A Little Rain and Mud Never Hurt No One

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.

This is the main road in front of our house. It is technically not a dirt road. This day it looked more like a river after the 30 minute rain storm that came through.

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.

Yes, my feet are under water as I walk home. You also can’t see the pot holes, so you move very slowly.

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.

I had to take a picture of the one day we went to the village and I didn’t get stuck!!!

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.

Grey came home soaking wet after playing in the cold rain for hours.

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.

What? Your Saturday morning breakfast spot doesn’t flood?


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.

Head to toe in mud after pushing a car out of the mud. Just a normal day at clinic.

Christmas came early in the way of a surfboard and the Good News

How much does God love me? 
Does He listen me when I pray? 
Does he care about the small things I pray about, desire, and fill my head? 
If you are like me and any, what I would call “normal” Christian I am sure you have had these kind of questions. At least once in life if not reoccurring as daily thoughts.
Isaiah says that I am his treasure (Isaiah 62)! The Lord delights in me. He pursues my heart. He gets my attention through varies ways but he knows how I hear from him the best. Sometime He, My Heavenly Father, likes to absolutely blow me away with His goodness and love!
Many days I forget this amazing truth of grace and fall more on the side of these kind of thoughts…
I don’t feel worthy. Me?!? I haven’t and will never be able to live up to the standard of worthiness. I’m just a sinner. Broken. No where near perfect. Some days nothing comes out of me that is good.
And this is where I have to preach the Gospel (Good News) to my self and be reminded of His truth of who I am and who He is…
You look at me with delight, joy, deep love and affection. You smile on me. You see a reflection of your glory in my life. I am significant and chosen.
*So here is a story of how the Lord reminded me of this amazing reality of who I am and that He cares so deeply for me, even in ridiculous ways. 
I wanted a surf board. My skill level is not worthy of buying a surf board though. I’m still on the floor practicing my pop up techniques at home. I can barely catch a wave and the majority of the time wobble as I stand up on white wash.  I really enjoy being in the water! It is a time of my week when I get to be in the ocean with the Lord and no one really talks with me. It’s a refreshing hobby for me for sure. I have been praying,”God should I spend some Christmas money on a really rough, old, crappy board?” Haven’t felt confident in doing it yet and asked the Lord to show me when and what board I could buy when it came time for that.
A group of my friends from back home, Lara, and Zach (My mentee) were sneaky and got me a customised, hand shaped, internationally renown board from M*A*T Boards!!!!! I’m not worthy of riding a board like this and even more OWNING a board that was made just for Spanky Rouse. This is so much more than I wanted or was even asking God for! God blessed me with this amazing gift through my peeps and I am believing it was completely for me to know that He cares, He listens, and He gives me more than I am even close to worthy of having. IMG_1117
It’s not about the surf board. It’s about my Fathers delight and care for me, in everything of my life! Secondly, it is a wonderful reminder every time I hop on my board that I have a group of people that love me so much!
I am made more aware that I can trust Him and know that my Father who delights in me has life all under control and has greatness waiting for me in my future!
THANK YOU to all of you who made this possible!
Isaiah 63:7
I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord,
the deeds for which he is to be praised,
according to all the Lord has done for us—
yes, the many good things
he has done for Israel,
according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
Isaiah 12: 4-5
In that day you will say:
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
     make known among the nations what he has done,
     and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
     let this be known to all the world.

Celebrations, New Opportunities, Living Life – October 2018

At the beginning of October a friend/co-worker of ours got married. We were able to attend our first South African wedding and it was so much fun. We arrived at 2:30 and the party went on until after 10! It was a beautiful outdoor wedding with good food (spit braai lambs), many different people and cultures, and lots of dancing and laughs! Oh yeah, it was also the hottest day we have had yet! No shade either! #Sweatinglikecrazy

Since the sun is coming up earlier and the weather is heavenly lately, we have restarted our regular group workouts. Working out as a group is always more fun and a passion of Spanky’s! Our gym is coming along nicely. We have some basic equipment and hope to be able to add more to it over the next few months. We call it East Mountain Sweat! 

