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

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