All The Things

In March, we moved to Uganda. We continue our adventure with MAF {Mission Aviation Fellowship}, Indonesia for 8 years, now Uganda.

I wanted to write and I wanted to say, but all the feelings and all the words get jumbled up in the telling. So I’ve been quiet. The good, the bad, and the oh-so ugly. It has been HARD.red soil of Uganda

Leaving friends and family? Hard.

Not going back to what has been home for the last 8 years? Really hard.

Starting over in a new space? Hard.

Feeling lonely? Hard.

But it has been GOOD. HE has been good. He reminded me.

And slowly, as I placed my hand in His, he began to show me all the things. His grace comes to me in uncomfortable circumstances.

We are tempted to judge the faithfulness of God based on His ability to remove difficulty from our lives, when in fact, difficulty is almost always a sign of His faithfulness.” -Paul Tripp

And as I maneuver transition, culture shock, and all the hard things, His grace can be found everywhere, especially in my weakness. {2 Corinthians 12:9}

It is found in the view from my bedroom balcony, and the tiny smidgen of Lake Victoria peeking into view. It is found in the new friends who have come alongside and showed me the ropes and offered laughs when I needed them. It is found in Uganda, our beautiful gracious host, doing what she does best…her people, her food, her scenery…beautiful.

And the story, my story, here in Uganda, is small. As my hubby flies off to exotic places like South Sudan and East Congo, I remain a quiet radical. Loving the ones He places before me, first and foremost my own family.

And then there are little things He is slowly bringing into my life.Simply Love

The little boy who is living with us just now, deaf and with Cerebral Palsy, but lives life with gusto. Glamorous? Oh no. Not really. It’s a lot of cleaning of messes and figuring out how to get as much nutrition as possible into a smoothie. But it’s my thing.

Simply to love.

{Special needs mamas? Can you please give me a shout out in the comments? I need you. And I need to know what special need/adoption blogs you love.}

And there is the orphanage and my kids and I can’t help but go every spare moment. Simply loving by reading stories, blowing bubbles, and kissing and bandaging boo-boos.
Uganda Orphanage

And our God-thing that started in the Emily’s heart, is now growing ever so slowly, as us mamas seek God’s heart on how to love and care for mamas and children. We are called The Lulu Tree, and we are Jesus-lovin’, justice-seeking, women-empowering-women. Come find out more at the website and the Facebook page.

I am learning to abide. {John 15} To be quiet. To take the moments of rest, creating sacred space to simply be with Jesus. I take a glorious nap every. single. day. I read a little non-fiction and a little fiction every. single. day. {Some recent favorites have been To Kill a Mockinbird, Rhinestone Jesus, and Miss Buncle’s Book}  I spend a couple of minutes staring at something beautiful every. single. day. I spend time with Jesus every. single. day.

10409159_10203010001785354_8465602093589308135_n

Mostly, though, I am learning how to be thankful for all the things. {1 Thessalonians 5:18}

And now, friends, I have told you all my things, but I have this yearning to hear from you. Who are you? I would like to meet you in the comments, so would you please say just a little hello?

Please connect with me on Facebook and Instagram!

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  • Jennifer D.

    Joy, I can hardly write for the tears in my eyes. I could have written this post…except I still can’t seem to write. Just replace lake Victoria with the Vienna Opera House and the orphans with the homeless and sex trade. Thank you for once again speaking my heart.

    • Joy

      I love that you get it, friend. The writing? It is still difficult to come by. I had to force myself… :) Love to you from across the miles!!!

  • Réka

    Hello Joy! I read your blog for 3 years. I’m from Hungary. I worked as a special teacher with children with cerebral palsy. It’s hard. I know. But it’s beautiful too. I love children with motoric disability! I’ll pray you! Love: Réka

    • Joy

      Hi Reka! Thanks for saying hello! I’ve never been to Hungary, but I’d love to visit one day. CP is so beautiful, isn’t it?! I’d love any thoughts or advice you have to give!

  • BrianSarah Lownsbery

    Hi Joy! I have been following your blog for many years! I found you through Courtney on Woman Living Well. I am a military spouse traveling the world with my husband and children. We have been to Europe and we are now in Asia. I am blessed to have other military spouses and stores that sell things from the States. I will no longer complain about the move and how hard it is :) You are such a blessing and I love reading your posts.
    Have a Blessed Day!
    Sarah L.

