Friday, December 6, 2013

Third Thanksgiving in Uganda

Yesterday as we celebrated Thanksgiving in Uganda, my mind went back to our last Thanksgiving here 2 years ago. We had planned on having a luscious meal to mimic a "Little House on the Prairie" Thanksgiving but our plans were changed. Instead of eating duck and potatoes we were eating meat on a stick and field corn.  It will be a Thanksgiving I will never forget. This was one of the times Malachi was feeling very sick and we had to rush down to Kampala to investigate his repetitive bloody noses and high fever. The day after Thanksgiving they told us it might be leukemia. Not words you want to hear as a mother, and as I recall this affair my heart fills with gratefulness that Malachi is perfectly healthy now. Gratefulness that God knows best and does things His way. Thankful that God is not just in the business of healing but also redemption. God taught me so much through that event and continues to use Malachi's life to challenge and instruct me. I am also very thankful that our 3rd Thanksgiving in Uganda was filled with blessings!! Here are some pictures!



Joshua's favorite: Challah bread





Briana brought some glow sticks to play with, and she took some fun pictures.




Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Month in Pictures


It has been almost 2 months since we moved here and God has done so many great things. We are feeling rather settled, and Cody has begun his work in the slums within Kampala. He was happy to see there are men to spend his time teaching God's word and building relationships with. For the last 2 weeks he has been going to visit them nearly everyday. They have asked him if he would help coach them in soccer and of course he said, "yes."












Saturday, October 5, 2013

Life in the City

Since getting here we have been really busy with working on getting settled. We are quickly reminded how things don't generally happen very quickly. I can't easily drive to the local department store to get furnishings, curtains, etc. However we do now have our van and we are in our house. It is a huge blessing! We are busy now getting supplies for the house and making it a home. It has been a lot of work, but I have enjoyed nesting and making it homey even though it will take quite some time to put together. We even have 2 lab dogs! I was shocked to learn we could even get labs in Uganda. They happen to be my favorite dog, and I grew up having labs.

The kids have been enjoying being outside a lot and the older boys have been playing a lot of soccer at the local "football pitch." Carter and Malachi have been catching a lot of lizards and geckos and know all the "good" spots to find them. We like the small town feel of our neighborhood. The kids feel comfortable walking down to the local produce stand and getting me fruit and vegetables for meals. We are excited to get to know our community better and we have hopes that we can go fishing on Lake Victoria in the future. (You can see the lake from our balcony!)

Eliana makes a friend, but it more like she is bossing him around.

Samuel and Joshua fish in little pond at the temporary house we stayed at. We enjoyed 3 tilapia for dinner from their labor.

Going to the football pitch

Want to know how to keep an 8 month old cranky teething baby happy? Fresh pineapple!

The swings in our yard!

Samuel reading with Sheera our yellow lab.

Joshua plays fetch with Scout the black lab.

Eliana and Janaya find flowers from our yard and put them in their hair. Look we have grass!!!!

Briana and Malachi hanging in the hammock.

Thanks for all your prayers. We feel very blessed! More pictures to come! Don't forget to stay in touch.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Latest and The Akiru Project




We are now on the week count down, and there happens to be a lot of packing going on. I envisioned writing a blog that would be moving (no pun intended), but my creative juices have been depleted with the move. We are however very excited to get back to our other home, Uganda. God has truly been amazing this past year and I am truly moved (literally....sorry my brain is single minded) by his goodness. Many of you probably received our newsletter, and if you didn't then it either went to your spam, we have an outdated email address, or we don't have your email address at all. You can sign up to receive them to the right (and down) of this post (titled "mailing list"). In case you missed it and wanted to know what my wonderful husband had to say here it is:

In less than 2 weeks, all nine of us Fulks will step onto an airplane on our way back to Uganda. The 18th of September will mark the end of our time here in the states. It has been very healing and refreshing for us all however we are ready to return. Your prayers have been a constant encouragement to us during our time here. As we struggle to fit our lives into 18 pieces of luggage we are reminded that all these things are nothing compared to our heavenly home and we look forward to building up a kingdom in Uganda were moths and rust can not destroy (Matt. 6:19-21). In many ways, things here in America are finished for us. We are saying "bye for now" to friends and family, though "for now" will be 3-4 years for many of you. That is unless you would come to Uganda for your vacation or short-term mission trip while we are there.
 