We are currently helping East Mountain with the project of surveying our ministry partners here in the Western Cape of South Africa. Lara and I have the privilege of meeting our different partners, seeing how their ministries, schools, churches and projects are loving and impact their community.  We then get to ask, “How can we (East Mountain) come alongside and support you?”. We have been exposed to many wonderful people and powerful ministries! They consist of justice movements, children ministries, sports outreach, churches, schools, life skills projects, Bible schools for African pastors, and more. It is a great privilege to serve alongside these nationals doing amazing things for the kingdom. We are honoured to play a small part in making a big difference around the city! 

The warmer weather means we are out and about a lot more. If you know the Rousehouse, you know we love spending time with friends, having fun and exploring, so we have done a lot of that this month!

Lara kept her Halloween party traditions going strong again this year! We ate hotdogs, dressed up in costumes, and had fun around the fire pit ! Our neighbourhood had a lot  more trick or treaters this year! I think maybe some of these crazy American traditions are rubbing off. Yes, I was the bearded lady from the movie The Greatest Showman and NO this is not Lara’s dress! It was an actual costume. Lara and Grey were Mexicans, Elly was Cinderella before she became a princess, and Zuzu, Alechia and Mac were the Flintstones.

Updates from prayer needs last month:

  • We are in need for 4 more new monthly supporters at $100 – We did gain a new monthly giver but unfortunately we also lost 1 due to job situations, so we are still praying for a few new supporters. 
  • Lara and I are taking the 11 residents on a weekend retreat this month. Be praying for the right place and for strengthened relationships – It was an amazing house the Lord provided for us and everyone connected well! We are well pleased with the weekend away! We will share more in next month’s updates.
  • We are needing to sell one of our cars soon. Pray for the right buyers to come along soon. – We still haven’t sold our car yet. Praying that happens soon!
  • Be praying for Elly to gain a better understanding in her reading skills and desire to read – She is improving in reading and spelling but continue to pray that she gains a love for reading.
  • Be praying for healthy partners here for us to serve alongside. Lara and I will be meeting with many of the East Mountain partners this month to build relationships and look for ways we can best serve them. – The partnership meetings with local ministries and projects have been going exceptionally well! We are enjoying learning about new ways we can continually come alongside locals that are doing wonderful work for the Kingdom and be a blessing to their neighbours!
  • Evil is hunting our family everyday. Please be praying for the Lord’s protection over us physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. – We can see ways that the enemy is trying to distract us and we keep praying for the Lord’s power, wisdom, and protection. I was just praying through Ephesians 6:10-20, join me. 

Things to be praying for during November:

  • We are still in need of a few more monthly supporters to partner with us to help us accomplish all that the Lord has planned for 2019.
  • We are praying about going on a trip as a family to Uganda in January to work with some friends that we served with years ago. We have been wanting to do something like this for a long time and believe that it would be impactful for all 5 of us. There are lots of details to think through, so we are asking for wisdom, the extra finances to be able to join them, and the logistics of it all.
  • East Mountain is recruiting for and evaluating candidates for the 2019 Residency. Who does the Lord want to impact through our ministry and lives here in South Africa?
  • Healthy relationships with existing and new partner ministries here in Africa. Where, how, and with who does the Lord want us to be working with?
  • The selling of our car.
  • Pray for our current residents as they are wrapping up their time here and planning their next steps in life and ministry.
  • The Lord’s continued work in our own hearts.

Be on the look out for blogs and stories between monthly newsletters. Just last week we posted about the “WHY” behind what we are doing here in Africa and how we believe making disciples can have a great impact. You can read it by clicking here, Explosion of Christianity in Africa.

Sometimes Uncle Spanky is the tackling dummy

We would love for you to join us on Instagram and Facebook to see daily adventures, ministry sites, and family activities here in South Africa.





https://www.instagram.com/causing_wonder/ – Mac’s Instagram

He has joy. What’s my problem?