  • ElishaG

    Praying for you Joy for all your many transitions. That God would fill all the empty spaces and loneliness with His presence and divinely appointed relationships and people, just like that precious little boy in your home. What a joy to have nurturing and love be your job!! You got this. Such an awesome adventure lies ahead!

  • Jenn

    Hi! I have loved following your journey. I lived in Jinja as a young, single missionary a decade ago and now am heading to Zambia with my family (hopefully by the end of the year). Love your story of doing what is hard…

  • Kelly Hallahan

    oh, Joy! happy to see you here- and absolutely can’t wait to meet you there! We fly July 17! Woohoo! God is good- even in the transition! blessings, friend!

  • Jennifer Mc

    Hi joy. We have met (online) and chatted before but I just wanted to say how nice it is to read a new post and to hear how things are going for you and your family. I have been following you for quite a while and have never been disappointed. Blessings to you and the wonderful work u are doing.

  • Jen

    I always love reading your blog, it’s such a blessing. I also love hearing others’ book recommendations so I looked up “Rhinestone Jesus” and noticed that Ann Voskamp is one of the authors. Can you tell me if this book is written in “her” style? (if that makes sense?) I tried to read her 1000 Gifts book and just couldn’t get anywhere with it since I didn’t like the style. But I would love to try Rhinestone Jesus – just don’t want to spend the money if it’s written like the other one. Thanks so much! (the preview on Amazon showcases the other authors’ writing so I can’t tell what the whole book is like)

    • Joy

      Jen, Ann only writes the forward. The book is not in that style at all. Kristen, the author, writes in a very simple, no-nonsense style about her life story. It is really good. :)

    • Amanda

      I guess I’m not the only one who has a hard time with Ann Voskamp. I love her heart but have difficulty with her writing style. Thanks for this question!

      • Jenny Alderete

        You’re not the only one Amanda. I’m not a fan of Ann Voskamp and as a pastor’s wife people can’t understand why on earth I wouldn’t be!?!?! I know others that also don’t care for her writing style. I drive me bonkers personally. ;)

  • Ashley

    Hi Joy,
    Ashley here… reading your blog usually from my cell after I have rocked my baby to sleep and my two year old relaxes..well sort of. Moved to a new city away from everything and anyone we know right after second baby was born and definitely know the loneliness without knowing anyone and my husband works every day. Love the quiet radical. Thanks for your blog.

  • Stephanie

    Hey joy! I came across your blog a little over a year ago. Our family has felt for a while now the Lords leading to serve in Indonesia and the long term goal is to eventually pack up and live there. However right now we reside in Memphis TN waiting on the Lords timing. We are also in the process (going on almost 4 years) of adopting our son from Uganda! It’s been quite the journey. Though I have never met you in person I feel like our stories intertwine. I have been so encouraged by your openness and honesty through your blog. You shine Christ beautifully Joy!! Praying for you today dear sister as you serve the broken and love your family. Stephanie

  • Amanda

    Hi, Joy! My name is Amanda. I have the privilege of being the mom to 4 really awesome little people and the wife to my husband, John. I have been following your blog for a couple years now and it has really been an inspiration to me. I hope, Lord-willing, to one day be in a similar situation to where you are. My heart’s desire is to share Jesus with others in different cultures. I would also love to work with an orphanage or children in some way. But all that is up to The Lord! We are currently in the process of becoming foster parents. It is hard to see so much need in our own backyard and not feel a calling to step up. Anyway, thanks for sharing your life with us. I love seeing The Lord at work!

  • Amber Kemp

    Love love love your heart. I too have followed your blog for some time now, and am so very encouraged by your faithfulness to serve God wholeheartedly. I have a sweet son with special needs and I know it isn’t easy. I also know that God prepare my heart for him long before he was even a twinkle in my eye. God bless you as you continue to parent a little one who needs extra patience and care.

  • Candace

    Hi Joy!
    I enjoy reading your blog. It is so encouraging to hear your stories! I am a speech therapist and I live in MS. I will pray for you and your family!

