Heading Home

15 days since we left Uganda, 168 days since we left the US…and now we are on our way home. It’s crazy to look back over the last 6 months and see all that God has done in us and in His people. But before I start reminiscing (in fact, I’ll let the video do that! Full video on Facebook. It wouldn’t let me upload it here.), let me share about the joys of Nepal!Nepal is such a beautiful country! The Himalayan mountains provide a gorgeous backdrop from almost every town. The people are kind and so beautiful. And the food is amazing! But so many of these beautiful people are without hope. They call on 330 million gods hoping for some help to get through life. But there is no answer. My heart longs for these people to know the love and joy and peace that is found in Jesus. Truly He is like no other and His love fulfills us like no other! Please pray for these people to know Hope, to know Joy, and to know Love!

Our first few days in Nepal we had some time to rest and get ready for all that lies ahead. We were also blessed to fellowship with some of the missionaries and even able to give our friends a date night by watching their precious boy! 

The main focus of our time was helping do some nutrition teaching with our friend Natalie who is working on her Master’s. Getting to walk around the villages and towns, meeting people and holding their babies while we taught them about nutrition and breastfeeding was a blessing! There were so many beautiful faces! We took a three day trip up to Gorkha last week to do a nutrition class and help with guitar teaching for some of the youth in the local church. It was a blessing to see the work of Jesus in these young people and hear some of their stories. 3 days ago Mom and Dad brought a team from our church to do some medical outreaches and discipleship up in the village we have kind of adopted, Swara. It was a blessing to get some time with them although we are bummed we can’t stay for the whole trip! 

Monday evening we got to spend time with the promise child girls orphanage. Each of these girls (ranging from 6-12) has lost one or both parents and has had a pretty tough life. They are so precious and love to be loved!!😍 They especially loved trying to teach us Nepali! They stole all of our hearts and I know we all wish we could bring them home with us! 

Tuesday was another blessing as we got to visit a leper colony on the outskirts of Kathmandu. It was a sweet time of getting to talk to them and not be afraid to touch them or talk with them. They are usually treated with such distain, so to be loved and not feared was a blessing and encouragement to them. Many of them are able to have their families with them which is so good, but their extended families don’t accept them even though they are on medication and not contagious anymore. One lady that was sharing her story with us said, “before I had Jesus, I had nothing, but now that I have Him, I have everything!” You could see the joy in her heart and on her face despite the trials that she faces! I know I was encouraged by her as much or more than she was encouraged by me! 

Now we are on our way home with full hearts and renewed joy. 

Pray for my parents and the team that’s still in Nepal. 

Pray for us as we transition back to being home in the US. Reverse culture shock is real. Not to mention jet lag! Court and I land in San Francisco tomorrow and will spend a few days there recovering from jet lag. But then we will be driving home Sunday or Monday, so please pray for continued traveling mercies!

Also, I start work Feb 21 back at UCSF and Courtney starts back at CHLA Feb 27. Pray that we are able to get everything done that we need to for starting back at work. And pray for our minds to be prepared to go back to US standards of nursing!

Pray for our time with our family before I go back up to San Francisco. 

Pray for Court and I to not have separation anxiety as we live in separate parts of the state after 6 months side by side. 😉

Most of all pray that Christ will continue to be glorified as we continue to let Him live our lives in this next chapter!

