I’m finishing up my Father’s Day just as most of you are starting yours. I enjoyed an afternoon of playing basketball with staff, volunteers, and students of New Hope Academy. For those three hours I pretended that 40 isn’t lurking around the corner. It has been a good day, and we are getting ready to close it out with movie night for the family. We can’t help but to be thankful for God’s amazing provision, and much of it through the hands of our supporters. Even our movie tonight will be watched on a laptop that was donated by our friends and family.
It’s been too long since we updated everyone of all that has been happening on our side of the planet. To be honest, I’ve been struggling a bit with what to write. I read blogs and posts from other missionaries, and frankly it makes me feel like some kind of fraud. I can’t tell you about the 50 destitute children that we fed and clothed this week, because that’s not my role. I feel like what I have to share isn’t good enough, isn’t worthy to post. It’s a strange thing for me to be ever aware of our need of support, our need to share our news and progress, and it makes me think that I need to create some kind of great story with amazing pictures to go with it. I think that’s really a lack of faith on my part. The truth is, God prepared me for this work. The truth is that He has called my family here. The truth is that we are working very hard, every day. I love my job. I’m seriously challenged, and every day is an adventure. I’m really okay with being the guy in the background. My honest hope is to succeed in taking care of the administrative aspects of leadership so that my heroes of faith, this amazing staff of men and women who are dedicated to loving these children, can succeed in their mission.
At our church service today, this ministry said a final good bye to a faithful servant of God. Our National Manager (think General Manager) is moving back to the United States after serving New Hope Uganda for over 20 years. Once there, she will continue to serve New Hope through our US fundraising team. She has been a mother, a friend, a mentor to many.
Those are going to be big shoes to fill. At least she is also a North Dakotan like me, so I have that going for me! As she leaves for the USA, I have been introduced as her replacement. For the last six months I have been preparing to step into that role. My family has been strained for 8 months as we have lived two lives. On the one hand we live at Musana Camps and help to administrate the business side of Musana Camps. On the other, we live at Kasana Children’s Center and help with administrative leadership there. The ministry was even kind enough to allocate a house for us at Kasana so that we could at least leave some things that would allow my family to adjust more quickly between moves. We have divided our time somewhere around 60/40 in favor of Musana.
The pace was not one that could be maintained, and it became clear that we would inevitably need to settle at one place or the other. So, in September we will be moving to our third home in Uganda, and that will finally be our primary residence (we hope!). My work will still have me traveling between all three ministry locations, but my family will be able to get into much better routines for homeschool and life.
So what really is my job? I’m still the administrator of Musana Camps, and even in my new role as National Manager I will have a vested interest in seeing a healthy transition to replace me. I run with things like budget, pricing, security, lands, enterprise projects, and even get involved with teaching and leading visiting groups. I am on the preaching rotation at Musana Community Church. I help to lead our community clinic and school, especially focusing on inventory systems and controls along with any legal issues that may arise.
As the National Manager, I also handle oversight in these same items at our Kobwin Children’s Center. I work with the site manager there to ensure he has the tools to lead that site in all they do. They also run a small clinic, and because of the complexity of laws regarding land ownership, we have a few lingering issues to work through the legal system.
Being the National Manager also means working through all these things at Kasana. Budgets, accountability in donation spending, legal matters, enterprise projects, and more fill my schedule.
In the past few months, this transition has become very intense. Our founding director was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and is now in Houston receiving treatment. We believe he will be just fine, but it has still been a difficult thing to walk through. Our other director, and partner for the history of the ministry is also in the USA on a speaking tour and attending a conference. Our National Manager is heading back to the United States. Our Accounts Manager has resigned his post, and we are in the midst of transition, potentially to an internal candidate for promotion. In the midst of all the change, much is falling to me.
It’s more than I can reasonably handle. I’ve got enough on my plate that I know I’m not doing them all well. I’m serious when I say that I work with people who have given their hearts and souls to their work in Uganda, and it doesn’t feel right to be counted among them.
Still, my family is well. I’m learning more about my wife with every trial, and we are striving for unity in Christ. I have boundaries in place, and I opt to go home at 5:00 to let the undone wait for tomorrow. My favorite time has been campfire talks with my family where we have furthered our relationship with God. I love it here. I’m home here. I’m excited about our direction and change. I’m humbled, and I live in the midst of a big, big family of devoted saints. The fruit is everywhere. The 30 year old ministry has testimonies in hospitals, government, law firms, and even in the professional levels of the ministry itself. The orphans, the ones once hopeless and destitute… they are out there. They are sharing their love of the one who redeemed their story, and they are agents of change in this culture.
Thank you for helping us to be here. Thanks for your love and support.