  • http://leahbeecher.com Leah

    Hi Joy,
    I have been following Emily W. for awhile, and also the bloggers who went to Uganda in January. It really has been such a gift, quiet inspiration and confirmation to see ordinary women, who find themselves broken and hungry, being that quiet radical that you shared about. To just keep at going against the easy flow, the assumed lifestyle rights, is at the heart of quiet radical I believe. For me it was homeschooling my oldest two daughters just when my last “finally” started going to school; keeping me at home, and our family single incomed for a couple more years. It has been a wretched inner struggle as I found myself working with my local school and my local church to start a summer literacy program for what we call “at risk” neighborhood children. Why do you bother? Why does it matter? What are you doing? Those questions don’t really ever stop. Every time I am ready to throw in the towel because it just does not feel like it is worth the struggle, Jesus shows up in a greater and even more tender way than ever before. I will be praying for you guys and Lulu Tree.
    Cheers,
    Leah

  • Emily

    I’m not a missionary and I live a very comfortable life in California-I have two amazing baby girls and I want for nothing…except that my heart is constantly hungry for more of God. And I’m always wondering what His will is for my life. And sometimes, I’m scared ill miss it. I read blogs like yours and somehow a life like yours feels like it would stop this constant aching for more of Him. Like maybe feeding starving children in Africa is IT. But I know deep down I am where I need to be. I’m just praying for direction:)

    Anyway, I love your blog and your honesty. Jesus bless you and your beautiful family…

    • Rachel

      I feel exactly the same way Emily. We’re in South Carolina and are so fortunate to live the life we do. I am also afraid that I will miss God’s will for my life so I pray hard, asking God to lead me. I know that I’m where he wants me but I question what He wants me to do while I’m here. It isn’t easy buy prayer helps. =)
      God bless you!

      • Melissa

        hi Emily and Rachel, I am a missionary so I get Joy’s life, but I also get your life, because I lived it before becoming a missionary. The world needs faithful christian women just like the two you to live your life to the fullest right where you are at! You are reaching people that we as missionary women will never reach. It makes me sad when christians think they are not in the will of God because they are not on the mission field or in the ministry. God needs faithful men and women living regular life just as much as He needs missionaries and ministers.

        • Rachel

          Thank you for the encouraging words Melissa, I really needed them and truly appreciate them!!

  • Niki Elmore

    Hi Joy! My name is Niki and I am just a simple girl from Little Rock, Arkansas…newly married. I love reading your posts, they speak to my heart each and every day. I would love to start my own blog one day and I am staying patient in His guidance for my life. Thank you for inspiring me!! You have been a light to my life and I will continue to pray for you and your journey. :)

  • Tiffany

    Hi Joy! I’ve been reading here for a few years and follow you on IG. Thanks for updating us via the blog. I’ve loved seeing pics of you with that precious baby boy you’re nurturing. It brings back so many memories for us.

    We adopted a little girl with Down syndrome exactly 2 years ago from Ukraine. She was abandoned at birth because of her special need and then poorly taken care of in her orphanage. She was 22 months when she came home, weighed 18 pounds, was FULL of parasites, and then had open heart surgery 6 weeks later. One of her ICU doctors wept over her bed one night and said it was a miracle she had made it as long as she did given the condition of her heart and her poor nutrition. She’s our little miracle! It’s not easy by any means, but 1,000 times worth it. I would do it for any of my kids. She’s changed our family in so many ways–WE are the ones blessed by her adoption. She reminds us every single day of our relationship with Jesus and our adoption through Him. And through her story we have been able to point so many others to Christ.

    I know you already read Adeye’s blog-No Greater Joy Mom. She’s probably the BEST resource for encouragement on all things adoption and special needs related.

    Sit at the feet of Jesus and love on that little soul. Prayers from Texas!

    GAL 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

  • Sarah @ The Gospel at Home

    Joy, your faith and God’s hold on your life is so beautiful and incredibly encouraging. It really is the hard stuff where God shows us His faithfulness. I’m not a missionary – I’m a mum to one and one-almost {in a few days} but my life is like any other, full of difficulties and joys. This pregnancy has been a hard one and the waiting for my girl to arrive is almost torturous! Also, several years ago, my city endured over 10,000 earthquakes so I know what it’s like to live in difficulty and the fear of the unknown. Learning to abide is how I got by too, reading His Word and believing His promises and seeing how He is real and active in my life daily. Don’t forget that He only equips us for the day ahead and that each and every morning, His mercy and faithfulness are renewed. That always encourages my heart when I feel like I have just spent the day struggling and not praising or being thankful. Thank you, sister!

