Open Doors

Wow! I cannot believe it has been two months since my last blog. We have done a lot of necessary traveling lately due to the election season here in Kenya. We tried to make the best of our time spending some time with family on vacation and then friends back in Uganda. We have been safely home in Kenya for about three weeks now and are enjoying getting back into a routine. Many have heard and asked about the Kenyan elections and well the Supreme Court has ruled that they were not fair and they will hold another election in October. We are planning to stay around unless we see a strong need to leave.

We have began our school year and things are going well. I cannot believe that we are in our 5th year of home school and our youngest is knocking on double digits. Doug’s work is going well. We are enjoying that he gets to work at home some days and those days balance out for those times he has to travel. The Malawi program is also doing well. There are many projects going on and many in the funding phase as well. If you would like to help with either of these country programs in the funding phase you can go here to get more information. He just got back from an assessment near the Maasai Mara where many villages are still feeling the effects of the drought in Kenya. The morning of their assessment, the community found two cows that were killed by an elephant competing for the same water source. Recently, in the target community, a kid was killed by a hippo that lives in their only water source. We complain sometimes when we don’t have water at our house, but these communities compete with real wild animals for drinking water.

I have spoken before of a hospital ministry that I was helping my house helper with. She has named the ministry Tabitha Ministries International. It is based off of the story of Tabitha (also called Dorcas) in Acts 9:36-43. “Tabitha was a disciple that was always doing good and helping the poor.” (vs.36). This ministry will go once a month to one of the local hospitals and give out fruits and milk to the patients. We will also hand out a Bible verse and pray with those we can. The government hospital here has been on strike for a while so we are looking for another hospital that we can serve in the interim.

I have also been given the privilege to help mentor young girls by teaching ballet within another ministry here in Kitale. The ministry is called The Joshua Blueprint and the more I learn about them, the more excited I am to be a part of such a great God thing. This ministry gives back to several different children’s homes by giving them an outlet to learn the arts such as chorus, art, dance, drama, and other musical instruments. Along with this they play a huge role in mentor-ship to these kids by teaching them Christ’s love and truths within every class. You can learn more about this ministry here.

We are slowly but surely finding our way in a new place. God has been faithful to show us some ways to get plugged in and stay focused on Him during this journey. Our God is so good to us. We are so blessed to live the life we live and we are humbled that you choose to live it with us in prayer and support.

We look forward to seeing many of you in December. Yes!!! I said December. We are excited that we will be stateside for a short time for the holidays. We have not been in the states for Christmas since we moved to Africa. We will only be around for three weeks, but we can’t wait!

Blessings to all and thank you for all that you do!

The LawsonTribe4

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Our God Knows

Habakkuk 3:17-19

” Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

Since our last blog we have become more settled, Praise Him, yet some things have remained difficult. After some of the same frustrations and trials, my heart has allowed me to see in a different light, again Praise Him! If we actually look back to Habakkuk 3:16 we see that trouble is all around and Habakkuk says “yet I wait patiently.” On our recent visit to Uganda, I was able to hear several sermons out of James 1, learning how to go through a trial, and also how to come out victorious on the other side.

During this season of transition for our family I have had some good conversations with the boys, and in trying to teach them God spoke to me as well. Contentment is a hard life lesson no matter where you live or how old you may be. “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” I can and should choose Joy in God alone. Sometimes we do not know right off how or why we may end up where we do, but our God does. His ways are higher than our ways. He holds the missing pieces to our puzzle of life and loves watching us place each one with our obedience to him.

After spending some time trying to find a place, I have come alongside my house helper to minister to those in the local district hospital. It is really a beautiful story of how this came about. She came to me with a vision to help the sick that nobody else wanted to care for. In her mind, she was unsure of how it would work or exactly what she could afford, but she felt compelled to help and to share with me. After praying about it, we decided that helping this vision was not only doable, but something I would love to do as well. Last month, we had our first outreach. We handed out two sacks of oranges and 20 kgs of bananas to 5 wards at the district hospital. We both contributed funds and time and it was a total blessing. We will be going back once a month.

