What’s New In June?

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!
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This summer Mac is studying coffee roasting, exploring around town, and computer programming for fun through an online mastery course.
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Greyson is working on a dog training course while using our dogs as test dummies, playing his guitar, and playing tennis.IMG_6489
Elly is soaking up every bit of social time she can get with friends and playing mind craft.
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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.
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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.
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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
  • Safety
  • 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.

https://www.instagram.com/spankyrouse/

https://www.instagram.com/lararouse/

https://www.facebook.com/spanky.rouse

https://www.facebook.com/lara.rouse.7

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

 

Making the Most of Life

IMG_7034Last weekend we spent time with some new friends Richard and Sue. They have this amazing bungaló out on the Nile River away from town that is picturesque. They invited us for dinner after a long and draining week and we left that night feeling refreshed. Richard and Sue have lived as missionaries in Africa for nearly 30 years with there 3 children and don’t seem to regret a moment of it. They are full of joy, hope and wisdom and love to share it with those of us that are just newbies to this life. They share stories of how God has provided radically, 1000’s of pastors they have equipped, communities they have impacted greatly, and dreams of what God still has for them to be a part of. Their faith is big and it’s contagious to say the least. After an evening with this “hero” like couple, Lara and I begin to think, maybe we aren’t crazy. Just maybe, we are exactly where the Lord wants us today. Hopefully, one day we will sit with a young couple and tell them of all of the miracles, lives changed, and goodness we have seen the Lord do. We might be crazy (somedays a little, other days a whole lot) but we are going to keep faithfully stepping where He leads, loving others, and pointing people to the Father.

We have been visiting and following up with the top 10 schools with the worse cases of jiggers in 2019. So far, we are seeing a huge drop in the numbers of jiggers compared to last year! #Hope

 

All three kids had to be treated for Bilharzia this month. It’s one of those weird tropical parasites that you get from swimming in water from the Nile River or Lake Victoria. It makes you feel yuck, tired, and dizzy. Thank the Lord we are all still malaria free and that everyone is doing good now!

 

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We checked the PO Box and BOOM it was Christmas in February! We love getting Christmas cards to pin up in our kitchen and enjoy all year long.

 

Nana and Pawpaw came to visit! Everyone loved spending time with them and for the opportunity to share our life in Uganda with them. We also love the treasures they brought along to share!

 

We found a real, legit Mexican restaurant in Kampala! Love at first bite!

 

Hot, dry season has arrived in Uganda but no worries, we found a pool!

 

Hanging out with friends is what our weekends are all about.

 

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Mac started his first job. He is a coffee barista at the local coffee shop on Sunday afternoons. He has surpassed dad in his coffee making skills!

 

 

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Ugandan fast food = roasted banana = yummy!

 

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Bible study is going really well. It is fully Ugandan lead now! We are praying about how to start two additional groups with other staff through out the week.

 

The boys with some smiles!

 

The ladies enjoying life, even when one of them really wished she had some dramamine while on that local fishing boat.

 

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Jinja Sweat is busting at the seems in both classes! We have around 35 people showing up regularly to get healthy and build community while we sweat together!

 

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A picture is worth a thousand words…This picture screams only one emotion…JOY!

 

Ways to be praying with us this month:

  • Protection…physical, spiritual, and over our relationships
  • Travel plans and the impact of the coronavirus
  • Increased favor with our staff and those in our community
  • Strong community of friends and encouragers in our lives
  • Sole Hope 5K Fundraiser. If you want to run virtually click on the link below SoleHopeDenimDash5KandFunRunandVIRTUAL5K
  • Our new car still needs some work done on it
  • For Jinja Sweat: healthy bodies and community – Needing to raise funds to build a shelter and floor
  • Increased vision and passion for the work God is calling us to here

Praises!

  • We had a good visit with Nana and Pawpaw
  • We had a new church send us a gift to help pay for our car repairs
  • The Lord is continuing to protected us from Malaria!
  • It seems like Sole Hope is moving in a great direction and is serving villages here in Uganda really well
  • We really sense a community of friends is growing around us!
  • It’s been dry!

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 financial partners 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.

https://www.instagram.com/spankyrouse/

https://www.instagram.com/lararouse/

https://www.facebook.com/spanky.rouse

https://www.facebook.com/lara.rouse.7

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

*Please go and follow Sole Hope to see the Hope of Jesus in action and the impact local Ugandans are having on communities and in people’s lives!

https://www.instagram.com/solehope/ – Sole Hope

New Decade, New Season

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!

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Bible study on the Nile River

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.