Our financial support has been increasing, but we still need monthly commitments to meet our budgeted needs in Uganda. We are also asking that you would commit to praying for a specific individual of our family and of course for the Karamojong. If you could support us in both or either of these ways, please visit our website at 
http://followingjesustouganda.com/PartneringWithUs.html
to fill out your information and make your commitment known to us. Financial and prayer donations of any quantity really do aid us in our work, so please don't think any kind of commitment is insignificant.
 
It is exciting for us to be sharing in this ministry with you. We are more aware this time than every before how much you are a part of our lives. Please pray with us and for us as we travel for 2 days to get there and settle in with the family. We will get communication with you back up and running when we can and will write our next newsletter from the great continent of Africa.
 
God bless you all richly,
 
Cody





 I also wanted to get the word out about these great journals and the women behind them!!
Our friends, the Williams, that are serving in Kacheri, among the Karamojong have an amazing project to help extremely vulnerable women. The women make homemade paper, and then journals. This project has provided 8 women incomes, and the best part is that Kristi has been discipling them with some great fruit. You should check out their website (It is pretty awesome!  http://www.theakiruproject.com) and then buy a journal on esty! I have seen these up close and personal and have even seen them in the making. (Even helped myself once) They are beautifully made and would make a wonderful present for any occasion.
Bindings

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Video of the Kids

We have 2 weeks until we leave! Time is flying by. I have been trying to post this video for several weeks but haven't been able to because it was so large. Here it finally is, in its compact form. We made it for the recent fundraiser in hopes that people could get to know our kids more.  The sound is low so you will have to crank it up, or use speakers to hear. Please continue to pray for us during these next few crucial weeks. Pray that we can be productive and accomplish the things needed. Pray for us to raise the rest of our monthly financial and prayer support. Pray that during this time we can have extra patience with the kids during this transitional period.
video

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Talmidim

Meet my Talmidim

The what? (You might be asking). Any guesses as to what talmidim means.......

 

 

 

No it's not a terrorist group, nor it is a group of really cute kids (even though that is true). So what is a Talmidim? Let me explain, or rather I will have an excerpt from http://followtherabbi.com/journey/israel/to-be-a-talmid1 explain:


Like other rabbis of his day, Jesus had disciples called talmidim, devout followers who were probably in their mid-teens.
Gifted students approached a rabbi and asked, "May I follow you?" in effect, saying, "Do I have what it takes to be like you?" The rabbi either accepted the student as a talmid or sent him away to pursue a trade. Jesus broke this pattern when he chose his own talmidim. As he asked his disciples to follow him, they knew without a doubt that their rabbi believed in them.
A talmid followed the rabbi everywhere, often without knowing or asking where he was going. He rarely left his rabbi's side for fear that he would miss a teachable moment. And he watched the rabbi's every move, noting how he acted and thought about a variety of situations.
Talmidim trusted their rabbi completely. They worked passionately to incorporate the rabbi's actions and words into their lives. The disciples' deepest desire was to follow their rabbi so closely that they would start to think and act like him.
Jesus' twelve disciples ultimately succeeded in becoming like their rabbi: Their missionary efforts changed the world, and most of them gave their lives in the process.

Basically it is the Hebrew way of saying disciple, but to know more about the culture and the lifestyle brings about more detail into what that looks like. I read about talmidim in a book I was reading this past year. The question they then posed was who is your Talmidim?  For anyone who has kids the first obvious answer is our children.  Deut 6:6-7 says, "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way and when you lie down, and when you rise."

After reading the definition of the talmidim and this scripture in Deuteronomy it seems like a bigger task than we make. Let's break it down:

Gifted students approached a rabbi and asked, "May I follow you?" in effect, saying, "Do I have what it takes to be like you?" The rabbi either accepted the student as a talmid or sent him away to pursue a trade. Jesus broke this pattern when he chose his own talmidim. As he asked his disciples to follow him, they knew without a doubt that their rabbi believed in them."

Do I believe in all my talmidim, or just the ones that seem more promising? Jesus knew that Judas would betray him and he continued to teach him, to love him. My prayer is that I will have that same kind of love, and devotion. That I would see the potential in each of my children.

