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2 Weeks South of the Equator – Part 1

28 Oct

I (Daniel) just returned last week from a 2 week trip to the SW corner of Uganda.  The SW is an area where we have worked on various projects since we moved here in 2012.  We try to make it down 2 or 3 times a year.  We would go more frequently, but it is a full 2 days of driving just to get there, so it takes some planning to make these trips happen.  Since Nathan is in school, Rachel decided not to come on this trip so that he wouldn’t miss so much class.  Here are a few photos from the trip.


About halfway through the 2 day drive, we cross the equator going south.  On this trip, I was traveling with Mike, a vet from WA, and Fred, one of my former students who graduated from the School of Ministry last year.


This is one of my favorite places in Uganda.  The road to Kisoro snakes through the mountains and the town is at the base of these 3 volcanoes.  On the back side of these 3 volcanoes is Rwanda.  To the right, there is the outline of more mountains and a 4th volcano which are on the Congo side of the border.  


Our first stop was Rukeri, on the slope of the largest of the 3 volcanoes.  This is a Batwa settlement where we gave out sheep loans in October of last year (on the trip with the School of Ministry students).  The community brought all the sheep to show us.  Some already have lambs that have been given back to the group as their loan repayment and the lambs have gone to other members of the community.  One day, every family in the village will have a sheep of their own as they continue to work together!  


While we were there, we dewormed all the the sheep and their lambs and put on ear tags.  The whole community came out to watch the free entertainment.  


With funding from Mike’s Rotary Club in WA, we started a new sheep loan group for Batwa that have moved out of the slums in Kisoro town.  I have known many of these participants for several years and it is a lot of fun to be able to participate in their lives.  


Before going to their new homes, each sheep was given a dewormer, sprayed for ticks, and given a numbered ear tag.  


To keep everything fair, each participant randomly draws a number that corresponds to the numbered ear tag on the sheep – that is the sheep they get to go home with.

Check back tomorrow for more photos from the second half of the trip!


Goodbye Grahams

20 Jul



17 Jul

It is almost that time again.  We are in the home stretch now, getting ready to finally head back to Uganda.  We are excited to get home and dive back into ministry with our friends there, but we are also sad to say goodbye to life in Portland.

We bought our return tickets – we are heading out on the 8th of August.  We have a couple of weeks left to say our final goodbyes.

Part of the process is packing, re-packing, and carefully weighing each bag to make sure we can fit all the most important things, like shelf stable bacon bits of course.  We have also had a lot of friends and family ask if there is anything we need to take back with us.  Things often slip our minds, so we put together an Amazon wishlist to help us keep track of all the last minute items that we want to make sure to take back with us.

I am posting the wishlist here in case you want to help out with something.  If you make a purchase off the list, it will automatically check it off the list so other people don’t accidentally double buy something.  Please let us know if you need our mailing address.  There are some items on there specifically for our ministry and there are a few personal things on there as well.

Thanks so much to all our friends and family who have made this furlough a real treat for us.  We appreciate all your love and support.  We are planning a little goodbye get-together for the 5th of August – details to be announced soon!  We would love to see you then.

Roadtrip 2018: North Carolina

24 May

Our 9th state on this trip was North Carolina.  We had 2 stops there, both right around Charlotte.

First up, we stopped for dinner with Tim & Paula – both are vets who have served with CVM long-term in South Africa and also in Soroti.  As we were talking, we realized that we actually live on the same road that they lived on when they were there 18 years ago!

Then we spent 2 nights on the south side of Charlotte with our friends from Fuel Uganda.  We have worked with them several times when they come for short-term trips and they are one of the partners that we work with in our Batwa ministries.  We had some good chats with them thinking through some future ministry possibilities and we ate some really good barbecue.

Wednesday morning came very early and we headed back to Portland.  Nathan loved the plane rides, of course.  And he got to fly the plane again…


Roadtrip 2018: Virginia

22 May

The drive through West Virginia and Virginia was beautiful.  The weather was perfect, the rolling hills and the green trees made the hours of driving quite pleasant.

We spent our one night in Virginia at a 200 year old farm owned by Jack & Mary who have served with CVM for a number of years – Mary has done a number of livestock projects with us in Uganda so we had some good time with them to plan some more projects for next year.  Nathan’s favorite part was the horse (and also the dogs, the cats, the snakes in the tree, the cows, the wild turkeys, and the donkey).

