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Sustainability, Transition and Moving Our Stuff

It is well past time for an update. I hate it when life gets away from me and I neglect my blog updates. If you missed the big announcement (read about it HERE), our family is moving to Kampala, Uganda on August 5th! We will be expanding the work of Walk In Love while continuing to support the current centers in Tanzania. Since making the decision to move to Uganda, we have divided our efforts between getting the current centers functioning independently, arranging the logistics of an international move, and trying to transition our family well on both a physical and emotional level.

Here is a bit more depth into all of those things: We have been working like crazy to get the daycare centers running independently. It was always our goal for the centers to be able to eventually function without our assistance. We just never expected the transition to be so rapid. In preparation for our departure, we have been working with our employees to determine what management structure will work the best. It was just a long process of identifying everything either Matt or I did on a daily basis and delegating that to the right person. We have settled on having the two managers and the social worker as the management team. They will handle all of the day to day issues of running the center. We have done extra staff training to make sure that everyone knows and understands their jobs. We have hired a new teacher at the Market Center.

Bertha, the fabulous new teacher at the Market Center

The money situation has been one of the trickiest issues. We will still be funding the daycare centers through donations to Walk In Love. We have hired an accountant here that will monitor all of the money spent on a monthly basis. We have trained and drilled into our staff that every penny received and spent must be documented. In July we are doing a test run of our procedures to work out any kinks. With all this, we still plan to make multiple trips per year to the center to ensure that everything is working. We have learned so much in the last two months about what sustainability and NGO handover looks like in reality. These lessons will definitely change how we start and run new centers in Uganda. Sustainability must be the foundation upon which all procedures are built.

The move to Uganda is a physical thing. Sometimes I want to ignore that, but someone has to pack up our stuff, and physically get it from one place to another. We will be taking a truck, our van, and our Subaru.

The actual truck we are using. Does it look small to anyone else??

The girls and dogs and a friend to help drive will be riding in the Subaru with me. Matt will drive the van with the more fragile of our belongings and the truck will bring the rest. Somehow over the last five and a half years, we have amassed SO.MUCH.STUFF. I am definitely in the mindset to burn it all down and start over.

Am I right?!

Luckily Matt is more level headed, and so we pack. But seriously, I want to Marie Kondo this house. Matt is headed to Uganda on July 22nd to hopefully find us a house and finalize some of the legal stuff regarding the NGO. We are almost done with establishing the NGO in Uganda. This is great news and has been so simple and smooth. We will still need to get temporary visas to enter the country but should be able to get our residence visas in a short time.

On transitioning well. Our hearts are deeply embedded in the soil of Tanzania. Our home is here, our memories are here, our friends are here, and we are comfortable here. It is hard to transition, especially if you are 9 and 11 and have lived more than half of your life in this place.

This is HOME. We are trying to do everything we can to make sure that our hearts are in one piece as we drive away. We are doing the parties, taking the pictures, saying the words, and visiting the last places. We have four more weeks, and I know that we are entering the gauntlet of transition. Please pray for us in this area. It is much harder than we expected. Have you ever made a big transition and lived to tell the tale? Do you have any tips? We would love your suggestions.

Our major prayer requests are as follows:

  1. That we would have the wisdom to transition the centers to independence, and any problems would be revealed and addressed before we leave.
  2. That we would be able to transition our hearts in a healthy way. We would all, but especially the girls, feel closure as we leave Tanzania. That we would be able to look back on this transition and see God’s leading and grace.
  3. That we would be able to find or create a good situation for Maria, who has worked in our house for the past five years. She is like family to us and at this point we do not know how to ensure that she is in a stable position when we leave.  
  4. That the NGO in Uganda would open quickly and that we would be able to get our visas with no difficulty. We are not expecting any problems on that front.
  5. That Matt would be safe on his trip to Uganda on July 22 and that he would find us a great house. Specifically, we are praying for a house with some outdoor space and a safe neighborhood that is in our price range.
  6.  That our physical move would go smoothly. That the border crossing and customs would be easy. That our dogs would handle the trip well and that we would not have any trouble getting them into Uganda.
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Comments

Sunny Van Gorder
07/10/2019 at 9:49 am

Now both the girls are older they might like having a penpal to write each other. I know I liked writing and receiving letters. I have never had to move a whole ministry to a new location, but our family had upended our whole lives to the other side of the world. I think that transition was more difficult for me and the learning curve huge. While our move from our last house in Temple to our current one in Belton was more difficult for the kids. They were both on the cusp of adolescence like the girls, and it was quite emotional and some behavioral issues occurred. Jasmin took a bark from the tree of the treehouse in our backyard and I wish I took more of my plants with me, lol. I will say that we started taking Jasmin to counseling during that time. I moved all the time growing up and the house in Temple that they spent nearly all their lives in was the longest I ever stayed in one place. With combination of emerging adolescents and major life changes, the school counselor and the community counseling center was very instrumental in assisting with transition coping. Another major contributing coping factor was starting to be more invested in a skill. Jasmin started choir and then swim and it has helped to ground her, give her an emotional outlet, a social circle, and the physical activity was paramount for her focus and to center her. Youth group and youth camps have also been instrumental. Thank God for Jason and then Katy Ann for taking that torch. In the last couple of years Jasmin has been taking a great interest in cooking, that I confess I borderline exploit (sshhhhh) and it has been a major blessing in our family with me in school fulltime.
I had not intended for this to be so lengthy, lol, and I finally have no school or any other urgent commitments for a little while, yay! But it has been awhile since I’ve written and do overdue and I miss you guys! The girls are growing up so fast and becoming so big. Give them lots of love and hugs and a big hello to Matt. Love you guys!



Marena Sheffield
07/10/2019 at 12:13 pm

I love your attitude! As a child who made MANY moves I know that your girls will handle it under your loving guidance. I love the fact that you are concerned about Maria’s situation. She will be in my prayers along with you and yours.



Joy Erdman
07/12/2019 at 3:55 pm

I wish I could come up with really wonderful moving tips because God knows — I HAVE BEEN THERE!!! The most important things are to mark those boxes well! When someone stops by to say goodbye, give them some time (or put them to work so they feel like they helped!) Don’t do too much lifting – if you kill your back trying to pack, you will not be able to UNpack. (I got a hernia from one of our moves). Sing or listen to music a lot. It helps. I love you. WE ARE PRAYING!!!



Rachel Kozloski
07/14/2019 at 2:51 pm

I love you! I am praying for the family you take with you and the s family you leave behind. Just keep doing the next right thing.



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