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Reliable and dependable vehicles is one of the biggest challenges of Uganda. The back tire of one of our main vehicles at Sole Hope flew off twice in one day last week. 
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This is our new car that we are praying will be awesome!

 

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

Praises!

  • 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.

https://www.instagram.com/spankyrouse/

https://www.instagram.com/lararouse/

https://www.facebook.com/spanky.rouse

https://www.facebook.com/lara.rouse.7

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

*Please go and follow Sole Hope to see the Hope of Jesus in action and the impact local Ugandans are having on communities and in people’s lives!

https://www.instagram.com/solehope/ – Sole Hope

Christmas on the Equator 2019

What does Christmas on the Equator even look like? Well, for starters it’s hot and sunny and full of outdoor pool activities.

You may have noticed the Rousehouse hasn’t posted daily stories or pics the past few weeks. We intentionally took a little break to simply enjoy the Holiday season. We did however take lots of pictures of all of the festive activities and adventures that we went on so that, we could share them later. Christmas was a lot different here in Uganda but we are learning to create some of our own family traditions and enjoy this season we are in. We know that this isn’t how it will be forever but we know that forever we will look back on these times and cherish the memories. We would love for you to scroll along and enjoy the memories we made during Christmas 2019!

 

Because of your support and generosity towards the Rousehouse we were able to throw a Christmas party for the Sole Hope Staff. There was a soccer/football match in the morning, big meal together, and games and prizes in the afternoon. It was a great way to end the year here at Sole Hope! Thank you for making it possible!

Some new friends invited us to a Christmas party, white elephant gift exchange and time of singing Christmas carols. They even turned on a small air conditioner to make it feel a little cooler for all of us Americans. (Yes, that is a live chicken and it felt quite normal as we all passed it around the living room to check it out)

 

Our electricity wasn’t working properly for about a week but thankfully we found a guy that knew a guy that took care of it just before Christmas.  It now works and our stove and fridge don’t shock us anymore!

 

My friend Obed and I travelled about an hour away to deliver 114 pairs of shoes to a community center for children. We wished we had at least double that amount once we arrived!

 

For Christmas I surprised Lara with a night away at one of the most amazing places! This is a resort in the middle of nowhere on an island in the middle of the Nile. It was exactly what we needed to refill our tanks!  They had the most comfortable bed, delicious food, private huts, bathtub on your patio, and the rapids rushing by you as you slept. Paradise!

 

Our church here in Uganda (Jinja Town Church) had a nice candle light service on Christmas Eve. We sang Christmas songs, read the Christmas story and then we went to eat Chinese food.

 

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Lots of cooking and baking our Christmas favorites over this week. Everyone was involved but some just wanted to be taste testers.

 

Christmas morning was slow and perfect. We opened stockings, made a huge breakfast, opened presents, and laid around the house. This is one of our favorite Christmas traditions.

 

 

Christmas night we invited some friends and expats over for snack foods and desserts. It was such a fun evening. We played ping pong, ate really good food, and ended the night with a dance party! No videos were allowed to be posted to protect the integrity of others.

 

The Day after Christmas we headed off to Kampala (this is the biggest city and capitol of Uganda) for some R&R. We shopped for some goodies we can’t find in our town, went to the movies, spent the days swimming, spent time reading, sleep in, played board games and ate a lot of great food!

Lots and lots of great food!

 

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While in Kampala, we also spent one morning at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Praise the Lord we left there with everyone’s passport stamped with the appropriate permit to live and work in Uganda! While we waited we could see the largest mosque in Kampala and Elly and Grey in their own little world entertaining everyone else waiting.

 

The kids are all doing great and really enjoyed this season! (Mac taking a pic with dad’s dream vehicle to make him jealous. Grey spending time with one of his besties. Elly giving loves to a friends baby goat.)

It has been a good time but we are looking forward to some normal rhythms of life, work, and family this coming month.

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
  • For Sole Hope leadership as they lead us in a healthy direction for this next year
  • Wisdom in finding a new car
  • Healthy bodies
  • Encouraged hearts
  • Increased vision and passion for the work God is calling us to

Praises!

