Thursday, 24 October 2013

Helping hands...

The team in the hangar has just said goodbye to a team of 3 guys from an organization called Brass Tacks that volunteer their time to help other organizations in practical ways. Ferenc (Frank) and Tim are both professional electricians and the team leader Paul who is skilled in all areas of construction have all been working in the hangar for two weeks working on some finishing touches to the new hangar.
For those that haven’t heard of Brass Tacks you can check out their website at In a nutshell, Brass Tacks has on their lists over 200 volunteers of all different trades that volunteer their time to work on all kinds of projects in Europe, Asia and Africa or where ever there is need.
In our hangar they completed the planned list of jobs which consisted of installing LED lighting on the hangar floor and in the offices; fabricating and installing ducting to complete our ventilation system; and installing lighting and power sockets on the top floor of the hangar. Since they completed all the planned work in the first week…..they were able to install the solar panel system as well as complete setting up the projector and speaker system in our training/conference room!
Paul, Tim and Frank completed way beyond what was expected and have been a great encouragement to us working in the hangar, who have been too busy maintaining the aircraft to complete these final projects in the new hangar.
Thank you guys!!!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Making Memories

It has been a week of celebration in our home.

On 8th October we celebrated Abigails 1st Birthday. It was all a low key afair, but you can get away with that for a 1st Birthday.
Abigails' smiles show she enjoyed the day all the same. She had a play date with a little friend in the morning and we celebrated as a family with a Birthday tea and presents. Our baby is fast becoming a lively, mischievous little girl who keeps us very busy but is never short of smiles and giggles, especially when she is surrounded by the company of others.

Two days later I drove through the Kampala traffic jams and reached my destination with about 5 minutes to spare.
Amy was competing in her first inter primary school swimming Gala. She swam the freestyle relay race really well, making her mummy very proud. The occasion was made even more special when Rainbow International School won the whole event.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Hitting the Ground Running

Do you ever feel like you are stuck on a treadmill that is going at a speed that is too fast for you to keep up?
Life has felt a bit like that since we arrived back in Uganda two weeks ago.
Is it only two weeks? It feels much longer...

Mark knew that three days after being in the hangar, the Chief Engineer would be leaving Mark in charge for a couple of weeks so that he could visit family in the Netherlands. Mark therefore has the extra responsibility for managing the 'small' team now remaining in the hangar and making sure that maintenance is completed on time.
Having told several people whilst in the UK, that Marks work rarely involves trips up country to fix broken down planes, one such trip was required on his first day back in the hangar! He had to fly up to Kotido to change a wheel whose tire got a puncture on one of our aircraft... a long day 'in the office'.

As well as running the hangar, Mark has been busy preparing for a team from 'Brass Tacks' in the UK who have come to help finish off some electrical jobs etc around the new hangar.

Life has not been dull at home either.
Our gardener/guard for the past four & half years told us he needed to leave that week to return to his home in Congo and care for his sick father. We knew this, but had not realized he had no plans to return to Uganda and was giving up his job permanently. Emile has lived on our compound. Not only has he been the most reliable worker but he has cared for our pets, played with the children and become part of our family. With great sadness we watched Emile pack his bags and said good bye.
As I faced the task of interviewing new gardeners, Joshua's only request was that I find someone who would bounce with him on the trampoline like Emile did!

Having just about emptied the guest room of our suitcases, we welcomed a guest for a week. Heather Swanson arrived on a 'look see' visit to check out schools, houses and other amenities in preparation for her families arrival here next February. It was great to get to know Heather better and our children enjoyed making videos for her children in order to help them look forward to the big transition ahead. The Swansons come from Scotland and Andy has just completed his training as an engineer at MMS Aviation in Ohio where Mark also trained. Andy, will be a most welcome addition to the hangar team which is short of staff right now.

Amy & Joshua have settled in well at school. It has been hard work for them as they have had to 'catch up' on the 3 weeks of school they missed at the beginning of the year. The general level of tiredness has meant we have all picked up colds this past week...Half term break is around the corner so we shall try and get some rest then.
Before that, Amy has her first swimming gala where she is representing the Rainbow School team and Abigail will turn 1 ! More photos to come.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Home Assignment

I was reflecting today on the Home Assignment we have just returned from. In many ways, the whole experience seems such a blur but I have tried to sum it up in the Acronym below.