Doug has been busy with work. He has visited Malawi the last three weeks and Praise God we will be reunited in Nairobi Sunday! The Water Mission teams in both countries have been a great fit and very welcoming. We are all looking forward to knowing them better. Although he has had to travel a good bit at first, when he is home he gets to work from home more often and that is a nice treat. The boys are finishing up this crazy school year in a couple of weeks and while it seems like it has lasted forever, we can see the light at the end of third and sixth grades! They still have not found any close friends around yet, but they have each other and on most days that is pretty good! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Prayer Points for us this month:

All flights meeting in Nairobi this weekend

Doug will have minor surgery on July 6th in Nairobi.

The hospital ministry to take root and share the love of Jesus with many

Water Projects all over Kenya and Malawi

For growth in the midst of the trials

For Kenya as elections will be soon (We will be traveling out of country during this time)

Thank you for standing with us in battle! God is Faithful! God is enough!

Blessings,

The LawsonTribe4

Withholding Nothing

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” Psalms 84:11-12

The last two Sundays, at different churches, we sang the same song. I felt like God was speaking to me personally through the words and this verse came to mind. The words are very simple: I surrender all to you, everything I give to you, withholding nothing, withholding nothing. Now God was speaking this to me I think because I have been withholding from him. I have thought about this blog post for a while and I just could not write many positives, so I delayed. God has spoke to me this past week that it is OK to be real and transparent with him, because he already knows, and with you so that you know how to best pray. So…..here it goes, withholding nothing….well maybe some or this could get really long. ๐Ÿ™‚

This transition to Kenya has been rewarding but hard to say the least. We have all struggled greatly leaving yet another home and a great support network. Transition is not meant to be easy and I get that, but it just seemed like things were piling up almost to the point of being comical. One example is that we had three different plumbers in one week and still had leaks. Not only does nothing in the house match, (which is growing on me), but nothing is level. This makes it very challenging to hang curtains or pictures. The two brand new chest of drawers we bought both have a drawer that does not work. Finding friends for adults is hard enough, but asking your boys to leave friends again and finding no boy community yet after 6 weeks is heartbreaking to this mama. You get the point….. and these are just a few examples. I told you, withholding nothing.

As I have been praying through how to best handle some of these situations and trying to talk to the boys on how to handle their struggles, allowing them to see that Doug and I also struggle, I felt God telling me that we have this wonderful network across the globe, that sometimes, to be honest, I feel like I should only share the good, some of the bad, and none of the ugly to. Sometimes in our walk, the ugly is inevitable in order to be made into something better. Read that again. Sometimes in our walk, the ugly is inevitable in order to be made into something better. The ugly is not always a punishment, but a refinement. The ugly makes us more dependent on the only one that can make it good. The ugly brings us closer to Jesus, the one who turns ashes to beauty.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things to be grateful for in this journey. Those things have kept us sane in the midst. We are happy and humbled still that God has chosen to use us here in Kenya. One of the best blessings is that my parents were able to come and spend a month with us. I absolutely loved having them here during this transition time and how they helped us turn this house into a home. They helped us laugh when in fact we wanted to cry and they helped the kids transition better too. We have also had friends from Jinja come visit. We have met some really great people here in Kitale and work for Doug, though busy, has been great. It has been a blessing to pour into the lives of three new workers in our compound and get to know some of their families.

I guess in my spirit, I love to count blessings and that is a good thing, but God is showing me that it is OK to bring it all, lay it down, withholding nothing, and wait for his mercies that are new each day. He is showing me that it is also OK, as a mom, wife, and even missionary, to withhold nothing from the prayer warriors he has chosen to surround us with. I know that some of our followers read this blog just to keep up and see our adventures and that is great, but I know that a lot of readers truly go to battle for us in the hard times and that is why today God is telling me to withhold nothing. We need your prayers. The struggle is real, the reality is hard some days, but God….. but GOD, in his word, promises to us that he will withhold nothing from those whose walk is blameless. Now my walk will never be blameless until I meet Jesus, but his promises are true to those who believe and live for him and I claim that promise that as I withhold nothing, God will also withhold nothing.

Before we left Jinja, a pastor quoted his wife, who happens to be a good friend and I wrote it down because I loved it. “Lord, whatever you bring, I will receive; wherever you put me, it will be good.” This is my prayer for my family. I am writing it for the Prayer wall in our house. I want this time of transition to teach me, Doug, and the kids through us that God’s will, no matter what, who, or where is set before you, it will be good. Only HE has the power to do that. When we withhold nothing and surrender to God, God withholds nothing and in his perfect time blessings abundantly will flow. I claim the promise that as I have shared some tough times that God will prick some of your hearts to pray for some of ourย prayer points, standing with our family for His glory.

Blessings,

The LawsonTribe4

 

 

Our New Land

“So I have come down to rescue them from the land of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into Good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Exodus 3:8

When we were on our vision trip in Kenya last month, while looking at houses, I teased and said that instead of milk and honey it looks like we may have less ants and less lizard poop. Now, I know to most a land of milk and honey sounds amazing, but I am telling you for real that a land with less ants and less lizards is my kind of promised land….this side of Heaven of course! I will also have to take note that since we have been in the new land for a couple of days, our home has traded ants and lizards for crickets……so maybe they do need a few more geckos……nah!

We have received so many sweet gestures, wonderful gifts, and kind words as we left Uganda. One friend gave me the one of the sweetest compliments during our share and prayer times. Of all the things that people have said during the last few weeks, this one stands out. She told me that through this transition she has only seen peace and joy in me. Doug has a fabulous sermon that he preaches on Joy. It is actually one of my favorites as he really gets into it. It comes from Psalm 100.

“Shout with Joy to the Lord, all the Earth. Worship the Lord with Gladness; come before him with Joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with Praise; give Thanks to him and Praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

I decided a while back that I was going to do better at finding the Joy in the mundane. Truth be told, I have a lot of room for growth in this, but the reality is I have truly had a peace about this transition. A peace that only God can give. Yes, it is bitter sweet to leave Uganda. Almost as bitter sweet as leaving the states almost 4 years ago. I had a couple of sad moments, but the reality is there is peace in going wherever the Lord has called us to be. I loved hearing people say that the boys “seemed” to be okay and not upset about the move. That meant that I had made them feel so comfortable with my joy in what God had in store that they just rolled with it, learning that God is faithful to those that are in obedience with his word and commands. (and that sometimes means moving countries and starting over yet again).

We are excited to be in Kenya. We are excited to see what God has in store for us here. The reality is yes, it is a weird, messy lifestyle, filled with many ups and downs that many will never understand and that is okay. We live with different bugs, eat some different foods, live in different houses with barred windows and guarded gates, but we worship the same living God and He is worthy of our Joy in every circumstance. Having said that: here are some fun facts about Our New Land.

  • We will have a War Room!!!! EXCITED! (check out the movie if you don’t know what I am talking about)
  • The house has a LOT of mix and match tile colors going on. (For those that know me well…..you are laughing loudly at God’s sense of humor here).
  • There really are less ants! Can I get an AMEN!!!
  • Our house is instantly at least 15 degrees cooler than in Uganda!
  • There are less ants!
  • We have plenty of room for guests.
  • There is no club next door…..or across the street….. we can actually hear……silence!!
  • Oh and of course last but not least…..LESS ANTS!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you so much for your prayers and support while we are on this adventure. It is truly a blessing. You are a blessing. My prayer is that God continues to show me the Joy in every day life here. I also pray that for you wherever you are, that Joy shows itself and that you are able to look at every day and say you found a reason for Worship! Now go and Shout with Joy to the Lord for he is good! Our God is faithful, and He alone is worthy to be praised!

