Uganda Update: We have now been in some kind of lockdown for nearly 4 months and have lost track of all sense of time. Currently we still have an official curfew of 7pm, no schools or churches gathering, and a few other restrictions that continue to limit the outreach and work that we are here to do. We are allowed to have 4 people in a car now, which that is still a little tricky for our family of 5. COVID seems to be on the rise here but we can’t truly tell due to the governments control of information. We are simply trying to live life as normal as possible and keep a content spirit during this crazy season of life.
Family Update: Our children have the privilege of doing most of their school either online or with Lara, therefore they have been successful in completing another year of school! Lara is super grateful to now officially be on summer break!
This summer Mac is studying coffee roasting, exploring around town, and computer programming for fun through an online mastery course.
Greyson is working on a dog training course while using our dogs as test dummies, playing his guitar, and playing tennis.
Elly is soaking up every bit of social time she can get with friends and playing mind craft.
Lara and I are planning for the coming months, working on some projects and investing in Jinja Town Church and people that we can easily connect with that live near us.
Needing R&R: Overall we are doing ok but definitely needing some time to relax, get away, and exhale. We enjoy our life here in Jinja, Uganda but there days that can seem overwhelming from the time you get out of bed. The stresses of a different culture, unstable internet, power, and water, regular sicknesses, safety issues, people around us that are in great need, relationships, never ending car repairs, constantly changing government rules, and learning how to fully live out our purpose during this time can all add up in a day. Also, we are suppose to be leaving for America next week but we are unable to make that trip which can add an extra level of frustration and sadness. I’ve heard that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but I think a little R&R would go a long way too.
We have decided to take a couple short trips this coming month. Lara and I are going to head to a lodge in the Kibale Forest near the Congo border that is offering a nice discount for a couple days. We are looking forward to unplugging, relaxing and being somewhere with out all of the constant noises and chaos. We are also going to go shopping in the capital to pic up some goodies for the family. Then, we are wanting to plan a 4 day trip up north where we can take the kids. Our hope is to go to a safari lodge where we can swim, hike the waterfalls, and take a day safari. We think the kids would really enjoy this time away and going on an adventure! We will be sure to update you and send pics.
Please join us in prayer:
Spanky’s ankle is feeling much better but not 100% yet
Awareness of the opportunities the Lord wants us to step in during this time
Vacation and time away as a family
Financial support and stableness
Our friends, neighbors and church members that are struggling with finances and food during this time
Our families mental, emotional and spiritual healthiness during this time
The best way to be sure you don’t miss an update would be to follow our blog or one of our social media outlets.
It has been a few weeks since our last update but not much has changed. As for Uganda, there are 489 cases and 79 of these have recovered fully. Most of our cases, around 400 are truck drivers from neighboring countries that are sent back to their home country when tested at the boarder. Thankfully we have NO official deaths from COVID-19 yet!!!
The biggest problem currently is the lack of income and food for most local families. We meet people everyday on the street, strangers stopping by our house, or through our church that have not eaten in days. Our biggest impact currently is by providing basic necessities like food and soap to families. It’s life or death for some during his time. This season of life makes us really think twice about our true wants and needs.
Our family is holding on here in Jinja during this time of lockdown. It really isn’t that bad but we definitely have days when we are ready to throw our hands up and wave that white flag.We just finished week 10 of this lockdown which means it has been 10 weeks since we have driven cars, road on motorcycles, been to restaurants, had normal busy schedules, gone to church, held gym classes, and seen more than a handful of people in a day. We are over this! We are likely to have some changes come this week which makes us happy!
As for the Rousehouse kids, we wanted you to hear from them.
We are still in great need of your financial support. We are dependent on generous people like you back home in America to partner with our family. Your generosity helps us in providing food for families, serving the Sole Hope staff during this time, and partnering in many ways with Jinja Town Church who is having the greatest impact on hundreds of families a week that are in need.
This time is not what we had dreamed and hoped it would be, but we still believe that God brought us here and is using us and this situation for His good and kingdom. He is not done with us in Uganda!!!
We need you to stand with us and say a prayer for us during this time! Here are a few items:
Praise the Lord, Spanky’s ankle is almost healed up!!!
Safety, peace, and general calmness here in Uganda
The Lord’s working in our hearts and lives during this time
No missed opportunities during this season – His vision and purpose
The Lord’s quick and perfect victory over COVID-19
Uganda’s and the World’s Economy
Our families mental, emotional and spiritual healthiness during this time
The best way to be sure you don’t miss an update during this crazy time would be to follow our blog or one of our social media outlets.
There are lots of things happening and moving fast but we wanted to send out a quick update on the Rousehouse.
