B. & Ruth Shelburne, Shawn & Linda Tyler, Ian & Danetta with Emily, Asher, Jonathan & Luke - September 2012 in Lubbock, Texas
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"Safari yetu"--"our journey" in Kiswahili, the major East African trade language--is a journal of the life and ministry of the Shelburne family in Mbale, Uganda, where we served with the Mbale Mission Team, and now in Abilene, Texas, where we continue to work for the development of Messiah Theological Institute and LivingStone International University in Uganda.
The past year has been one of major changes for our family. We have been in the United States since the middle of 2009 on an extended furlough / sabbatical time. Currently we expect to remain in Abilene at least until Josiah graduates from high school in June 2011. Having not spent more than five months on this side of the Atlantic in 13 years, this has been quite an adjustment for us!
Our daughter Leila is half-way through her first year of studies at Harding University Searcy, Arkansas. She has been doing extremely well academically and is pleased with having made or continued quite a number of rewarding friendships. Josiah and Nathanael attend Abilene High School, where they have adjusted to a different and much more populous academic environment. Their studies are going well, and Nathanael has been active in the football program. Jonathan and Luke are at Craig Middle School, where Luke especially likes the library and is in the choir, while Jonathan is involved in band and tennis. Emily goes to Taylor Elementary School and exercises her particular talent for making lots of friends, both at school and in the neighborhood where we live. Asher stays busy at home "helping" Danetta with laundry and many other household tasks, and he is quite accomplished at entertaining himself with toys, books, and a variety of imaginary friends to play with and bad guys/monsters to fight.
Danetta has her hands full maintaining our busy household and keeping up with a host of school events. She usually works as a substitute teacher one day a week at one of the children's schools, and also participates in a weekly Bible study and a mothers' prayer group, along with various activities in our home church (Northwest).
Ian is part of the Northwest church preaching/teaching ministry, speaking one Sunday a month and leading a Bible study Wednesday evenings. He is also taking courses for a doctoral degree from Texas Tech University, and hopes to have most of the necessary classes apart from his major research project completed before returning to Uganda.
The extra time that we have in the United States has meant more time to strengthen our relationship with our sending church in Abilene, and also more opportunities to be with our families than we have had in a long time. At the same time, we greatly miss the close association that we are used to having with coworkers in Uganda, whose friendship we treasure deeply. Living between two worlds is not easy! But we are greatly blessed by people on two continents who love, support, and encourage us with extraordinary generosity.
We hope in late June/early July this year to spend a short time in Uganda to visit our mission team and other friends there, and to make some necessary arrangements in connection with our being in the U.S. longer than we had originally expected.
We pray that 2010 will be for all of you a season of blessing, and that each of us will find opportunities to share with others the good that we receive.
Grace and peace,
Ian, Danetta, Leila, Josiah, Nathanael, Jonathan, Luke, Emily and Asher