  • Tammy Brouwer

    I just read your post – thank you! I’m actually taking a short, but much needed great, from packing. We return to Tanzania in just two days and there is still so much to do!!! I’m ready to get back home and back into a routine. That doesn’t make it any easier though saying goodbye to my two grown sons, my granddaughter, and knowing that my next grandchild will be born in December and I’ll not get to meet him/her. Who would have ever thought their heart could be so torn between two places?! These are one of the times when it helps to know for sure that God has called us to Tanzania. Sometimes I feel selfish for wanting to go back. Like I’m not a good mama for being ready to return when there is so many I’m leaving behind. Gone are the days when my three children were little and I wouldn’t be concerned about leaving them, but busy packing all their needs and special treasures. So thank you for writing. For reminding me that life.is.hard. But His plans for me are good and He is always faithful.

  • Maria

    Hi Joy: Have you checked out No Greater Joy Mom? She has adopted special needs kids. I have 2 wonderful 5 yr old twin granddaughters adopted from Zambia. My son and his family are with MAF in Madagascar. Praying for your adjustment there and thankful for what you are doing. From a grandmothers perspective those goodbyes are always hard but God’s work takes place all over the world and we obey Him.

  • Rakel

    Hi Joy,
    Good to hear from you….oh how many times have you not been in my prayers, in my thoughts and in my heart….thinking of this incredible transition you have just made….thinking and remembering the hardship and also the joy of the five different cultures God has had for my on my journey….And right now sitting here in the Oregon June rain wishing to be somewhere else….somewhere with sunshine, palm trees, and all those things I tend to yearn for whenever life gets a little mundane… then at the same time knowing that God has not turned on the green light…so….. this is where I am, and this is what I am thankful for….I was even longing for Egypt this morning…and then I know that it has been too long….”gotta go somewhere”….but no, not yet, that gentle still voice whispers….no not yet. “This is where you are. Stay faithful. Stay close to me and I will continue to fill your heart.” So I go between the office and my house…and the office…and my house….and in the midst of all of that God blesses and God uses us….how I have no idea….So my dear dear friend….seeing how God is using you guys in your new country…to minister to this little boy….what joy!! Not only that, but I also see how God is using this little guy to minister joy to you all….Oh how we love you guys!! And miss you.

  • http://www.hislittlewife.blogspot.com/ Sarah Dempsen

    Hi Joy! I always feel such a kinship to you when I read your posts. I am a missionary wife and mom on an Indian Reservation in Washington State; different outward circumstances but similar inner journey and sorrows and joys and loneliness. I wrestle so much with how to write on my blog about a life that most people don’t “get”… including myself sometimes. Your blog always encourages me in ways I can do that, so thank you.

    I am a speech/language/feeding therapist in my previous professional career and worked often with children who have cerebral palsy, and I fell in love with each and every child, especially those with motor impairments and took some heavy-duty classes about CP. I especially loved problem solving with parents about nutrition and communication so don’t hesitate to contact me if you just need to bounce ideas off someone! sanncastles at gmail dot com :) Praying for you today

  • Juli Marshall

    Hi Joy! So, so glad to have an update on how you are doing. Thanks for sharing some new pictures and letting us (me) peak into your everyday. Tomorrow we head to the airport to pick up our exchange student for a third summer. She is from Spain, but is ethnically Basque. There are 3 million Basque people, but they do not have a single evangelical church or Bible in their language. Neither exist. We get to bring missions into our living room. I agreed to take on coordinating for the group that is heading here July 1st. Eight (possibly ten) high school kids who, like our Basque ‘daughter’, have never heard the gospel. They come hear to practice English and are placed in Christian homes where they get to see the gospel lived out in everyday life. They also spend a week at Young Life camp where the gospel is more explicitly shared. He is trusting us with such a precious commodity. His children. Wow. Trying to be quiet while emails and texts fly doesn’t feel like it comes easily. I know your words will echo with me this week as I try to do the same. Spend time with Him while loving those He has entrusted into our care. Wishing you all the best!

  • Telena

    Hi Joy,
    My name is Telena, and I have enjoyed your blog for two years now. Thank you for sharing some of your life with us. It’s so easy to get busy with the world around us we often forget about the world we can’t see. Thank you for reminding us of this and for always being a beautiful inspiration! Prayers to you and your family. God Bless!:)

  • mely

    Hi Joy! I am a former teacher of a languange school in bandung (imlac) and have been ministering in halmahera for 8 years with my husband. Our contract here will soon be over and we are returning to germany where my husband is from. Your blog is such a blessing. Keep up the good work!

    • Joy

      Mely, I know you!! :) Hi! Apa Kabar? Wah, kamu pindah ke German? That’s a big change. Thanks for saying hi!! :)

  • Rebecca

    Hello Joy! I am a recent discoverer of your blog am and enjoying it! I have a blog of my own and like you enjoy seeing what the Lord has in store for each day. I am also currently reading To Kill A Mockingbird, and as an English major make time each day for fiction, non-fiction, and Jesus, but I adore how you make time to enjoy beauty. What a wonderful thought! I suppose I do this unconsciously, but never purposefully, and now I will because I appreciate beauty! You are an inspiration and encouragement and testimony that the Lord will bring us to and through everything He has in store for us, and that following Him on a whim, no matter how fanatical His calling may seem, is 100% okay. That’s how I love to follow my Lord, wherever He leads, no matter where He leads, though at times it is frightening and difficult.

    One book I would recommend is Deaf Again by Mark Drolsbaugh. It’s an easy read, but so useful as it shows the mind of a Deaf person and helps hearing people be able to empathize and better understand their world.

    Blessing to you!

    -Rebecca

  • maggie may

    God has given you a beautiful heart :)
    may He bless you with everything you need to do His work well.

  • Mary Kulp

    I’m Mary- actually we share a common friend- Brandy Gainor who is in South Asia. She is my oldest and dearest friend- we lived together in Clemson and have walked this messy life together ever since. I’m a pastor’s wife in Charlotte and have 3 biological daughters (10, 8, 6). Today marks 5 months since we added 2 more little ones to our brood- a boy, 4, and a girl, 3. I am a homeschooling mama who is worn out and weary—tired of my sin and the sin of others. Trying to love well those He’s placed in front of me. But its hard and I’m not doing the best job. My husband and I are memorizing verses to combat the tone of irritability that is rampant now in our frazzled home. This week its Psalm 103:8- The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. and He is. Praying that you sense his kindness and comfort this week as you battle on.

  • Anna

    Hey Joy, I know the peculiar bitter sweetness of loving a child with CP. My three year old son has it. It’s a difficult diagnosis to understand because it covers such a vast amount of symptoms and can be caused by a few different things. They believe our son had strokes when placed on a ventilator. He was hospitalized as a newborn for pneumonia he contracted at his orphanage. He’s extremely intelligent, but the strokes damaged his ability to speak. He also has motor delays due to right hemiparesis (a form of cp). I’d be happy to answer any questions or just chat about life mothering a special needs child. My Instagram is ahithersay.

  • Anastasiya

    My name is Anastasiya. I’m a working mommy of a 9 month old from Everett, WA. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Even though our lives are completely different, I feel your heart and loneliness. God has amazing things in store for you Joy. Thank you for being real, and not hiding your very personal struggles.

  • Crystal Bethel

    Hello! Crystal from New Braunfels,Tx here. I enjoy your posts and I am learning to find joy in all things as well!

  • Zaankali

    Thank you for continuing to share your heart in whatever condition it is in. I look forward to learning about The Lulu Tree and your life on Uganda.

  • Stephanie

    Hi Joy, I am from Oregon, just outside of Portland. I had wished I had a chance to meet you when you were home, home in Oregon that is. My parents live in Jinja Uganda. Right now they are home here in Oregon getting to rest and being with family. I don’t remember how I found your blog but it was 2 or 3 years ago now. I love when you write. It is always a blessing and speaks to me so much. I feel a connection with you even though we haven’t met. Your spirit shines through in your writing and your pictures. Also having my parents in Uganda and you being from Oregon is fun. I am not so good at putting words together but I wanted to let you know that you are a blessing to me and I will be praying for you.
    Love in Christ, Stephanie Smith

  • http://studyinbrown.com Tonia Peckover

    Hey sweet girl. I’m glad you connected with me thru Instagram…I needed to catch up here. I have different kinds of special needs here, but I suppose its all the same in one way or another. Anytime you want to chat, I’d love to. Love everything about this and your work here. xo

  • Anastasia

    Joy, wow, how long has it been now?? I honestly don’t remember. I “knew” you way back when you were the Stay At Home Missionary:) I would sit and read and scroll through pictures and share picture with my kiddos…especially the very long snake one…ahh! Between you and Sally, my heart for motherhood and the ministry of it began to blossom. Since I first “knew” you, I went from three boys to three boys and two girls. I had my Hannah and Ruthie in the midst of your blog and location transitions.
    We (my husband and five kiddos) are still here in Colorado Springs where we came almost eight years ago now to start a church. He is the worship minister and I am the “aspiring” missionary;). (I left NC for college in MO 13 years ago to become…a single missionary. LOL!) God is faithful, loving, oh so gentle and patient, and He leads me in His love. I want so many things sometimes and other times I want so little. More than anything, though, I want Him!
    I am praying for you, Joy. Praying that God’s strength and gentleness with hold you and that His love will lead you.

