Thursday, 1 April 2010

April's prayer letter - sneak preview

Dear Friends,
I apologise for how long it’s taken to write this newsletter. I kept putting it off, as there is a lot of information to try and put into few words. I realise that my February newsletter now has to be my April one..
Since I last wrote, we have had a very hard time here in Mbarara; Lindsey and I went home, and only I returned.
Near the end of February two men broke into our house, stole everything of monetary value and attacked Lindsey, my flatmate. She left for home the same day and I followed her in leaving Mbarara two weeks later. I had thought I would be able to keep going without needing a break, but I was wrong and it became apparent that returning home to see family and friends and rest in ‘normality’ was necessary for me.
I came home to Bristol for a month, and in that time visited Glasgow and did a few days of work at my old school. It was a great time of rest, rejuvenation and seeking God’s face in the midst of pain. I had so many questions – Why her, not me? Where can God’s perfect will be seen in this? But even though sometimes answers can’t be found, God CAN be found, and His guiding and comforting hand was evident from the beginning. I struggled a lot to reconcile what has happened with His sovereignty, but in the end I have really learned that we can never, ever understand God, but He DOES have a perfect plan, and He IS in control, and ‘in everything God works for the good of those who love the Lord’. I’m not saying I understand everything, but I do know that our God loves Lindsey and I and is walking with us every day, sometimes even carrying us.
There have been many miracles seen, some big and some small. I was sent a package of photos from a friend, and these arrived two weeks after being sent (packages usually take at least a month, and my advent calendar hasn’t arrived yet..). As I lost all of my pictures on my computer when it was taken, this was a great comfort! I also consider a miracle the amount of people who stepped up to pray for me and help me get home. I owe infinite thanks to members of St Silas’ and St Alban’s Churches and the Diocese of Bristol for getting me home and supporting me while there.

Now I’m back here and life is beginning again for me in Mbarara, and it looks very different to before. I am now living with a couple called Mike and Susan Boyett, and I’m so thankful to them for opening up their home to me. It’s also very strange not having Lindsey here all the time! We worked together and lived together and (even though we drove each other up the wall sometimes) got pretty close in the 4 months we had together. So not having her here is the biggest adjustment I’m going to have to make, but thankfully there are some great people here still.
Thanks to God’s amazing timing, there was a safari organised for short-termers to Murchison Falls National Park the weekend I arrived back to Kampala. This was possibly the best thing I could possibly have to return to, and I got to know a few of the other short-termers a lot better, as well as a couple of elephants.
I will probably start work next week, and it’s going to be fairly mental as I will have three months’ worth of lab techniques to learn in two. I will also see the university girls again soon, and try and catch up from a month without seeing them, and I’m very excited as next Saturday we’re having a baking party for my return!

Here are a few things to praise God for:

-   That both Lindsey and I are alive and well and God has been faithful and kept our souls from harm
-   That our God is sovereign above all and is constantly guiding, watching over and loving us
-   My churches and the Diocese of Bristol, for getting me home and supporting me while there

Here are a few things to pray for:

-   That I will settle in to my new life in Mbarara quickly, be able to enjoy the time I have left here and be fruitful for God
-   For Lindsey’s healing and that she will settle into life at home and be mentally and spiritually prepared to start medical school in August
-   For my and Lindsey’s families, as they also struggle with what has happened. For Lindsey’s as they support her at home and for mine as they release me to come back to where this happened
-   That my work at the lab and with the students will be productive and not suffer from my having been away
-   For the AIM team here, that these painful events will bring us closer together and seek God’s face through our collective struggles
-   For security for all of God’s people working to share His Gospel in dangerous places, especially those of us in Mbarara.

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