It’s a new year and we feel like new people. January marks 6 months since we landed in Jinja and almost a year since we started this transition from South Africa to Uganda. 2019 was challenging, taxing, and at times overwhelming just to be honest. Our God proved his faithfulness over and over to us!With the start of the new year we feel fresh, empowered, and full of vision and passion for what the Lord wants to do with us and in us here in Uganda this year!
January marks the start of dry season. The first two weeks of the year were very dry and DUSTY, but then last week it rained on an off every day last week, so who knows. I am starting to see why most Ugandans never look at the weather report. They just take it as it is and go on about life.
I love physical fitness, Lara loves community, and this is why group boot camp style classes work so well for us. Four years ago we were working out with a group at Carolina Sweat in Charlotte that changed our lives. We then carried that momentum to South Africa and now we are continuing it here in Jinja. Lara and I wanted to build a gym here at our home to help us, as well as benefit those in our community. There are many stresses with living and working overseas and we believe that this will help all of us become healthier, together. We have a class of 15 that is meeting at 9am Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and soon we will be starting a 6:30am class. We really believe that when you grow in physical freedom you will grow in spiritual, emotional, and mental freedom as well. #JinjaSweat
In January we kicked off our Thursday clinics in the village by visiting some places that we have been to before and worked in regularly last year. What we found was success! Most of the communities had remarkable improvements in the number of jiggers we actually removed. We went back this last week to the very first village our family visited back in May and we saw almost no jiggers! No child should ever have to deal with something as painful and embarrassing as jiggers and with good hygiene, education, and a pair of shoes they don’t have too. This is why we simply…Wash Feet, Love People, and Share Hope!
Our staff bible study is still one of the most meaningful times of our week. As a group we decided to meet out by the river to make it accessible for more people attend. I love being right by the water talking about the bible. Everyone else seems to feel more open and comfortable too. Instead of 1 or 2 of us doing all of the sharing we have had 5 guys step up to pray, read the bible story of the week (we are going through the book of John), and discuss. This past week I didn’t lead any of it!!! I am very encouraged to see the excitement around the bible and the interest in sharing our challenges together (this isn’t a natural thing to do in Ugandan culture). I believe that God is going to use this group of shoes makers and tailors to influence the entire staff in a super positive way at Sole Hope!
As you know we have been really looking and praying for a tough 4×4 vehicle. We believe that God has answered and we bought an old safari Toyota Landcruiser VX. It is older and needs some work done on it, but we are hopeful that it will be just what we need.
Ways to be praying for us this month:
Protection…physical, spiritual, and over our relationships
Increased favor with our staff and those in our community.
Strong community of friends and encouragers in our lives
Sole Hope: Financial Partners, leadership, and direction
New Car: reliable, good running, strong, and carefree
For Jinja Sweat: healthy bodies and community
Increased vision and passion for the work God is calling us to here
We found a car!
A couple new personal financial partners this month!
The Lord is continuing to protected us from Malaria!
Sole Hope is seeing life changing results in the villages!
We really sense a community of friends is growing around us!
How can you partner with us:
Pray Pray Pray
Have your church partner with us and Sole Hope through hands on events like shoe cutting parties and more. Sole Hope, Get Involved
Come visit us! or Bring a team to visit and experience Sole Hope and Uganda
Share with others. We would love for others to have the opportunity to be a part of this mission and Sole Hope www.rousehouse.org
Be generous. We regularly need new monthly givers Give Monthly
Give a special gift ($20-$2,000) to support the work here in Uganda Special gift
Believe me, YOU WANT TO FOLLOW along on our social media pages! So many fun adventures, stories, and pictures.
Have you ever experienced a rain storm that made you wonder if you were going to float away? Never have I ever felt this way as much as I do during the rainy season here in Uganda. We have heard it is the wettest and longest rainy season they can remember. Yay for us.
We have had multiple days that our road has flooded like a southern summer “flash flood warning” kind of rain. Almost every week we get stuck in the slipperiest mud you have ever met, even though we have a big 4×4 SUV. Often one of us busts our butt or skates around like we are a ice dancer in the mud. We have had to learn to be flexible more than ever before since our plans are regularly forced to change due to the rain storms that pop up from no where.