Blessings,

The LawsonTribe4

New Adventures Await

Well, I said a new blog was coming with exciting news for the New Year and it is here! We as a family have been so blessed to play a small part in a BIG organization like Water Mission that is making an a huge difference for physical and spiritual advancement across the world. We cannot say enough good about Water Mission as an organization. God, through them and the church, has made our vision of work and missions become a reality.

We had no idea when we started out exactly where this journey would take us or for how long we would be at said place. Even when we knew we were heading to Uganda, we did not know how long our stay would be. Several months back, we were asked to consider some changes within Water Mission that would affect us. The timeline of events was actually working out really well to things happening for us in Uganda. Just like God to pick such perfect timing. ๐Ÿ™‚ We prayed of course, but really felt like the answer was clear from the start.

So without further delays……..our journey in Uganda is coming to a close and the LawsonTribe4 is moving to Kenya. We will still be working with Water Mission as Doug is now the new Director for the Kenya and Malawi country programs. We are also still backed 100% by our home church in SC. We all have a mix of emotions during this time of transition, as we did when we first moved away from the states, as Uganda has now become our comfort zone of “home.” Leaving will not be easy, but in reality is life ever really easy? We have friends and a work team that have become family. We have been blessed immeasurably while being here in Uganda, but I know my God and I know he will continue to provide exactly what we need at exactly the right time.

For our supporters of the church in Mutai, we have still committed to help support them for the year 2017 and maybe beyond depending on funds and ministries God lays on our hearts in Kenya. We have 2 adult education classes that just started year number 2 and have 2 tailoring courses starting as well. One in Mutai and one at another location for Christ The Foundation Churches. We also have our school program for kids ready to start in February. We also are still supplying Bibles to at least six churches at a discount rate that villagers can afford. Please, if this ministry has been on your heart, continue to give accordingly. We will let you know of any other ministries that your extra support would be going to.

Now, with excitement, we will journey to Kenya tomorrow to spend a week meeting staff of Water Mission Kenya, hopefully meeting some new friends, and finding a house. Our house story here in Uganda is an amazing one as God really showed out for us when we moved here! We are expecting nothing less as we are confident this is our next step in our journey. My husband loves the verse Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” We know that our God will make a way for our feet as we walk for Him wherever he is leading us. We feel certain that he will guide our hearts to the right house, the right workers, and the right extra ministries to be a part of. Please pray with us this week and over the coming months as we transition. We really appreciate all that everyone of you do to make what God has called us to do possible.

Blessings,

The LawsonTribe4

Mbagaliza Christmas Enungi

We wish you a Merry Christmas! This Christmas season has come and gone and though it was great, it did not feel at all like Christmas. December has proven to be one of the hottest months all four years that we have lived in Uganda. This year has gone by really fast and we have had many things going on that have been great and several things that have taken place and been quite the challenge. Through it all, God has shown himself so faithful and so real in our family and in the ministry.

Two big things that happened this year in Mutai came to completion of the first year on Christmas Day. God provided and we were able to start an adult Education class in Mutai to teach adult students to read and write their own language and some of the English language. We also began a tailoring class for ladies to help them learn a trade and be able to support their families. So many of you helped by donated or by purchasing items while we were stateside and we are excited to tell you all that 6 graduated from the Adult Education class and 4 graduated from the Tailoring class. We also had 1 graduate from hairdressing school.

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We are so grateful to all of you who pray and give to help the people of Mutai. The new year will bring another chance for several ladies to learn to sew and also a level 2 ย for the adult education class.

As for the LawsonTribe4, our Christmas was amazing. We were able to gift the people of Mutai with rice and of course sweeties for the children. One really cool things this year is that Wyatt and Jonas actually have 2 sweet boys in Mutai that have become friends. There are so many kids there, but because most of them just want to touch the boys hair or something of that nature, it has been hard for them to find anyone that will just talk or play with them. Their friends can read and speak English but only had New Testament Bibles. Wyatt and Jonas wanted to buy them the full Bible and gift it to them for Christmas. This is a picture of them with Eban, Mike had already gone.