A talmid followed the rabbi everywhere, often without knowing or asking where he was going. He rarely left his rabbi's side for fear that he would miss a teachable moment. And he watched the rabbi's every move, noting how he acted and thought about a variety of situations.

Now this seems easier when you have toddlers. They follow you everywhere and you can hardly get a moment by yourself. Once they become teens it seems like this happens less and less. But regardless of the age of my children they are still watching; they see how we react to them, the world, to our spouse. Sometimes I am utterly shocked by what my kids say and do, and sometimes I realize I have said the same thing or had the same attitude towards them. Sometimes their repulsive behavior is from watching us.

Talmidim trusted their rabbi completely. They worked passionately to incorporate the rabbi's actions and words into their lives. The disciples' deepest desire was to follow their rabbi so closely that they would start to think and act like him.

Do I strive to be someone my kids want to follow? Is the way I live so contagious that they can't help but follow? Am I following Jesus so closely that all they have to do is look over my shoulder and see Jesus?  These questions challenge me to following Jesus more intently. To strive for this lifestyle. It seems far away some days and close others, but I keep stepping one step behind my savior. I seem to trip many times but the important thing is getting back up and continuing. 

Jesus' twelve disciples ultimately succeeded in becoming like their rabbi: Their missionary efforts changed the world, and most of them gave their lives in the process.
I am not sure we will get to 12 children, but I do pray that I succeed in becoming like my rabbi, and that each of them would follow the Rabbi, and that in their own little world, or this great big world they would see change and give their lives in the process. My prayer is that when we return to Uganda I find others around me to be part of my Talmidim and that I would not act like someone who follows Christ but I would be someone who follows Christ and that this would be contagious and carry on to others. 

May God also give me the wisdom like Jesus to know when to rebuke and when to build up. May God contractually show me the teachable moments, and may my conduct always be worth following and when it is not, I pray your grace will abound, and fill the gaps. I pray that God would continue to teach me in His word, to grow me, and that my hunger for Him would grow insatiable each day.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Experiene Uganda Fundraiser

Most of you have probably already seen this but I wanted to post it on the blog for those of you who haven't. Send it along if you want. It is going to be a lot of fun!



Friday, July 12, 2013

The Year In One Word


If I had to describe the past year in one word it would be REFINE. The dictionary defines it as follows:
1 : to free (as metal, sugar, or oil) from impurities or unwanted material
2 : to free from moral imperfection
3 : to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing
4 : to reduce in vigor or intensity
5 : to free from what is coarse, vulgar, or uncouth 
 
During our furlough God has been working in my heart doing some quality pruning. It has not always been an enjoyable situation for me and at times my soul feels in disorder as my flesh and spirit meet head to head for a dual. My flesh wants to always take the easy and quick way, while the spirit quietly emerges to take a higher road. My heart has felt pulled in two directions, until I yielded to my Master, Creator. All the while God was working under the surface, healing, mending, molding, renewing, refining. The beauty at the end is something worth marveling at, but the process seemed grueling, confusing, daunting. One day I looked back behind me to see what looks to be a battle ground with lots of questions without answers. Looking before me I can only see God's goodness. His love, mercy, patience. And I can relate to the butterfly who emerges from the cocoon into a new beginning, only I feel like the same butterfly who continually goes through metamorphosis. It's powerful, He's powerful. I am grateful. My flesh feels a little more free from the unwanted material. A little lighter and a lot closer to the one who was without sin. The process was not what I expected, as it never seems to be. But again I am grateful for His sovereign ways. Thankful that He is never finished with the change, never quits at cleansing the filth. I smile at what is ahead, for what He will keep doing in my heart. With my head held high and my identity rooted more firmly in my Maker I eagerly await the next chapter. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Last 2 Weeks (And we are going back to Uganda in Sept)

Cody and I are pretty excited that we are now Field Coordinators with Missionary Ventures. God has really done great things with the timing of this all (thankful it happened so quickly). They are a great organization and we feel honored to be a part of their family. It was great being in Florida to meet the staff and to learn more about their organization and life as a missionary (some we already know, but it is always good to hear it again). We love that they focus on relationships with their missionaries, and this showed to be true during our 10 days there. The time there was very productive and Cody and I both left there feeling like this was a new beginning for us. It has in some ways been really hard to be in the States so long when your heart and calling is in Uganda, however God has done some amazing things in our heart over the past year, and we have both grown, emotionally and spiritually. We are grateful that God knows best and we feel like our time here is only going to make us stronger, and better equipped as missionaries. He has blessed us beyond measure and put us exactly where we need to be. After leaving Missionary Ventures we have a renewed passion for getting to Uganda to share the Good News to the displaced Karamajong.
With that I am pleased to share with you that we will be going back in late September! Hooray! We are pretty excited about that. We now work hard at building our prayer and financial support team.