The constant mud makes rainy season a dangerous time to drive on some roads and especially dangerous to ride a boda (motorcycle taxi). But, with the rain comes some nice surprises as well. It’s unbelievably green and the temperatures are mild and wonderful.
Just before the rain comes a wonderful breeze comes through that is considerably cooler and very refreshing. Sometimes we are forced to stay inside, play games, and drink coffee and tea which are things we all enjoy. The rain at night is a built in noise machine even when the power goes out. For the kids one of their favorite things about the rain is the freedom to go play in the rain and mud with their friends.
Ugandas often say, “It has rained too much!” but it doesn’t stop them from continuing on with life. They are steadfast and hard working. They may be slower to show up for a program or appointment but they will come. Church seems to be even more full recently, even with the threat of rain. My experience growing up in church would be the opposite. If it looked like bad weather people didn’t come.
The rainy season here in Uganda is like all the other seasons we go through in life. We can endure it better when we simply learn to enjoy it, wait it out, and remember that it is just a season. Another season is just on the horizon and it too will bring it’s own challenges and blessings. Let us learn in this season what God has for us and look for His goodness, even when it seems to be pouring on our head and we are soaked all the way through our shoes. I pray that I become more content no matter what season of life I am in because we know the one who commands the storms and He loves us so much!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful, for this is God’s will for your life…”
Philippians 4:11-13 (Spanky’s translation) Let us be content in all circumstances. Rain or shine, God’s can give us what we need for today.
Last week our family boarded a plane in South Africa and headed north to Uganda with a question in our heads and on our hearts, “God, are you leading us to move here and work with Sole Hope?”. We were full of excitement to go to the place that sparked a fire and passion for Africa within us, but the excitement of this trip was accompanied by some anxiousness as we asked ourselves, “Can we do this? Can we live here long term?”
Cape Town, South Africa is completely different than the majority of Africa. Roads are smoother, things are cleaner, water is safer, accessibility to necessities are more available, and life is just a little closer to the what we would call “normal” in comparison to the rest of Africa. All that to say, there is something special about the rest of Africa too. The people are nice and welcoming, foods taste brighter and sweeter, weather is warm and tropical, and cultures are full of life!
When you are looking through the lens of “could we live here?” verse “this is a great short-term trip” things feel different and have a little bit heavier weight attached to them. At the end of day one both Lara and I felt totally overwhelmed and kind of scared to death. I think the the Lord used this sense of fear to help us view this trip rationally and not with an unrealistic excitement.
We spent time with the Sole Hope staff and volunteers, helped with jigger removal clinics in a village and at the Sole Hope Center, toured Jinja Town, attended a local church, checked out local spots to eat and drink coffee, drove through the mud and potholes, hang out with people that we believe will become good friends and had meetings on the Nile River while the sun set. It was a busy but great week for sure! We even found a 4×4 vehicle (definitely a must have!) that we will probably buy and a house that we will hopefully be able renovate, live in and use for ministry. This week was productive, eye opening, helpful, relational, faith building, hopeful and inspiring.
As a family, we are excited for all that the Lord has for us and the ways the Lord is going to work through our lives in this next season! Sole Hope and Jinja, Uganda we are coming for you!
When you think of the poor who or what comes to mind? Probably the homeless man on the corner. The families that live in the ghetto. The children in Africa that are on the commercials that are going with out food today. Yes they are living in poverty but are you poor too?
We have been learning that a major cause of poverty in the world is the result of broken and nonexistent relationships. In the west (America and other wealthy nations) we believe that being poor is usually associated with homeless, bad living conditions, lack of food, insufficient medical care, diseased and minimal clothing.
Poverty is the absences of material needs but that is just one element of poverty. Poverty is more inclusive than just that. It is the lack of God, relationships, material needs, self care (heart, mind, soul). Poverty is the absences of Shalom (Peace) in all it’s meaning. Biblically we who are materially wealthy (most of us reading this are considered wealthy), do have a responsibility to help meet the needs of those that are poor but how much more “wealthy” would we be if we invested into our on relationships.