  • We all received our visas with no problems!
  • We have almost raised all of the funds for a bigger, stronger, better vehicle!
  • These past 6 months the Lord has protected us from Malaria!
  • Sole Hope was able to finish the year financially strong and healthy
  • God is continually showing us His power and faithfulness

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 need more monthly givers Give Monthly
  • Give a special gift to support this ministry here in Uganda Special gift

 

Believe me, YOU WANT TO FOLLOW along on our social media pages! So many fun adventures, stories, and pictures.

https://www.instagram.com/spankyrouse/

https://www.instagram.com/lararouse/

https://www.facebook.com/spanky.rouse

https://www.facebook.com/lara.rouse.7

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

*Please go and follow Sole Hope to see the Hope of Jesus in action and the impact local Ugandans are having on communities and in people’s lives!

https://www.instagram.com/solehope/ – Sole Hope

25 Lessons Learned

We haven’t been in Uganda that long, just 7 weeks, but we have made some observations about this place, people, and culture. Some of them are super funny and some of our observations have helped us from losing our mind. Once we gain more of an understanding of some of these lessons learn it has helped grow our love for Uganda. It is also allowing us to just laugh when we would normally be frustrated. We thought it would be fun to share our list with you and maybe update it later as we are 100% sure there will be many more lessons to learn. 

  1. The word yes is replaced with the sound “mmm”…sometimes it can also mean no or I am still listening to you or I am thinking about it. 
  2. A Rolex is not a watch. It is a delicious street food that is similar to a burrito filled with eggs. 
  3. When you honk your horn (or hooter) it has about as many meanings as the sound”mmmm” and none of them are rude. It is more of a jester letting you know that I am driving down the street. 
  4. Electricity is not guaranteed and you must know at all times where the candles and flashlights are 
  5. “Food” is referring to the starch you eat at a meal. Uganda has posho (thick grit like cakes), rice, matooke (mashed up plantains), cassava and a variety of potatoes that make up 80% of your meal. 
  6. Gnuts are actually small peanuts and they are delicious!
  7. No matter how angry someone looks, if you say hello they will absolutely smile and greet you. 
  8. Greetings are very important! Everyone you meet will say hello, ask how you are doing, ask how your family is doing, how your day is going, etc. Greetings are important and not rushed!
  9. Sharing is a part of daily life. 
  10. A phone call trumps everything else. You could be in the middle of performing a medical procedure on someone and if your phone rings you stop to answer it. (I saw this very thing happen last week)
  11. If you want something done you call the person, you do not text them.
  12. There is no such thing as personal space. If you don’t like to be touched NEVER come to this country. 
  13. Chicken on a stick (another fast food, street food) can make any situation better. People get giddy over this special treat. 
  14. Your car breaking down in the middle of no where or getting stuck in mud is a part of life. Don’t worry about it but enjoy this time to chat with friends, laugh together, and wait for help. 
  15. Music is life and never stops playing.
  16. Fast internet means you might be able to download a Netflix show if no one else is on the internet. 
  17. Lizards and bugs are like extra roommates. You don’t bother them and they won’t bother you.
  18. You don’t point with your fingers. You point with your lips. It’s pretty hilarious the first time you see it. 
  19. If you eat dinner at your friends you better take a picture to show your wife. She might wonder why you aren’t hungry for her food and think some other woman has been feeding you. (This literally happened last week at our house)
  20. You shouldn’t get mad when things don’t happen in the time or manner you thought they should. Anger and demanding tones get you NOWHERE here. Laughter, long conversations, and patiences is like sweet honey. 
  21. Learn to laugh at yourself and others. Everyone else will surely be laughing when you do something stupid so join in, they love it. 
  22. If you are in a hurry you should stay home and out of traffic. It is better for your soul!
  23. Be ready to take your shoes off multiple times a day.
  24. The supermarket has everything you could need, just not when you need it. 
  25. If you need to buy something specific or have a specific job done, I have a guy that knows a guy that can get a guy to come meet you to talk about it. 

Oh the joys, struggles, fun, and challenges of living in Uganda!

 

If you would like to see pictures of daily life and regularly experience some of these lessons learned you must go follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

https://www.instagram.com/spankyrouse/

https://www.instagram.com/lararouse/

https://www.facebook.com/spanky.rouse

https://www.facebook.com/lara.rouse.7

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

https://www.instagram.com/solehope/ – Sole Hope

 

 

#America2019

We made it to the US on Wednesday night after a long and crazy journey. We needed to save some money on airfare and the Lord provided some half price tickets, to which we were so thankful for. BUT, we have learned that you sometimes get what you pay for. We ended up taking 5 flights around the world to get back to Charlotte, NC. We were so grateful that we had good flights and that all of our bags made it! #itsamiracle

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We hit the ground running hard and fast. It has been a wonderful time catching up with family and friends as well as getting some delicious food. We feel so connected to all of those who personally support our family therefore it is a blessing for us to spend time with as many of them as we can. We are so blessed by these amazingly, loving people!

