Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!

A very merry Christmas to all of you! We are so thankful for you and wish you love, peace and joy this Christmas and in this year to come. 

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


an area we often drive through here and joke about as a team that this is where the guys do their drive-thru shopping. many vendors will come up to the windows and try and sell you their wares. we've bought locks for our gates there, sunglasses, fresh produce, kids' toys as well as getting more airtime cards for our phones.
but there are also other people coming up to our window at wandegeya.
people in wheelchairs, homeless people and children.
begging for money.

Truly he taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.

today we were stopped at the main intersection in wandegeya when 3 little children ran up to our car.
my heart broke.
i asked one little boy what his name was.
araba, he said.
one of the little girls looked to be only just older than noah.
they spotted our water bottle and started miming the drinking motion.
i handed it over, grateful to be able to give something tangible but wishing i had three of them.
the light turned green and we started to move.

Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
and in His name all oppression shall cease.

noah says, i hope there's a restaurant at the store where we're going because i'm starving.

how do i reconcile the huge gap between my lifestyle and those begging, starving, thirsty children?

Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

i can't give to everyone and my giving isn't necessarily going to be the best way to help in some cases.
but what i do have, i'll give. and where i can, i'll proclaim the power and glory of Christ.

come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Visa's in Jinja

As a last ditch effort to save time and money, we drove the 80km (about 2 hours of driving on African roads) to a town called Jinja, located at the source of the Nile River.
We had heard that the immigration office was considerably smaller, less busy and much more likely to grant a visa extension with less hassle.
When we arrived we found out that we needed photocopies of our passports and current visa's. So Jamie went to get photocopies while I stayed with the boys. He then returned to find out that he needed $50 USD per visa (note, this was not a bribe, but the fee that we'd have had to have paid at the border and what we paid originally at the airport.) and so he left again to get the money. I don't think either of us were too bothered as it seemed extremely likely that we'd be leaving the immigration office with new visa's in our passports.
When Jamie returned with the money, our passports were all issued new 90 day visa's!
Thank you so much for praying!
We continue to be blessed and amazed at all the feedback we have received from you and the obvious results of your prayers.
We praise God for you and for our new visa's.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2 months!

yesterday was our two-monthiversary of living here in kampala!
to commemorate, we took a team picture outside our house:

trevor, nick, jamie holding jude and noah in front of me {why yes our kids were totally not co-operating for the picture, how did you know?}.
we are indeed loving life here, settling into ministry, making new friends and learning to drive in this crazy city {we got a car, by the way!}. 
we are so thankful for your thoughts, emails and prayers so keep them coming and stay tuned for our next email update!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving here. 
We even had turkey and pumpkin pie!
There is much to be thankful for here and it was great to go around the table and talk about some of the blessings in our lives we are thankful for.
Often there are things in our lives that don't appear to be "blessings" but God calls us to "rejoice" and "give thanks" over and over in His Word and so, we practice the art of giving thanks. In all our circumstances.
Sometimes, though, the overt blessings like pumpkin pie make us want to click our heels in joy!
So thankful for a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner here in Uganda!

Jude scarfs down a piece of pumpkin pie.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

He is here.

Here's a taste of our worship service here in Kampala at Kampala Baptist Church.
The worship leader on this particular Sunday was really giving his all.

While I (Vanessa) am not always able to be in the entire service (due to lack of childcare or needing to be in childcare with the boys) God is so gracious and always speaks to me either through worship or a passage read. He is the same God that we worship in Canada and He is here, moving in Uganda.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Great start to our work on campus!

Today was my first day on campus to do front line ministry. As you are aware, Makerere University, the campus we came to Uganda to work on, is on strike. So for this week we are taking part in a "Mission Week" at Makerere University Business School (MUBS).