One thing that we are learning is that you can have all of your material needs met in life and still be poor. We usually try to alleviate poverty by giving money, clothes, building houses, feeding the homeless, and meeting the material needs of people who have less than us. People on the corner or the drastically poor in Africa. What if we are the ones in living poverty not just them? Have you ever considered yourself being poor? Many of us live life and work diligently towards meeting all of our material “needs” but maybe this hinders us from the Shalom God intends for us. I am talking about relationships. The lack of friendships, laughter, encouragement, mentors, people who care deeply for us, family, regular conversations, and small groups of people that we can do life together with.
In Africa we see how deeply important relationships are. Relationships are everything to these communities. Wealth and happiness is measured in your friends and families. They believe that you can’t live life with out your community and it is remarkable at just how happy and content they are because of the people they do life with.
Lara and I think about all of our relationships and realise that we are wealthy beyond what we could ever count. We have many people that choose to invest in our lives and ministry every month. We have families that support us unconditionally. We have many friends that love us like crazy, some even travel around the world and others call us weekly to check in. NO matter how little we may have materially we know that our life is full of blessings that are worth much more than gold!
Today I thank the Lord that I am not suffering from this form of poverty!!!
(Our thoughts and ideas were formed from the book, When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett, Brian Fikkert)
Summit is over and we are packing to head to the US!
Summit, East Mountain’s 6 week program ended with graduation this past Friday night and it was a wonderful celebration. It was a great group of people and we fell in love with them quickly. During the 6 weeks we had bible classes, spiritual formation exercises, cultural workshops, adventures, and team building activities. We are thrilled by the transformation that took place in the lives of these 6 people. Not only were the 6 students impacted but the rest of us that had a chance to play a role in their lives were blessed greatly. It was a good time and God did great things!
We leave Wednesday the 4th to head to the US to visit church, family, friends, and ministry partners. We are busy packing bags, planning our time away, and spending time with some of the people we love here. I think we are going to miss these people a lot over the next month but we are very excited to see everyone back home… and eat a lot of MEXICAN food! As we travel this month we would love for you to come along the journey with us by following us on Instagram and Facebook.
One of the guys that I have the privilege of discipling is Zach. He is a talented writer, free spirited young man from South Carolina that I love spending time with every week. He is a mess many days much like me, but regularly finds ways to see life through a special lens. I would love for you to travel along with Zach to get the vision for what a regular visit through a township, that many of us often take, through his point of view. Be ready to be wowed by his gift of story telling!
Smiley, by Zach
“We were making our way through the tight, winding streets of Kayamandi – Stellenbosch’s premiere township, a living shrine to the injustice cast upon black South Africans during the regime of apartheid. Tin roof shacks spread as far as you can see, one on top of the other, yet their detail and integrity boast of mankind’s ingenuity in the midst of hardship.” To continue readinghttps://zachinsouthafrica.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/smiley/
PLEASE be praying for our trip back to the US…flights, luggage, children, and good health
PLEASE be praying for good visits with those we will have a chance to see.
PLEASE be praying for new financial and prayer support opportunities. We would love to share our vision and ministry with new people.
PLEASE be praying for rest and renewal for our family.
PLEASE be praying for our residents, mentees, community centre kids and friends here in South Africa
If you are like me and are from the West you probably haven’t heard of “gray water”. I had never heard the term until a few weeks ago. Gray water is something I have come to hold as a valuable commodity. Gray water is the relatively clean waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances. It isn’t really clean water but it isn’t really dirty either, to put it simply. What is the importance of gray water? Why am I spending time even talking about something that seems so insignificant? Well, it is actually a big deal in much of Africa and can make a huge difference for us here in the Western Providence of South Africa.
We are in the middle of the worst drought in over 100 years. What makes this even more critical is the fact that we are heading into summer which is the dry season. NO RAIN in the forecast for months!!! Gray water is more than just waste water for many. Gray water is water what most of us flush with, let flow down the sink freely, and pour into the sewer without even a thought. Not here! We collect and save as much of it as we can. It’s not just a “green, earth friendly” thing to do but a must so we can use or reuse it and hopefully not run out of water one day.
