After our Ugandan Independence Day celebration, we were privileged to host the Operation Renewed Hope medical team once again. We love having them come, and their clinics in the villages where churches are just starting is a big blessing to the pastors.
Keith decided to attend a Ugandan Cranes "football" game and took several of our church members with him. However, he suffered hearing problems for several days afterward. I believe that next time he will remember to take ear plugs.
For Thanksgiving we hosted a get-together at our house with plenty of delicious food. We enjoyed playing games, fellowshipping and eating too much!
December began with our annual Missions Conference. We encouraged our village pastors/leaders to attend, and afterward we saw two of the churches make missions pledges for the first time.
I have heard of it happening to other people, but this was the first time for it to happen to us. Our Christmas tree was accidentally knocked over by one of our dogs that got underneath and entangled his head in the string of lights. The shocking thing was that not a single ornament was broken!
Another thing that may be a first for us is that we celebrated Christmas alone as a family. Due to various circumstances, the Stensaas families weren't able to get together. However, we are planning a Christmas-in-January.
During Christmas week, our long-awaited Scripture container arrived. It pulled up to our house about 45 minutes before sunset, so it was mostly unloaded in the dark.
All of the boxes were put on our front porch, and then after the empty container was off-loaded, our church members came back a couple of days later to load everything back inside.
2015 began with a couple of fireworks in our town, and then preparations were made for our Tri-Annual Bible Institute. This ministry has grown so much! One of the highlights of the week that I enjoy is hearing the testimonies of the men. Here is a testimony from one of our newest works:
"Although I knew the Lord had called me to preach, my wife was not supportive. There was one time that she knew I was going the next day to go soul winning, so she poured water into my shoes. When I went to put them on the next day, they were very wet. She didn't think I would go, but I went anyway with wet shoes. I praise the Lord that she is not that way anymore. She is now the first one up on Sunday mornings, cleaning and setting up the chairs in the church before any one else is up."
Although we received a severe rainstorm on Christmas Day, with the coming of the new year we entered the dry season. For some reason, this time around the dust seems more abundant than usual. In fact, I came up with a couple of thoughts to help you get some insight as to what a dry season is like.
You may be in dry season if:* The clothes on the line dry in 30 minutes or less
* You feel the need to shower twice in one day
* All 8 ice cube trays need refilled at least once a day
* Your children write notes on the dust-covered table, although it was just washed at the last meal
* The freezer is stocked with homemade fudgesicles, popsicles, and yogurtsicles
* You close and open the curtains slowly so as not to stir up the layer of dust on them
* It is not unusual to see people walking around with the neck of their shirts pulled up over their nose and mouth to filter the air they are breathing
* The plants are brown - not because they are dying - but because of a layer of dirt on them
* You drive way below the speed limit as a courtesy to not cover people walking along the road with dirt
* The air is hazy from the dust and smoke, as everyone thinks it is good to burn their fields during this time
* You can smell a sewer ditch before you actually see it
* Eye drops become a regular part of your morning and night routine
Our family is all doing well. Shane was left without a job and a car before Christmas break, but the Lord has provided both for him this month. Stanley and Shae-Lynn are enjoying a teen camp right now, so our house feels empty with half our children gone. The Lord has richly blessed us and taken such good care of us. I look forward to what we are able to accomplish for Him in 2015.