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A Time To Move Forward

A beautiful African Sunrise greets us as we head out on the long drive to Kampala. As if to say everything will be ok. It’s such a beautiful scene outside my window. The sunset is accompanied with a green and yellow landscape. A light mist still lingers among the trees before the Ugandan heat drives it away. Little huts are scattered across the land, smoke rising from the fires of mothers cooking their breakfasts. So many goodbyes have been said and a lot of tears have been shed. It feels a little unreal to leave a place that has become home and people that are family not knowing when I will return, but I trust the Lord. I know my times are in his hand. I know that this was the perfect time to be here and the perfect time for our departure. I don’t know exactly what lies ahead and this year is full of uncertainty. It’s hard to believe that 5 months have come and gone and it is already time for us to leave. So what do I know? I do know my God is faithful. So that makes me excited for what is ahead. As Heather and I move on to Nepal we are open and willing to do whatever He has for us there. Our desire is to spend some time in the remote village, Swara, sharing the love of Christ. Although this is our desire we want what the Lord has for us. Which might mean staying in Kathmandu, and helping out with whatever is needed. This might include things like babysitting, spending time at a girls home, cleaning, and organizing a possible new office. We are leaving Nepal sooner then we had originally intended to, and our trip to India was unfortunately canceled. That is life for you! To quote Pastor Chuck, “blessed are the flexible for they will not be broken.” That has kind of become a life motto. We will be coming back to the US at the end of this month. Thankfully the Lord has provided new nursing travel assignments for both of us starting the end of February. (3 month contracts to work as temporary staff at a hospital) Heather will be back in San Francisco and I will be back in LA for at least 3 months. We are sad to split up the act again, but are so thankful for the time we have been together serving the Lord. It is really awesome to have had my sister here to serve with and just be with. I am so grateful for the wisdom the Lord has given her and how we both learn from each other. Keep praying for us as we head out into a new environment. We are heading from a blazing hot summer into Nepali winter. Tuesday’s weather is a high of 57 and we have been living in the high 90s. Although we are looking forward to some cool weather, pray we don’t get sick from the weather change. Keep praying for our friends in Soroti and Midigo. I will list a few other prayer requests at the end of the blog. We really appreciate all the prayer and support we have received from all of you. God has really done a lot and I know it is because of prayer! 

As 2017 is just beginning, my goal for this year and every year is simply this, 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2

I pray that this would be your goal also as we begin this new year. I would encourage you to lay aside the things in your life that may be keeping you from walking strong. Lay aside things that are keeping you from fully surrendering to the Lord. It may seem like a huge sacrifice, but it is worth it. And if you really believe that God loves you, (as Heather talked about in the previous blog post) you will be able to trust him where ever he takes you. You will know that his love is a redeeming love and a love that wants what is best for you. It is a love that surpasses knowledge and with it comes perfect peace and sweet contentment no matter where you are or what your situation is. This my friends is worth more then all the money in the world. It is the one thing that satisfies the human craving for more. My prayer for all of you comes from Ephesians . The book we studied together as a family in Uganda. 

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:14-21

I will sign off with a reminder that was looked at last night from our last devotion together. 

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, – Ephesians 6:10-18

Love to you all,

Courtney
PS Here is a list of prayer requests

🔹The Nurses and Midwives will remember what we have taught them

🔹The hospital would continue to grow and to be self sustaining

🔹The church to flourish and keep preaching the word

🔹The new school of ministry that is starting up here

🔹In Midigo pray for the refuge situation, for unity in the church, and a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit

🔹Traveling mercies for us

🔹Wisdom and grace for whatever is ahead

🔹A smooth adjustment and no sickness

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! As 2017 has come I’ve been praying and thinking about what this new year holds. Every year you hear about people’s New Years resolutions. But this year and every year, I only want one thing and that is expressed perfectly in Ephesians 3:19 “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” I’ve talked some in my previous posts (see post “To Know the Love of Christ“) about why knowing and understanding the love of Christ is so important. Today I want to focus on how the love of Christ changes us and ask you all to help me walk this out better this year. I have been studying God’s love for us quite a bit over the last 5 months. 1 John is one of my favorite combinations of the practical and theological aspects of God’s love. 

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

19 We love because he first loved us.
First off we see in verses 7 and 8 that we are called to love one another. But what is love? We see the answer to this in verses 9 and 10. First, we see that perfect love is sacrificial. God demonstrated His love for us in the sacrifice of Jesus for us on the cross. Second, we see that perfect love is unconditional. God loved us before we deserved it and before we loved Him back. In our culture today, there are 2 main problems with the way we view love, and particularly God’s love. The first problem is that we tend to see love as very performance driven. We carry this into our relationship with God as our Father. We feel His love is conditional. We feel His pleasure when we are obeying, but we feel His displeasure when we are being disobedient. When we are disciplined by the Lord or allowed to suffer the consequences of our sin, we tend to think that means that we are no longer loved or that we must do something good to counteract the sin and once again earn our place as God’s child. That thinking is exactly why it is so important to remember why God loves us. (I’ll talk about this in a min.)

