Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Beauty of Growing Into Two Families

                If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Lk. 14:26

                The call of the Gospel comes to each one of us in different ways and in different circumstances, yet it always comes powerfully with the same foundational calling- die to yourself, count the cost, lay down your life and follow. Our Lord’s words have hit us in our complacency over and over again on our journey of faith, revealing our comfortable self-seeking hearts, while gently drawing us back to the place of surrender, even of those things that we hold dearest.
                When we left the States ten years ago with our ten month old, ten bags, and anxious hearts, we felt deeply the rending from family and cultural familiarity. I remember Laura Beth crying as we sat on the airplane as she thought about her Mom missing out on Elisha’s growing up. She shed tears because she couldn’t even say ‘I’m sorry’ for taking away the joy of a grandparent watching their grandkids grow up. The rending we felt was painful, yet the joy of surrender and following Jesus was before us.
                Over the years we have had the privilege of growing into two families, one on each side of the world, as we have experienced the reality of God’s Kingdom, where we are adopted into this beautiful cross-cultural, multi-ethnic bride, and given the gift of Family. When we left Uganda a year ago to return to the States, we felt the rending from family on this side of the world more powerfully than ever before. It was genuinely difficult to return to the States for the year, a testimony to God’s grace in our lives and the depth of relationships that He has gifted us with here.  We both found ourselves saying “I’m so glad we’re not leaving permanently”.
                Now, after a year in the States, incredible time with both of our families, the birth of a new niece, the wedding of a precious sister, weekly taco night with cousins, the healing touch of the life-giving community at our church, we sat on the airplane with that ol’ so familiar feeling of rending. But this time, as we count the cost, we know the beauty of the gain that accompanies it. We are looking forward to what our Father has for us in this season that He has us planted here in Uganda. Will you pray with us as we settle back into life here? Pray that our Father would give us clear leading and direction- that we would be a blessing to the family here, as we labor to live the Gospel and bring God’s Fatherhood to the fatherless and to the families of Uganda.
                After probably the best flying experience we’ve had as a family (which of you were praying for God’s grace and covering as we traveled?), we arrived safely in Uganda and back in Kasana almost two weeks ago. We have settled in well, even as we had the joy of hosting a team from Alpine Church in Utah. It was a great week with them, even as we were upside-down trying to adjust and unpack. It was fun to be back with the children of Samuel Family, and of course a Saturday of fun, games, and a pig roast was just what we needed to feel back at home!
                Finally, for those of you who have been praying for Laura’s little cousin Gabriel, thank you. If you have not seen the updates on Face Book, here’s the situation in a nut shell.  After seeing his life nearly slip away, God has graciously in his mercy been healing him day by day.  He’s completed his first round of chemotherapy and has been responding very positively. Please be praying for God’s grace to him and his family.  He has a long road ahead of him. If you wish to follow their updates or give to them financially, here’s their blog via Caring Bridge: