Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How big is your El Guapo (Obstacle)?


To start today’s blog, I’d like to quote the great American philosopher, Lucky Day, from The Three Amigos circa 1987: “In a way, all of us has an El Guapo to face.  For some, shyness might be their El Guapo.  For others, lack of education might be their El Guapo.  For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us.  But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own El Guapo, who also happens to be the actual El Guapo!”

El Guapo

We’ve been told that the one sure way to know that you are on God’s path is because of the obstacles that will find themselves in your way.  As soon as we had acknowledged God’s call to GO to Uganda for six months next year, we started making a list of potential Obstacles that we knew that we would have to overcome.  Then one by one, God took care of those “issues” in what seemed to be an easy fashion. 

Our “El Guapo” of these obstacles was how we would take care of our clinics in Duncan.  I really did not see any way that we could continue to manage the clinics and be involved clinically if we lived half the world away.  In fact, it would have been difficult for me to start thinking about going to Uganda if I thought that the clinic would still be one of our responsibilities.  We had started talking to an Urgent Care group, from Oklahoma City, back in April.  We’ve had a hand shake deal with them since September.  The sale of the clinic has been scheduled for January 1st since that handshake deal was struck.  Jill and I have been able to make other, smaller arrangements, knowing that this big obstacle was taken care of.  Some of the proceeds from this change in ownership, would help to fund our mission and help to supplement future endeavors overseas.

We found out on Friday morning, December 16th, that the sale of the clinic had fallen through.  This came as quite a shock to us and my initial reaction was to go back to the thought that we could not possibly go to Uganda for this long period of time if we still owned the clinics.  But through the wise words of Jill and several friends, I began to see that God is in control.  He seems to maintain this control, even though I desperately want to relieve Him of these duties many times.  I have begun to see that, with God, this trip is still possible.  I think that my trust and faith was too small to even consider this trip and the clinic going together.  So God took us down the path, with me thinking that the clinic was taken care of, until I could see what He wanted us to do with Him in Uganda.  Then He put the clinic back into the mix and is now helping me see how to work back from there to make things work while we are gone.  We have a strong team at the clinic and they have been encouragers of us in this project.  They continue to work to help us make this trip a possibility.  I have a physician friend that will be covering the clinic in my absence.  He is mission minded and I have only known him since we decided to sell the clinic and Go.  I am not sure that our paths would have crossed if we had not had “African Missions” as a conversation starter.

What obstacles are you facing?  Your El Guapo is nothing compared to my God!

Jay

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One at a Time

As the time of our departure for Uganda nears, we are trying to ready ourselves for the work that God will have us to do there.  The need in Uganda is so large, that it is easy to get overwhelmed with it.  We have been told many times that we will need to have a narrow focus to make a difference.  Much of the push in Foreign Missions today is towards training local people to do God’s work and less on actually trying to accomplish it by ourselves.  The more I think about this, the more is sounds true.  Jill and I are convinced, that if we are to make a difference for Christ in Uganda, we will need to do it through relationships and one person at a time.

I am sure that you have heard of the starfish story, but if you have not, please see the website of our friends, the Gash family, at http://www.throwingstarfish.com/.  One of the first “starfish” that I was able to put my hands on was “JN” (His name reserved for anonymity).

As I got off of the bus to go into the clinic for our 2nd day in the medical clinic in Uganda this past summer, I was met by one of the “providers” at the clinic.  He would be the equivalent of a nurse practitioner or PA here in the US.  He wanted me to come quickly to look at a small 4 year old boy named JN.  His mother had brought him in for the community clinic that we would be having that day and it was noticed quickly that he was quite ill.  Before my arrival, the clinic had tested him for malaria and found his test to be positive.  I found JN very weak and getting tired of his difficulty breathing.  He had a temperature of 103 and his oxygen level was about 80% until we put him on oxygen.  My ER “sick kid” radar went off and a nurse from Ardmore and I looked at each other like we better do something quick or this is not going to end well.  Much to our surprise, the medical staff from the clinic did not seem too concerned.  Not because they did not recognize sick, but because they saw it so often that it did not shake them like it did us.  In Uganda one in 5 children die before their 5th birthday.  JN was too sick to be in Duncan Regional Hospital (mainly because we don’t have a pediatric intensive care unit).  If I had seen him in Duncan, he would have gone by helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.  But we were not in Duncan, we were in a small medical clinic in the middle of "Nat Geo" Africa.  One of the nurses was able to get an IV ( a minor miracle on this kid that was so small and dehydrated).  We gave him IV fluids and medications for malaria and antibiotics for a pneumonia that he obviously had by exam.  Our team had brought a nebulizer unit and medication to use with it.  I was thinking, boy that is great, that is exactly what JN needs right now to help his labored breathing.  As we went to set it up, we realized that we did not have the converter needed to run the nebulizer on the electrical plugs that they use in Uganda.  Everyone in our group had converters at the guest house we were staying in, but that was an hour away.  I was able to perform some “MacGyver” medicine and get the breathing treatment to work with the pressure from the oxygen tank.  Whew, we finally had him stabilized.  About that time, they brought another young boy named KN from the Watoto children’s village.  He had almost the same symptoms and vitals, but he was 2 years old.  We were able to get him stabilized as well.  KN had the ability to go to the hospital in Kampala, because of an arrangement that Watoto had with a local physician and his hospital.  He would be going to stay in the hospital. 

Our group had already decided that we would chip in to pay for JN to go to the hospital, as his parents could not afford to take him.  The government hospitals in Uganda will only see and care for you if you have the ability to pay.  We were surprised to find out that if we sent the antibiotics with him, he could stay for 3 days for $30.  While patients are in the hospital, family must feed them, and bathe them and care to their basic needs.  Many times it looks like a refugee camp outside the hospital as families camp out to take care of their family members.  It turns out that JN could not go to the hospital because his family could not go to Kampala.  We compromised and JN and his mother stayed in the clinic (which honestly is nicer than the government hospitals) until 9:00 pm and then was allowed to go home.  One of the nurses on site showed JN’s mom where she lived on the Watoto campus and advised his mother to return if JN got worse.  The next morning, JN had already come and gotten his IV antibiotics and returned home before I got to the clinic.  The next day, JN was a completely different young man.  He was smiling and energetic.  I am convinced that KN would have made it if we had not been there.  He had access to the medical clinic and had access to a hospital via Watoto.  JN had neither.  If we had not been there, JN would not have been invited to the medical clinic.  He likely would have passed away.  I know that God must have something big planned for JN. 

I may never see JN again, this side of heaven.  I’d love to find him when we are in Uganda and get to know he and his family better.  I'd love to form a relationship with his family and get a glimpse of what God's big plans for him are.
Jay

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Love Letter to Pearl

Dearest Pearl,

I miss you so much.  It has been 5 months since I last saw the sun shine on your face and cast shadows on your hills and valleys.  The image of your beauty, however, is etched on my mind’s eye like it was yesterday.  I can’t wait to visit you again and enjoy your natural beauty.  I know that you live half the world away, but no distance can keep me from coming to see you again.  I plan to stay several months and taste your sweet fruit!
  Pearl, don’t worry, I love your many children too.  They have the sweetest smiles and a wonderful contentment.  They have welcomed me with open arms and taught me many things about you.  As my knowledge of you has deepened, it has made me love you even more!

Love,
Anonymous Gregston Male


Uganda, nicknamed the “Pearl of Africa,” is a country of 30 million people.  50% of these people are children under the age of 15.  30% of these 15 million children can afford school.   1 in 3 Ugandans have access to clean safe water.    In Uganda there are over 2 million orphans.  This small country has the highest percentage of AIDS orphans in the world.  20% of children will die before their 5th birthday.    It is the place of Africa’s longest running war during which more than 20,000 children between the ages of 4 & 15 have been abducted and forced to serve as child soldiers.  It is located directly on the equator.  It has an elevation of 3600 feet, so it does not get as hot as many places in Africa.  It is located almost entirely on the Nile Basin, which makes the soil very fertile.  We believe it produces the best pineapples in the world!  Uganda is an especially poor country.  51% of the population, in Uganda, lives on less than $1 per day.  If you are in the other 49% you are above the poverty level.    The average life expectancy is 53 years.  In Uganda, 79% of the population uses a kerosene lantern for lighting.  41% in urban areas use electricity.  10% of the population uses the bush as a toilet facility.  86% of Uganda uses pit latrines, and 1% use flushing toilets.  There are an estimated 8 physicians for every 100,000 people.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Aren't You Afraid?

