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Monday, August 24, 2015

Spreading Her Wings

Greetings from Uganda,
        We pray that this finds you and your families doing well. Below you'll find a letter written by our daughter Sydnie. Sydnie has just completed her final class for High School Graduation & she is ready to spread her wings! This child has amazed us in so many ways and we are so proud of her! She has graduated from High School early and is headed out in less than a month to attend YWAM(Youth With A Mission) Discipleship Training School(DTS.) She has been such a leader for her siblings since we ventured out almost a year ago to follow God into full-time missions. We have seen her grow in so many areas of her life and we are excited for where God is taking her next. Please read her request for both prayer and financial support and pray about how you might support her.

Thank you, Sid & Wendy


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Dear friends and family,

        I hope that this letter finds you and your family doing well. If you find yourself reading this letter it is because you have touched my life in some way and I am so grateful for you. Over the past year my love for Jesus has grown & I am so excited for what my future holds. Living in Uganda for the past nine months has helped me to discover my love for the nations and my desire to lead others to Jesus. Finishing high school early has given me the opportunity to attend a discipleship training school to grow in my spiritual walk with the Lord. 

This fall I will be attending DTS (discipleship training school) in Muizenberg, South Africa with YWAM(Youth With A Mission). I will be learning about the nature and character of God, Lordship of Christ, Identity in Christ and hearing God’s voice during the lecture phase. The lecture phase is followed by a 3 month outreach in a country where I will put into practice all I have learned. My time starts in September 2015 and ends in February 2016. I am excited about what God is going to do through this 6 months.

Currently my goal is to raise both prayer partners and financial partners and I would love for you to be part of my team. Please consider how God might want you to be a part of my God story. I covet your prayers and I am thankful for your encouragement as I prepare to set off on my new journey.

Below is my financial need:
Airfare to South Africa-  $500
Total Lecture Fees-          $1850
Total Outreach Fees         $3200 
(including airfare)        
Total Need                       $5550

Thank you once again for all of your love and support during this new chapter of my life. 

Blessings,

Sydnie Harper
 
 
Prayer Requests:
  • Pray God will provide funds for both my lecture & outreach 
  • Pray for me as I travel to South Africa Sept. 12th
  • Pray that I will draw closer to God during this school & will learn more about reaching people for Christ
How You Can Help...
  • Prayer is first and foremost essential. I cannot thank you enough for faithfully praying for me.
  • Partnership through monthly support(Sept-March) or a One-time tax deductible donation through the DONATE button below or via check to:
                 LINKS USA
                 P.O. Box 1223
                 San Marcos, Tx 78667
                 Re: SYDNIE - YWAM

 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

July Update ~ Encouraged

Hello Friends! We can not believe that July has already come to a close. It has been full of ministry, fun & a lot of love. We started the month off hosting the Gully team from our home church, Stonegate Fellowship. It was so wonderful to have a little piece of home here for a week. We took them along for local village ministry, did morning devotional at the local Compassion International school, played games with children at a preschool, took them along to our church and to top it all off the Gully's were blessed to spend the day with their Compassion kids that they sponsor. We were SO blessed by there time here and SO thankful for all the goodies that they collected and brought to us. Thank you to those of you that sent care packages we are so grateful.

After seeing the Gully team off at the airport, we had 24hrs before our family arrived for a 2 week visit. We spent the first week taking them along to much of the ministry we are doing here and the second week we took a much needed short holiday with our family, along with the Elkins family. It was so refreshing and everyone had so much fun! Our children finally got to go on a safari, our visiting family got to travel across Uganda, raft down the Nile River and some even bungee jumped over the Nile. It was loads of fun and after a tearful goodbye at the Entebbe airport we felt so encouraged and refreshed. We arrived back home to a YWAM Family Outreach Team from Kona that will be here for 3 weeks. They are serving locally in orphanages, schools, hospitals and villages and people are giving their lives to Christ!

In the midst of all the ministry and family visiting Charlie had an accident playing on the trampoline which resulted in a broken arm:( Because the healthcare is quite poor here in Arua, Megan & I ended up flying to Entebbe to have his arm seen to make sure it didn't need pins to align the bone. After a few days, 3 clinics & 3 casts he finally was left with a crazy heavy plaster cast that should work perfectly. We will get a new x-ray taken on the 25th to confirm it has healed before removing the cast. Thank you to Pedi Med Center in Midland & Dr. Dehne at Dell Children's for looking at the x-rays and confirming that his care was adequate. Please continue to pray for Charlie as he is missing Toby (his service dog) & now dealing with a broken arm.


