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Breaking the Silence

“Every valley made me lift my eyes up
Every burden only made me stronger
Every sorrow only made Your joy go
Deeper and deeper, deeper, and deeper

Every mountain is making me a climber
Every giant is calling out a fighter
Every heartache only makes Your love go
Deeper and deeper, deeper, and deeper

Thrown down but not defeated
I’m worn out but not giving up”

This. This is the song of my heart today…

I sit with a cool Ugandan breeze ministering to me. Reminding me of Your constant-ness and faithfulness, even when my eyes couldn’t see and my faith was so weak.

This past year was marked with many dark valleys, many steep mountains, and more joy than I’ve ever known.

There were times when I thought the joy had been sucked right out of me, or stolen, or lost as I climbed, but I begged, and You showed me again, your grace and your goodness, your mercy and kindness.

Again, Father, you’ve brought us this far. To a place of abundance, but where we’re different than before. For that I am so thankful. I don’t want to turn back, or regret, or come under fear. I want to live FULLY and obediently poured out to you. I want my soul to find REST in you among the waves, on the side of that steep mountain, and in the dark of those valleys. I want to learn to SEE you in it all.

This past year, was a quiet year again. A still year in my heart. When I can only pray and try to comprehend on my own and not put my thoughts even into words. When groans are what I can offer.

I feel we stand at the base of the next mountain. You our Guide. Always. I look up. Fix my eyes, and beg you to show up as you always have. Your faithfulness my Rod…your Mercy, my Staff…Your love, my anchor…Your salvation, my only Hope.

I take these first steps, anchored and trusting. I don’t want to slip back into fear. Keep my heart from failing, Jesus. I hear you calling upwards.

 

This little boy has captured our hearts. You have spoken that he is our joy-bringer. His life was purposed to enter our family by your grace and sovereignty.

My daughter, stands taller than me now—entered high school. Laughs and works diligently. She is marked by your healing grace.

My husband, forging the waters of Lake Victoria, passionate and vision-filled for the souls inhabiting these somewhat forgotten islands. I stand beside quiet and in awe.

Lord, let us climb and battle, and believe FOR YOU in all our lives.  We step into this next month with expectation.  You are GOOD.  Thank you for drawing us deeper.

Let this life…these nine lives BE FOR YOU.

See God’s heart for the islands…Let it be.

https://www.islandsofhopeuganda.org

Advent…the coming.

Here it is. Again.  This season that seems to rush in just when this weary soul needs it.  A reminder, a reality–that HE IS COMING.

He comes in, consistently, powerfully, and changes me.  Every single year.

He is coming.

I am wandering.  Last year I was wondering.

I wondered as I set foot in a new country, surrounded by new people, a new culture and began making yet another new home. I wondered where He was in all my mess.  In all my uncertainty and in all my questions.  I wondered how I would see Him and know Him more through all of this.

This past year was hard.  One of the hardest.  We were broken and hurting.  Our kids were grieving and confused.  Some more than others. My heart was broken to release a people and a place that had grown so deep into me.  I missed Ethiopia.  I missed our friends and our home.  I missed the long drive through the vast, beautiful country.  I missed my friend Ayelech and her joyful worship of her Redeemer.  I missed watching my husband fly off on the helicopter to the unreached–the untouched.  I missed hearing his phone ring and watch him RUN to pour out.  I missed our garden, our community, watching my kids run free and climb trees.  I had to let it all grieve and hurt for awhile.  I had to watch two within my home be pulled up out of some deep pits by a strong and loving Savior.  I had to trust more than I ever have before–on behalf of my child.  I had to release and cry out.  I had to lay down what my hopes had been, and love Jesus above all of that. I had to ask him for new vision and renewed passion for what He’d called us to. HERE. and NOW.

This year was a year of Healing.  But the healing began with many, many broken pieces.  The healing began through tears and through valleys.  But HE WAS THERE.

And He IS COMING.  He always is.

Islands of HOPE–Our Pilgrim Voyage

And when the vessel that he made of the clay was marred in the hand of the potter, he made it again another vessel,

as seemed good to the potter to make it

Jer. 18:4 (R.V.)

God’s fairest, highest place of service in the land that lies beyond will be filled by the men and women
who have been broken upon the wheel on earth.
~G. Campbell Morgan~

Over a year ago, God gave this man a new vision.  It began in a deep, broken place.  A place that had been left void and longing for three long years…it was a desert longing for the fresh rains…to bring a harvest in this man’s weary soul, in the body of Christ, as well as in the Kingdom.

His eyes fell upon the islands and he heard the Shepherd say, “Come.”  “Come out on the waters…ask and I’ll give the nations…and you’ll know more of Me.”

He said yes.  And there it began.

A vision was given and the cry of this man’s heart for the souls on the islands began to burn.

I stood beside, somewhat like Sarah next to her Abraham-man.  The giant faith and vision shadowing our own like a cloud.  Maybe it was doubt.  Maybe just the silent, humble place of a wife walking alongside a great man.

For the past 9 months, he has prayed, and labored, and advocated, written memorandums, visited with government officials, driven, boated, walked, boda-ed…and prayed some more for hands and feet to come upon this vision.

This week, the ministry was birthed.  My sweet husband who has so faithfully and diligently worked to obey, watched as the Lord breathed life into this—and somehow back into his own heart as well.