The Great British philosopher, Austin Powers, once said, “There are only 2 things that scare me, and one of them is nuclear war.”  After some prodding for what the other one was, Mr. Powers said, “Carnies”. 
Now I don’t know how good a blog post can be if you start with an Austin Power’s quote, but if you can tell me what he says that Carnies smell like, then you have as bad a taste in movies as I do!
Since we have made our plans, of going to Uganda, public, we have gotten many questions along the lines of “Aren’t you afraid?” or “Is it safe there?”
To be honest there have been fears associated with our decision to leave all that we have going at home and GO.  As I returned from Uganda the first time, I did not immediately ask Jill to start praying about going to Uganda for a longer period of time.  I felt, in my heart, that we were supposed to do that, but I did not want to bring it up to Jill.  I was concerned because she is usually more perceptive or receptive to what God is saying than I am.  I was sure that she would get the same message from God and we’d be on our way. 
Now as a child, I had some common childhood fears.  You know, things like the dark, cemeteries, cranky teachers and of course being locked in a room with Barbara Walters.  But as I got older, my fears would fall into one of two main categories:  Fear of Failure and Fear of Lack of Control.  Fear of Failure is common in physicians and is partly why we are able to successfully complete all of the schooling and training required.  This fearing to fail, is a bit strange to add to my entrepreneurial spirit, as it drives me to work hard, sometimes harder than I should.  My need for control slowed my relationship growth with Christ, and is still one that I have to lay down frequently.  As I started thinking about leaving our home and taking Jill and our kids to Uganda, my fear list expanded to more than just the two above.  Here is some of the list:
1.)    Fear of physical danger – Now I have been to Uganda twice and I have not felt physically threatened.  But I am not na├»ve enough to think that it would be as safe as we are in the US.  (Of course, I think that much of our feeling of safety in the US is unwarranted.)  We will be the minority and easy to pick out of a line up in Uganda!  It won’t make my mother or mother in law happy, but there is more physical danger to my family in Uganda for multiple reasons.
2.)    Fear of getting sick or injured – This plays a little into #1, but my main fear in this area is that one of us would need state of the art medical care and it not be available.
3.)    Fear of finances – I realized that if we were to GO for an extended time, we would need to sell the clinic and I would obviously not be earning money in the ER, while I was gone.  In addition, we would not only need to maintain our home in Duncan but add a home in Uganda.
4.)    Fear of the kids missing out on something : Our kids have many advantages and I’d love for them to take the opportunity that these advantages give them to succeed in life.  I guess the question becomes the definition of success.
5.)    Fear that the kids won’t like it – I really do want our kids to be happy.  I was fearful that we would  show up in Uganda and after a week or two, the kids would be ready to pack up.  This would fall into Fear of Failure.
6.)    Fear of the unkown – OK, this does play right into the control issue.
As I had mentioned in a previous blog, Me a Missionary, part of my motivation to missions was kindled via reading Radical by David Platt.  As I read that book, I went from thinking the author was right, “somebody should go”, to feeling that I was that somebody.  I was asked this week how we moved from thinking something “Radical” to actually doing something “Radical”.
Soon after my return from Uganda last January, our teaching pastor Craig Groeschel, presented a sermon regarding Fear.  I would recommend this MESSAGE ON FEAR to anyone.  Two points that he made completely changed my fear list that I listed above.
A.)   What you fear reveals what you value the MOST.
B.)    What you fear reveals where you trust God the LEAST.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Sunday afternoon, after this message was presented, I asked Jill to start praying about us going to Uganda for a longer term.  She seemed surprised, but began to warm up to the idea quickly when she saw Uganda and the need there.
After facing my fears and filtering them through this message on fear, I have a new frame of reference on my fear list.
1.)    Physical Danger – (again this won’t make the mother and mother in law happy) What do we really have to fear?  Even if we die for Christ’s sake, that would make us martyrs.  The way I read the Book, there is a special place in heaven for martyrs.  That has to be waaaay better than even the best day in the USA!
2.)    Fear of getting sick – God has given me reassurance that his hedge of protection will be around us.  We are taking every precaution and at least we are taking a doctor with us!  We will be working with a Doctor and a reputable clinic in Kampala.  We should be able to get care if we need it.
3.)    Fear of Finances – Through the sale of our clinic and our savings, we will be able to go to Uganda and pay our own way.  We have big plans for our Mobile Medical Unit there, and we are depending on God and our supporting partners to help fund the project itself.  The total funding required will likely be about $90,000.
4 & 5) My perspective on the kids is one thing that has really cleared in my mind.  What is this “American Dream” that I was worried that I would spoil for them?  Having nice things and an abundance of technology to distract us from what is important?  Having our heads down looking at our phones or iPods, self absorbed and killing time?  To be honest, God has blessed our family with what many think is the American Dream.  If my kids can grasp what it is to be sold out to Christ while living in a third world country, I will take that over them living the American Dream that I have seen.
6.)    Fear of the Unknown – Going to Uganda has become an adventure for us with God.  The unknown seems exciting rather than intimidating. 
I woke up this morning with this blog on my mind, about 90 minutes before the alarm was set to go off.  I was typing on it when Jill came into the kitchen.  She saw what I was working on and recommended that I look at our “Jesus Calling” book for today.
                “Be willing to go out on a limb with Me.  If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be.  Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief.  Your longing to live close to Me is at odds with your attempts to minimize risk.  You are approaching a crossroads in your journey.  In order to follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe.”
                “Let me lead you step by step through this day.  If your primary focus is on Me, you can walk along perilous paths without being afraid.  Eventually, you will learn to relax and enjoy the adventure of our journey together.  As long as you stay close to Me, My sovereign Presence protects you wherever you go.”