A few minutes away in downtown Salem we stopped off to greet Rachel, the immigration lawyer who helped us get Nathan’s visa last year.  She did a fantastic job for us, so we wanted to stop by in person and thank her for all the hard work.


Roadtrip 2018: Kentucky

20 May

After a short 7 hours in the car through Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio; we arrived in Maysville, Kentucky on Thursday evening.  We met up with Rachel’s parents and all of the brothers and sisters, spouses, and children for 3 fun-filled nights on the southern bank of the Ohio River.

The occasion: Granny Ann’s 100th birthday party.  It was fun to be together with the Kentucky family to celebrate Rachel’s grandmother.  We ate a lot of good meals together, visited some Amish stores, and walked down by the river.

We head out of Kentucky on Sunday afternoon.  The rest of the family flies back to Portland but we continue on to another state: Virginia.

Roadtrip 2018: Michigan

19 May

Sunday afternoon was a long drive around the southern edge of Lake Michigan up to Grand Rapids.  We spent 3 days enjoying time with friends that we have served with in Uganda at one time or another and who now happen to be in and around the Grand Rapids area – Steve & Tanya, Jennifer, Ben & Christina, and Dave & Veronica.  It was fun to see these friends in their native habitat after having spent so much time with them in Uganda.

Plus, Nathan got to spend some time on the beach at Lake Michigan, he caught his first fish, and he tried out paddle boarding!

Next up, a 7 hour drive down to Maysville, Kentucky for the big party.

Roadtrip 2018: Wisconsin

15 May

Roadtrip 2018 has begun – heading through 9 states in 12 days.  First stop: Wisconsin.

We flew into Chicago on Saturday and headed up to Grafton (north of Milwaukee) for a night with our friends David and Kelly.  Kelly and Rachel taught together when they were living in Mexico City.  They made it out to our place in Portland before we left for Uganda and even came out to Soroti to see us last year.  This is our first time visiting them in their place.

Sunday morning we spoke at the 2 different churches where Kelly is pastoring.  After our double churches, we had a picnic on the shore of Lake Michigan before jumping back in the car for the next leg of the journey; Wisconsin through Illinois and Indiana to Michigan where we will spend our next few days…

Webpage clean-up

2 Apr

I have said it before, and I will say it again…we are miserable at blogging.  I have such a hard time keeping this blog current.  If you didn’t know any better, it would look like we haven’t done anything in the last year.  In addition to that, most of the info we had on here was out of date.

So, I am excited to reveal our new and improved blog presence.  Feel free to navigate through all the tabs – all the text and pictures are current and accurate for you.

We will hopefully have more to update you on in the days, weeks, and months to come.  But for now, enjoy a few pictures of Nathan:

A New School Year

4 Feb

The books are unpacked, sorted, and on the shelves.  The desks are moved into the offices and the bunk beds are in the dorm rooms.  The kitchen is waiting for its finishing touches.

Calvary Chapel Soroti is ready for a new school year to begin in our new school.  The School of Ministry is scheduled to take its first class of 10 students on the 20th of February for a year of intensive discipleship, Bible study, and training in practical ministry skills.  This day has been long-awaited and we are very excited to make this a central point in our ministry here.  Through this school, we hope to train and equip national Christians to go out into their communities and serve wherever God has called them – multiplying the discipleship efforts of the local church.

For more information on the school, please be on the look-out for our February prayer letter from CVM.  There are some real and practical ways that you can be involved with the opening of this school:

  1. Pray for us leading up to the big day on the 20th – there is still a lot of work to be done on curriculum, policies, teaching schedules, and more.
  2. Pray for the students as they commit to rigorous study over the next year.
  3. Consider coming over for a week or 2 (or more!) and teach a class.
  4. We are still in need of about $5,000 to put all the finishing touches on the school and dorm rooms (things like finishing the kitchen building and buying all the pots/pans/utensils, installing a 10,000 liter water tank, hooking up internet in the library, putting up a clothes line and buying mosquito nets – among so many other little things that go into opening a school for the first time).
  5. In an effort to provide this year of learning to deserving students at little cost to them, we are also looking for individuals or groups willing to sponsor student costs at $100 a month to provide for their meals, academic materials, and other costs of running the school.

If you are interested in being a financial partner with the school, donations can be made through our “Calvary Chapel” special project account at CVM (here is the link, make sure you select Calvary Chapel as the designation).  To help me with planning, please let me know if you are interested in monthly sponsorship towards student costs.