thanks for you continued prayer support for our family and ministry.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Christmas Trip to Kidepo National Park

Landing at Kidepo in "Scotty"

One of the two pick up trucks that we went in for our morning safari. You can see Zara in her pink rain jacket sitting on the cab of the truck....who needs seats :)

Daddy and his little Princess

In search of lions.....

Joshua our junior tracker found some antelope like animals

African vulture

A herd of giraffe which included a baby one....not shown in this photo.

A buffalo with an interesting horn decoration

Our home for two nights.

Bulbul the elephant who hangs around the bandas on occasions. He was on a mission to find some food and had smelled some pineapple. I wasn't about to stand in his way.

This is him finding the kitchen entrance, he drank all the water that was lying out in a bucket as well as trying to get into the kitchen for the pineapple. He also raided the bin and made a lovely mess. Who is going to tell him off? One way to get rid of him is to light a fire which one of the staff members did. He then trundled off.

Joshua and Jalil our two junior trackers!

Some friends invited us to Kidepo National Park just after Christmas. There were 12 adults and 6 children so it was quite the group. It is probably one of our most favourite parks in Uganda because of its remoteness. We had enough people to fill two MAF planes and flew north for just under two hours. The park is situated close to the Sudanese border. We flew over some amazing scenery aswell as seeing some animals in the distance as we came into land. We spent two nights there staying in bandas and enjoyed some game drives in the back of a pick up and some of the group went on a walking safari. The photos, hopefully, will do the story more justice.