The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Dear Friends and Family,
2021! Only God knows what this new year is going to hold for all of us. We are praying that there are great things in store and that many opportunities to share the love of Christ and the Gospel will present themselves. I believe the important thing is to live each day for Him, expecting those opportunities and while they may not always be as we planned or hoped, they will be there.
One of the most exciting things that has happened recently is that the children and I were able to attend the Christmas Eve service and dinner at church. Since the government allowed the reopening of churches they have kept a ban on children under 12 attending, unless they are an infant being carried. On Christmas Eve, since it was a dinner as well as the service and carols, we were allowed to attend because it was considered a restaurant setting as well as being outdoors. We were not sure up until the last few days before if it was allowed. As soon as we got the ok, Luke began to learn a new song on the piano and with only 3 days of practice was able to play it as part of the service.
It was very emotional to be back at church with the church family all gathered together in one place and to sing and be in God’s Word together. We have been able to get together in homes here and there with some church members and of course we read the Bible and worship together at home but there is just something wondrous that happens when you actually meet together as a complete body. I believe that is why Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Normally on Christmas Eve we have a huge neighborhood outreach and children’s activities but because of the covid restrictions that was not allowed this year. We still wanted to bless as many people as we could, especially because so many have been really affected and are suffering this year because of all the issues surrounding Covid. At the church we hosted a meal for those who could be there and invited their families as well. For most that was their Christmas.
Since there are many people in our church and the neighboring slums that are considered at risk, they could not attend the church service and dinner. With the help of Brian’s family’s chicken farm and another couple in our church who raise and sell chickens, as well as our supporters who provided the money, we were able to deliver a Christmas gift of chicken to many families who would have gone without this year. In Uganda, Christmas and Easter are often the only 2 times in a year some people get to eat chicken.
Before covid, Arise Christian Fellowship had more children than adults. Since the government is not allowing them at church we have been trying to minister to them where they live. The assistant pastor, Deo, lives right near many children, he has been doing a Bible club with them every week. For Christmas, my children gave those children gifts of candy and youth discipleship books for the older children and coloring books for the younger children. They miss seeing their friends all the time so they were very joyful to be able to give something. At the kids party we also fed them a Christmas meal and had carols, teaching and games. We are so thankful for those who helped us to make Christmas special for so many people this year despite covid. We are praying that the remembrance of Christ’s birth and the hope that surrounds Him will encourage everyone to keep pressing forward with hope and anticipation of what the Lord will do next.
This past month Uganda was preparing for elections. It has brought quite a bit of unrest and some days of terrible violence. We ask that you please pray for Uganda and for safety during this time as well as peaceful election results, during and after.
Thank you for praying for our family and for the people of Uganda.
Brian, Jill, Luke, Laylee, and Liana