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We would also like to say thank you to everyone that sent boxes and gifts for us to have at Christmas time. I deemed the year a no Lego Christmas and so as a mother of boys, we ended up with some serious Nerf weapons. All I can say is if you come to visit, be prepared for a battle of all kinds! ๐Ÿ™‚ We also got several new board games to add to our collection as we all LOVE family game nights. We are so blessed and we are so grateful!

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Look for another blog really soon to see what is coming up in the year 2017 with the LawsonTribe4. We are excited to see what God is going to be up to and how we can join Him!

Blessings,

The LawsonTribe4

Tis the Season

ย ” Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.” ย 2 Timothy 4:2

It has been a couple of months since my last blog. Those months have been filled with trials, questions, travel, and victories. We made it back safely home in Uganda toward the end of October. Despite the arm troubles, we had a fabulous visit to the states and the most refreshing mission conference at our home church. We were able to reconnect with old friends and make new friends as well. We heard encouraging words from our pastor as well as others. We were able to share our story and be encouraged by other stories. The boys were able to share and give encouragement to other kids. It was really a great time to reflect and be encouraged.

Back here in Uganda, we have been busy trying to get back into the swing of the usual life. We are in our third 6 weeks of school, Doug is busy busy at work, and with the cast off I have had to resume as the primary dish washer! (It was fun while it lasted)! ๐Ÿ™‚ We were blessed beyond measure to share Thanksgiving here with amazing friends who have become family. Every year I surprise myself with trying something new, with my mom coaching me from Skype or Whats ap. I am so thankful for her! This year was turkey gravy, and I don’t even like gravy! ๐Ÿ™‚ We had the normal spread and we shared things we were thankful for and we even had last years Thanksgiving Day parade and last year’s Super Bowl to watch! None of us cared that it was from last year, we were all just happy the power stayed on to watch a bit. We played games and talked about this season of life, where we have been and where we might be heading.

We spent about an hour decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Jonas had to give a short presentation today on his favorite Christmas tradition. It made me think of all the special moments each year that I had growing up and made me wonder what he will remember as a tradition. He chose to talk about the manger that we always made the week before Christmas reading scripture of our soon coming King. This year, as the boys have gotten older, I traded that week for an advent month with a Jesse Tree. The tradition remains to focus on our Savior but I feel they are ready to go a bit deeper. ย My favorite family tradition was all sleeping in the big bed with mom on Christmas Eve and having the morning picture on the steps with my grandparents. I should say one of many as I could go on and on. What will your kids remember. What kind of Legacy will we leave behind.

The point is that in every season, whether holiday or just life, we are accountable to how we respond. We are accountable for what we choose to cherish, but also for what our kids see us choose. I know that I am not responsible for the choices that my kids will make as adults, but I do know from experience as a kid, that what you see in your parents does make a difference in the long run (good or bad). I want my kids to learn to be ready in every season. I want them to learn that life is not a given and it is rarely easy. There are trials and hard decisions. There are times we need to take a bold stance and there are times we need to just love. There are times we need to rebuke and times we need to encourage. There are times that are urgent and times that need waiting for instructions. In all these things, our God is there. I want my kids to see that in all things, being ready for everything, is so much easier when we are focused on God.

So, ย Tis the season to celebrate our last year of many ups and downs. I am sure I handled some with grace and some quite poorly, but my God is still the same. Tis the season for a God of Grace during the good and the bad. Tis the season to the best family this girl could be gifted with. Tis the season to friends that become family in a foreign land. Tis the season to friends from a far that commit to pray for us and support us while overseas. Tis the season to our soon coming Lord who in all things is Good and Merciful. He is the Victor in all of our victories!

Blessings,

The LawsonTribe4

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