I cannot believe that I let TWO MONTHS go past without a blog update! It is Friday afternoon at the end of a very busy week. Life has zoomed past race car style. Before I started this update I re-read my last blog and realized that so many of our prayer requests have been answered. Instead of my usual charming narrative, I am going to let you know what God has been doing, bullet-point style. Ready, here we go:
- We did finally get our NGO certification on September 9th and there was much rejoicing. Not only that, but Uganda required all NGOs to verify their status in order to continue operating. This verification process started months before we arrived and there was some disagreement on whether or not we needed to do it since we had just been approved. We went ahead and did the verification process, turning it in two days after we got our certification and one day before the deadline. Turns out this was a very good thing, as Uganda shut down 10,000 NGOs who did not comply with verification. We were on the approved list, so yeah for us.
- Matt applied for his visa the day after we got our certification. I have to admit that after the hardship of getting our last visa in Tanzania, this process was a breeze. Not to say I did not stress over it more than I should, because that would be a straight up lie. However, it was relatively quick and painless. The process was really and truly online, which was shocking to us. In Tanzania it was all about who you knew and what those people wanted. By making it all online, the potential for corruption is significantly reduced. Go Uganda! I applied for my visa a little later than Matt and am still waiting for approval.
- Matt went back to Tanzania and picked up our dogs and some more of our stuff. He flew in, handled some business, packed some things and headed back in less than 24 hours. We hired a friend to drive him from Arusha back to Kampala. We are STILL waiting to get the final shipment our things from Tanzania. This has more to do with the shipping company being a bunch of jerks who won’t do their job. I am exhausted by this whole process, but thankful that he was safe and the girls and I were fine alone.
It was so very good to get our dogs back with us. I did not realize how much I missed them or how important they are to our family. They have settled in quickly and love the huge yard.
- The girls are KILLING IT in school. They are excited to go every morning and happy when they come back home. They love all the friends and teachers and extracurricular activities.
There has definitely been a huge social learning curve. We have had to discuss everything from what it means to be transgender to how not to be (or be victim to) a mean girl. Matt and I could not be prouder of them.
- Matt and I are still struggling to meet people. I am less worried about this than I was. In time we will meet people. I do miss knowing and being known by people in the community. It was impossible to go anywhere in Arusha and not run into a friend. I did not realize how much I valued that day to day interaction. I know we will get there. We continue to pray daily for friends. I am going to go to a three-day retreat for missionary women on November 22nd. I am NERVOUS but determined to put myself out there.
- The centers in Tanzania are doing well. The Market Center enrollment exploded right after we left. The little center that hovered around 15 kids for months, is now bursting with over 40 kids and a waiting list. The Kisongo Center is still doing awesome, however one of our employees had a serious health scare and had to have emergency surgery. It was hard to not be there for her during that time. She is recovered now and back to work. We miss all of the people and kids at both centers. There has been some definite growing pains and adjustments, but overall, I think the work is going well.
- There is something about our work that I want to tell you soooo bad! I can just barely contain my excitement about what God is doing with Walk In Love Uganda. It is so big! Here is a little teaser of Matt measuring for a new playground with his crew.
I think by next week we will be able to shout our plan from the rooftops. We are waiting on official contracts for the partnership that we are entering into that brings all sorts of awesome opportunities. Until then I am just going to say that the way God orchestrated this plan was insane. So yeah, stay tuned for that blog coming soon.
God has answered our prayers one by one. Here are some new prayer requests:
- Please pray for wisdom and open doors as we move forward with the work of Walk In Love Uganda.
- Please pray for funding to come through so that we can start the work right away.
- Please continue to pray for the girls in school.
- Please continue to pray for a community for Matt and Me.
- Please pray that we can get the rest of our stuff from Tanzania and get our car registered so that we can use it again! (I forgot to mention, we are waiting on our car registration so we have been using public transport and walking!)
- Please pray as we head into the holidays in a new place. We have celebrated the last few Thanksgivings with friends. I am anxious about being here alone during that time.