We got on campus at around 9am, and there were about 6 Christian students that came out to join us to share the gospel on campus. In Uganda, it is okay to go door-to-door in residence halls to talk to students about God. I was partnered with a male first year Christian student named Blessed. After sharing the gospel in two rooms, we knocked on another door and were invited in by a student named Shem. After entering, we saw that Shem's roommate was also home, as he just came out of the bathroom to see myself and Blessed sitting in his room. We introduced ourselves, and Blessed started to engage in conversation with them. Blessed began to share the gospel, and then he gave me a look that told me, "Hey, can you take it from here?". So I took over the conversation, and finished sharing the gospel. Shem told me that he thought it was a good idea, but that he could not commit right now. Mike, on the other hand, was really thinking about what we had shared. He was staring at the booklet of the "Four Spiritual Laws", and really thinking about what this would mean. I could tell he really wanted to invite Christ in his life, but he was also seemingly counting the cost inside of his head. He did not start to cry, but his eyes were looking as if he was tearing up. At that point, Blessed jumped back in the conversation and invited him to read through a suggested prayer, to see if it expressed the desire of his heart. After reading through the prayer, Mike said that he wanted to give his life to Christ! Following this we took his contact info, and provided him with a few suggestions about how to begin his new life in Christ!

What an exciting way to begin ministry here in Uganda! Please pray for Mike, that the seed that has been planted would be in good soil, and that he would grow into a strong disciple of Christ.
Please also pray for the rest of our week, as we bring the gospel to more students at MUBS.

Monday, September 5, 2011

2 weeks in...

We've been in Uganda for 2 weeks (and a day) and life is speeding by!
Our house is beginning to feel like a home and we are slowly settling in.
Our two teammates (Nick & Trevor) are still living with us in the spare room as the tenants in the "little house" have not yet moved out. We're thinking that will happen sometime this week.
Makerere University professors are on strike so Jamie, Nick & Trevor have not yet begun any ministry on campus.
We all attended last week's prayer meeting at the Life Ministry (that is what Campus for Christ is called here in Uganda and in much of South East Africa) although I was kept busy with the boys instead of praying. 'Tis life as a Mom to two young boys.
Jamie, Nick & Trevor are all currently at the prayer meeting this morning and I am home with the boys, working on crafts, playing, doing a bit of baking and tidying up (so we keep the ants at bay!).
We are thankful for hot showers (currently just the spare room bathroom has a hot water heater) and power (at this point our power goes off every other night) and a gas stove that works whether we have power or not.
We have found a church we really like and plan on attending there regularly.
We are still getting the hang of things here but appreciate your prayers and emails as they are no doubt, the reason we are making our way through this transition.

Please pray for the strike at Makerere to end soon so the guys can get on campus soon.
Please pray for a trustworthy and reliable house girl to help around the house here. We have not found one yet although are considering one girl and have another option if necessary.
Please pray for us as we continue to transition. We are settling in and finding joy in the every day but of course we miss the familiarity of life in Canada.

Monday, August 22, 2011

alive and well

we are here!
thank you for praying.
we spent a week in Chicago and I(Vanessa) personally was encouraged by spending some time with other moms going on STINT for a year or two.
we survived our long journey from Chicago to London, England; spent 10 hours in Heathrow airport and then another long overnight flight to Entebbe, Uganda.
all our luggage arrived and in one piece.
so thankful!
we arrived at our house and were greeted by other staff and local missionaries and were happy to see that we had beds and a dining room table and chairs (which I am sitting at currently).
our first night was a bit rough - the boys were up off and on between 11pm and 4am but then we all slept solidly until 12:30pm!
we ran a few errands today and got set up with phones and internet (the important things!) and tomorrow we hope to buy some couches as well as a fridge and oven/stove.
it's 10:41pm and our boys are still talking away in their beds.
hopefully we adjust to the time in the next few days.
we are so thankful for your prayers, keep them coming!

the view from our front yard. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

the whys and hows

A friend of ours from our home church in Guelph made this video to share with the Calvary church congregation. It explains the whys and hows of our trip as well as our heart.

GMT - The Strickland Interview from Andrew Rozalowsky on Vimeo.

Friday, August 12, 2011


We're in Chicago at the hotel we'll be staying at for this week's training with all Campus Staff from Canada and the US. 
Thank you for praying.
I commented to Jamie this morning that a lot of people must have been praying for us because I felt peaceful last night and slept well. 
Thank you!
We got all our luggage onto the plane and off the plane and to our hotel and we're all here and safe!

Praise God!
Travel can be crazy enough when you're own, much less when you've got 2 young kids and over 450lbs of belongings!

