Monday, 29 October 2012

Family of Five!

At 11:11am on 8th October our little miracle arrived. Abigail Faith was born by c-section weighing 9lb 9oz and 21in long. She is perfect in every way and I still want to pinch myself occasionally as I look at her and try to take in the enormity of the way God has chosen to bless our family. Mark & I are adjusting to the lack of sleep at night although Abigail is generally becoming more settled as the days go by. Amy & Joshua have adapted really well to the arrival of a baby sister and are eager to help in any way they can! I think she may be spoiled rotten. Since August, Amy & Joshua have done really well adjusting to British life and settling at school here but they are missing Uganda and are ready to go home now. It is half term break this week so we are planning some fun activities for them during the holidays such as pony riding and a trip to the cinema. The weather is getting colder and wetter in UK...that winter feeling in the air. So I think I shall be ready to see blue skies and sunshine again soon too! We are currently planning to remain in the UK until 25th of November, when we shall return to Uganda so Mark can get back into that hangar. We received Abigail's passport yesterday and then Sarah and Abigail have health checks at 6 weeks please pray that they will be fine. It is a little overwhelming trying to plan and think about packing for our return with a newborn in the house but no doubt we will get there.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Bags packed and ready to go

Well almost.... I am surrounded by suitcases but I (Sarah) have mixed feelings as I head back to UK with the children in two days time. I am excited to be heading back to spend time with family and friends but not looking forward to leaving Mark behind for seven weeks. On August 7th, Mark & I will celebrate 13 years of marriage. I am so thankful to God for those thirteen years and hopefully many more to come. There will be lots of changes for all of us to adjust to in the next few weeks so we would value your prayers: Mark is currently covering as Chief of Maintenance in the hangar, and in that role has to make a lot of decisions each day. The pregnancy is going well and I am looking forward to being in a country with better medical facilities although I am getting more tired as we approach due date for baby Newnham(4th October). Amy & Joshua will go to school in England while we wait for the arrival of the baby. Remember them as they adjust to new country and school. Please pray that they would each make at least one good friend very quickly. Thank you for praying for us in the next seven weeks as our family is apart.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

New Hangar Opening/Dedication

In April we had the official opening/dedication of the new hangar. The MAF-Uganda team was joined by many visitors including all the MAF Africa regional managers that were in Uganda for meetings. The opening consisted of a program of lunch, speeches, worship and time was spent moving to different areas of the hangar and praying for the work carried out in these areas and for safety as the hangar staff carry out their duties. Although in the hangar now since February there is still work to do arranging things and things just the way we need them. Below are a few pictures of the Opening:

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Miracles Do Happen!

After twelve years of being married, Mark & I were thrilled last week when we went for the twelve week scan of baby Newnham. If you know us well, then you may be as surprised as we were several weeks ago! This miracle has been a long time in coming and something we have desired for many years. There have definitely been ups and downs along the road, but our God obviously loves a good surprise as much as we do. Amy and Joshua are thrilled with the prospect of having a baby brother or sister. Indeed, it is something they have both asked for in recent months and our response has always been, 'well you can pray to Jesus for a miracle, if you want mummy to have a baby'. I guess God also cherishes the prayers of little children who come to Him with the desires of their hearts. There is still a long way to go, but we are rejoicing in each day this new life is given to us and praying for the safe arrival of this precious gift around the beginning of October.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Guest House Closing

Several of you have read our recent prayer letter and noticed my short prayer request regarding the closure of the guest house. I decided it was right to give you all a little bit more information. This has not been an easy decision for the management team of the MAF Guest House to make. However, the guest house has been operating at a loss for quite some time. This is largely due to a reduction in size and number of short term teams coming from Europe and America (due to world economic situation. Also, Kampala is a rapidly growing city and there are plenty of other Guest Houses and hotels to choose from. We no longer felt it was good stewardship to keep operating at a loss, so made the tough decision to close at end of April 2012. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was to tell our four staff that we will be making them redundant. We are praying that we will be able to help them find new employment before the Guest House actually closes. What are the implications for me? Right now I am busy with all the details of writing references, pricing everything ready for sale and preparing to pack up a guest house. We will do this during the month of May. I shall then enjoy having more time to spend with the children over the summer holidays and see what new things the Lord has in store for me after that.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Sudan Trip

Here are some highlights from our recent trip to the worlds youngest country...more to come in our next newsletter.

