Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Emily: Almost Official!

Many of you know that we have been foster-parents for Emily Elisabeth for about five years now. According to Uganda family law, an adoption can be finalized only after a period of three years of foster care has been fulfilled. So for the past two years we have been working on paperwork and trying to get a court date for the adoption petition to be heard and ruled on. Last week our lawyer called to say that we had a place on the court docket Tuesday, 11 November -- today! Copied below are the two prayer updates that I sent around to family and friends yesterday and again today.

(yesterday, 10 November)

Dear friends who pray,

Great news! Mr. Wegoye, the attorney handling Emily's adoption petition, has told us that we have a court date for the magistrate to rule on our petition -- tomorrow (Tuesday), 9:00 a.m. local time. We are meeting with Mr. Wegoye to go through the paperwork with him again this afternoon and take care of any last-minute details. We'll plan to take the whole family to the high court in the morning for the ruling. So pray with us that all will proceed as we hope and that Emily will "officially" be part of our family before lunch time tomorrow. It's been a long wait since she joined us five years ago.

(today, 11 November)

Thank you all for praying for Emily's hearing in the high court today! The presentation of the petition went well, I believe, with no objections raised as all the supporting documentation was heard. We did spend a couple of hours in the courtroom "on pins and needles" because the district social welfare officer (whose responsibility is to make the primary recommendation for approval of the petition to adopt) did not show up at first. She had been served notice to attend the hearing, but had a conflict with some high-level district meeting that also required her presence. After several phone conversations with her over those two hours or so, it looked unlikely that she would be able to come. Finally she called back and said she had been released from her meeting temporarily and could join us. Our lawyer was already part of the way through presenting the petition when she walked in,and was able to deliver personally her recommendation that the magistrate rule in favor of our petition.

The magistrate announced after hearing the petition that he would give his ruling tomorrow morning (Wednesday). So it's back to the court house tomorrow morning at 9:00, and we have every reason to believe that he will grant the adoption order. Still, as we give thanks for the obvious ways that the Lord helped us today, let's continue to put this in the hands of God, who is uniquely able to influence the heart of the magistrate to decide for Emily's and our family's good.


I hope that tomorrow I'll be able to report that all of this has been concluded successfully. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

MMT Shelburnes

...And our family (September 2008).

Mbale Mission Team

Team 4 - sm
Originally uploaded by ian.shelburne
Here we are, as of September 2008 -- long-ranger families and single volunteers (the "power rangers").

MMT "Long Rangers"

long rangers (sm)
Originally uploaded by ian.shelburne
Originally a typo for "lone rangers" (which we do NOT want to be), the tag "long rangers" has turned into a descriptor for the three families who are the long-term members of the Mbale Mission Team (each with ten or more years' tenure here). From left to right, we are: Ian & Danetta Shelburne, Shawn & Linda Tyler, Laura & Phillip Shero. This picture was made in August 2008.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A pair of Ians

Hannah Bean from Denbigh church in Virginia took this picture while several of us were visiting the children's home in Kitale, Kenya back in July. Her caption: "big Ian and baby Ian. Baby Ian was named after big Ian." Big Ian (that's me) is part of the mission team in Mbale, Uganda that helps with administration of the children's home. It's quite common in this part of Africa for babies to be named in honor of someone who is respected by the family or care-givers. At the children's home there are also a little Shawn and a little Linda, besides others, most likely, named for various ones of our missionary colleagues.

Our daughter Emily stopped by the computer a few minutes ago and saw this picture. Her immediate observation was, "You're holding a black baby and that guy's holding a white baby!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Asher napping

Asher asleep Sept 08
Originally uploaded by aliyense
Asher usually takes his nap in his bed, but this time round he evidently started snoozing while in the living room, probably while watching something on TV with a sibling or two.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Lake Mburo National Park

A couple of weekends ago Nathanael and I sandwiched an overnight visit to Lake Mburo National Park between an orthodontist appointment in Kampala and a national fellowship meeting in Mbarara. It was our first time in the park and we saw scads of nifty animals and birds. Here are a few pictures:

Buffalo...up close!