  • Jenny Alderete

    Hey Joy, you already know me but what you may not know is I moved out of Indonesia to Uganda too once. It was 10 years in Indonesia (our lives, our friends, our hearts, our ministry in Idaho) to come to Uganda (Washington which might have well been on the other side of the world culturally in some ways). Here we started over. Didn’t know a soul. Everything about our lives, our ministry, changed. I really struggled. Went through depression for the first years. But like you, God, in His perfect love and friendship continued to pursue me and hung onto me. In the process I’ve learned to find Joy (Champagne for the Soul by Mike Mason) in each day and moment, to walk on water with faith stronger than I thought I had in me, and that REST is a spiritual discipline I was incredibly lazy about! I am a different person in a good way. Hugs to you girl! Way to go on finding rest and beauty each day.

  • Svetlana

    Oh Joy, how I love reading your blogs. Although I don’t know you personally, you feel like a friend! That’s what blood of Jesus does…makes us sisters! I have six children ages 12 and under, and although they are my world and blessing, I do get overwhelmed and weary. And when I get anxious…I think of you often and sometimes I just head to your blog and re-read your blogs. Thank you for writing and sharing your heart. I know it must be very hard to do sometimes…but just know that they are blessing to many. I often share your feelings and thoughts, but I am not a writer and don’t share them with many, so I really appreciate people like you, that do. God bless you and your family my dear sister!
    Btw…I am from NW too. (Seattle area) I was born in Russia and moved here when I was 11…(so I remember a lot of the transitioning challenges my family had to go through).

    Here is a song I really enjoy right now. Maybe you’ve heard it already?

    “Grace for All” by Holly Starr

  • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

    Just seeing this now…
    I’m so slow online these days.
    But I’m missing you.
    And this is beautiful to me.
    You are knee-deep in real life Joy…and it’s so unequivocally full…of Him.
    “Gift”
    I love that that is your board for him… makes me smile.

  • Veronica

    Hi Joy :) my name is veronica, iam 23 years old and iam a wife and a mother of four children so far! I really enjoy reading your blog it very encouraging to me!! Wish you the best in uganda. Gid Bless you and your family and keep you guys safe from all danger. :)

  • jen

    Joy,
    I have been reading your blog for a few years now. I have 10 kids ages 6-16 (one bio and 9 adopted – all in 2.5 years as 2 large sibling groups!)…needless to say, we’ve spent quite a few of the past years where it was really really HARD, but good! I, too, am still learning to be thankful for all things and to REST in Him daily…being, rather than constantly doing.

    My sister, Rebecca, recently moved to Uganda for her first missions trip (about 6 mos.) and would LOVE to meet up with you. She is working with Heavenly Hope Ministries running a guest house and child sponsorship program, helping at Redeemer House and a few other things. She LOVES kids and family (and is an AWESOME “auntie”). She would so be blessed to meet up with you for prayer and encouragement and would probably really bless your family and love your kiddos!

  • Lorraine R.

    Hi Joy, I’m a momma to five kiddos here in the States. I’ve been getting your emails, but haven’t taken the time to read them until today! We are facing the possibility of some transition away from home, friends and family and it is difficult! I needed this reminder “We are tempted to judge the faithfulness of God based on His ability to remove difficulty from our lives, when in fact, difficulty is almost always a sign of His faithfulness.” -Paul Tripp thank you for writing!!! I’ll be keeping up with your story from here on out and keeping you in my prayers!!

  • Janneke

    Thanks for your honesty! Yes i know how hard writing can be about life, eventhough i dont blog. Just the supporters updates. We’re from the Netherlands but working with MAF in Arnhemland, australia. ( met Aartje yet? She moved from arnhemland to uganda to move on to liberia). I love your quote. Its so easy and tempting to believe in the devils lies. Great ministry you have found! God bless you! And who knows we might once meet!

