Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Back to Mbale

We have made our landing back in Mbale where a cool rainy season and good friends are a wonderful welcome back. We had the privilege of spending a few nights with our good friends in Entebbe while we (the kids especially!) pushed through the beginning stage of jet lag.

Now that we are back, it has been a time to reflect on the last six weeks. Here are some things that I have realized, considered, be grateful about, etc. after our first homes assignment:

-Reverse culture shock (re-entering your home culture) was pleasant because America is very efficient.
-I realized how much I miss being in complete solitude on a mountain.
-The gospel is as much under attack in America as it is in Uganda.
-Driving in Wyoming was relaxing, even in "traffic", when compared with anywhere in Uganda.
-We experienced an overwhelming flow of generosity from people at church, in the community, all the way to a stranger in the Denver airport.
-Sunflower seeds...I miss those.
-Ugandan life is now more familiar to my family and me, and that is great to see.

I have been rejuvenated and refilled by getting to worship with our friends and family at home, challenged by the word of God, and ready to press on. Thank you Casper for a great first trip home!




 Home in the red dirt

 Julia doing what I wish I could do more
 Back in Africa!
 Oh yeah...we also miss popsicles
Until next time Casper

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Evangelism Conference Notes

I was blessed enough to have the time to attend an evangelism conference at our church here in Mbale. Today, we went out into our neighborhood and shared the gospel with people. Uganda is unique in that you can walk right into a home and sit and converse, or talk with people on the way walking any time. We got to share with many people today, and even lead someone to faith in Christ, a catholic who prayed to Mary and other saints. She was convicted of idolatry when the man I was with shared that Jesus is the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through him. Her name is Alice you can pray for her please.

There was a lot of great teaching at the conference but I wanted to just share a few nuggets here.

"If the church is not in the world, the world would be destroyed."
"We should use any temporal prosperity we have to make and train disciples of Jesus"
"Jesus does not stand on people's necks, instead He went to the cross and suffered the wrath of God to make His church."
"There are many people who make the gospel a message of the confusion. The gospel is simple, yet profound: The Lord saves sinners (Katonda alokola abononyi)."
"The Holy Spirit must be a part of your daily life, He is the only hope you have to live a holy life."
"Marks of Revival from Acts 1-12: Mighty prayer, mighty preaching, mighty conversions, mighty evangelism, mighty generosity, mighty assembly ( I missed a few)."
"If you do not want to be holy, you are still a child of the devil!"
"Our hearts are like a cobra, our past is like a pit latrine, and our minds are like poison, God cannot have us in heaven like this. We need someone to save us! In Ezekiel 36 God promises to give us a heart of flesh for our heart of stone, and cleanse us with pure water. For that promise, we trust in Jesus our saviour."
"If you are not loving your wife or caring for and evangelizing your children, the Holy Spirit is grieved!"

These two quotes from a Ugandan pastor particularly struck me
"If you are not eager to die for the gospel, let me give you some council...quit pastoring."
"How many of you want to go preach the gospel in America (almost all raised there hands)? That is good, but you need twenty years of preparation, that country is hard to preach to."





Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Finishing notes

We have now finished. I drove up to the school Monday morning to find children sitting in classrooms that a few months ago looked like old ruins. Handed machetes (Pangas), a few hammers, hand saws, plumb bobs, shovels and trowels, my crew built a beautiful building. These guys operate in an unpredictable world. On a common Ugandan job site they get no break, infrequent payment schedules (usually not paid in full), and often will show up to work only to find that work has stopped because money has run out. They use tools that are not straight or square or sharp and each day I am dumb founded at how well they make use of everything God gives them; "we are trying", as they say.

eMi construction management is able to work at providing a predictable work day, with a predictable payment schedule, and a jobsite that values integrity and cooperation. Most of all, we hope to share about the grace of God, and that he is able to forgive and redeem sinners by his blood. Through the small things that are easy to take for granted, we aim to portray that redemption, treating each man with dignity. This is something many of these men have never experienced.

Thanks to all who have prayed for and supported us over the last year.



Friday, February 28, 2014

A year in Uganda

My wife has become an amazing blogger over the last year. I, on the other hand, have not. My sister emailed me and let me know how much of a blog slacker I have been over the last few months, so this is a good occasion to break the slacker streak. 

We have been here for one year. Kayla did a list of things she has learned and realized. I am going to copy her. 