We hopped in the boat early Thursday morning—all of us eager and trusting.  After a two hour sail out into the waters of Lake Victoria, we laid eyes on Kibibi Island.  The silver fish laid out upon the rock made the island gloriously reflect the sun above…the boats lined the shore like soldiers ready for battle.  Wooden homes were stacked along the rocky islands’ edge.  This island was ready.  I sensed the Holy Spirit longing to be invited in—and so we prayed and opened our hands, and watched Him wash over that place.

The day began with prayer, with welcoming, with gratitude and tribute to each person contributing…each person appreciating another.  As the clinics began, I stood back in wonder.  This was the body of Christ in motion. The nurses ran the clinic smoothly, giving careful attention and love to each patient.  Records were made, shots were given, children were loved and blessed, vitamins and de-worming were provided for each child.  One beautiful sister was outside singing, dancing and loving the children.  Five evangelists sat, bibles open wide, sharing passionately the Word of God– inviting and welcoming new souls into the Kingdom.  One brother walked around encouraging and offering cool water. It was all Grace, and all God in this place.

I stood and breathed in the awe and wonder at the outpouring of the Spirit over this place.  It was a moving, functioning, nurturing, outpouring body.  Each member doing its part—working for our KING.

That day, it was as Christ prayed for us …”May they be ONE as we are ONE.”  Perfected unity is only Above, but that day we experienced some sacred moments of, ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’    The blessing of His drawing, His calling, His movement and His heart aligning for HIS OWN on this earth is a joy and fulfillment beyond compare.  He has done immeasurably more than we asked, or envisioned, or imagined—for HIS GLORY and OUR JOY.

May God continue to be the HEAD

May the SPIRIT be the LIFE- BREATH

And may Jesus be our highest GOAL, and the only HOPE ANCHOR for our souls.

~Jewels

THE POWERimg_5147The PURPOSEimg_5014

The Places

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Malijja Wabanika

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Kibbi Island

img_4900Pictures of Grace and Fun jon_5338The Line- Up for de-worming and Vitamins…jon_5421This woman–“Mama O”…she is JOY, and LOVE, and wisdom and just a very precious reflection of our Jesus.img_4993One of the greatest joys on this earth…serving Jesus side by side with my favorite partner (sweaty though he may be!!)20161110_111310   Daniel and Annet the new Outreach Team Leaders!!  (This was amazingly miraculous–God spoke to these 2 just three weeks before the outreaches began!! He was calling them to serve on the islands, but they weren’t sure how…GOD KNEW!! And our prayers were answered!)20161110_124535My Sweet CLARE…who LOVES so deeply. Every. Single. Child.20161110_125045The Immunization Team20161110_141925img_5056The hour and a half commute–not so bad on this beautiful Lake Victoria!img_8102
The ride home….with fish of course. 🙂  You see people transport fish like this often in Uganda, so we thought we would give it a try.20161111_160543

Moni - I LOVE all these photos! It’s great to get a glimpse into your lives. 🙂

A month of LOVE, family, and re-filling

I am blessed as I look back on October…it was a month FULL of blessings and deep, deep filling.  The Lord, in His goodness, gave my parents and our family such a special month.  When looking back at all of the pictures, I can hardly believe we were able to do so much in a short five weeks.  I LOVE that my parents entered fully into our crazy life here in Uganda…A life we are so deeply thankful for, and a place and a people that are capturing our hearts.  I may be mistaken, but I think this place may have snuck into my parents’ hearts as well!! img_9525Here’s a glimpse of some of the amazing things we got to do together.  IT was a time of joy and laughter, and partnership, and work, and play, and cooking and eating, and exploring…of loving and serving, and growing together.  I am so so thankful.

WE LOVE TO CELEBRATE!!!

img_6641OUR SHIM FAMILY worshiping in our home!!  (Shepherd’s Heart Island Ministry)img_6261AND MORE CELEBRATING…HAPPY 1st to our FULL OF LIFE KID, ISAIAH!!img_6640img_6617THE MABIRA RAIN FORESTimg_6286WORK.img_70643 worlds collided in a beautiful way for us.

Our Dear Mehret visited from Ethiopia while my parents were here.

Together, we ventured to the islands–our new place of ministering!!

(Clearly, Selah was ecstatic too!!)img_6813AND JINJA HAS AN ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT!!!! YAAAAAHOOOOOOOO!!!!!   Betam Conjorno!!!img_6967img_6965ATV-ing through Uganda, was just about one of the most incredible things…we had a BLAST!! img_6299img_6310img_6303img_6306okay…now we’re actually ready to ride!!

img_6398img_6338img_6366SUPER BEAUTIFUL, Special boat ride on the NILE RIVER!!img_7053img_7029TO THE ISLANDS!!!!

We were able to take Mom & Dad to Lingira Island! We had a beautiful day visiting the church there, listening to Dave teach, watching Keeky teach Sunday School, hiking and visiting with some friends there!  What a super special day!!img_6960fullsizerenderfullsizerenderfullsizerenderimg_6085

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AND, along the way…these two became the BEST of BUDDIES!! Hilarious.img_5263And a little bit of rest and quiet for my sweet hubby and I…ahhhhhh!!!

img_6995WE JUST ADORE THESE TWO.  They are our parents, our friends, mentors, INCREDIBLE Grandparents, adventurers, servants, generous, kind, fun and just SO FULL OF LOVE for all of us!!!

We LOVED having you, Dad and Mom.  Please come back SOON!!!img_6946

 

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