Pray for us this week that:
- we would be refreshed in the sessions, during the worship and as we fellowship with other staff and hear about the exciting things God has called them to
- we would learn and be able to apply some things that will help us to thrive over these next two years on STINT.
- the boys would sleep well and have a refreshing time here as well.

all our luggage in the Toronto airport!

We love you! Keep partnering with us in prayer! We couldn't be here without you!

Monday, July 25, 2011

on the go

It's been an incredibly busy last few weeks and the next few will only get busier.
We've been house sitting around the GTA and this week Jamie is in Ottawa for a staff conference while I (Vanessa) am in Guelph house sitting for friends while also getting to visit with some Guelph friends one last time.
Our belongings are slowly (very slowly) getting packed up and the items on the (ever growing) "to do" list are getting checked off.
We leave for training in Chicago on August 12th and fly to Uganda (through England) on the 19th.
We covet your prayers right now.
So much to do!
We need His peace and wisdom to know that everything we need will be provided.
Matthew 6:25-27

Monday, July 4, 2011

A time to plan...

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens

Right now I am almost entering "panic mode" wherein I feel as though there is more to do than there is time to do it in.
Minute details such as changing the address on our health cards and drivers licences and air miles accounts and making lists {although I do enjoy making lists} and checking things off said lists...it almost seems like too much.
And then there are bigger details like figuring out flight details and housing stuff and who will buy our furniture and will we have any furniture when we arrive and on and on and on.

My mind is a whir. 

But there is a time to plan. And to make lists. And to check things off the lists.

Could you pray for us as we continue through this time of transition and planning and preparing?
We are trying to spend time with family and friends and soak in this time of community before we go and forge a new community for ourselves.
And yet there is much to be done.
Jamie is finishing up a few courses that he's been taking through Heritage Seminary and I'm hammering out the "family life" details. 
Could you pray we find the right balance of social life and practical needs?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

long awaited house photos

Here's our house!

The two guys who will be coming with us from Canada will be living in the little house. It's a perfect set up and we're looking forward to having them in close proximity to hang out with and "do life" with.
And the inside is pretty spacious with tile floors and bars on all the windows (classic Africa). 
Once we've moved there and have settled we'll be posting more pictures of the house with "our touch" on it. 

Thanks for praying! 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

our house

...in the middle of the street.

At least I think that's how the song goes.

This is the story of a couple who went to Africa to find a house for their family to live in for 2 years.

We had two days to look at houses, find the house and make the necessary arrangements and payments to secure said house.
We got into Kampala late Wednesday night and by the time we got to our guest house and settled in, it was well past 1 in the morning. Strange noises and high(er) temperatures did not keep us from sleeping in our exhausted state.
I reached over the night table to look at the clock (Jamie's watch) and saw that it was almost 11am. We had slept in and somehow missed our ride to see the houses! We both jumped out of bed and scrambled to make ourselves presentable (there goes my shower) so we could leave our room and figure out the next steps.
Luckily for me (us), Jamie double checked his watch and realized that I had looked at it upside down and that it was only 8:15am.
Our ride was due at 8:45am (which in Africa time could have been anywhere from 9am-10am) so we still had time to finish getting ready and have some breakfast.
Our ride (a Ugandan staff named Fred) arrive just before 9am (not bad!) and we were on our way back into the city (Kampala).
We saw two beautiful houses that were just a bit too expensive for our budget and we went onto the third house which had been raved about to us by numerous people. We got there and the gate was locked and no one was answering our knocks. Fred only had the phone number of the owner and not to the son of the owner who is currently living there. No answer.
Sadly we left with the hopes that we'd be able to return the next day.

Finally we made contact and set up a time to see the house. But it would not be until 7pm when the son would be home from work.
Because the traffic is so bad in Kampala it took us until 8:45pm to get there and by that time it was completely dark outside. About 5 minutes away from the house, the son calls us and says that the power has just gone out.
The power is still out when we arrive.
We pull into the driveway and drive down to the house.
Still no power.
After the initial chit chat we are ushered inside and take the tour of the house by flashlight.
Even in the dark I am sold. It has 3 bedrooms with lots of room and a gorgeous view of the city because we are up on one of the many hills of Kampala.
We set up arrangements for payment and discuss a few other details and walk away pleased and very thankful.

