Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Essential Rewards

So, you've got your Premium Starter Kit- and you're ready to for your monthly wellness box to start arriving on your doorstep (on whatever date you choose)... here's how you can spend your $50/month wisely and build your natural wellness toolbox! 

Month 2:
 (after your Premium Starter Kit)

 Month 3:

Month 4:

Month 5: 

Month 6: 

 Month 7: 

Month 8: 

Month 9: 

Month 10:

Month 11:

Month 12:

Monday, February 26, 2018

Life Impacted: Dawama James

Special Posts: Through your prayers and support, our family has had the distinct privilege of investing in the lives of amazing people here in Uganda.  This post is about our good friend Dawama James.  Thank you for standing with us so that we can stand with people like this.  We hope you enjoy!

Friends of ours who were serving as missionaries in Arua, Uganda met a young man named James.  A friendship started that, unbeknownst to us, would impact the life of my family in deep ways.  James did not have much going on in life that would cause any normal person to celebrate.  His father died when he was very young and his mother has been living in South Sudan just trying to survive.  James came to Uganda in hopes of getting an education but had nothing to his name to make that a reality.  That is where God stepped in.  Through his relationship with these friends of ours, and others, James was able to get his primary and secondary education.  James was also able to start university here in Kampala.  And that is when Jesus allowed my family to be blessed by this young man.

When my family returned to Uganda in 2014 we learned that James had to drop out of university due to a lack of finances.  He was living in the Democratic Republic of Congo just trying to survive and make a little money.  Something deep inside me told me that this was not “OK”.  After prayer and discussions with those same friends of ours, we decided that it was very important for James to get his university education.  So James came back to Kampala.  I remember that day he stepped into my house after the long arduous journey back to Uganda.  James was rather sick and it showed despite his constant smile.  We sat together and discussed a plan to get his university education back on track.  It was also at this point that I introduced James to good coffee.  He now knows there will always be a good cup of coffee waiting for him whenever he comes to my house.

Through the provision of Jesus, James restarted his university education.  Praise God that he was able   What a joy to stand with him that day as his name was called and he walked onto that platform to receive his diploma.  As I looked around and saw Fathers and Mothers and Uncles and Aunts hugging their children, I wondered why God would allow me the privilege of celebrating this accomplishment of this amazing young man.  By this time, I viewed James as my brother and he would say the same to me.  We would meet regularly together for Bible study and prayer.  What little I offered to James was immediately returned double fold through listening to him share his faith with me and utmost trust in his heavenly Father.  And so that day of his graduation, I felt incredibly proud of my brother.  He fought so hard for this moment and deserved it!  I was blessed to be there.
to finish.
As my family prepared to return to the states for our home assignment James told me that he was beginning to fall in love with a girl.  He wondered if marriage was coming.  We prayed together and I encouraged him to keep seeking the Lord if marriage was the next step.  James made sure to tell me that he was dedicated to protecting the heart of this girl and doing things the right way in this relationship.  Purity was a must! As we were home in the states I received a few updates from James.  He was back in Congo because there was no work for him in Kampala.  He was struggling to provide for himself but kept trusting Jesus.  His relationship with Anna had grown and marriage was on the horizon.  But how? No job. No money. How could this even be possible?  God. That’s how!

Our family returned to Uganda in July 2017 and James was still in Congo.  He made a few visits to Kampala and we discussed the possibility of a wedding and prayed together for Gods provision.  It is very difficult for me to explain all that was missing to make this event happen.  James still had no job.  Culturally, James should take a group of men with him to visit Anna’s father and seek his blessing.  James should also be prepared to pay a dowry for Anna.  How could these important cultural steps take place?  There was no money.  Anna’s father was deep in Congo where it was almost impossible to travel there.  But James loved Anna and had to find a way.  So, James went to Anna’s father…alone…with nothing in his hands.  This is cultural suicide right here.  There is no possible way that Anna’s Father would agree to anything.  But God!  God showed up and James spoke on his own behalf and walked away with the blessing he longed for.  Now there needed to be a wedding! 

Again, there are many details that I can’t share, but James was adamant of getting God’s blessing over his marriage.  He fought hard for that blessing.  Through friends of Anna’s here in Uganda and a few of us here in Uganda, we were able to put together a beautiful wedding ceremony in Luwero, Uganda.  As I stood there next to James and listened to him speak his vows to his wife, the tears welled up in my eyes.  This young man has taught me how to fight.  Not how to fight for what I want, but how to fight for God’s blessing.  When everything seems to be against you and honoring God becomes difficult, many of us give up.  We look for the easy way.  Not James.  He wanted to honor God so bad that he would not stop fighting in order to do that.  So I stood there yet again so proud of my brother.  And then as culture demands, the new bride and groom had to honor both sets of parents with a small gift.  And so Kelly and I sat in the place of his mother and father.  Who are we to do that!?  I was sitting in a place where I did not belong but was asked to occupy.  The honor was deep. 
James and Anna have a long road ahead of them.  There are no jobs lined up.  There is a not a honeymoon for them to go and enjoy.  But they have something they desperately wanted, God’s blessing.  They have set an example for us all to follow.  Fight for the blessing!  And through that battle, they have blessed me and many others.  I am so proud of my brother.  I worry every time he goes to Congo if I will ever see him again.  It’s a reality.  But I know I can trust James in the hands of Jesus.  I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to enter the life of James and to have gained so much from him. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Life Impacted: Edwin Eregwa

Special Post: Through your prayers and support, our family has had the distinct privilege of investing in the lives of some amazing people here in Uganda.  This post is about our good friend Edwin Eregwa.  Thank you for standing with us so that we can stand with people like this.  We hope you enjoy!