Holiday. This is what many people assume we are doing whilst back in the UK, although we are very busy meeting supporters and speaking at churches. However, we did just have a most wonderful week together in the Yorkshire Dales, soaking up the English Countryside at its best.

On the move. It is a life of constantly moving around and staying in new beds...only 5 or 6 this time so not too bad at all!

Motorways. It's nice to travel on smooth roads for a change with not a pot hole in sight. However, the day we spent 3 1/2 hours on the M25 was not too fun.

Eating too much of the yummy foods we miss while in Uganda....chocolate, sea food, cheese, sugar puffs

Adaptable. That's is what you have to be when you are sleeping in different beds, changing routines on a daily basis and trying to juggle a family life with the demands of meetings with supporters etc.

Shopping and far too many Suitcases filled with clothes, Birthday presents, food and motorbike spares for the next year or two.

Speaking engagements. In four weeks we spoke to nine different church meetings and held two open houses

Icthus Motor Mission. A wonderful organisation that hire cars out to missionaries at very reasonable rates. Their ministry enables us to have the freedom to get around in our own vehicle on Home Assignment.

Great times with family and friends, building precious memories to hold on to an keep us going.

New experiences. Usually we try and do something special with the children that is just not possible in Uganda. Last year it was horse riding lessons. This year it was a wonderful trip to Lego land.

Mixed emotions. Our time in the UK and when adjusting back to normal life in uganda is usually a roller coaster of emotions. Joy at being with loved ones and sadness at saying goodbye again.

Exhaustion. I know our time in UK does include some rest and relaxtion but more often than not I often feel exhuasted and more than ready for 'normal' routines again at the end of it.

New people. Every time we are back we have the privelege of meeting new folk that pray for us and the ministry of MAF

Thankful that we have the privelege of serving with MAF in Uganda and humbled that so many of you choose to join us on this journey by praying for our family as we seek to glorify God each day.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Growing Up

The Summer is here...well actually the rainy season is probably about to start but another school year over and the children are definitely growing up.

The last few weeks have been filled with many proud moments.
We had swimming gala in which both children swam really well. Amy has been asked to join the school swim team next year!

Then came sports day. One of the races Joshua competed in was the ‘big shoe’ race.
It was a comparatively easy task for him since at 6 years old he is already wearing size 3 shoes. I know the years are limited before he overtakes me height wise.

Last week I attended the Year 2 celebration assembly as Amy is now finished with Infant school (Key stage 1) and moving up to Juniors (Key stage 2). Amy and her peers received certificates, danced, sang songs and recited poems. It was an assembly that made all the parents proud.

While mummy has been busy attending school events, getting houses ready for two new staff families and plenty of hospitality, Abigail has been busy learning to crawl, clap and starting to wave.

With three children now at home I need to get creative and keep them all occupied during the holidays!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Good News!

It's all about paperwork.

It seems that the process of Mark getting the correct licences in order to maintain aircraft here has been a long one.
Recently Mark sat two oral exams that, if passed, would enable him to sign off maintenance work done on the Cessna 206 engine and air frame.
On the day, Mark did not feel that one of the exams went particularly well.
Three weeks later he was thrilled to receive the news that he had passed both exams!
Mark is now able to sign off maintenance work done on any of the MAF Uganda aircraft. This is great news but also a big responsibility. Pray for Mark to have wisdom as he carries out and oversees maintenance and releases planes back to service in the air.

On another note, we are in the process of applying for renewal of our work permit here in Uganda.
The paperwork required for this has also grown in our 8 years here.
Immigration now require a current Interpol check among other things.
So, last week I headed off to the Interpol offices, bracing myself on the way for what I thought could be a long morning of standing in lines.
Having stood in 2 lines and received 2 slips for which I needed to make payments, I then headed into town on a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) to make payments at the bank. Having done this I completed my application form and the fingerprint process (yes, it'd done with lovely black ink!) and then joined two more lines where I had to pay small sums of money and collect a receipt. At the end of the morning I came away with six receipts which I now need to hold on to in order to collect the certificate in a weeks time.
It seems that here in Africa you can never have enough slips of paper or stages to a process, but I guess I still need to keep learning the lesson of patience.

