Saturday, July 6, 2013

The first few days

Our flight from London to Uganda was pretty rough. Zeke was fussing often and I spent much time walking the airplane aisles trying to settle him. So I did not get sleep that night. I was pretty exhausted! But there was much to be thankful for. We arrive safely with ALL of our luggage! As we landed and looked around Elijah said, "I think I'm going to have a blast here!" It took us a while to go through immigration, but we were granted 90 visitor visas which will give us more time to settle before having to apply for resident visas. Sometimes only 30 or 60 days are granted. This took a little while so our new friends from London helped collect all of our containers while we were waiting. It was just another blessing of our time with this kind family. After we walked through customs, Mark and Amy Gwartney warmly greeted us. It was so nice to greeted with a hug and to hear that they were so happy to have us here.  After a rough night it was the encouragement that I needed. We were all very tired, but we were able to do some shopping and begin the process of figuring out how to get phone and internet service here. This proved to be a several day affair and a source of frustration and discouragement for me, but it was good to get started.
Zeke at one of his happy moments on the plane.

After some shopping and lunch we headed to Good Shepherd's Fold. As we were driving, Elijah said, "I can see why they call Uganda the 'Pearl of Africa.'" It definitely made our bus driver smile to hear this. Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine." Elijah's cheerful spirit has been good medicine for me these past few days. All our children fell asleep in the bus on the way, so we woke them as we turned on to the dirt road that heads to GSF. We were greeted by hundreds of singing and dancing children. It was sweet and a bit overwhelming as we were so tired. I was in tears. Our teammates, Tom and Sharon Batley, generously offered us their home on campus for our first three nights in Uganda. It was great to be near the team, to be able to share meals together and for our kids to quickly make new friends. Within minutes of arriving, Zeke and Ezra were playing with kids at the toddler house playground, Esther was playing school with several girls on the Batley's front porch, and Elijah was making friends with Hayden another missionary kid who will be in the same grade in school. It made me very happy to see my children quickly adjusting and enjoying life on campus at GSF.

That night (Wednesday) the team celebrated the Lord's Supper together. It was a good time of communion and prayer. I was thankful to have been there although I was struggling to stay awake. The next morning also began with a time of prayer with the team, but as the day wore on I became more overwhelmed with how different everything is. I think the jet lag and culture shock began to kick in full force. Thursday and Friday were days with a big learning curve for me. I was very grateful when Amy and Sheila both came over to check on me. I had been crying quite a bit and they sat with me listened to my feelings, affirmed that this is normal for this type of transition, and prayed with me. I was so thankful for that time! After that they also decided to both pitch in and provide dinner for our family. It was delicious and Ezra even had 3rds. I am very thankful for our missionary team!

Here are some of the turkeys at our rental house in Jinja.
Today is Saturday and we moved into the house in Jinja that we will be renting for the next 5 months. It is a 30-40 minute commute, but we are trying to think of ways to redeem that time as a family. It is a nice house and we are very blessed to be able to stay here for the next 5 months. It will also help us to get to know the town of Jinja better. Our house here has some additional little blessings, two dogs, Fred and Ginger, and a family of turkeys! Really, there are six little poults, aka baby turkeys! Tonight we drove around downtown a bit and had dinner at a restaurant called the Keep. Jinja does have a handful of places to go out to eat. Tonight we were told that the items we ordered were not available and the internet access was down, but it was still a good time out as a family. We are now trying to settle all the children down for the night and hope that tomorrow will have the opportunity to worship together with several other missionary families at a church here in Jinja. We would like to attend the church plant near GSF soon, but we are just going to stay here in town for the weekend as we try to get settled and get used to our new home, where we brush our teeth using water from a bottle, and try to keep Zeke from drinking the shower water. Haha.

Sorry I didn't have any pictures of the kids at GSF or more of our kids. I have been forgetting to take photos. But things have become a little more normal with some rest and a place to unpack our bags. So I will try to add more photos next post.


  1. Thank you for the update. I've been thinking of you a lot, and hope you remember how many people are praying for you back here in the US.

    The Gwartney's are friends of a sister (that I met online years ago by "chance") of an acquaintance from college... small world, hey? ;)

    Please try to rest when you can... lots of adjustments and it takes time to settle in after any move, so I can only imagine how it must be to move a "world" away. I'm so glad this dream and calling has finally come true for you, but I do know you have a lot of conflicting emotions coming down the road, so continue to talk to your friends who have been there, and trust that since God has called you there, He'll give you what you need to adapt and settle in. Love you!


  2. The Fish have landed! Thank you, Lisa, for taking the energy not only to update, but to do so honestly. I can only imagine the mixed emotions being greeted by sleeplessness and crowds of children. I'm so glad to hear the children quickly made friends (not surprising) and that the team has been so compassionate (equally not surprising). Love you all!

    ~Tommi and the gang

  3. So grateful that you made it safely! I can relate to much of your experience, except that when we moved to Thailand we only had 1 kiddo, and I thought that was exhausting!! ;) Glad you are able to delight in the sweet moments, even as you grieve what you have left and all the unfamiliarity of the present. Praying for you!

  4. I am praying for your transition in Uganda, that your house will feel like a home and that the learning curve will flatten sooner rather than later.

  5. Elijah's attitude reminds me of John when we first made it to Nairobi. We arrived at the guest house pretty late on the first night. The next morning, as John got his first view of the courtyard, he enthusiastically said, "I LOVE Africa!". We are praying for you and look forward to keeping up with you while you are there.