Psalms 23:4  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

What are your fears?  What are they keeping you from accomplishing with Christ?
Jay

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jayne's first post

Hi!  I am Jayne.  I am the youngest of our family. I am 11 years old, and I love Africa. If you have ever been to Africa you know that you always leave a part of your heart there.  I went to Africa last summer, and it was amazing.  It is so different there.  People there almost never eat meat.  My dad went to Africa in January 2011, and one of the missionaries that went said that he saw an elderly lady (who was very old for Uganda) and all she wanted to do before she died was eat meat one time.  When we were in Uganda last summer we were guests at a Watoto Village called Bira.We got to eat a traditional meal in Mama Ruth's house.

One of the boys in that household is a five year old. His name is Derek. We played and played!  He rode on my shoulders, I spun him around and around, and we ran all about.




      

Thanks for reading,
        Jayne

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Where credit is DUE!

My growth and evolution as a man, and more specifically as a Christian man, has been influenced by many men over the past 40 years.  Today’s blog will be to their credit or their shame, depending on what you think of me!!  There have been just as many influential women in my life, but today, it is about the guys.
At the risk of leaving someone out, which I would never want to do, I am going to run through a few men that have made contributions to moving me forward in my life journey.  Some contributions may have seemed small, but they came at a pivotal time in my life.
Don Harriman, a gentle giant of a guy with a dry (make that very dry) sense of humor was my Sunday School teacher for 3 years while I was in school.  I thought it was 4 years, but Jay Sampson thought it was two, so I settled on 3 years.  Not because three years with the same teacher was normal, but because he was the only one with enough patience to put up with my class of boys at FBC Duncan.  Patience and dry wit are things that I especially thank him for teaching me.

Mike Crook was my youth leader at FBC Duncan for pretty much my whole youth group years.  He showed me how to have fun and be a leader.  He taught me that it is ok to push the envelope on ways to worship God.  His leadership at FBC Duncan speaks for itself.  I can think of at least 6 people in my class or the one behind me that are in full time Christian ministry currently.  Relaxing in Christianity, and not just focusing on the dos and don’ts are things that I like to mix in from his tool chest of teaching.

Gerald Wheeler was my teacher for Trigonometry and Calculus in my Junior and Senior years of high school.  He is a very gentle and kind man.  Among a world of math skills, he taught me that a man can be calm, patient and easy going, and still be an effective leader.

Richard Lane was my organic chemistry professor in college.  I did not know Dr Lane well enough to know the content of his character or the setting of his moral compass, but he was an encourager of me.  He saw potential in me professionally and really encouraged me to apply to medical school and continue my education.  I was in a pharmacy career path and he is one of the main reasons that I went ahead and applied to the OU College of Medicine.  He taught me how a small word of encouragement can make a big difference in someone’s life.

Rick Johnston is Jill’s mother’s 1st cousin.  He is a great Christian man who lives in Chickasha.  He invited me to be his guest on a Walk to Emmaus men’s weekend in September of 2001.  Through this weekend in Hinton 10 years ago, and the men that God has brought into my life via Emmaus, his sponsorship of me on that weekend has made a huge difference in my life.  I often talk with him about issues, both professional and personal, and he always has an answer.  Sometimes the answer is “I’m glad that it is you that is making that decision and not me”, but he always has an answer.  It is not always a “churchy” answer or what I want to hear, but it is always received with gratitude.  He has shown me that investing time into people and being honest with them can make a positive influence for the Kingdom.