So, he doesn’t look very happy here. He had never seen a camera before and was checking it out. He also loved suckers and could unwrap them and put them in his mouth by using  just his feet. That is talented!

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart…”                        “I desire to do your will O my God…”                                                                                                  “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing…”                                          “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him…”                                                                         (Psalms 37:45; 40:8; 145:16,19)


Every so often I think about this boy. I meet him on one of our trips to Uganda when we use to mobilize a mobile medical clinic to serve the local churches out in the bush (the middle of no where Africa).

I get caught up in what I need, want, and am working towards and forget about where true joy and satisfaction comes from. I find my self operating in the mind-set that, if I can get my needs meet, wants provided for, and goals accomplished I will be happy, feel complete, and experience real peace. It is all a lie!

I know it is a lie because I have met this little guy. He was born with no arms and has very little possessions and success in this world. He lives in a dirt floor hut, eats less than he should eat everyday (if he eats everyday), has no regular medical care near him, wears the same clothes day after day, and did I mention he has no arms. This little guy has Jesus and a joy that is unlike most in this world.

I know that those things I think will bring me joy are nothing more than surface layer desires and some even distorted desires. Let’s be honest when we get what we are striving after are we satisfied? If I reach a certain goal does it quench that longing in side of me? When I have those experiences like an amazing vacation is life really all that fulfilling? Not really. Ok, to be fair it is all good for a moment or a season and I am not saying to not pursue these or that they are bad. It’s just that I usually find my self back in that place of need, want, and seeking after to gain joy and satisfaction pretty soon, if not immediately.

So what now? How can I obtain this joy that this little boy who has barely life has?

Good news, there is a “fix to all” to this. It does cost me something but the cost is really isn’t that much of a cost to me. Surrender (abandon oneself entirely to, give in to, hand over the controls to). When I surrender and surrender daily to the love of the Father that is when I find my deepest longings and desires can be completely meet. He is the one and only (I AM) that can quench my thirst. He created me with desires and passions, therefore why would I not let Him be the one who satisfies those things in me.

What is the biggest desire you have today? It probably just came to mind, didn’t it?

Think about it for a moment. If you got that thing, had that relationship, accomplished that goal, etc., would you really be happy?

Take some time to prayerfully consider, “what is it I desire more than anything”. Surrender that to the One who loves you more than anything and let Him fulfill your deepest longings. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your deep longings and desires so the Father can engage with you in a way you have never experienced before.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart…”                        “I desire to do your will O my God…”                                                                                                  “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing…”                                          “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him…”                                                                         (Psalms 37:45; 40:8; 145:16,19)

Donor relations and joy don’t usually go hand in hand

This will be my first time writing a blog about a co-worker but I feel that this person deserves it! Karen Judson at UWM is our Donor Relations representative and she loves it! One of Karen’s main roles is to communicate with the donors of missionaries and the US staff on a regular basis. Daily she is on the phone encouraging those who are supporting the work of UWM and she is so good at it! Karen finds joy in hearing what God is doing in these donors lives (sometimes it is not good stuff like financial hardships but she finds ways to be uplifting) and looks for ways to bless these individuals in each conversation. If you ever call into the office she will make sure to pray for you before you hang up! If I was you I would call to say hello and meet Karen!


Karen is one of the most joyful people that I have ever meet! Karen has a big personality and I would say she has been given the spiritual gift of JOY for sure. Everyone loves Karen because her joy and because it is so contagious. When I come into the office she makes a point to come around the corner to say, “Hey Spanky!” or “What’s up man!”. Makes me smile every time.

The other day Karen came in to the office with extra bounce in her step. During prayer time she shared how she woke up thinking about how it is such a blessing to come to work…that is not normal BTW. There are actually people that love waking up and going to work! Karen shared that as she drove in she was reminded by God that she isn’t just going to work but going to her ministry. Have you ever seen someone doing a job and think, “God created them for that specific role”? That is how we all feel about Karen in her role here at UWM and we are so thankful for all that she does to make this an amazing place to serve!

Karen you rock!