It’s pretty hot here in Charlotte and its getting us ready for the hot, humid weather we are about to step into as we head to Uganda.

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Some of you may know that the Lord opened a door for the Rousehouse to rent the house directly across the street from Sole Hope (solehope.org). We are very excited about this location for our family and the opportunity we will have to host many people daily. The house is a large, older home that needs a good deal of work but it has a big, beautiful garden for us to enjoy. We have been working with a local realtor and contractors to get the work started so please be praying for everything to get done quickly. We will post pics soon. IMG_3709

 

Our family will be spending the month of July with family vacationing, reconnecting with friends, visiting churches, raising some extra funds, and preparing for this next step in the journey of heading off to Uganda.

Please be praying for us this month!

  • We need to raise around $12,000 for the renovation of this home and to install a security fence. Could you help us with this need? Please email spanky.rouse@gmail.com
  • We need to secure about $500 more a month in regular support. Would you be willing to join our partner team? We would love to chat with you. Please email spanky.rouse@gmail.com
  • We need some rest this month
  • Good connections with family, friends, and partners
  • Safe travels
  • Mental, emotional, and spiritual preparations for this next season
  • Pray for Sole Hope! #hopeiswinning (solehope.org)

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

https://www.instagram.com/spankyrouse/

https://www.instagram.com/lararouse/

https://www.facebook.com/spanky.rouse

https://www.facebook.com/lara.rouse.7

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

https://www.instagram.com/solehope/ – Sole Hope

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Life in 3 different countries, Quick Update

There are lots of things happening and moving fast but we wanted to send out a quick update on the Rousehouse.
SOUTH AFRICA
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!IMG_2528
AMERICA
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!
UGANDA
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 spanky.rouse@gmail.com for more ways to get involved.
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Visiting Jinja Town and Sole Hope

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?”

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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!

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Partnerships, Wedding Weekend, Interns, Loadshedding, and Updates

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!IMG_2639
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 loadshedding is: 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.
  • Friendships
  • 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.

https://www.instagram.com/spankyrouse/

https://www.instagram.com/lararouse/

https://www.facebook.com/spanky.rouse

https://www.facebook.com/lara.rouse.7

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

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/

Those Red Dirt Roads

A journal entry from Spanky on Jan. 20th, 2019 while we were in Uganda with the Fuel Uganda team.

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It’s our first day of going out to be a part of ministry since landing in Uganda 2 days ago. It’s Sunday which means it is church day. Everyone is tired from the long travels to get here. The kids (all 3) are with me while Lara stays behind to sort the pharmacy out and get things ready from the first medical clinic tomorrow. IMG_2239

We are riding in a taxi out to the village that is an hour and 15 minutes away down a bumpy, red dirt road. Elly is sitting up front with me and she is asking 1 billion questions. The driver just laughs. I was loving her excitement and she seemed to be loving the moment. The boys jumped in the back of the taxi with a bunch of other people but seem to be ok and comfortable. IMG_1868

I was loving the fact that our kids didn’t seem overwhelmed by “Africa” so far. We live in Africa but this is much different than our home.

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Church was looooong and Grey and Elly didn’t seem to be that in to it. Elly asked if she could go out side. I later went out and found her holding a fat baby and laughing with the kids her size. Grey really enjoyed lunch. We had rice, mushy bread, chicken stew, and we got to use our hands. IMG_2014

Later we went for a walk through the village with 2 of our translators who are brother. We were invited into homes (huts), asked to sit down, and got to know families. Mac did really well. He seems to have to fear or no reserve. I love seeing him do his thing and enjoy seeing others being attracted to his personality. IMG_2237

Everywhere we go Elly either has a baby on her hip just like her momma or she is sitting on the community mats talking with the woman while they play with her hair. It does my heart so much good to see all of them exhaling in a way by simply being in this place. At the end of the day we climb back into the van and Grey says, “Can we come back tomorrow and the rest of the week.? I love this place and the was the best day.” I am overwhelmed by joy and all kinds of emotions. IMG_2228

For me, I love riding down the red, dusty, dirty African roads. You pass by the elderly man with white hair riding his bicycle, the woman carrying a bundle of fire wood on her head and a baby on her back, little girls carrying yellow water jugs to and from home, and shoeless children yelling, “Muzungos!” (white men). There are small village markets on the side of the road, chickens running in the middle of the road, smoke rising from the huts off in a distance, and moda bodas (motorcycle taxis) zooming by. This is Uganda to me. It’s not home for me but there is something that is super comforting to me. The people, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the realities and possibilities. This is Africa to me and no place I would rather be than right here, and right here with my family. To day was a good day!

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