Here goes:

Where do I start? Everything has been turned on its head. 
I love America, and especially I love Wyoming. 
I also am quite fond of Uganda
but I am not fond of Kampala. 
Cultural differences are ingrained deeper than I could have imagined or been prepared for
But people are people, made in God's image, broken by sin and shame
Goat and pig organs taste good, cow organs do NOT
I have changed a great deal
Grieving loss is a gift
My daughter is an African American, wow
I have learned, and have much to learn, about community from Ugandan people.  
Ugandan men, when given the chance, are hard working
I miss my friends a lot 
Having family visit has been a huge blessing
The Bible is not relative to culture, but living in another culture, I have understood more of what it says
Uganda knows pork, pork joints are the best places to eat in this country
Long greetings annoy me
I am used to long greetings
Koyzaio, Yoga, Gyebale, Mlembe; four greetings in four languages used in Mbale
The ingenuity of these people is both astounding and terrifying 
a "panga" is a machete, it is not uncommon to see children carrying them down the street
a "timba" is piece of wood used for building
Living in an international community is a rare privilege
There are countless dialects of English in the world. 
Marriage is cultural
Sunday worship is cultural
A lesson I learn over and over is I have a lot to learn
I am known by the neighbor hood as a mzungu-the white person
I have realized I have a knack for learning language
My son Micah is in his element here
Micah gets nervous in large crowds of white people
Circumcision is a serious topic in Mbale and I have been asked multiple times if I have been, very seriously.
Driving here is like a game of Mario Kart
I now negotiate for prices at the supermarket (grocery store)
Negotiating prices is a way to build friendship in this culture
I do not miss most American food
I will eat street food any time, especially grilled pork
Mbale's main cash crop is coffee, big perk
Most Ugandan's like Obama because he is "African" and do not believe it when I tell them he is for gay marriage and abortion
I no longer notice the perpetual smell of burning trash
I am looking forward to our visit to Wyoming this summer.
Thank God we have not gotten malaria
Africa time, annoying and awesome. When someone says " I am coming" it means I will see them in 4 hours or more. If they say " I am on the way coming" I will see them in 20 minutes to 3 hours. Being late is not a crime here. 


This list should be to be continued. Thanks for reading. Kayla's list is better. 




Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy December

Kayla has become my inspiration for blogging as she is always coming up with great posts. I am particularly happy about the photo blogging, and the post called "a million things." Here is my hybrid of the two.

Culture
Daily, I find myself confounded by culture. Introductions here take a long time, explaining things takes a long time, and I find myself bending to comply with this saying :Tugende mpola atukawala; together we go slowly and reach far.

It is strange to hear myself begin to speak a different dialect of English, and even using certain Luganda terms at home with my family.

Challenge
Some days I get really tired for no apparent reason. Another missionary and I were talking and that feeling of exhaustion can be a result of something as simple as going to the market for an hour.

I have been particularly challenged about what the bible has to say on "going to church". In a given culture, church services follow the norms and social constructs of that culture. Being removed from that normal culture quickly brings to light a lot of questions about what a church is, and why it is important. This is something I am learning to thank God for each week. One thing is for sure, that Jesus did not come for the righteous, but sinners. Coming together to worship the God who so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in him shall not die but have ever lasting life with other redeemed sinner who deserve hell is a profound experience, even when I cannot understand the order of things.

Photos
Here are some recent photos. 

Beam construction

Dad and Micah

My favorites

Men grateful to receive Bibles in their language

Micah having fun


Happy December 1st!

For the King,

Matthew H


Sunday, October 13, 2013

More from Kamonkoli


Truckload of bricks delivered to the site
We live in Mbale! 99km from Iganga


Micah and Dad on site, enjoying the sunshine and the open space together.

John, one of the masons on site. Skilled and hard working, John is father two four children and husband to one wife. 

Lunch is served.

Moving bricks for masonry walls...one at a time.


Soon, this building will serve the children around this area with a quality, Christ focused education. For now, these men come ready to work hard, and are hearing the good news that Jesus has paid for their sins on the cross, and through his resurrection He gives eternal life and forgiveness to those who trust in His name. To God be the Glory!

Matthew H


Friday, September 27, 2013

Images from Kamonkoli Part 1

We are on time to begin construction! Praise God. Last week I headed to the site to supervise some power poles being built. Micah got to come along which made the trip more fun of course.

The electrician wears spikes attached to his boot, and climbs up the pole to attache the wire. No harness.


Micah is enthralled with this cow. He jumped out of my arms and walked through tall grass and bushes to get close

Enjoying being on site with dad!

Almost finished!
More exciting news and pictures as the project begins next week.

Matthew H