Burchell's zebra

Topi (hartebeest family)

Impala male (females lack horns) -- you typically find a group of a male with several females and young, or a group of males that haven't managed to gather their own individual harems.

Warthog, mama and young

One of the neat things about Lake Mburo is that the absence of elephants and lions makes it reasonably safe to go looking for animals on foot, as long as you have an armed game scout along to guide and protect if necessary (those buffalo behind us probably wouldn't attack unless provoked, but it was comforting to have the scout and his AK-47 along with us in case of any problem -- and to take this picture).

Friday, June 06, 2008

Luke's 10th

Luke with cake
Originally uploaded by aliyense
Luke turned 10 last month, on our wedding anniversary as usual. It was a Sunday, so we had his festivities the next day when quite an assemblage turned up at our house for a treasure hunt, gift opening, and lotsa cake! Here's the space shuttle, before we ate it, with Luke affixing candles and neighbor John Knox Proctor looking on in anticipation of pleasurable consumption.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mzee Wamukotta & Joseph Mulako

Mzee Wamukotta & Joseph Mulako
Originally uploaded by aliyense
Dishon Wamukotta, on the left, is about 78 years old -- one of the oldest in our network of church leaders here in eastern Uganda. Dishon has gone through the basic-certificate program in Bible and ministry training with us in Messiah Theological Institute. Here he is with outline in hand as he participates in a discipleship group that meets monthly in Bubulo. Never too old to learn some more!

Joseph Mulako, on the right, is an evangelist who works across Manafwa and Mbale districts to facilitate communication, evangelism, church-planting, and a variety of other ministries among the churches in the area. He is outstanding as a man who practices what he preaches.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Asher the bookworm

Asher Feb 2008 with book
Originally uploaded by aliyense
Leila recently posted this pic of Asher on her Xanga blog -- called him a bookworm, already at less than two years old!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Guest post by Shawn - Bulago & Kaderuna

This past Sunday I drove almost 100 miles south to visit a new church called Bulago just 400 yards from the shores of Lake Victoria southwest of Busia, Uganda. While there we baptized 22 people.

Olupot James in the maroon shirt did the baptizing.

More than 40 of us walked to the lake to witness the new births.

There is a growing evangelistic effort south of Busia. We praise God for the growth in that direction. One report came to us that a new church has been established on Sugulu Island an hour's boat ride from Bulago. It sounds like we will have some island visits coming up later this year.


We started this year's discipleship classes. We have scheduled five days a month to teach five different small groups of leaders in five different districts. However, the church leaders come from more than one district. The Tororo group has leaders from four districts attending. This year we are focusing on the work of a preacher. We will cover salvation, weddings, funerals, church organization, baby dedications, finances, as well as other relevant issues for these leaders.

We provide materials for additional study and for future reference when needed. We also give them free pens and pocket diaries to help them organize future meetings and mark MTI course dates. Such advanced communication ensures better participation in mission programs.

Ian has gone with me these first few meetings and took part in our third meeting to teach the last half of the session. These pictures are from our Kaderuna meeting in Pallisa district. William Mbulakyalo, our Bachelor's degree candidate, is standing to the left of Ian and translating into Lugwere.
We have asked that each group be about 15 church leaders. The first three had 17-19 each. This means we should be seeing more than 80 church leaders each month in this discipleship program.

Shawn Tyler

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Vision's picture of the week

From Uganda's New Vision Newspaper, Friday, 11th January, 2008


A woman carries a baby and a man on a bicycle in Buwaale, Idudi Iganga District. The man is rolling his bicycle along.


Ian here -- This is a classic picture (just ignore the other cyclist in the background pointed in the opposite direction). A generation or two ago it was a rarity to see a woman riding a bicycle at all in the parts of east, central and southern Africa where I've spent a number of years. It's more common these days, with the increase in ownership of bicycles generally and some loosening of the restrictions on what is considered appropriate for women to do in African culture (used to be, for example, that women were not allowed to eat chicken, according to the dietary taboos of many tribes, but that has largely gone by the wayside).

Here we have a woman not only riding a bicycle, but carrying a baby on her back while doing so, and besides that giving a ride to a man with a guiding hand on his own bicycle (perhaps needing repair) coasting along beside them. A worthy "picture of the week"!