It is the last day of 2022, time to look back on one of the craziest years of my life. We also went to Uganda for our vacation, to meet our office and go on a conference. And then we celebrated Christmas. A very eventful month.
His love endures forever
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of Lords: His love endures forever. [Psalms 136:1-3, NIV]
I read this today in my quiet time and it is just a perfect way to end this year. Give thanks to the Lord. For this year, for what He has done, for giving you breath, for providing for you and mainly for Him Himself. There’s a million reasons we can be thankful. Take some time and reflect on that. What are you thankful for? What has God done in your life this year? Praise Him for that. And then know that His love and mercy endures. He will continue to walk with you into 2023. We can have all these good plans and resolutions for the new year, and yet God knows already every step of the way. Let’s trust Him in that and praise Him for who He is and what He has done for us. HERE is a song about this Psalm that I really enjoy.
The Luxuries of the West
We just came back from our vision trip to Lopit and two weeks later, we headed off again to Uganda. The moment we arrived, I encountered a thing called “Reverse Culture Shock”. Paved Roads, thousands of cars, hot showers and running water. Wow! It really hit me and it took me a week to adjust. Nonetheless, we had a wonderful time meeting many new people, especially our wonderful office personnel, eating lots of Western food that I missed and taking some time to rest and relax.
For our vacation, my house mate and I went on a little adventure. We took a 3h local boat ride to Banda Island, a small island on Lake Victoria. A beautiful quiet place in the middle of nowhere. Just us. The boat ride was definitely an adventure, but everything went well. On the island itself, I got to read a lot, sit on the dock, explore the island on a kayak and watch the sunset from the castle. The staff was lovely and we even got the chance to pray for them before we left. It’s a very simple setup on the island, but if you’re looking for a quiet getaway, this is your spot.
We then headed up north to Arua where we had our regional conference. It was good to meet many new coworkers from different countries and even local partners that we work with. We had sessions in the morning, hearing from the different countries and getting some input from our local leaders and missionaries. It was a great time. But I was also ready to go back. After one week back in “The West”, in luxury, I felt very bored. There is something very fulfilling about having to work hard for every little thing.
We came back right before Christmas, a very busy time of the year. Everybody was re-mudding their houses, baking Kabis (Christmas cookies) and getting haircuts. Christmas was very different, but good in itself. A good friend of mine told me that Christmas here and Christmas at home are not comparable. They are two different events, celebrating the same thing. People here celebrate for at least 3-4 days, going from home to home and eating lots of food. Everybody had time and life slowed down. It was nice! In this time, I grew a lot closer with my neighbors and friends and had many good conversations.
Here is a small recap:
Jan: support raising trip in the US (AZ, TX, CO)
Feb: support raising trip in the US (WI, CA, TN, AL, SC, NC)
Mar: friends, preaching, snowboarding, missions week in Rosbach (Windeck), missions evening in my church
Apr: wedding photography, time with sisters, watching sunset at Easter, visiting my grandma, renting a motorcycle
May: security training, spring missions event (DMG), wedding videography, Christival
Jun: vacation in Scotland, friend from US visiting, youth evening Osnabrück, Highschool friends reunion
Jul: farewell party, ABO (Africa Based Orientation) in Kenya, new friends, first safari
Aug: arrival in South Sudan, Homestay in Keyala, building relationships
Sep: learning dances in church, end of tech fast (reconnecting to good friends and family), working on car, baking banana bread on charcoal
Oct: deepening relationships, short maintenance trip to Kimatong (Laarim), started working out again
Nov: more car repairs, solar panel rescue, Lopit vision trip (4x4 driving, relationships, hiking)
Dec: being called a local (Junubi), trip to Uganda (new people, Banda Island, Western food), Christmas
In South Sudan, people don’t celebrate New Year’s Eve, they only celebrate Wahid-Wahid (1.1.). I’m excited to see that. I’m also exploring different future options for my time after this Inbound year. It’s becoming more and more real and I’m really excited. Please pray for a good decision. I also want to focus on language and be more intentional about my relationships here.
With this being said, happy new year! Thank you for all your faithful support. Again, I wouldn’t be here without you! Thank you! God bless you,