After 6 years in Uganda it was about time I went on MAF flight, even if I don’t normally enjoy the ride!
So last week, we set off from Kajjansi on a beautiful cool and hazy morning to go and visit friends in Torit, S Sudan.
With nervous anticipation I boarded the plane as we headed up past the lush green of Uganda, over Lake Albert and on to our first stop, Arua. Here we passed through immigration and flew on up to Sudan.

The land was now dry and sparse with evidence of many bush fires below.As we approached Torit, I looked down on the town that would be my home for the next few days. It was dry and dusty, just the occasional green tree amidst the thatched tukals.
I was pleased to see the familiar faces of Russ & Lyn waiting for us as the plane came to a stop. The door of the plane opened and the intense midday heat hit me – on most days it was around 45 degrees in the sun (36 in the shade).

Russ & Lyn have worked with the people of South Sudan for over 30 years. They have been based in Torit for five years and are working with the Africa Inland Churches on Adult Literacy.
It is their desire to see people who are illiterate, reading & writing in their mother tongue. Russ & Lyn prepare materials such as Bible stories and books on basic health & hygiene in the local languages. They then train teachers who will then teach a small group of learners in one of the local AIC churches. Mark & I used our skills to assist them for a few days and witnessed the challenges of ministry in a rural location, with no fridge, running water and just a couple of solar lights. I have returned very thankful for my electricity and water even if they go off at some point most days!

The trip for me was also a real eye opener into the lives of our MAF pilots. They are landing at five or six locations each day, loading a plane in hot conditions without ever really having a break. It is gruelling work. Our two and half hours on the plane would have taken two days by road (and not be possible at all during the wet season).
Lyn & Russ have also flown with MAF many times, particularly during the war years. She told me how she has always felt “very humbled and grateful that God would call men (and women) with such specialist skills to serve overseas and fly me into/out of these remote places”.
What a privilege to each be playing our small part in Gods bigger plan.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Christmas and New Year

We hope you all had a good Christmas and New year!

We were at home for Christmas Day and had Mark’s cousin Ruth (who is in Uganda for a year with International Justice Mission (IJM)) over for the day. The kids enjoyed having Aunty Ruth with us. After opening a few presents we all went to church together and then back home for a traditional Christmas, albeit with chicken and not turkey!

On Boxing Day we took Ruth home and then began our journey driving to The Brackenhurst Conference Centre, Kenya. Not having done this long a drive before with the kids we just went to Jinja (where the source of the Nile is) on the first day, 1 ½ hours, and the kids enjoyed a swim in the pool there. The next day we headed off early, destination Njoro, Kenya (about 3 hours before Nairobi) for our next night stop. This was the longer days driving and would include the border crossing into Kenya. At the border we met up with the other two MAF families, went through the normal immigration checks, got a temporary vehicle importation and finally stopped by the Police Office to ‘sign in’ to Kenya!

Once in Kenya the tarmac road got worse for a few hours, as this is the main route all the trucks and tankers take from the port of Mombasa, Kenya and going to Uganda, DRC, Rwanda and other counties. The landscape is very hilly with lots of 1000ft climbs and descents. The road forms into huge ‘waves’ of tarmac where the heavy trucks are braking going down the hills. This, combined with deep ruts from the truck wheels makes for a very strange sensation for the driver as the vehicle is always being tugged one way or another. And then there’s overtaking….

We stayed at Kembu Cottages and Campsite which has a working dairy farm as part of it and really was like a little bit of England in Kenya! It was great place and we enjoyed a walk around the farm, camped there using their tents and bedding – so no setting up and breaking camp for us!

Next day was just a short, couple of hours drive to Brackenhurst where we stayed for the next four nights and saw the New Year in.

The Brackenhurst Conference Centre is set in beautiful surrounding and the conference we attended is an annual event organised for missionaries serving in East Africa. For the next few days we enjoyed bible study sessions, a choice of activities from seminars on various subjects to craft sessions. In mornings whilst these were going on there was a children’s programme that included Sunday school type sessions and then games outside. The afternoons were free to enjoy the surroundings and facilities or drive out and visit local amenities. The food was great with all cooked meals and 3 courses for lunch and dinner…time for that diet now we think!
The children enjoyed the kids activities and mummy and daddy enjoyed not seeing them for a lot of week! If they weren’t in sessions then they were whizzing around the site on their new scooters trying to keep up with the bigger kids.

It was nice relaxing time for us and being able to enjoy the adult activities without having the worry about the kid’s safety was great. If only it was couple of days longer…