Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Of airsoft & honors

At 6:40 p.m. Sunday, as we were about to get into the van on our way to talk with students at African Mission Fellowship about missionary family life, Asher poked an airsoft pellet up his left nostril. We tried a variety of means to extract it, including attempting to provoke a sneeze with pepper and even inserting a drinking straw and sucking (we really didn't want to go to the ER). When all else failed, we proceeded to Hendrick Hospital's ER, where a doctor extracted the unwelcome projectile at around 1:15 the next morning (using a nifty catheter within a catheter with an inflatable tip). Asher, after this barrage of mostly unsuccessful (and all un-fun) attempts at BB-removal, now avers that he will not again put
One of those
Up his nose.

Wednesday morning Danetta, Asher and I went up to Craig Middle School at 7:30, along with Luke and Jonathan, to attend a ceremony honoring outstanding students selected by the teachers during the first six weeks of the semester. Jonathan was one of the honorees, pictured as a group below, holding the plaques awarded in token of this distinction.

And here's a freebie -- I couldn't resist taking a picture of the rays of the not-yet-risen sun shooting up over the eastern horizon as we reached the school campus that morning.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Many a Monarch

What Jesus said about the lilies of the field, that Solomon in all his splendor was not arrayed like one of them, is appropriate also of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). There is currently a multitude of this handsome orange-and-black species variously at rest on or floating amongst the leaves and branches of the pecan trees around our house. They are on passage to Mexico, where they will wait out the cold northern winter. I took the following pictures on shrubs under the pecan trees in our back yard here in Abilene.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Prayer Update -- Abilene, Texas

I sent the following prayer update by email to many of the folks who regularly pray for us and the mission in Uganda.

Dear friends who pray,

I'll begin with a brief update on where and what we are doing at the moment, since it's been quite a while since we've communicated with all of you by this means. At the end of May we began an extended furlough in the United States. God willing, we will return to our home and work in Uganda around the middle of next year. We have settled in Abilene, Texas, which will be
"home" for the next several months.

Our daughter Leila has begun her studies at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, having received scholarship funds that cover her tuition and room/board. So far she has enjoyed her experience there, finding her courses challenging in a positive way and making good friends in the university and church community. We look forward to seeing her from time to time during this period that we are within driving distance of Searcy.

The five middle children are in the Abilene public-school system, on three different campuses. They have had many adjustments to make to the large-school environment, but all seem to be handling it well. They are finding things not all that difficult academically, and are enjoying extra-curricular activities in sports and music (Josiah and Luke doing karate; Nathanael in football; Jonathan taking clarinet lessons, tennis and gymnastics; Luke in choir; and Emily having fun every day with friends from the neighborhood, school and church). We feel that there are definite benefits that our children will receive from the experience of a school year in the school system here. Asher plays at home most of the time, but is ever-active and keeps mom and dad hopping.

One of our intentions in spending more time in the U.S. than usual on a furlough is to spend a significant season with the people of our overseeing church here in Abilene. We have been away from them for thirteen years, punctuated by only brief visits on past furloughs. Ian preaches once a month at Northwest church, teaches an ESL writing class at Abilene Christian University, and helps from time to time with aspects of the work in Uganda that need attention from the U.S. side of things. He is also taking the opportunity to begin work on a doctoral degree from Texas Tech University, most of which can be done on-line, whether in Texas or in Uganda. Danetta stays occupied with keeping the household running and helping the children with school-related things. She plans to participate in one or more prayer and Bible-study groups in the community.

Another priority for our time in Abilene is that it be a kind of sabbatical, during which we can rest in significant ways from the tiredness that accumulates over long periods of cross-cultural ministry. Although we do find ourselves with plenty to do, in this culture that has almost forgotten how to rest or to live in simplicity, we want to be intentional about enacting both of these in this season of our lives.

I'll not bullet-point specific requests for your prayers this time, but trust that the Holy Spirit will guide you in how to intercede as you reflect on our news.

Watch and pray!

Ian, Danetta, Leila, Josiah, Nathanael, Jonathan, Luke, Emily, and Asher
Ian & Danetta Shelburne

Tel. 325 267 0605

"Watch & pray" is an occasional prayer update from the Shelburne family,
sent by Northwest Church of Christ to serve with the Mbale Mission Team in
Mbale, Uganda.

Donations may be sent to this address:
Northwest Church of Christ
Uganda Mission
1509 Ben Richey Dr
Abilene, TX 79602-7971

Friday, May 08, 2009

Rainforest Lodge, Mabira

In March we were blessed with the unexpected opportunity to spend a night at the Rainforest Lodge in Mabira Forest between Jinja and Kampala. We recommend it.

When you arrive at reception, you can tell immediately that the lodge has been built IN the rain forest -- not a single tree or plant was removed unnecessarily.

From this side of the main restaurant building, the steps take you up to the second/upper level.

Our cabin -- you can tell it's built on a slope, so is entirely supported by pilings and you look out from your bedroom into the mid-storey of the rain forest all around.

You can have tea/coffee or meals on the upper level of the main building, if you like, with a view out into the middle and upper levels of the forest.

Marmite and French brown mustard -- civilized cuisine!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Haircut

A few days before Christmas last month, Asher got a haircut. Actually he likes having them, and whenever one of the other kids is "under the shears," Asher starts begging for his own turn. From the pictures below, though, you could be excused for doubting whether he enjoys EVERY moment in the chair!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bushara Island in Lake Bunyonyi

(Below) Pelican Landing on Bushara Island in Lake Bunyonyi -- that's where you disembark from the 20-foot outboard motor boat after a 10- or 15-minute trip from the dock on the mainland. We spent five delightful days on the island in early January as part of Leila's senior trip before she starts work on a degree from Harding University in August.

(Below) Part of our daily routine was paddling a dugout canoe around the island -- hard work, but a lot of fun and gorgeous views of the lake- and island-scapes.

(Below) Boubou Tent, where half the family domiciled while on the island (Leila had her own tent-apartment on the verandah.)

(Below) Games during the day on the verandah of Swallows Restaurant

(Below) Supper at Swallows Restaurant...evenings were pleasantly cool, even though this time of year it's hot and dry in most of the rest of Uganda. Bunyonyi is a lake nestled at quite high altitude among the mountains of southwestern Uganda.

(Below) Jonathan demonstrating a bit of daring on the rope swing out over the chilly lake water, while Leila watches from below

(Below) Luke and Jonathan on the anchored raft off of Jacana Dock