Sid continues to be busy staffing the DTS (Discipleship Training School) that is now in week 8 of the lecture phase. Once lecture is over there will be two teams headed to South Sudan to complete the outreach phase of there DTS. God is doing great things in the hearts of these students. He also has become the base "fix it guy" Hmmmmm...... for those of you that know Sid, you know that this is no surprise. He is making a huge impact in the lives of the staff & students.

I (Wendy) wrapped up the school year with the kids along with loads of help from our oldest daughter Lacey just before our teams arrived. It has been a blessing to have Lacey here over the last couple of months to help with teaching the kids. We start back in just 1 week. Please join us in praying for a teacher/tutor to join us here.

Megan & I have been teaching women in the village about preventative health and have just started teaching the first group of women in "The First 1000 days ~ from conception to the 2nd birthday." This is a 4 session program that teaches women about health & nutrition during pregnancy, the importance of prenatal care, delivery & breastfeeding and family planning. We follow all of our teaching with what it says in God's word, and we work through the local churches. There were 32 women at our first session and they were thrilled to receive such important information and have an opportunity to ask questions. Please pray that these women will not only gain knowledge to save lives, but that they would see Jesus in us.

 
Gully girls sharing their testimonies with Compassion Intl. children. Teenagers encouraging teenagers:)
 
YWAM Arua DTS Students & Staff
 
Serving with our Family at a local preschool
Thank You for your continued prayer for our family as we serve in Northern Uganda and South Sudan. Please continue to pray for these current prayer points. Blessings to ALL of you!
  • Pray God will provide a teacher/tutor
  • Pray for Charlie's broken arm to heal
  • Pray for Health for the WHOLE family

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Direction, New Home, Mosquitos & Loss

           Hello friends! Hope this finds you all safe and sound. Since our last update much taken place in our lives. We have made the decision to stay on with YWAM and become staff here at the Arua, Uganda YWAM base. That being said we wanted to share with you a bit about YWAM.
                  YWAM is an inter-denominational, non-profit organization that was founded by Loren and Darlene Cunningham in 1962. YWAM's stated purpose is to "know God and to make Him known".
YWAM includes people from over 180 countries and a large number of Christian denominations, with over half of the organization's staff from non-Western countries. YWAM has over 18,000 full-time volunteers (staff) in more than 1,100 ministry locations. They train upwards of 25,000 short-term missions volunteers annually. Please check out www.ywam.org

As staff we are involved in different ministries on and off the base. I (Sid) am staffing the Discipleship Training School (DTS) which started Wed. June 10th as well as serving on the compound maintenance team responsible for making sure things are “kept up” on the base.  As a DTS staffer I will be in charge of the budget, leading a small group and doing weekly “one on ones” with a student. The 1-1 is a vital part of the DTS where we form deep relationship with a student in the process of discipling. The lecture phase of the school lasts 12 weeks followed by 8-10 weeks of outreach in a neighboring country practicing the skills learned in the classroom.

Wendy is involved in a several ministries; Parent/Child United…..a weekly trip to nearby villages to facilitate a time of parents reading to their kids with the intent of building a stronger bond between parent and child (an activity that is not prevalent here). Additionally Wendy and Charlie go on Saturdays to Eruba Deaf & Hearing School where they minister to the children promoting inclusion of the deaf. The 3 hours there are spent playing games, bible skits and engaging in conversation with the students. Wendy & the older children will also be joining Megan Elkins at a local Clinic to help train the current staff in better management and care of the patients.

We really love the model of missions that YWAM provides and believe it is a great fit for our large family. Helping to train the next generation of disciples who will GO and proclaim the Word of God to the nations is really exciting! Our future plans are to stay in Arua approximately a year to train under the leadership as we have much to learn about YWAM community life, adjusting to culture and learning a new language. The next step as God leads would be to transition to South Sudan where God has called us to work on the Yei, South Sudan YWAM base. Beyond that we have plans and dreams but we know God will direct us as we take “the next RIGHT step”.

BIGGGG NEWSSS …….We have moved into our HOME!! After a 3 month ordeal with a house that we thought was “the one” we threw in the towel and God led us to our new home within a couple hours. Formerly a guesthouse…we will be making our home in this 6 bedroom house!!! YAY….Go God!

