September is over!

Coming into September we knew it was going to be a hectic month with both project trips in our office going out and then another team coming from the Colorado Springs office to do a project here with several members of that team staying on for a week afterwards to visit around the office. Around home, school was getting into full gear with the boys' soccer teams starting practices and the swim team getting going as well (I didn't even know they were on the swim team, but they practice each week with their classes so apparently that means they participate in the meets!).
But even though we were expecting it, it still felt like even more of a whirlwind than we were anticipating. So we are happy that October is here, especially because that means we're one month closer to our trip home in December...actually 59 days from now!!
Heritage Int'l School had it's first swim meet against two of the other international schools in town this past week. Alisha helped organize the Heritage school kids to be ready when it was their turn to race. In this case, Brodie was preparing for the 25m breast stroke. He also swam in the freestyle and backstroke. I have always been a slow swimmer, so the boys don't have a whole lot going for them in the genepool!
Jonah, ready for the 25m kickboard. He also swam the freestyle and breast stroke.
Brodie posing before the race with two of his good friends - next-door neighbor Judah Kelly on the left and Garrison Stride on the right. Garrison may be the next Michael Phelps - that kid could have probably beat me in those races!
All has returned to normal here in Uganda. The President and the King met this week to begin talks about coming to a peaceful resolution of the problem. This was great news and shows that the leaders of Uganda are serious about not repeating the mistakes of their neighbors. The vast majority of Ugandans are peaceful people who sincerely want to see their country continue to develop and create opportunities for themselves. And from what I can tell, they are very sharp and determined people who I really believe can accomplish that goal, given the necessary support from it's friends in the west. It always surprises me how keenly aware of the world most Ugandans are - much more so than the average American is back home. I think the prayers and support of people back home can and do make a huge difference in the hope these people have, and eventually the realization of the things hoped for.
But with October arriving, we are back to normal around here. Living here is a very strange mix of occasional new experiences and adventures sprinkled throughout an otherwise very normal existence the vast majority of the time. Last Sunday we went to some friend's or ours house for a dinner party with about 30 people and kids. There were a bunch of American, British, and Ugandans families there just hanging out and having a BBQ. To look out and see our kids playing on the slip-n-slide while we're out on the porch talking with people from these different cultures is a surreal experience - a very American activity in a very American looking environment (our friends are from Texas), but the participants come from a cultural background that is vastly different from ours or what we're used to.
Jonah heading down the slip-n-slide at the Mickler's BBQ
As I thought about it later, I realized that our life here is largely the same as it is back home, only with different people from different place surrounding us. 95% of most days are exactly as they'd be back in the states. My job is different, because eMi is giving me access to work with ministries who are serving the most needy people in this part of the world, but even that is mostly pretty normal. Other than the three project trips I take each year where I visit remote parts of East Africa, the majority of my workdays are spent in a very western environment (i.e. the eMi-EA office). The hardest part for us about living here is all about being stripped of our day to day relationships with loved ones back home (or even week to week or month to month relationships, which are now forced into a year to year arrangment!).
Jonah and Graysen, engrossed in a video in our family room. Graysen typically dressed up like the main character anytime he watches a apparently they were watching Robinhood (he went and put on a green outfit with his green, Peter Pan feather hat).
"Jonah, that's a pretty good chicken sound you're making." "But Mom, that's not me. That's really a chicken outside our kitchen window!" ...Apparently, this chicken found a way to fly over our back fence. Pretty funny. Our guard took care of it by throwing it back over the fence. It's actually a pretty funny story but too long to tell in a blog.
Many of the ex-pats ("ex-patriots" or anyone here other than Ugandans) here feel a longer term calling to living overseas. For us, we've never felt that way about moving here, though we are certainly open to where God would lead us. We have always felt that moving here was for a time, and that our calling was more specific to the work of eMi than it was to a particular place. We obviously don't have a crystal ball, but we are open to whatever God would have for us in the future. For this stage of life, we feel like coming home to the states next Summer is what we're supposed to do. But we would be open to another overseas stint at some point in the future.
Since we had some volunteers in the country, we took a trip out to the Music for Life project near Entebbe. This is a project eMi designed and master planned 3-4 years ago. This is one of 8 or 9 buildings under construction as a part of Phase 1 of the project. For the last 2 years, we've had a construction manager (CM) on site assisting with the construction of the project. It is a great example of an eMi project coming to life, and has somewhat served as the impetus behind a new focus of eMi on putting CM's out in the field on projects we've designed. Though nearly 80% of our office's projects do go into construction, we're seeing that there are huge benefits (both cost and quality of construction) in having an experienced construction manager physically out on the site to manage the project and coordinate with the local foreman and construction team.
Steve Hoyt, the eMi CM on the Music for Life project site (left), Gary MacPhee, eMi VP out of the Colorado Springs office (center), and me, out on the Music for Life site. These are two great guys who I really enjoy working with - though my interactions with Gary has to this point been largely through email (other than our two brief visits to Colorado Springs). Steve is a great guy, and holds the distinction of being one of only a few people I've met who are actually more sarcastic than I am! :)
Please be praying for us as we look to the future of how God would use us after our time in Uganda. We feel very blessed to have a team of supporters who make our ministry with eMi possible. It's a difficult task to convey to people just how their support is having an impact and making a difference. But we look at our ministry with eMi as a team of people with different roles - ours is the most visible role of course, but without the underpinning of the few dozen people who support us we couldn't be a part of eMi. In the last 12 years, eMi has gone from 7 employees working out of Colorado Springs, Colorado to over 70 employees and 7 offices across the globe. We feel blessed to be a part of such an exciting ministry like eMi - where my training/experience are put to use to make a difference in the lives of people in the developing world.
Alisha's Kindergarten class was in charge of leading chapel on Friday (Graysen is in the plaid shirt in the front row). They sang three songs, recited a poem, and memorized a couple of bible memory verses. Pretty cute!

Alisha leading chapel - doing what she loves most...speaking in front of people! Actually, for those of you who know her, you know I'm being facetious. It's her biggest fear, though she's actually quite good at it. But she did a great job and the class performed perfectly.


Traci Morrow said…
Reading through your blog (Man was I out of date!) was a crazy adventure of emotions. Thanking God for your safety and now for you again as you travel to and from London Brad, and Lish and the boys.

CANT WAIT to see you all!!! :)
We have been hit with this flu, so have not even discussed Christmas. SORRY. When we do, you will be the first to know. (outside of M&D)

Hug the boys and tell them a ridiculous knock knock joke from ME!!

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