All of the positive attributes from the men above are things that they prominently displayed for me.  I would like to think that I employ some of those things in my personality, although, I know that they don’t show through as much as they should.  I am a work in progress.  I am pretty sure that I could take some of the best attributes of the men listed above and the two below, and make a guy that looks a whole lot like Jesus.
Easily, the two men that have had the biggest influence on my life have been my father, Jerry Gregston, and my maternal grandfather (Grampus) Elmer Due.
My dad has been a steady, positive influence in my life as a child, young adult and adult.  I can not remember him ever losing his temper or being unhealthily angry.  He has always been patient with me and with everyone that I have ever seen him interact with.  He has never been too busy for me or for his grandkids.  He has taught me life skills through fishing, coaching baseball, leading at church, fixing cars, showing/raising pigs and working hard.  I have been hot tempered and impatient many times in my life, but some of the patience that my father has taught me has helped me to be successful personally and professionally.  There have been several times that slowly and methodically thinking through a problem, rather than just reacting, has proved to be the right action.  Much of my world view is “inherited” from him.  Warped or not, like it or not, most of my sense of humor comes from him as well.  If I can be ½ the daddy to my kids that he has been to me, I will be a success.

Elmer Louis Due (my Grampus) passed away when I was 16 years old. 
My exposure to him was limited to those 16 years, but he taught me a life’s worth of lessons.  He had a love for people that I would like to emulate.   He too was a very patient man.  Grampus supported me in wrestling.  He spent money that he did not have to buy me wrestling tights.  Seems he could not stand to see his grandson wrestling in girls red leotards!!  We had an old dune buggy, and we would drive it until it broke, then he would have it fixed to go again the next time we came over.  He challenged me intellectually and righted my moral compass on a few occasions.  I wish I had taken more advantage of the time that I had with him.  Taking notes of his wisdom.  Taking notes on his ability to fix anything.  Taking notes on his ability to play any musical instrument.  My cousin Lance Due, once said that our Grampus was “Smarter than an apple computer” and that was before Apple was cool.  His last name is the play on words that we have chosen to use in our Medical Ministry called “Due unto others”.  We would hope to show God’s love in a way that would mirror my grandfather.  Not because we owe it to someone, but because it is what God has called us to.
One definition of Due by Webster is as follows:  satisfying or capable of satisfying a need  adequate <giving the matter due attention>
One of the goals of Due Unto Others, is to give Due attention to a need that God has placed on our hearts, to His glory!
I am really going to try to be more witty and less sappy in future offerings!

Jay

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Me a Missionary???

I remember growing up in FBC Duncan and seeing missionaries come to give us updates on their work in foreign countries.  They would tell us about the remote villages that they were serving in and all of the brushes with death that they had lived through (while clicking through 6 trays of slides).  I would think, “man, I am glad that I live in the USA”!  They would tell us how they needed more mission minded people to come help them.  They would tell us of their need while wearing native garb and speaking in some undecipherable language.  To console us for going 30 minutes longer than our usual service time, the missionaries would jokingly talk about the 4 hour church services services in “their country”.  I am not sure if they thought this made being a missionary seem more glamorous, but I was convinced that I would never be “one of those”.
As I got older, got married and continued in my education, I found myself concerned that if I got too close to God, He would send me to be a missionary in the African bush!  I would never let my relationship with Him grow, but rather kept Christ at arm’s length.  Each time I would let my guard down and I would be honest with God, I felt that He would tell me that He did not want to send me to the African bush, but rather, he wanted me to do more where I was.  Boy that was a relief!  I sure did not want to go to Africa and be a missionary.
My growth and maturation as a Christian, has been much slower than it should have been!  Usually due to my own preoccupation with things that are not eternally important.  As my Walk with Christ deepened, I began to feel as though God wanted more from me than what had grown to be my normal.  In the Summer of 2010, Jill and I read a book called Radical, by David Platt.  In this book, David Platt challenged me about how soft we have become as Christians in America.  He challenged his readers to spend one week per year out of their normal context (among a few other things).  After talking with some friends who had been before, Jill and I felt like God was calling us to spend our “one week” in Africa.  Our friends had been to Uganda and spoke of the people and the country that they had grown to love.  I knew that an “OLD” friend of mine from Duncan, Jerome Loughridge, had been on multiple mission trips in the past, so I called him in October of 2010 for advice.  He too had been to Uganda and recommended it highly.  In fact, he was a part of a men’s group from Henderson Hills church in Edmond that was going to Uganda in January of 2011.  He invited me to go and my work schedule “miraculously” opened up to go with this group of guys to scope it out for our family.  I knew from my first day in Uganda, that God had more plans for me there.  When I returned to the US, I asked Jill to start praying about our family possibly going to Uganda for a longer period of time.  Things worked out for our whole family to go to Uganda for 2 weeks in July of 2011.  Jill and the kids too fell in love with Uganda and its people.  Isn’t it strange, as it turns out, God really did want me to be a missionary in Africa.  As I grew closer to him, it became something that I wanted to do, not something that He was forcing me to do.
Many, many things have happened to afford us the opportunity to go to Uganda for 6 months starting in February of 2012.  We will try to fill you in on all of the things that have continued to point us to Uganda over the coming days.  These things have God’s fingerprints all over them.  One of these “God” things that Jill and I are most thankful for is the positive attitudes of Jake, Jared and Jayne as they have been eager and willing to go.   This willingness at a time in their lives when they could easily be more occupied with friends, cars and themselves.
More later,
Jay

