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Saturday, May 11, 2024

Water is Life, and other truths at the end of a glorious season

Team Bundibugyo, braced for major changes, as we come to the end of two terms for the Dickenson family (10+ years and 4 kids . . plus they each spent some years prior on our team before they met here and got married!!), one term for the Forrest family, and one for teacher Michaela Hunter. These 15 humans have been a nexus of belonging and a force for good through the chaos of Covid, crossborder rebel scares, thousands of beautiful sunsets, sorrowful betrayals for sure but outweighed by deeply inspiring colleagues working to serve this place with us, too many sermons and Bible studies and pizzas to count. All the messiness and glory of life. Our hearts are full of gratitude for all this, and grief that we are dwindling to three for the foreseeable future.

Being the final week before departures, we hiked Kabongo Ridge to see the rapidly-nearing-completion of Josh's water project, participated in multiple closure events at CSB that honoured Mike as chaplain, cheered on the final days of Rwenzori Mission School with Michaela, Anna, and Kacie, met with each individual, and had a really solidly tearful and encouraging team wrap up meeting sharing where God has met us and reflecting back to each person the words and stories that we have lived together. Spoiler alert: this team has worked to bring water, life, health, nutrition, truth, teaching, scripture, newborn resuscitation, business projects, environmental education, literacy, and love far and wide. But as we sit and reflect, I think we are equally grateful that to hear of stronger marriages and friendships, progress in health and holiness. That is grace in our fray, made beautiful.

But back to Monday . . . Scott and I joined Josh and Anna to hike the many miles and thousands of feet up the Rwenzori ridges where the district asked our mission to invest in a gravity flow water project that serves over a thousand people. As a water engineer, Josh has the compassion to see women carrying heavy water cans long distances and suffering from the effects of unclean sources, the expertise to calculate pressures and pipes and filtration rates and volumes, and the determination to spend years getting plans approved, funds raised, materials created, and communities on board. That intersection of skill sets is rare.

Break pressure tank with a view. Along the five branches, these ten tanks keep the pressure from bursting the pipes, it's so high and steep!

Above and below, the water-is-life couple. It's a team effort to make a multi-year project like this continue to completion. It takes 3 hours to hike up and  a couple to hike down (after nearly an hour drive to the trail), so every time Josh goes to the work site, Anna is responsible dawn to dusk for four kids and any issues around home. Oh and she is also a teacher!

Thembo Justus is Josh's right hand man, the local technician who supervises every day.

Rest stop number one. More for us than for Josh, who's gotten used to the steep climbs!

Thembo showing Scott a small break-pressure-tank on the way up.

We had a strenuous but scenic day together . . . reflecting 15 years of friendship too!

Every piece of equipment, every bag of cement, every pipe and pile of sand, has to be carried up this steep ridge.

Supervision with a smile (we were aching for days though!)

The water comes from a protected spring inlet, to four slow sand filter tanks . . . 

And then to this reservoir Josh designed, make of heavy steel plates that had to be carried piece by piece and constructed at this site.

Water is life, the clean water our engineers over the years have provided this district saves more lives than our medical care I'm sure.

The first week of May also saw the end of the first term of the year for CSB, and the last term with Mike as the "pastor" who led the spiritual life team. Once we rebounded from COVID closures he poured himself into the chapel and cell group curriculum, the staff discipleship weekly meetings, and open hours to counsel and pray. This was deeply appreciated. The staff held a sweet evening to thank him and name his impact, and he made them his signature burgers for a final lunch. 

The final Sunday of the term, with Pastor Mike

End-of-term staff meeting.

Christ school impacts nearly 300 students a year . . .and Rwenzori Mission School impacts six, but is also the one key pin that holds everything else in place. Without Miss Michaela ensuring excellent, up-to-standards class for these kids, all the other work of the team would not be possible.

Miss Michaela with all her fan club. (we got all the kids Uganda wear for the last team pizza night)

The final few weeks of school I got to read my Rwendigo Tales series of four books aloud to the 2nd/3rd graders for the last half hour of school daily. One of the highlights of my year! Thankful Michaela let me do that.

Besides us, Ann is also staying in Bundi . . here she is last week with some of the girls from her Buhanguwa (Creation) camp that melds environmental education with discipling truths.

Kacie had final-week closure with the Nyahuka health center where she has taught and worked as a nurse on maternity, and earlier a sweet time with the refugee project she dreamed up and made happen on our border for those fleeing violence in Congo.

Aliza, everyone's favourite team mate

We close with the face of the future, Aliza, loving pizza and loving Bundibugyo and loving team and family. Like Aliza, we can't see very far ahead. But we trust that the seeds that have been lavishly scattered by this group will take root in ways we can't even imagine, and bear fruit to nourish a hungry world. 

Myhres and Ann will keep the NGO World Harvest Mission Uganda supporting BundiNutrition, Christ School, Bible translation and the church, Kid's library and Buhanguwa camps, many sponsorships and relationships . . . stay tuned to see the next chapter with us!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember an old missionary addressing the college group at church about the challenges inherent in following God’s call to come to the field and the even harder ones in following His call to leave. May His sustaining grace cover you all now and always.