Hello from the Erdman family! It has been a hot minute since I have written here. I hope you have been reading our Walk In Love Uganda newsletter that we have been sending out via email. I think we have done four so far. The newsletter has been a fun way to stay in touch and communicate how our work is going here in Kampala. If you have not been getting the newsletters, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get you signed up, or subscribe directly at http://eepurl.com/hhj0C9 . With all of the work updates happening on the newsletters, I can now use the blog space to update you on a more personal level about our family.
Our last family update was all the way back in September!! This year has been such a weird time warp. It has felt like time has passed so fast AND so slow. I am going to hit the highlights of our family life since I last wrote. One of the most impactful events was that the girls and I started back to in-person school in October!
In case you missed the whirlwind that was last year, a huge part of our life drama included my becoming a science teacher for Acacia International School. This has continued to be one of life’s biggest blessings and challenges. It is a blessing because the girls are THRIVING at Acacia. If I had the chance to design a school to perfectly fit our kids, I would not be able to imagine anything better than Acacia. Because of this perfect fit, I am happy to work my tail off attempting to balance being a teacher and working with Walk In Love.
While I am busy balancing, Matt is doing a fabulous job being the director of Walk In Love Uganda. I just cannot tell you how hard he works and how huge of an impact he and our team are making in the community. I am not going to go into all the details, because hopefully this will inspire you to read our newsletters, but it is safe to say that the Walk In Love Uganda team is helping kids and families thrive in a way that is so healthy for the individual, family, and community.
After being online from March until October, the transition to in-person school was strenuous. For the first month I came home everyday with a sore throat after teaching/yelling through a mask. The girls stumbled through the evenings like zombies after spending their days with real live people, doing school things, and wearing masks all day. However, the benefit of the kids being together and teaching in person is unquantifiable.The return to school was highly anticipated, and then monumental, and then it was just normal life.
I am so grateful that the covid numbers in Uganda remain remarkably low and we are able to do life things like go to school. We are thankful that the Covid pandemic has largely spared Uganda. The death rate is at less than 1%. I do not personally know anyone who has had Covid here, although many of my family members in the States have had it and recovered. We continue to pray that this trend continues, as Uganda is definitely not prepared to handle a medical crisis of this magnitude.
A praise is that we have been slowly making friends. We were blessed to celebrate Thanksgiving with other families. We went camping at a fabulous lake and there ended up being 15 kids with our group who ran feral in the sun for three days. We have been doing little/huge things like going to lunch, or birthday parties, or game nights. One sad thing is that during the lockdown our church moved so that it takes more than an hour and a half to get there. We loved being a part of a Messianic community of believers and doing Sabbath meetings. However, the three hour drive through intense traffic is a struggle and does not feel very restful. We are praying about what is the best fit for our family for a church community.
Probably the most special event was my mom coming to visit in December!!! More than two years had passed since we were last together. We did tons of fun stuff, but the best part was being together. It was fantastic to have another real life family member to pour love into the girls. It was wonderful to be able to talk, and drink coffee, and eat Indian food. I am so thankful that she was willing to brave Covid travel and deal with all the tests and stress to get here.
Of all the things we have gone through this year, I think the elections on January 14th were the most stressful. In November there were massive riots related to the elections that killed more than 200 people. I actually got caught up in them as I was driving with our social worker in town. My car was about 40 feet away when a tear gas bomb exploded. Everyone was running and screaming, and even with our windows up and the AC off, our eyes still stung for hours. In the weeks leading to the elections all anyone could talk about was the potential for violence. It was a daily conversation to discuss what precautions you were taking, what food you were storing, how you planned to protect your family.
On Wednesday afternoon, the day before the elections, there was a nationwide internet blackout. It was the strangest feeling to know that the internet was entirely cut off. The internet remained shut down from Wednesday until Monday afternoon. We remained home and read books and played games and waited. It was eerily quiet the whole time, and then it was just over. The internet came back, although social media is still blocked. The current president, who has reigned for 35 years, was declared victorious and that was that. I am very thankful for the peaceful election, although I know that it was heavily influenced by the fact that the military was an extremely strong presence. Even now it is not unusual to see trucks of military police with huge ak-47s going who knows where. So it was peaceful, yes, but not all peace is created equal.
This brings us right up to the present. We are getting settled into the new semester at school. We are very hopeful that local public schools will open in February, which means that we will be able to reopen the Walk In Love preschool. There is a huge baby boom that has accompanied the covid lockdown, so the need for a daycare center is greater than ever. We are hoping that we will be able to come back to the States this June. We are so ready to be back with all of our friends and family.
If you would like to pray for us, here is a short list of our prayer requests:
- Please pray that we are able to continue to build strong relationships.
- Please pray for our marriage. We are doing fine, but this season has been tough.
- Please pray for our girls as they continue to build friendships at school.
- Please pray that we are able to open the Walk In Love preschool in February. We need to hire teachers, so please pray that we can find the right people.
- Please pray that we are able to raise the funds we need for Walk In Love Uganda. It has definitely been a faith challenge to depend completely on online fundraising, but God has been so faithful to supply our needs!