We have been in our new home for 2 weeks. We have had many trials but the Lord continues to be faithful, and although we have been weary we feel God calling on our family to minister here even more. The following is an excerpt from Sid’s journal:

“What a horrible week! Levi, Tate & I all had malaria this week and to top it off we lost Toby (Charlie’s Service Dog) to Tick Fever. Word’s cannot express the loss I feel. I cannot look at a picture of him without crying. I laid in bed and thought of him for hours last night and woke up thinking of him. We had a special connection. He was always there for anyone in the family and was loved by all. Lacey pointed out, Toby had unconditional love and was loyal to everyone of us always. She challenged us to be more like him in our daily lives to love each other more unconditionally. We accepted the challenge with great honor followed by a stake in the ground moment on 6/19, we declared Isaiah 54:17, Romans 5:3 and that we are children of the One True King standing in faith, believing in our calling and that we WILL persevere through the trials and tribulations. We held hands, prayed and ceremoniously stabbed our “stakes” into the ground and declared to remember the past but to move forward trusting and leaning on God for all things. He is our strength, our power – the reason we live – the reason we breathe – He is our All in All! He gives – He takes away – there is joy & sadness – tears & pain – But He is Worthy of it All! God, Thank you for freely giving to your kids & for loving us unconditionally! Lord help me to be more like you.  - To be more empathetic, merciful. – to give more grace to all. Thank you for being so good to my family – may all we do bring you glory Lord!


Sunday morning church at Elim Pentecostal listening to Dad preach

Missing Toby terribly. Please pray for Charlie & the rest of the family.

Meeting our neighbors

Scriptures that we have been clinging to:

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” ~Romans 5:3-5

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” ~ James 1:2-4

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord. ~Isaiah 54

Thank You for your continued prayer for our family as we serve in Northern Uganda and South Sudan. Please continue to pray for these current prayer points. Blessings to ALL of you!
  • Pray that we can eliminate the mosquito issue in our new home
  • Pray for Charlie as he is struggling with Toby being gone
  • Pray for Health for the WHOLE family
How You Can Help...
  • Prayer is first and foremost essential to our ministry. We cannot thank you enough for faithfully praying for us.
  • Partnership through monthly support or one-time tax deductible donations through our DONATE button below or via check to:
                 LINKS USA
                 P.O. Box 1223
                 San Marcos, Tx 78667
                 Re: Harper Family



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Thursday, April 23, 2015

March Update ~ #thisugandalife

Yeah, I know April is almost over...

It's crazy to think that we have had our feet on the ground in Uganda for  4 months! So much has happened and time has flown by. We have spent the last 5 weeks settling into a schedule of homeschooling, meeting with staff and ministry leaders and purchasing beds and a table for our home. We are just waiting for water and electricity to be completed in our home we are renting and hope to be able to move in and finally unpack after 8 months of living outta suitcases. Here's our recent newsletter that my husband wrote to tell you a bit about where we are. Check back for an update on how God is leading us and what our next steps will be. Thank you for your continued prayers. We love & miss you all! ~Wendy

Greetings Friends,
              Hope this finds you all well and having completed your taxes!! We are on the edge of rainy season here in Arua and for a west Texas family the rain is awesome to say the least. I really love late afternoon thunderstorms as they have to be enjoyed on the porch with a hot cup of joe (btw..some really good coffee roasted here locally) and barefoot getting splattered by the raindrops pounding the ground. We also love seeing all the rain and precipitation that West Texas has been receiving since we left..God is good. We pray that the spring will bring much renewed life to a parched land.

               We officially graduated & received our certificates for YWAM Discipleship Training School on the 12th of March. Thank you all for supporting our family through this 6 months of training. I can say without a doubt that we have grown tremendously in our faith and relationship with the King. We have seen our kids embrace the change and engage the new culture which we give all credit to God for answering our prayers on this matter!  It was a great time and exactly what we needed as a family. We made lifetime friends, relationships and memories with amazing warriors for the kingdom. We highly recommend DTS of some flavor for any and every one. You will NOT regret investing 6 months in you and your family’s relationship with God.