On a serious not, we would value your prayers that our work permit application goes through smoothly and quickly.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

It's very quiet at home today but then I quite enjoy my space at times. We said good bye to Marks Parents yesterday after a lovely visit with them. We got away for a few days to Sipi Falls and then Jinja.

Today, an excited Amy & a more reluctant Joshua went back to school.

So, it's just myself and Abigail.
Now it's back to the reality of life. No grandparents to entertain the kids or wash up dishes in the evening, lunch boxes to prepare for school the next day, shopping to get done. Holidays are good but I like my routine too.

I am hoping we can get Abigail into a better sleeping routine also. She has been waking several times a night since her 2 teeth came in. She turned 6 months this week so all the fun with solid foods will now begin.

Today I am busy preparing for the MAF world wide Day of Prayer which will be tomorrow. Mark and I have agreed to lead the programme for the Uganda team out at Kajjansi. I'm looking forward to prayer and fellowship with team mates tomorrow.
If you have a moment maybe you could remember MAF in prayer too.

Oh, Mark is sitting his oral exam's for the Cessna 206 type rating on Thursday. He is busy trying to squash in some study this week. He first applied for the exam in June 2011! Pray the exam will go ahead and that Mark will pass first time.

Monday, 1 April 2013


There’s the pot holes, horrendous traffic jams, beaurocracy, cockroaches & mosquitoes which can all be frustrating at times, but none of these are what I find most difficult about living overseas and being involved in missions. One of the hardest things to deal with is that friends are always coming and going. We have now lived in Uganda for almost eight years and since many MAF folk serve for around four years we are the ones left behind, saying good bye. In the next three months MAF Uganda is losing two pilot families and one engineer family. There is only one replacement pilot so far, so we shall be even more short staffed for the remainder of this year it seems. The families leaving have some of the children’s closest friends and one of the wives is my prayer partner so saying good bye will not be easy. Recently, I had not been meeting quite as regularly with Jenny to pray. I realised that this was my way of ignoring the inevitable and trying to block the pain of the distance that will soon separate us. I guess I could choose to stay in my home and not develop these wonderful, deep friendships, but I know from experience that I would be the one missing out on all those precious shared moments in between. There is something special about having a friend to laugh with, cry with, share our hearts with. Jenny & I are praying that our friendship will stay strong despite the miles soon, and that we would each be bold enough to find a new prayer partner to share life's joys and challenges with.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Big Birthday Boy

My Big Boy turned 6 last weekend. Where does the time go? When I look at how tall he has grown it is difficult to remember back to the time when he was a baby. I am learning again with Abigail to make the most of those precious moments when they are small…It does not last long. As parents, we have the great honour and task of teaching our children to live by the Word so that when they are old they will not depart from it. I know Mark & I have not got it all right but I pray that our lives do model to our children by word and action that Jesus comes first in this family. We had a wonderful weekend celebrating his Birthday. He chose to spend a day with his best friend Jona. We packed Saturday full with lunch out, bowling and then swimming & ice-cream, since it was a lovely warm day. On Sunday (his actual Birthday) church was followed by a meeting of our cell group and then we all sang and shared his cake. By Sunday evening a very tired boy told me he had had “ a wonderful weekend”. There is more to come…several of his presents are still on the way from England!!

Friday, 11 January 2013

I realise it's a while since I wrote a new post so before we are too far into 2013 I thought I'd get some pictures online from Christmas 2012. With a new baby and only recently having returned we decided to spend the holidays relaxing at home. It was lovely. Plenty of time to relax together at home or by the pool. We also enjoyed Christmas Day puddings and New Years Eve with our extended MAF family, playing games and then at midnight watching the fireworks in the town centre from the top of the hill we live on. We are now settled back into life in much as one can with the changing routines of a new baby. Abigail is now 3 months old and a healthy (7kg) happy baby. She thrilled both sets of grandparents with smiles as we Skyped on Christmas Day! Amy and Joshua are doing well at school and love to spend time with Abigail as soon as they get to fit the homework into the schedule too somewhere? Mark enjoyed the break from work, and kept himself busy with various projects in the garage over the holidays. Now it's back to maintaining aircraft and various other projects around the hangar. Abigail has already been out to visit Daddy at the hangar three times...hopefully a place she will come to enjoy visiting as much as her brother and sister do!