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 before....wow 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.