One of our first pictures together
I, Josh, met him in 2011 when we first arrived.  He was a recent graduate of Kampala International University and longtime member of United Faith Chapel (UFC).  He had just agreed to stay in Kampala for a year or two in order to help in the leading of ministries for UFC.  When I met Edwin, I immediately saw a man who loved Jesus with all his heart and desperately desired to minister to others.  My friendship with Edwin began to grow and Edwin quickly became a very important part of my life.
Edwin's UDM Photo

Fast-forward to 2017 and I have been back and forth from Uganda and the USA twice.  Edwin, a Kenya native, has stayed in Uganda this whole time and continued to serve in the university ministries.  The ministry is now  called University Discipleship Movement and Edwin found himself as the leader of a campus group meeting at Cavendish University. Edwin has impacted hundreds of students.  He began the ministry at Cavendish with 0 and has seen numbers reach 40 and 50 during their weekly meetings.  I had the pleasure of working side by side with Edwin at Cavendish for about a year in 2014-2015.  I look back on those days with great fondness.

Elizabeth and Cianna meet
A lot has changed for Edwin since we first met in 2011.  He has married Jeannette and now they have 2 precious little girls.  I had the privilege of traveling to Rwanda to celebrate with Edwin and Jeannette for their Introduction (a pre-marriage celebration). I have watched Edwin become a great husband and now a great father.  Learning the balance of family life and ministry was not easy but he did it with much grace and faith in Jesus.

I have learned a lot from my time with Edwin.  For a season we would pray together weekly and encourage one another. Edwin became a confidant for me. During one of the most stressful seasons of my life he was a rock for me to turn to.  I learned a lot about sacrifice.  I watched Edwin sacrifice MUCH for the sake of serving Jesus.  His position within the university ministry did not come with a lot of money and sometimes it came with none.  There were frustrations and broken promises along the way.  However, the fire in Edwin’s eyes never diminished when it came to serving Jesus through this ministry.  He knew Jesus was using him and that lives were being transformed.  That was enough to keep him going when any other man would have walked away.  There will be many in heaven who will approach Edwin and say, “thank you!” They will just have to wait for me to go first. 

Edwin and Caleb were good friends
Edwin has moved on from the university ministry here in Kampala.  It is now 2018 and Edwin and his sweet family are living in Kigali, Rwanda.  They don’t know exactly what is next.  There is no job lined up or stable income, yet they are at peace that this is where Jesus wants them.  There was no grand send off or party to thank him for his years of ministry here in Kampala.  But that hasn’t fazed Edwin one bit because acclaim is not what Edwin is looking for.  Just last week he sent me a message asking for prayer.  Not prayer for money or a job.  Prayer for his ministry.  You see, Edwin is already leading a discipleship group there in Rwanda.  This man who poured years into a ministry in Kampala and decided it was time to move on, has not taken a moment to pause and consider if ministry is something he should keep doing.  He knows it is what Jesus wants him to do.  He knows that wherever we find ourselves, we will find people who need to hear of the love of Jesus.  And so, he will keep trusting Jesus to provide for his needs and while he trusts, he will invest in the lives of others. 

I have been blessed by the friendship and example of Edwin Eregwa. I have learned a lot from his example.  I pray God continues to use him wherever he goes and I pray that I will follow the example of my friend.  There are always people around us who need to know the love of the Savior.  Will we tell them?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

can't have one without the other!

I learned way back at our cross-cultural orientation that the heights of your joy are in direct proportion to the depths of your sorrow. You can't have the joy without the sorrow. The thought stuck with me, but it wasn't until recently that I realized I am far too good at numbing the pain and therefore missing out on the delight.  One of the first things you are encouraged to do in counseling is feel the feelings. We don't get to choose what emotions rise up within us (though we do get to choose how we respond to them and how we express them). God created us emotional, rational, creative beings- unlike any other creation. Peter Scazzero says this: 
“When we deny our pain, losses, and feelings year after year, we become less and less human. We transform slowly into empty shells with smiley faces painted on them."
And so I've been working on allowing the feelings to come, to feel them and then to offer them to the God who created me and loves me. As I weep and laugh in His presence our friendship deepens and I become more alive and whole. Only He can help us sort through our feelings and learn what they are communicating to us. Only He can heal the wounds of our past.

So what's the connection between our emotions and essential oils? Here are some resources:

Essential Oils for when you're feeling stuck, overwhelmed and annoyed on the Young Living blog

The brain, emotion and body connection- and why essential oils can support our health from the Oil Academy

Grief, emotions and essential oils on the Allender Center podcast

What oils do you use to boost your mood, or access your stuffed feelings? 
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