Thursday, October 25, 2007

McFarland Update...

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings to you from rainy Kasana! It has been some time since we sent out an update, and now there is so much to update you on I almost don't know where to begin. Let me begin with the most recent and tragic event.

Yesterday I was with my good friend Joseph Ruyondo (he's been at New Hope for over 15 years and is the head of the Childcare dept) a few minutes after he found out that his oldest son Emma had died. We think it was from a blood clot (thrombosis), which is the same thing his mother died from 12 years ago. It is a shock to the whole community here as Emma was a "poster child" for what you hope your children will grow up to be- he was an amazing young man and just 20 years old. The whole community joined together last night around the Ruyondo's home and many spent the entire night there. We all sat around a fire late into the night singing and sharing memories of Emma. I've written the whole experience out and attached it for those of you who would like to read more and gain more insight into the culture here. Please pray for the family as they grieve and as they are traveling today- Esther is the next oldest sibling and she is taking it very very hard- she has never quite gotten over the death of her mom and she leaned heavily on her big brother. Please also pray for Joel and Dan, who are both young teens and are also struggling immensily with their brother's death. Please also pray for me and the others from New Hope who will be traveling to Ft. Portal and back tomorrow (around 6 or 7 hours each way) for the burial.

Two Sunday's ago I had the privilege with the other elders from our church (Kasana Community Church) of baptizing 15 of our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters at our nearby dam. Some of you may remember this place from a tragic drowning that happened there last year that I was involved in. It was an amazing redemption of that place that has been avoided completely since the drowning, and it gave quite a vivid picture of the spiritual truth of dying with Christ and being raised to newness of life.

Last Sunday we had a "Family Sunday" at church and it was like no other family Sunday I've ever attended. I had the privilege of being the best man in the wedding of my friend Kibeti and his wife Florence. Yes, she was already his wife, as he had "paid" for her three years ago in the village sense of getting a wife, but there is no real committment there and it is culturally the equivelent of getting a "slave". The significance of the event was that they covenanted together before God and the body of witnesses gathered there to love and serve one another for the rest of their lives- and what a glorious time it was of celebrating the beauty of marriage! Immediately after the wedding we celebrated all of the college and vocational graduations, ordained a deacon and had a baby dedication of around 10 babies. Now that's a Family Sunday!

Laura Beth is doing GREAT and is now 22 weeks along. We are having a third BOY, which is so exciting for me as that's one step closer to my soccer team! Laura Beth had to process it a bit : ) , but she's also very excited. The day will come when we'll get our fill of girls, too. We are so thankful for our Father's hand in our lives and for this gift that he is preparing for us to raise up.

The Institute has been finishing up very well- two more weeks of class before graduation on Nov. 13th. Please pray for us as we tie things up and "launch" the students out to their various ministries all over. One couple who is here from the Congo (Pastor Samuel Nkudulu and his wife Esther) is beginning a home for orphans immediately after returning to Congo and could use your support in prayer as they step out in faith to bring God's Fatherhood to the fatherless in Congo.

One PRAISE is concerning my Indian partner and intern Jiten Nayak. He was denied his work visa two weeks ago and asked to return to India within a couple of days. This was crushing news as he and my Ugandan partner George are running the January course while we are away. But our Father moved on our behalf and through a connection to a senior officer in immigration we were able to get the decision changed and Jiten was given a 2 year work permit!

Finally, we will be in the States from November 18th and will be returning to Uganda in May. We are so thankful to be staying in Wycliffe missionary housing in West Chicago throughout our time there. If you'd like us to come and speak at your church or to a small group let us know and we'll plan it! You can reach us initially via e-mail or by calling 630-773-8934.

Thanks so much for loving us and carrying us with you in heart and in prayer!

In Father's Love,

Keith (for Laura Beth, Elisha and Noah)

3 comments:

Rebecca said...

Always good to see updates from you. Stay well and give your family a squeeze for me. Becky

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