We began to post all of our furniture, cars, and extras just a couple weeks ago. God has been so good in providing someone to come buy almost everything we have. We have given a lot away too but for the most part God has connected us with the right people to sell our stuff. He has done this before (just 2 years ago to be more specific) so why would I doubt he can do it again! Let me tell you just one of the many stories we have during this time of the right people God has sent us. We are basically camping and making the best of it!
Our neighbor, Rob, has been a good guy to live beside. He has been super helpful and generous on multiple occasions. Well, I posted our family’s SUV for sell and he immediately came over to the house and made me a very fair offer. He transferred the money within an hour and told me that we should just drive the car until we leave South Africa. How great is that! He even used the car to take us to the airport and pick us up when we went to Uganda at 3:00 am! I am thankful for people like Rob!
We are planning out the time we will be in the US to make sure we see as many people as we can as well as get some needed rest and down time as a family. We are so looking forward to tacos, church, parties, family, friends, and to be honest Amazon and Target. We arrive on June 26th and leave on August 1st for Uganda. We hope to give updates, share vision for the next season, tell you more about Sole Hope and be encouraged by all of you who love and support us from afar. See you soon!
While we are in the US we will also be renovating a home in Uganda. Yes this is a little stressful and no we have no idea how it is all going to happen. We are trusting the Lord. The house is in rough conditions and currently doesn’t have a working kitchen or security fence around the house. We are working with some great people in Uganda to get a new kitchen built and installed, bathrooms up to fully functioning, the interior painted, electrical work fixed, a ceiling leak repaired, odds and ends done, and a fence installed around the property for security. This house is across the street from the Sole Hope Guest House and offices, centrally located to town, church, and other people we know which is why we really want this house. Location, location, location. It will also provide some good space for our family indoors and outdoors. We will also be needing to raise some extra start up/moving funds to help us pay for some of the work as well as we need to buy a 4×4 car (Yes, 4×4 is necessary to get around not just something Spanky wants to play in the mud with!). Can’t wait to share pictures later!
Will you please be praying for us during this transition:
Saying goodbyes/see you laters to all of the wonderful people, church, and city we have loved so much these past two years
For our marriage to be stronger than ever
The kids (peace, fears, friendships, a sense of settledness and comfort, hopefulness)
Travel plans to the US and then to Uganda – and all bags to make it hassle free
That our time in America will be refreshing, restful, and fruitful
For the renovations to go well and smooth so the house can be ready for our family when we get there in August
For extra funds for moving, housing, and vehicles ($10,000)
New financial partners to join us in this next season of the journey ($500 a month in new giving)
Will you join our financial support team and help bring hope to those in Uganda? Please email Spanky at email@example.com for more ways to get involved.
At East Mountain our focus has shifted back towards partnerships. East Mountain exists to empower national pastors, leaders, and ministries so that they can effectively and sustainably impact their communities through the Gospel. We know that long-lasting change will not happen if it is dependent on us but when it is lead by local leaders. Spanky spends his days meeting with partners to build stronger relationships, dream together, and to make plans for how East Mountain can effectively come alongside them and serve with them well. This month in our staff meeting Spanky highlighted the Eden Project and the Mustard Seed house where Chelsea, one of our interns from last year is serving. Chelsea has a heart for social justice, community development, and helping woman rise above the poverty that surrounds them. This year she is able to do just that with this partner and they are grateful to have Chelsea on their team. The Mustard House is a home for homeless woman that have been subject to prostitution, drug abuse, and neglect. They clothe them, feed them, give them a safe home to live in, and life counciling to help them get ahead in life. The Eden project is a team of people that are missionally moving into communities to be good neighbours by caring for the needs of the neighbourhood, building community among the people, and sharing the love of Jesus through home churches. We love these ministries and love seeing how they are having such an incredible impact in the name of Jesus!
This past weekend Lara and I took a trip to some friends wedding. The wedding was in a small fishing village about 4 hours away from our home so we decided to make a long weekend of it. Years ago we learned the value spending time together just the two of us. We love getting away and connecting! We listened to a book in the car and had great conversations. We laughed and held hands. We took a walk on the beach and drank coffee. We found the best places to eat and stayed up later then normal. We talk about life and dreamed about what God is doing in our lives. When it is just the two of us we can have a really fun time! On our last day, we took the morning to hike the coastal cliffs, jump into the cold tide pools, watch the waves crash up against the rocks, and just sat together in the warm sun. This type of day always fills my bucket up!
Our church here in South Africa (Life Church) has a gap year intern program for young students within the church. This year we had 9 students join the program. They get hands on experience in ministry, increased life skills, and a deeper bible understanding. The Rousehouse gets the chance to host the students at our home every week for dinner and a small group time. We are talking through their life’s story, issues that may arise in the house where they live, how is their heart, and simply have a fun time every week. Spanky also mentors the 5 young men each week and takes them out to chat more about God’s plan for their life and who He has created them to be as men. It has been a blessing to have our week and home filled with young people that we can love on and encourage.