We are so thankful for your prayers. This could have been very frustrating and stressful, but the entire time we just smiled, accepted the culture (and the traffic jams) and had faith that God would provide the house that would perfectly suit our needs. And He did.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

packing and moving

I(Vanessa) have always loved change.
It's the transitions that are tricky for me.
I don't especially like packing (unpacking I can totally handle), nor do I like co-ordinating all those little details or sorting through endless stuff.
But it's all part of moving and change.
(Unless you can afford movers.)

So we've been packing, packing, packing this week and we move to Toronto on Saturday.
Every time we move (this will be the 6th time in 7 years) I am amazing and overwhelmed at all the help we receive from those around us and we've already had so many offers already.
So we're thankful.
Thankful to you who pray for us and send us emails to see how we're doing and to you who are physically here, helping us with some practical things.
We truly are blessed.
Even in the transitions.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good-bye, Guelph*

What a fantastic staff team we have here in Guelph.

Even though I (Vanessa) am not on campus and don't get to interact with these fabulous people every day, I know how stellar they are. 

Today we all went on a staff hike by Hilton Falls in Milton and it was the perfect day. The sun was shining and we all got some exercise walking for a few hours.

It is such a joy to trust these people completely with your children. It's completely reassuring to know that they will scoop them up away from danger or help peel a banana for them or fix their baseball cap. 

It's wonderful to just walk in comfortable silence or strike up a deep conversation or just catch up in the middle of God's beautiful creation. 

We will truly miss our Guelph staff team!

Back row: Alana (holding Jude), Jenn, Heidi, Jordi (wearing his daughter, Noelle)
Front row: Vanessa, Jamie, Dan, Noah

*We don't leave Guelph until April 30th but this was likely our last full team get together before we all leave for the summer.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

full on

We are in full-on packing/sorting/organizing/preparing mode right now!
We are having a garage sale this Saturday and are hoping and praying for both good weather and a good turn out!
We'll be moving to Toronto at the end of April and this weekend was the only one available for us to do it, so it's now or never!
Vanessa is busy at home sorting, pricing, organizing and general garage-sale preparing while Jamie is finishing up on campus. It's the Guelph C4C banquet tonight and next week will be his last week on campus.
Pray for the students who are currently support raising for summer projects and for those who will be staying in Canada and working to continue to meet with other believers, spend time with Jesus and be a light no matter where God has placed them this summer.

We are in the process of planning our set up trip to Uganda in June to meet up with the Uganda project as well as find a house for us to live in and meet with the local ministry leaders.

It's a lot of transitioning and change (and to be honest, it's quite tiring at times) but we're trusting God to sustain us and provide for us.
Thanks for coming along on this wild ride with us!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Today Jamie and I got an email from one of our supporters.

One of YOU.

I was moved to tears and humbled as I read of this family's sacrifice to give their money back to God even though finances were tight and they were facing many hardships themselves.

We are all living a life of faith. We are all called to trust God to provide for our finances.

Just a few weeks ago I found myself thinking about how we would most likely be living a life of financial dependence on God for the rest of our lives because of our calling to full-time ministry {and feeling somewhat despairing about it, wishing we weren't coming up short each month of our goal, and wishing for a job with a dependable income and a Christmas bonus at the end of the year}.

What a sinful mindset! We are all called to live a life of financial dependence on God! For us in full-time ministry, relying on others to partner along side us with finances it's more tangible and "out there" but really, no matter how we get paid each month, we can still choose to trust God with our finances and depend on HIM to provide for us.
Are we praying and talking to God about our finances? That heater that needs to be repaired? The car that just broke down? The kids need new winter boots? How often do we take these requests before the Lord and ask HIM to provide? He is just waiting to blow our minds with his provision.

So thank you, dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Thank you for committing your finances to the Lord and I pray we all learn to trust in HIM, the giver of all good and perfect things to provide for all our needs.
Thank you for bearing our burden with us, for lifting us up as a family to the Lord.
Thank you for praying for the students we love and minister to and thank you for praying for our upcoming move to Uganda.

I am humbled. And thankful. And so amazed that God would choose us to live this life and serve in this way.
Thank you for joining us in our call to help reach the world through university students.