Challenge: for the next 5 days pay attention to the extra water that you may waste by leaving the sink run while brushing your teeth or washing dishes, time how long your normal shower is, count how many times a day you flush the toilet, how long do you water your lawn (with clean water), calculate how much water you use to fill a bath…You will be shocked at how quickly 23 gallons of water is used up!!! Here is a link to a helpful calculator that will help you gain an accurate number on how much water you might use in a week, http://mycapetownneeds.co.za/thinkwater/
Our family can only take 2 minutes or less showers, collect the shower water in buckets to use in other places, turn the water off to toilets, and follow the motto “if it is yellow let it mellow but if it is brown flush it down”, to do our part in helping with the water shortage. We are only allowed to use 87L (23 gallons) of water per person a day or we will receive a large fine. The city is now talking about the pipes drying up one day and maybe sooner than we think, if we do not take drastic measures to reduce our water usage. We are grateful to live in a community that has three lakes that supply our clean water. Those is the townships and more heavily crowded areas like Cape Town are the ones that will suffer first and are suffering today from the lack of clean water.
Thankfully it has rained 3 days this past week!!! But we need so much more rain for this problem to be fixed. Will you PLEASE join us in prayer that the Lord will fill our lakes and reservoirs with ample amounts of water?!?! Join us in asking for a miracle and trusting that the Lord is going to use this for His purposes and fame here in our community and providence!
Father, in your power and authority we pray that you will fill our lakes and reservoirs either from the ground up or from the skies down. Let it be said that the Lord is good and has shown us his favor. You are the one that is able! Amen
Job 5:10,he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields;
Job 38:37, Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
Zechariah 10:1, Ask rain from the Lord
in the season of the spring rain,
from the Lord who makes the storm clouds,
and he will give them showers of rain,
to everyone the vegetation in the field.
James 5:18, Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
This is probably the sound that you think of when someone says, chiropractor. For me, when I thought of this type of doctor I thought it was an additive to real medicine, pain relief or good health. Not a necessity or priority. Come to find out it is so much more than popping your stiff back and twisting your neck real hard.
Did you know that the body was designed and able to heal it’s self from many of the common issues we are having today with out surgery or medicines. I had no idea! I also am not one that relies on medicines and prefers a natural way of medicine or healing. This is why our family tries to regularly eat a clean diet (this is a whole other topic I could talk on for a while) and use alternatives to medicines like essential oils. Therefore, the idea that chiropractic adjustments can boost healing for my whole body not just bones and joints, intrigued me a lot.
“As a neurologically based chiropractic team we focus on the master control center for the body. We remove pressure from your nervous system with specific, scientific, chiropractic adjustments, which allows the body to restore mental and physical health. More families are choosing principled chiropractic because no one is too young or too old to live at their optimum health.” – Greater Life Chiropractic
Lara and I went to Greater Life because of an immediate need that was causing regular problems that were more than just some pain. After going through the initial consultation and sitting through an engaging 30 minute class by Dr. Grant on the benefits of chiropractic medicine we knew we had to give it a try. They even use this really cool, state of the art scanner invented by NASA to get a picture of our spine. This helps them to determine problem areas you may be experiencing and plans for correcting these issues. This was really interesting for sure. The Process
Does it work? After a few weeks I can say my shoulder, knee, ankle, and wrist pain and problems seem to be minimal if not gone in some areas. Most of my back problems are gone too, other than when I try to lift weights that are too heavy. Lara’s pains and problems with her neck that were causing nausea and constant headaches seem to be gone too! We are excited to see all of the health the benefits of regular adjustments over more time as well! Here are a few results of health concerns that have been overcome by chiropractic help, Health concerns and research
As for the Greater Life staff , Dr. Grant and his wife Sam, they are awesome people! You will feel cared for and like one of the family before you leave your first visit! They also have the coolest doctors office ever, for real! Greater Life Chiropractic is one of the fastest growing pediatric chiropractic offices in Charlotte and NC which means they are good at what they do because even children enjoy going to the doctor! I promise they are not one of these services that try and talk you into any thing or scare you into believing you need their services. They are to the point and honest people that we trust!
I would strongly encourage YOU to just go check them out! I am definitely not doing them or chiropratic justice so please just check it them out and see for yourself. Greater Life . If you mention the Rousehouse you will get a complimentary evaluation which includes the scan of your spinal cord to see if there are any problem areas as well as they will build a custom plan that is specific for you and your needs. (We do not get paid to promote them either, just in case you are wondering :)) You will not regret getting to know them and learning more!