                We put Allye, Maggie & Peace (3 other team members) on the plane back to Kona on the night of March 4th and as we walked down to the parking lot where we had stood 90 days before with all our belongings I felt the Holy spirit say stop Sid! So I stopped there in that exact place and as we held hands I told them how proud I was for their perseverance on our outreach. I explained that this was the end of outreach but the beginning of something even bigger that God has called us to! I call these moments “stake in the ground” moments so we all put our hands together in the middle and clinched our symbolic “swords” I said a prayer and cried and on the count of 3 we all stuck ‘em in the ground. It was an emotional & powerful moment as we declared “we are ready for whatever God has for our future”…thank you Holy Spirit!

            Traveling to Jinja, Uganda the following day was quite a treat. Beautiful rolling hills and valleys filled with sugar cane fields and dotted with luscious green tea farms littered with workers earning an honest day’s wage. We arrived at the YWAM Hopeland base that afternoon to stay for a few days of R&R. We spent the weekend eating really good food, swimming, boating down the Nile, hanging with our new friends the Leigh’s and the climax was bungee jumping over the Nile River (my first bungee jump) what a thrill. With our tummy’s full and bodies rested we headed back to Kampala for some shopping (girls choice). We bought lots of things for our new home in Arua and when we left it looked like the Griswold’s pulling out of there!! 12 hours later we were back at the base in Arua. Thank you Lord for a safe trip.
Spent the day in the Rhino Refugee Camp visiting 3 of the 5 medical clinics.
 
Celebrating the completion of our YWAM Outreach in Jinja, Uganda.
 
Levi's first day of Ugandan preschool
Thank You for your continued prayer for our family as we serve in Northern Uganda and South Sudan. Please continue to pray for these current prayer points. Blessings to ALL of you!
  • Pray that we can come to an agreement with the landlord of the house we believe GOd has for us this week. If not we will need to find another home
  • Pray for Sid, Baylie & Yolam as they travel this week to and from Mombasa, Kenya to pick up our vehicle
  • Pray for Health for the WHOLE family
  • Pray that the registration of our vehicle in South Sudan goes smoothly and that we will not be charged large fees.

How You Can Help...
  • Prayer is first and foremost essential to our ministry. We cannot thank you enough for faithfully praying for us.
  • Partnership through monthly support or one-time tax deductible donations through our DONATE button below or via check to:
                 LINKS USA
                 P.O. Box 1223
                 San Marcos, Tx 78667
                 Re: Harper Family
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Monday, February 23, 2015

February Update ~ #thisugandalife


Currently sitting here listening to the wind blowing through the trees, birds chirping and children laughing in the nearby village.  My heart & brain are overflowing. It’s near impossible to truly share what my heart is feeling & experiencing, and what God is speaking to me. {Not to mention what my stomach is experiencing} We have been in Uganda for 10 weeks. We currently have 1 week of outreach with our YWAM team and then we send them off to Kona, Hawaii for their debriefing and graduation. We are so proud of our teammates and children and how they have allowed God to use them in Uganda.

The area we live in is bustling and full of people from Uganda, DRC, South Sudan, Kenya, India and many other countries. Many languages fill the air including English, which is a blessing. I have learned that I love to speak at places when they are translating in 2 languages because you get plenty of time to think about what you are going to say next! Ha! We are in a small guesthouse on the YWAM base and looking for a permanent home. The people are so welcoming here and it is so encouraging to know that they are happy you are here.

We are so thrilled to be HOME finally and looking forward to settling in and having some routine in our lives;) We will travel to Kampala March 1st to debrief and take the team to the airport. During this time we will also be purchasing some much needed supplies and applying for our workers permits. For those of you that have messaged us asking what our current needs are; here is a list of things we’d love to get sponsored:

·      Bed, bunk beds and Mattresses  $200 x5
·      Dining Room table/Homeschool Table + benches $350
·      Book Shelves $75 x2
·      Kitchen supplies (pots, pans, utensils, dishes, food processor, toaster, etc.) $800
·      Refrigerator/Freezer $700
·      Gas stove $500
·      Solar system & panels for our power - $5000
·      Donations toward Vehicle – $40,000

**Tax deductible donations can be made w/a note for what its for on our link below**


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Prayer Points:
  • The landlord of a house just outside the YWAM base to lower his rent so we can be near the base
  • A good price on a Land Cruiser and the funds to purchase (We will need this vehicle to navigate the roads of Northern Uganda & South Sudan)
  • Continued health of the whole family, especially tummy issues
  • Our final 2 weeks of outreach to produce much fruit