The first in Uganda, but 16 in total…

What a beautiful day, and what a wonderful reason to praise God.

My wife and I woke early as we do every morning.  We pour our coffee in the living room where I join her for our morning prayers.  On Fridays we pray with a particular emphasis on those we love who have not yet come to the saving knowledge of Christ.  I’m not sure where the sovereignty of God and man’s free will intersect, but I know that my God is faithful and hears our prayers.  I’ve seen evidence of this time and again.  After our prayers, my wife and I sit at the table to listen through a lecture series, currently studying conflict management.  The material is somewhat dry, but I love this time with my wife.  We talk through all the conflict we currently face, and her discernment helps me to see things from another perspective.  God chose her for me, and the two of us really see things better together.

What a beautiful day, and what a wonderful reason to praise God.

We have a new routine for our Fridays, one that really seems to add a good variation to our schedule.  After getting breakfast made and enjoying our time together, it’s Staci who goes to work on Friday.  She takes my keys down to the camp office to get some quiet time to work on her lesson planning, and any administrative household items that need to be taken care of.  While she enjoys this time without the constant interruption of, “Mommy!”, I get the thrill of settling arguments, demanding that the chores get done, and trying to keep our house in order.  Today I spent this time applying a final coat of paint to a kitchen wall that has been neglected for years, dating back prior to our arrival.  While I cut in the trim, I listened to the light drizzle of rain against the tin roof, which didn’t prevent Benjamin and Isaac from exploring the forest to harvest a dying tree for firewood.  Kaiya stayed inside to practice her Luganda, since they will attend their class later today.

What a beautiful day, and what a wonderful reason to praise God.

It’s hard to imagine what two kids had in mind when they were confessing their love for each other in front of family and friends sixteen years ago.  We had dreamt of many things, but never this.  I’m not sure if anything would have been further from our minds than being missionaries in Africa.  From IT and coffee shops, to tree farms and basketball; from car sales and a nutrition store, to the oilfields of North Dakota, God has been working on this marriage.  Through kids and health complications, foster care and adoption, God has been refining us.  In allergies and diet changes, God was preparing us.  In 8 places we have called home, God was showing us that we were foreigners in all of them.  God brought us early success, and challenged what it really was.  God humbled us and took away some of those provisions, and asked if He was really enough.  We called ourselves Christ followers, but God asked if that was by our definition or His.  Work and home would pull a husband and a wife apart, but God chose to intervene and become our place of unity.

What a beautiful day, and what a wonderful reason to praise God.

Today we celebrate those 16 years.  A year ago this meant dinner out at the finest restaurant, flowers and cards.  This year we will stay at home, since the rain makes our roads impassable.  We’ll see if the cloudy day allows us enough solar power for a movie tonight.  We’ll probably discuss our ministry, our work.  We’ll talk about where the clinic is headed, what conflict we face, and how many of our neighbors are having difficulty finding food.  We’ll continue to read a book together, discussing how we can help a struggling people to find hope in something other than money and material resources.  As we do, God will continue to bring our minds together.  He’ll continue the miracle and mystery of “the two shall become one”.  Today I thank God for my bride.  I thank him for 16 years of transformation.  We are not the same as we were, and I certainly thank Him for that.  We are centered in God’s will, pursuing Him like at no other time in our lives, and pursuing Him together.  On this anniversary of our marriage, there is no place I’d rather be, other than the home He will eventually call us to.

What a beautiful day, and what a wonderful reason to praise God.