A recent blog on some of the things we have recently been learning: How do you define poverty? Would you consider yourself poor?Who is the poor?
Loadshedding. No one can really explain why we are experiencing it now and why it is so random but it happens never the less. The definition of loadsheddingis: The action to reduce the load on something, especially the interruption of an electricity supply to avoid excessive load on the generating plant. Our electricity can be turned off each day for 3 hours to 3 times a day for 3 hours each. Then you may not have any interruptions for a month. Just when you think you got the schedule figured out, it changes. Here recently is the most electrical interruptions we have experienced since moving here. This past week it has been going off 3 different times for 2-2.5 hours at a time. Part of the reason is due to the massive disstruction in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi caused by a mighty cyclone (hurricane). South Africa gets much of its electrical power from these countries power plants. We believe that this schedule of loadshedding is probably going to be the new normal for us for a while. Please be praying for these countries where 1000’s have died and many more are missing!
Mac, Grey and Elly are doing well. They are moving right along with school and extra curricular activities. This week is a term break in South Africa and since we don’t have power for big chunks of time they are taking more breaks in their work. The boys are becoming pretty skilled in surfing! I think they are already better than I am and are definitely ridging more advanced boards than I could even think about riding. Elly is doing well in her dance classes. She had fallen off a scooter on to her back a few weeks ago but she seems to be back to normal now. All three of them seem to be thriving in life!
Updates on February prayer request and March needs:
Please be praying for the East Mountain residents as they are starting to get involved with local ministry partners.
Pray for the Lord’s clear vision and direction for life and ministry here in Africa.
Pray that we will encourage and invest in the Life Church interns well this year.
Please be praying for new supporters and new churches to come along side of us to help sustain the work and our family’s needs. We need to raise about $500 more a month.
The Lord’s continued work in our own hearts. He is speaking and moving and we don’t want to miss out. Wisdom, sensitivity, and obedience
East Mountain Partnership: Pray for favour with leaders and open doors to how the Lord is leading East Mountain.
For those cleaning up after the cyclone in South East Africa
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.
If you would be able to join our monthly financial and prayer team we would be grateful! Your generosity will make a lasting difference in our lives and the lives of those the Lord is reaching here in Africa. Click here to sign up, http://uwm.org/missionaries/11084/
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)
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!
Mac, Grey and Benji being crazy at the market
Lara and Tori at a secluded beach we found with some friends
Grey and his best bud, Matthew picking flowers out of the garden
Hardings and Rouse’s having taco night!
Elly and Caroline enjoying the shade by the dam
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.
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.
We have just returned to South Africa from visiting in the US. Over the past few days of traveling I have had questions swirling around in my head. What are you doing? Why are you here? What’s God up to in my life? Who are we having an impact on? All the while, still filling completely confident in our purpose of living this life and being right here right now.
I find myself driving down the road just a few days later with this young lady and begin to hear her story. It is one that is common to hear here but it still never gets easy to hear. I am simply listen to her share while my heart is hurting for her. She says that she never thought she would be able to find a Godly man that would care for her, love her, and treat her rightly. This young lady has a bit of hope through watching me be the kind of husband I am to Lara. “I want someone to treat me and love me like you do for Lara. I think it might be possible now.”
In the midst of her tears and now silence, I hear the Holy Spirit prompting me to speak up. Speak out. Speak love. Speak encouragement. I apologize for what she has gone through in life. I remind her that God has a great plan for her life. I point out ways that He is making something beautiful out of this mess. I remind her that she is a dearly beloved daughter of the King. I tell her that God doesn’t see her as broken or unwanted but quite the opposite. I tell her she is special and deserves the best.
We end the final minutes of our ride with tears and smiles. I then drive home knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt why my family and I are here in this place at this time. In this life, we are (here in South Africa or wherever He leads us) to be available to meet people where they are so that, we can point them to Jesus and the Father’s love for them. We are called to love well, be the encouragement, speak His truth, pray for and with people, care for those in need, disciple, and share Jesus through our everyday ordinary ways.
You may ask, how do we measure success? I would say, let me tell you about a girl I drove home the other day.
Travel to Durban, South Africa for a UWM Africa Missionary Conference
Year end giving and continued strong financial support
Vision for the specific ministry areas the Lord wants us to invest in deeply in 2018
God’s grace, strength, peace, joy, protection and constant wisdom for everyday situations
Awareness of opportunities to love, serve and care for those in need around us
God’s favor and favor with others (neighbors, community, team, partners, etc)
If you would like to join our financial or prayer team you can check out how to partner with us by clicking here Partnering with us…. It is coming close to that time of the year when many are thinking about those charitable donations. Would you consider a special gift to our family and the ministry projects we are planning for 2018. If you would like more info please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Lastly, we regularly post pictures and stories on our Instagram and Facebook accounts. This is a great way to stay connected and up to date!