Have you ever sat down with your spouse, or maybe with one of your close friends, and dreamed of the place you would most like to live? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I used to dream like this, and it was hard to settle on one thing. My life experience told me that a mountain lake in Montana was a partial fulfillment of the dream. I imagined a mountainous country, with a cabin sitting up above the water, overlooking the lake. I thought of a deep forest with trees for my kids to climb and build tree houses in. I imagined playing in the water, or paddling out in a canoe and hearing the sounds of the birds, the breeze through the trees, and the waves gently washing against the empty hull of the boat while the oars splash through the surface to push us onward.
The only conflict with my mountain lake in Montana was the winters. I’m not completely opposed to the idea of snow piled high and smoke pouring from the chimney of my dream cabin, but it’s the summer months that really draw me to this image. So, there’s a part of me that yearns for a warm climate. Somewhere near a white sandy beach with palm trees; where it is summer year round.
It was fun to dream of places like these, or potentially a place that could bring all this together in one. Imagine a secluded mountain cabin, overlooking a beautiful expanse of water, where it is summer all year. A place with a deep forest to explore, water falls to stand under, hiking trails and paths to explore, and a white sand beach with palm trees. Imagine waking up to see the sun rise over this beautiful place, enjoying a time of peace with a full cup of coffee and the fellowship of your closest friend.
I’ll never have to dream of such a thing, again. As much as God called us out of a dream life in America, He gave us a dream come true at Musana Camps. Who would have thought that such a place existed,
or that God would count me worthy to live in that place? I have truly LOVED our time at Musana Camps. How could I ever dream of something better? Our 4-wheeler was our main mode of transportation, we had campfires every week with our family. We enjoyed time on the beach, hikes to the waterfalls, and the kids climbed the trees of the forest in our yard. The sunsets are unrivaled, the beauty is stunning, and the wildlife is… adventurous. Serval Cats playing in the yard, monkeys stealing our bananas and flying from tree to tree, and the occasional antelope running through the camp; it is all unforgettable.
We can’t forget to mention the people of Musana Camps. In a year and half, we developed such great relationships. This place was our home, and it was the people who made it that. These were the people that helped me to understand a new culture, held us up when we were frustrated, and celebrated every success with us. These were the people who helped us through malaria, killed snakes with us and for us, and guided us through this time of transition. We have learned so much through our brothers and sisters. Saying good bye is such a difficult thing.
I suppose we could have fought to keep this home. We could have fought to stay at Musana Camps. In no way did we run out of work to do there. The camp is growing, and they still need help there! There are a million reasons to stay, but still we feel that God has called us on to another place, without taking away our love for this one. Our reasons to stay would have certainly included our dreams and this cabin home, but God called us away.
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
This week, we completed our move away from this dream home. Less than two years into our time in Uganda, the next mission awaits us. We are fortunate that the job will still require visits to our beautiful Musana Camps. As bitter as it was to have to leave this place, it is so sweet for us to see God moving to provide stability for our family and another beautiful home for us to live in.
Our support network very generously helped us to install electricity, and make many other improvements to our home at Musana Camps. The ministry was very helpful in allowing us to transition to a home where those investments would not be lost. Our new home has all of these features, and maybe some additional comforts, as well. We will still have electricity from the utility connection, with a whole-house solar system as the primary source of power. Our new home has a solar powered water heater, with the capability to tap into the electrical utility as a backup in case the sun should stay behind clouds for some time. The previous owners took very good care of the home, so it is in excellent shape. We may have gained some square footage, and now enjoy a bit of a larger living area and an extra homeschool room. The water system is the same, with our supply being from the rain that falls on the roof being collected into a cistern by a system of gutters. That cistern water is pumped up to our water tower, which then supplies the whole house. Water is filtered as it is being pumped to the water tower, and then a drinking water filter is used for the water we consume.
The home has three bedrooms and two baths, very similar to our home at Musana Camps. One of the greatest improvements is that our new home has closets! We had no idea how much we missed these!
Kasana Children’s Center is still a rural area of Uganda, but is far more accessible than Musana Camps. We live very near a good hospital, and have a much shorter drive to the city. Kasana, being the main campus of New Hope Uganda, has a much larger staff and more missionary families. The kids really enjoy being here, and still get to climb trees. They especially enjoy the huge mango tree just a short distance from our home. The site has two basketball courts just a short walk from our door, something I personally appreciate very much!
We owe a huge “thank you!” to our network of supporters. You have helped us to have a home that brings stability to our family in the midst of such extreme change. As we are able to settle into this place, it will greatly help us to set up routines for homeschool and reduce the heavy amount of travel we have been subjected to in our first year in Uganda. While I might still travel occasionally from site to site, at least Staci and the children will be able to get into some healthy rhythms at home.
At Kasana, my role is expanded, and I see my mission here as helping to administratively support this amazing team of gifted people to pursue and accomplish what God has called them here to do. I get to work with sons and daughters of the ministry who have been called to work in accounts, sponsorship, construction, or other areas. I work with talented Ugandan leaders who position their departments for success. We have talented teachers that pour into our children, building them up in both academics and character. We have missionaries from western countries who have abandoned life to serve the orphans and widows of Uganda. All of them are united in Christ, with the vision to see the fatherhood of God brought to the fatherless. For 30 years this vision has been accomplished by the hands of these workers, and now we are seeing a generation of the fruits of that ministry coming back to serve and take the vision forward to the next generation.
We are blessed, and we press on in Christ, desiring to gain the approval of Him.
Hebrews 13:14-16 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.