Sunday, December 25, 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

We want to wish each of you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!  We were very blessed to be with our college boys, Keith's parents, and back again at Andrew & Jacky's in Ohio.  What special memories were made!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

NOVEMBER 2016

Gifts come in many different forms.  Some are wrapped.  Some are monetary.  Some are acts of service.  We were blessed to have a professional photographer gift us with family portraits.  We are not a photogenic family, but Jenna did such an awesome job in making the photos turn out so nicely.



Although we have been back in the States since August, this was our first opportunity to visit my dad.  We surprised him with a week-early birthday party and really enjoyed spending some time with him.



Once again we were thrilled to be included on a school's field trip; this time to the zoo.  We had such a great time together and enjoyed seeing animals not native to Uganda.




Thanksgiving found us at Keith's brother's house for not only celebrating Thanksgiving together, but also to attend their missions conference the week after.  The cousins were a little apprehensive about seeing each other, having been apart for 6 years, but it didn't take them long to reconnect.  In the picture below, nine out of the sixteen Stensaas cousins are standing in order by age.


November continued with several missions conferences and cold weather setting in.  Our Ugandan blood isn't used to these cold temperatures, so I'm afraid our coffee and hot tea consumption has increased.


We have been blessed in so many ways - the greatest being knowing Christ as our loving, saving Father.  Thank you for praying for us as we travel the States.

OCTOBER 2016

October brings our last birthday in our family for the year.  I think this is the first time Savannah has ever had foil balloons, so she was elated when we presented her with two.


Furlough is my break from making birthday cakes, so Savannah's "cake" was a pile of fudge marshmallow cookies - something my children have never had.


On our last visit to Keith's parent's house, we took advantage of their fire pit and enjoyed roasting hotdogs and marshmallows.  We have so much enjoyed our time with them.


October is a busy month for missions conferences, and we thoroughly enjoyed the many meetings we were at.  After finishing in California, we drove back to Austin, Texas to be a part of our home church's conference.  So many of our home missionaries were there, and it was a very exciting time getting fed from God's Word.





Being back in Austin, we were able to see Shane and Stanley and have some good times with them.  One late evening all the kids gathered around my computer to watch their Grandpa Stensaas' testimony that was put together by Lancaster Baptist Church and shown at their missions conference.  I encourage you to watch it for yourself at this link.


Savannah has replaced Shane as our outgoing furloughing child, and she has made friends in every place.  Of course, missionary kids seem to gravitate to each other, and they seem to breathe a sigh of relief in finding someone who truly understands them.


One of the church's we were at invited us to be a part of their homeschool day at Sea World, so our children got to visit there for the first time.  It was a perfect day with more memories added to our travels.


Good-byes are never easy, especially to your own children.  It has been so much fun seeing the siblings interact, and it was hard leaving Shane and Stanley behind again.  Please pray for them and us as we continue to travel.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

SEPTEMBER 2016 (Catching Up)

It is a privilege to serve our Lord as a missionary.  It is a tough life; I will not lie.  However, God daily loads us with blessings.  One of the blessings we experience is furlough.  There is not too much to do while in Uganda to take a vacation for.  We do go camping once or twice a year, but there is not much else to do.  While on furlough, we enjoy as much as possible between churches.  My children have certainly seen more of America than I ever did at their age, and I am grateful for the great time we can have in between the long rides.


We headed toward California after leaving Austin, Texas.  Our first night, we found a discount for a motel online and reserved a room.  When we pulled up to the address, we thought, "Oh, no, we made a mistake!"  The outside of the motel wasn't very impressive.  However, the inside looked as if they were really trying to fix it up.  And the big bonus?  There was an inside heated pool.  We were elated, and I felt that God had really gifted that surprise for our kids.  The second night on the road?  Another pool!  It wasn't inside, but the weather was so warm and beautiful that the water was very warm, too.


California is a place full of beauty.  We enjoyed seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Forest, and Fisherman's Wharf.



An extra treat for my daughter and I was to be able to attend a Ladies' Conference.  This was such a blessing and a time of spiritual refreshment.


It was a treat for me to be able to fly up to Washington to visit my family.  Last time we visited Washington, the weather was very rainy, dismal and cold.  This time I was able to enjoy the beautiful colors of fall with clear skies.




Being in California for two months, we were able to drop in at Keith's parent's house several times and stay with them.  What a great time we had together!  The Lord has blessed them, and we are so happy to see how God continues to use them in reaching the world for Christ.  Keith's grandparents, whom Savannah had never met, drove over to see us, and we enjoyed catching up and reminiscing.




We have had a great furlough start, and we praise the Lord for all He has blessed us with.