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My First Post

Welcome to our journey.  We have been out at our ranch over this Thanksgiving holiday.  Earlier this morning, we drove the seven miles into town to what may be one of the only Wal-Marts left in Oklahoma, if not the US, that is not a supercenter. The aisles are only single buggy width. I decided to buy some flour sack dishtowels to take with us to Uganda for dishwashing.  These towels absorb quickly, and are large. You see, the 3 bedroom apartment in which we will be living has many things of comfort and luxury which I was not expecting or intending, as we came to realize our call to spend six months in Uganda.  We leave February 2, 2012.  I honestly was just hoping for a western toilet. (Only 1% of the population in Uganda has one.)  Well, our apartment has three toilets, 3 bedrooms, and even air conditioning.  It looks to be very clean, modern, and comfortable for our family of 5 as we joyfully obey our call to Go! (See Matthew 28: 19-20).  All of these things plus the fact that it is furnished at a cost below what we had budgeted for rent alone has blown us away. The one thing it does not have is a dishwasher. Therefore, in all actuality, it has 5 ;) , all whose name begin with the letter "J". Well, until May when we are blessed to add one more dishwasher to the mix whose name begins with the letter "M".  (More about her in a later post).   We know the Lord directed us to this home, because the best part about it is our new neighbors who will be living above us during this 6 month stay, the Gash family (aka: our twin family).  You may read all about them at http://www.throwingstarfish.com/.  Hopefully, you will come back to read our blog, after reading theirs.  Jim is quite a writer/blogger.  At this point, we have not met the Gash family in person.  We have talked via email, skype, and phone.  We know the Lord has brought our two families together and we are grateful!  More about our similarities soon..Jim explains it best with his post, "Our Twin Family" at the throwing starfish website mentioned above.   Oh, the point about the dishtowels...my mind has been racing since November 2nd with the realization of not having much time left before we depart with holidays and 3 birthdays sprinkled in the mix.  I haven't been the funnest person to be around, just ask my family. I awakened the morning after Thanksgiving at 4am with the first of two dreams.  By 5am I was awake from the second dream, feeling the Lord's grace and presence to the strongest degree since I'd taken on the worry of the details of not only getting ready for Uganda but what our time over there will look like as we follow the Lord at times very blindly.  We are walking by faith step by step as we watch the Lord reveal each step in His perfect timing.  As I sat quietly last night reading God's Word, journaling, praying, and LISTENING to the Lord, my mind caught up to my heart. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God, and the peace of God that surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7) and Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)  I have been intimidated to start blogging and overwhelmed by prioritizing what to get accomplished as we prepare to "GO".  So today is my first blog and at Wal-Mart, I knew we needed to get flour sack towels.  Item one is ready to go into a suitcase. We will continue to journey along our path trusting Him from bread crumb to bread crumb, with the occasional slice and loaf as He chooses to reveal knowing by faith we are right where we are supposed to be.
Jill