Cody has been working hard on updating our website, so if you get a chance you should check it out. www.FollowingJesusToUganda.com. We are also trying to organize things better, and so on the right you will find a place you can put your email address if you would like to receive our newsletters.


Here are some pictures:



We did have one day off when we were in Florida, so we did the cheapest and the most relaxing things and went to the beach.

While at training the Jesus Film presented us with a projector and screen to share the Jesus Film in Ngkarimojong (not to mention the over 1000 other languages we can get it in!) This is a huge blessing. It is the latest version making it very compact and easy to transport.

We were not able to take all the kids, but we were able to Skype with them! Thankful for Skype!

Meanwhile Joshua's Club team won Regionals in Boise so now they will be traveling to Florida in July for Nationals!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Florida, Soccer, and Malachi

 The beginning of June some of our family will be traveling to Florida for a 10 day orientation/training with a Mission Organization we have applied for. We are pretty excited about the whole endeavor. Excited to meet the faces we have been talking to about our mission in Uganada. Excited about the oversight they will offer us, and the family feel the organization offers. While we are there Joshua will be headed to Idaho for a Regional Championship with his Club Team.  This is an incredible opportunity for him, he has worked really hard and we are proud of him. Here is a video of some highlights from last year, if you want to see him in action. His team was the state champions in their level, and in this video you will see some of Joshua's goals. He is number 13 and his team is Navy Blue, and they also have a Yellow jersey. Their team is in this video quite a bit.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y53xvrWQ1Ow&feature=share&list=PL4FG4d0re73kpJIRRUBhQYFiTVC0PqJ71

Our road to investigating Malachi's health have finally come to an end. He has gone through EEG testing and things are looking really good. Much better than last time, and there is nothing further we have to do, or can do. This was great news for us. Give God the glory!!




Friday, May 3, 2013

To Be Great We Must Serve

It was turning out to be one of “those” mornings. If you people have little people you know what “those” is referring to. Where nothing seems to be working itself into place and all seems topsy turvy. The one where the toddler is being a toddler, the baby is being a baby, human excrement is in places it shouldn’t be, crying, whining, the defiant one is working his manipulating magic, and the choir of “MOM I need you, MOM can you help me?” is in forte. The craze makes my head spin and I realize it is not because I haven’t had anything to eat, but because my brain is taking in waaaay too much information, while trying to meet the demand. The stress part of my brain is swelling. (yeah there is a stress part of your brain! Okay not really but it sounds good). Those of you who have little people are smiling right now and those who don’t are wondering where this is going, stick with me. Luckily I don’t have one of these moments very often but like the sun coming up each morning it happens, and is bound to happen with a toddler in the house. So by the time 10:00 tea time comes around (where we sit at the table for our readings) I am feeling frazzled. And now I have 7 little people looking at me, wondering what the lessons for the day will hold. I have enough sense to know that the first thing we should start with in our lessons is the Bible. A tradition that was started from experience, knowing that we all needed God’s word to instruct us and glean some light into our shadowy hearts, and today I needed it more than ever. I was able to get up early in the morning to have my time with God, but with the swelling in my brain, I had forgotten. (Those forgetful Israelites don’t sound so foolish now a days). This time of opening the word is more for the kids to learn and experience God, but of course God always has something to say to everyone, I just happen to be the one who is suppose to facilitate and help initiate inspiration. We happen to be in the gospels, and were reading in Mark chapter 9 verse 33 through 37. The disciples are with Jesus in a house, without a crowd, and Jesus asks them what they were discussing on the way.  The disciples kept silent because, on the way they were arguing with one another about who was the greatest. So Jesus sits down and calls them. And he says to them, “If anyone would be first he must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he takes a child and picks him up and says, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives not me but him who sent me.”