The second problem within our culture is that we associate love with acceptance and approval of whatever someone desires to be or do. We are told that it is most loving to encourage people no matter what and to never discourage or discipline. But what God says in Hebrews 12 is that true love is so much more. True love is looking at the big picture of someone’s life and encouraging or exhorting them to do the things that will allow them to bring honor and glory to God. True love is discipling, exhorting, encouraging, faithful, and gracious. The things God asks of us and the rules He gives us are for our ultimate good and to protect us from harm. Obeying God is hard because it goes against our sinful nature, but God doesn’t leave us helpless. 

These two problems have distorted our view of love and thus distort the way we view God. But God’s love is different! 

As we continue in 1 John 4, we see in verses 11-12 that the practical application of knowing God’s love for us is that we in turn love each other. That means that we are to love those around us sacrificially and unconditionally. Not an enabling love, but an empowering love whose power comes from the Holy Spirit as stated in verse 13. 

Verses 14-15 remind us that when we receive Christ as Savior we become one with Him. Our old nature is gone and the new nature in Christ has come. 2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Verse 16 pretty much summarizes what I am trying to communicate. Knowing the love of God and allowing it to permeate our lives changes us. I’m reminded of 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 which says “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” The love of God that has been given to me should take over and control my actions. It makes me one with Christ so that He lives my life. I no longer live for my own will and desires, but live out the will and desires of God! 

Verses 17-19 are beautiful conclusion that reminds us that the perfect love of God is not based in fear of punishment, but is based on reverence and a desire to please God from the gratitude and love within our hearts. 
I’ll end with a quote from Helen Roseveare “More and more, I have come to realise that love for my dear Lord and Saviour has to displace all other loves. Nothing else really counts. I must allow his love so to possess me that anything that hurts him hurts me. Equally, anything and everything that he loves, I am happy to love equally. But, even knowing this fact, I found it was not easy to let go of all else…Has he the power to enable us to give all these attitudes to him and to allow the Holy Spirit to deal honestly and truly with all that displeases him? I am not really asking ‘Has he enough power to do what needs to be done in me?’ but rather, ‘Have I enough grace and humility to acknowledge what I need and to allow him to make the necessary change?’ Yet I know that the needed grace and humility are his. And he certainly has enough of both to fulfil my need.”
My heart and prayer for this year is to know the love of Christ more and more so that I can be a pleasing aroma to Him and share His perfect unfailing love with everyone I meet! I pray that you too will know and be filled and captivated by this love!
Now for the update. Mary, our tetanus patient, went home a little over a week ago just before Christmas. We are thankful for her improvement, though she was discharged in order to go to her father’s funeral as he committed suicide. She didn’t have much of a relationship with him, but it’s still very sad and the family could use your prayers! Our premies that were discharged have continued to gain weight and we are thankful for that! Hopefully we will get to see them one more time before we leave. 

We have just one week before we fly out of Uganda to Nepal on Jan 9. We can’t believe how fast 5 months went! Please be praying for this week as we finish up at the hospital and spend time with our siblings. This place has become home and it feels a bit weird to be leaving, but both Courtney and I are excited for all that God has planned next. The details for the end of our trip have been changed many times in the last 5 months. The final result of all those changes are that we will now only be in Nepal for 2.5 weeks and will not going to India at all. Though things did not go how we thought, I have full confidence and peace in God’s perfect plans! He again is reminding us that He is in control and to just let go and trust Him. Even our time in Nepal is not completely planned as God has asked us to be flexible and allow Him to live through us. So, pray for us to listen well to His voice and obey as He speaks. We thank you all for your support of us throughout this trip and can’t wait to get home and tell you more in person!

Much love in Jesus,
Heather