  • Becky Delaney

    You and that sweet boy are in my prayers. Adoption is on my heart and we are waiting until our boys are a little older to pursue it. I love reading your blog!

  • Mandee

    I was going to comment and talked myself out of it half way through, I’m glad you asked at the end :) to leave a hello, I’ve just gone through an uncomfortable situation with my husband leaving his job without another one to go to because we believed it was God’s will while I’ve been making half of what I was use to making with my job it’s been 6 months and He started a new job yesterday! While it’s been very difficult God has been faithful, a provider and I look back and I can see His Hand and how He worked! But I must say reading your story made me realize I still have a lot of growing to do my financial problem could not compare I’m sure to the challenges your family has faced since you’ve moved, and as you talked about seeing His grace in different places after coming out of a real hard place, I felt that one! Isn’t it marvelous, His grace WoW and what a feeling He allows us to feel after the sun starts coming out :) it’s like we think He is so far away and then we realize He must have been there the whole time, God Bless Your families work continue to walk in His light …. Job 39:13-17

  • Priscilla

    Dear Joy, a BIG hello from Holland:) thank you so much for your honousty! I rejoice when I recieve news from you, it draws me closer to Jesus. Thank you for taking time to share what God is doing in your live. I lived for 4 years in Mbale, Uganda. So I know understand a bit of what you are going through! God bless you with His peace & strenght each day! Love, Priscilla Docter

  • Brandi

    Hi Joy, So appreciate your transparency in abiding….”the learning” part. I think I will always be learning this! It is the most important part of our day every day and as we lead a long term team of people here in Africa to reach an unreached people group (sensitive group/area) we simply cannot do what He has brought us here to do every day if we do not abide! The being quiet and truly listening is the hard one for me. We are in a tough area dealing with police every single day lately and it is wearing us down. The love that you are giving to the precious little boy is amazing….love to see people on this earth actually living out the word of God! Thank you for writing and sharing your heart!

  • Suzanne Wray Rowan

    Hi Joy – I am fairly new to your blog and I absolutely love both yours, and Dave’s writing! My husband and I live a somewhat comfortable, quiet life in the heart of East Texas. I recently read a book by Anne Graham Lotz that asked a marvelous question… what missionary are you praying for? Do you even know a missionary?
    Sadly, I do not. We have a fairly young church and missionaries have not been added to our flock as yet. So, I set my mind to seek out some missionaries to pray for, when I stumbled across an article of yours on (in)courage. Immediately I heard God speaking to my heart and you and your family became a part of my life!
    Thank you for your encouraging words and the love you share, blessings to you, Dave, Britton, Hannah, Hudson, Tanner and Tyler

  • Kendra

    This is so encouraging to me, Joy! I think of you often, in your far-off land, as I am navigating a new season of life. It’s not glamorous or exotic or even anything out of the ordinary, but I am adjusting to a new marriage and a new home and new relationships with his children. And some days it is downright hard – to give up my old space, to find my place in a new environment that I rarely understand. But I think of what missionaries like you must go through – adjusting to a culture that is completely alien, leaving everything and everyone behind, starting from scratch each place God leads you. I look to your example and I pray that God gives me the heart of a missionary in this new home of mine. I pray for Him to help me rely on Him and quit my internal whining, to look harder at the ways I can be a blessing and less at my own needs, and above all to be grateful and do good things in this small mission field where God has placed me. Thank you so much for your encouragement over the years. It means everything! You are such an inspiration and a help. {Do you know of any good missionary “how-to adjust” books?}

  • Georgie Hill

    Wow, I never new you and your family were serving with MAF. Our family just finished reading the life of Betty Greene – one of the founding members of MAF. Betty’s life touched us, when we finished the story my 7 year old was crying – her life has touched us. We will be praying for you and your family – May God’s richest grace and blessings and strength be upon you, may He surround you with HIs immense love so that every fibre of your being knows that “You can do all things in Christ who strengthens you”. Love the Hill Family – Canada

  • Maggie Ginn

    Hi Joy! Maggie here. This is my 3rd year in Wellington, AL after spending 3 years in San Diego, CA church planting. You recommended “Redeeming Childbirth” some time ago and through that book I was able to have a very intimate birth with my Maker and my husband. My son is now (almost) 9 months old and I am learning that “mama” is my ministry. I can’t always be on the front lines anymore but these days are flying and I trust that the Lord will bring me back to the front lines and when he does- my children can go with me. Thank you for sharing your heart with us and the people of Uganda. Your encouragement always leaves me feeling refreshed and inspired.