We begin to discuss. We all kind of laugh at the disciples that they were arguing like children, and then we laugh that we can all fall into the trap. With my kids it is rather obvious in their competitiveness to outdo one another but as adults we find many more socially acceptable ways to camouflage our pride and wanting to be the best. I speak, or rather write from experience. We then start to discuss the part where Jesus says that to be great we must serve. This is a mantra at my house because as parents we are constantly reminding our children that serving others is where we become great. But as we are talking about it this time I cringe a little. Not because I don’t like what Jesus has to say, but because I feel my heart has been selfish. Because there is not a lot of recognition and appreciation in wiping butts (sorry this should be rated PG), or making kids do their math. Not now anyway.

Jesus then picks up the child and tells them that if they want to be great they must receive a child in Jesus’ name. One of my children asks, “Mom why did he say a child?” My mind freezes, there are no words. In the awkward silence my children start conversing with one another about this and I can’t really hear anything they are saying.  I sense God beckoning me to continue to love and serve when there is nothing in it for me, a continuing repetitive lesson. Children, especially toddlers and babies, give nothing back (except their cuteness, which looses its’ hold when the brain is swollen from stress, or when they give their brother a bloody nose).  I sometimes get these notions in my head that my children will show me great appreciation for meeting their basic needs. I am not asking much ;), just once in awhile it would be nice to hear, “Thanks mom for making us learn.” “Mom I am so grateful that you work hard to cook us nutritious meals, that will help us grow strong.” Okay so no kids say this, and if they do, then be thankful. So what happens when they don’t? Then what? Then we keep on serving, like Jesus tells us to, not only here but many places in the Bible. I see God continue to strip the ugly garments of selfishness off of me and it is freeing, light weight. I then snap out of my trance and ask the children, “What does Azariah have to offer us?” “Nothing,” they reply. “Exactly, and he requires a lot from us, but we love him anyway. He is a gift from God. He can not feed himself, he can not dress himself, he can’t do much of anything except be cute.”

Many days I feel I have a long way to go and I remember that I am His workmanship, even if He had to start with me, the finger painting picture. I am thankful. I am humbled. I am reminded that when God looks at my artwork he doesn’t see the finger painting, or the scribbles, but He sees the Masterpiece of Jesus in its’ place. The Jesus who showed how to be a servant to those with whom he would get no recognition. And I can press on to serve while being embraced in His love.



Saturday, April 20, 2013

If You Are Wondering....

For those of you who are wondering when we are going back to Uganda, here is the best answer I can give.....I don’t know. Amusing, huh? I wish I had a date for you, for myself and my family as we were all planning and hoping to be in Uganda by now, but we are not. Why aren’t we back in Uganda? We were planning on working toward getting back to Uganda after Azariah was born and our sending organization decided that they didn’t have the means as an organization to help and support us with our decision to move closer to the capital. It was honestly hard to take at first because we were at this point looking at travel dates in May. But after praying through it, and time, we began to see it as a blessing. We want to have the right kind of coaching and missionary support while we are in Uganda because we see ourselves on the mission field a long time so we want to do it right. The unfortunate part is that changing mission organizations is anything but quick. We are right in the middle of changing organizations so we don’t have a specific time as when we will be able to leave. So if this blog post seems clearly unclear, then welcome to my world. Here we find ourselves walking by faith, one step at a time asking God to meet our steps and proceed forward in His will. An uncomfortably comfortable place to be.

In the meanwhile we try to live where we are and be Jesus where we are.  For me that seems to happen within our living quarters as I constantly struggle to teach, instruct, discipline, love and be an example of Jesus to my kids and husband. 

We are however starting to work on building up our prayer and financial support (as this can take several months), so if you would like to partner with us please let us know via email, or you can go to our website and fill out a form. 

Stay tuned for more to come.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

He's here!

It is hard to believe that 2 weeks have already gone by since "Zee" was born. He was born on January 11, and weighed 8lbs. 4oz, and was 21 inches long. We had a home birth with a midwife and the delivery went as wonderful as labor can go. We are very grateful for all your prayers! We are now adjusting to life with 7 kids, and sleep deprivation. We are very thankful for all of our family and friends that have made us meals, and have been very helpful and supportive. We now have goals of getting back to Uganda as soon as possible (in God's time). Details soon to come!