This year has more than consumed us, and we are long overdue for an update on how things have been going in Uganda.
In March of this year, we were enrolled in a five month training program for staff members of New Hope Uganda, as well as others who are preparing for orphan ministry. The Institute for Gospel Transformation is an orphan care and ministry preparation course, and focuses on ministry in cross-cultural settings. The training also confronts some of the worldview that we bring with us as we enter the mission field, and really helps to put some things in perspective. We attended the course with other missionaries, Ugandan lay workers, and some of the Ugandan staff of New Hope Uganda. The training was every weekday from 8:00am to 1:00pm, and then I would head back to my office to get as much work done as possible before the close of day at 5:00pm. Staci and I attended the training together, so we found it to be a difficult season to manage homeschool, work, and family in the midst of training.
After our graduation, we took the kids and headed to Musana Camps where we helped to facilitate TCK (Third-Culture Kids) Camp. Benjamin and Kaiya attended the camp, again this year. I was a counselor, staying in a cabin full of 14 and 15 year old boys. Staci and Isaac helped with food and crafts, as well as some other administrative things. This is always such a great camp, and so much fun. These kids who grow up in a culture other than home face so many challenges, and this is a great environment to find they are not alone.
With those things behind us, we are now counting down the days to an extended home time, and reset. We have booked our tickets for September 18th, and will return to Uganda on February 15th. During that time we will travel much of the Northwest, including Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and finishing in Florida.
While much of our travel will have us staying with friends and family, it obviously presents a challenge for our finances. To reduce some travel costs, we have saved up and are looking to purchase a car in Chicago that we can turn around and sell in Bozeman for a profit, or near break-even on our transport. This gives us some more flexibility in travel, and we may have relationships that can help us to reduce our price of purchase. Airfare for the tickets to and from Uganda have cost about $6200 for our family, and we still have to purchase tickets to Florida for the last month of the trip. Lastly, we will be attending a training in Cincinnati in the middle of this trip, which should better equip us for working with kids from such hard places. We have friends there who can help us with a place to stay, but we will need about $1,700 to attend the conference. This is very timely for us, as it will help us to be aware of some best practices in orphan care for a changing legal landscape in Uganda. You can check out the conference and ministry information by clicking either one of those links.
Another goal of our trip is to increase our support from areas that we haven’t had as much connection. In my administrative role, I often find emergency situations that require some injection of funds to help us through, and by increasing our support levels I can help to self-designate spending. As you can imagine, it’s very difficult for an organization to raise money for administrative expenses, and yet they are entirely necessary. My hope is to be able to help to fund some of those unexpected expenses that are not on our annual budget by having some more discretionary funds available for my role.
We are so thankful for our very loyal supporters who have helped us to do things we would never have imagined. Though the last six months have been regretfully sparse in communication, we hope that now we will be able to get back to work/homeschool and prepare for this timely break.