  • Judy Gehlert Reath

    Even though I don’t know you, I’ve missed hearing from you! Your writing always reminds me to slow down and just be with my boys. We are just finishing up 6 years as missionaries in northern Canada and will be moving closer to where my husband grew up in Alberta. He will be going to University and I will continue to homeschool and raise my boys. We are both dealing with feelings of failure, even though we believe it’s the right time to go and we know ‘results’ are ultimately up to God. The church has shrunk since we arrived, leaving us wondering, ‘did we do all we should have?’ and ‘maybe someone else can reach these people better than us.’ But ultimately, we’ve been faithful and showed up, so I guess we’ve got to believe that’s enough. God bless you as you and your family as you make a difference in Uganda. You know that Focus on the Family has adoption resources, right?

  • Sharon Trangmar

    I will be praying as you adjust to life in Uganda. It is not for the faint of heart. I have a dear friend who is an Independent Baptist missionary in Uganda and has been for almost 20 years. They are in Masaka. She has seen many come and go because it is not easy. God bless you as you serve Him!

  • Mandy Red

    Hi sweet friend, my heart is so moved. I read this post and I just know The Lord has hand picked you for this moment. Thanks for encouraging me to live the life I am called to with courage and joy. Glamorous? Not so much but beautiful and full. I love that all five kids are just loving and The Lord is using them in the lives around you. Praying for you always!!! I miss you.

  • Jenny

    So glad that you posted! I have missed hearing from you. My things? Well, I hate being sick. I really hate it because my husband lost his job last summer and doesn’t have a full time job yet. And I’ve been sick since Memorial Day. Kidney stones, uti, diverticulitis, and today the doc says also an ulcer. I’m not a sick person. And I’m finding my way to meet God in the middle of all this, because otherwise I would go crazy

  • Laura

    Hello. I’m Laura, a mom of 4 kids (age 4, 3, 2, and 9 months). A work-from-home teacher with the homeschooling network (I don’t homeschool, but I help parents that do) in Canada. My 2 year old was recently diagnosed autistic. I have recently wrestled with God to my very depths when things I thought he was leading us to were closed to us and my world seemed to fall apart. Your words have greatly encouraged me today. I need to better understand that quote from Paul Tripp. Thanks for being real.

  • MomsBandB

    Joy, thanks for sharing. What you are doing…every minute…every smoothie…every band-aid…every mess cleaned up….all are precious in God’s sight! We are entering another change. Our oldest is four weeks out of completing his aviation maintenance course. He is nervous about passing the licensing exams. He moves home and hopefully gets a job closeby, so he can live here and save for the next phase of training – flight school. We were convicted to do this debt free, so we have not chosen the traditional Liberty/Moody aviation route. God is so faithful. We are also waiting on test results for my dear uncle (like a dad to me and a grandpa to my kids, especially since mine passed on before my 1st was born). He has cancer in his eye. We are praying that it has not spread elsewhere. And hubby has not fully recovered from a serious hospitalization a year ago. The kids and I try to do more, but stuff still inevitably falls through the cracks. The house is never as neat as I’d like it to be. We all have our HARD. It’s interesting that everyone’s HARD is so different. But yes, God is GOOD. And He ordained this HARD for me and that HARD for you to do something specific in me and something specific in you. It’s sometimes scary to think, to wonder, “What is he preparing me for?” But even in that “what,” He will be good. Sometimes we read about others’ HARD. We think, oh, I could easily visit that orphanage every day. I’d prefer that HARD to my HARD. But we need people, we need you, to remind us that while it brings joy, it is HARD. We need people to let us step into their HARD, to let us see the messes and the exhaustion and the heart-aches. Because through that we share the HARD, even from a distance. And we can see God work in and through you and your HARD and trust that He is working in and through us and ours. Many blessings on you and your family.

  • flo

    Can I ask what book you got the Paul Tripp quote from…..I’d love to read it. Thanks

  • Tami

    Joy,
    I haven’t “checked in” with your blog for a while now. This post brought me to tears for you and your family. I will pray. I am sure you have probably heard of Linny’s blog at A Place Called Simplicity and her daughter who is currently in Uganda (Em On A Mission). Thank you so much for your heart and how you always point us back to Jesus.
    All for Christ,
    Tami