Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Friends

2011 BBQ Thank You

Thanks to ALL of YOU!
For the past several years, Pam and I have attempted to thank the people the Lord has put on our Next Generation Ministries team in any way we can.  It is never enough and each expression is limited in some way, but we are still trying.  Together was God's idea and no improvement can be made on His ideas.  There is no way that Pam and I would enjoy doing what we do in Uganda without all the people God has put together with us.  We try to thank those who advise, who go to Uganda, who pray, who support, and who do all the things that we can't do when we attempt to live on two continents.

Art & LaFonda ... friends are friends forever!
No people are more critical to us than our long time good friends Art and LaFonda Dunlap.  They have been to Uganda and have a heart's desire to be there more and do more, but circumstances prevent that from happening. So, they resist envy, share our house with us in Oregon (doing all the maintenance & upkeep that we can't do), manage the NGM office in our absence, and keep loving us loyally beyond human ability.  God's grace is on them and they bathe us in it month after month ... whether we are around to share life or 10,000 miles out of reach. Words are inadequate, but we keep saying them anyway, "We love you and appreciate you more than you know."

The first hunk of meat being prepared for the grill 
Our American culture seems to like to express gratitude with food.  So, we ramp up the BBQ smoker and put 50 pounds of prime beef and 20 pounds of pork tenderloin on it and serve it up and push it on dozens of friends of Next Generation Ministries.  This year's BBQ was pretty late in the season due to our return time to Oregon.  But some friends showed up from as far away as Oklahoma, Spokane, and even Jinja, Uganda!  I had some great photos of the BBQ and many of our guests, but have somehow lost them.  I even lost the great photos I had of Vicki and David ... mentioned below.  The ones you see here are just a few that survived the mystery.

Don ... Betty ... Randy ... with new Oregon friends
More than 40 years ago Pam and I accepted an assignment of ministry in Fairview, Oklahoma.  The summer between my junior and senior year of college I agreed to serve as the first youth pastor of a large church in a small rural town.  Randy Kliewer was one of the kids in the youth group.  He had lost his father in an accident and was being raised by his single mom.  After all these years Randy and his wife are working with Next Generation Ministries. They both came to Uganda three years ago as part of short term mission team.  They came out to Oregon to spend a couple of days with Pam and me before and after the BBQ.  We were able to use those days to show off God's beauty here in this wonderful state and enjoy our fellowship in the Lord.

THANK YOU!!!
Don Neufeld is a life long bachelor farmer from western Oklahoma who has been to Uganda three years in a row.  The Lord has touched Don's heart with an genuine love for many of the associates of Next Generation Ministries.  He has a deep and abiding love for Uganda.  We expect him to be a part of our work every year he is able.  We are grateful for all that he has done with and for us.  It was a blessing to have him at our BBQ this year as well.

Vicki Gamble loves Fountain of Hope Ministries of Bukeeka and Sera and the boys in her family of Sera's Caring Place.  She has been to Uganda on two short term mission trips.  We don't believe they will be her last.  She and her husband live in Spokane, but were also able to make the NGM BBQ a part of their lives last Saturday.

David & Heather
David Ochan Buddy came to our BBQ from Lake Oswego, a suburb of Portland.  He is from Jinja and an acquaintance of ours from there.  He is our friend on Facebook, which helps keep him informed about our activities.  We arranged for him to be picked up and driven to our home in Colton.  He gave the BBQ an African feel to it as many people wanted to connect with a real live Ugandan.  He is engaged to be married to Heather on November 5th and we anticipate a double date or two with them.

A couple members of NGM Board of Directors were able to be a part of the BBQ this year.  Nate and Lainy Robertson spent 5 weeks with us in Uganda and now have a first hand report to make to the Board about what we are all about in Africa.

Pam & our first born granddaughter Blair
We are blessed to have the support of our aging parents, all of our kids, and nine grand children. None of us like it much that we are inaccessible for usually 6 months out of each year.  But, we are all confident that the work we do in Uganda is the work the Lord would have us do right now.  So, fortified with His grace, we all embrace what is a challenging circumstance for each of us.

Although it falls short of expressing the depth of our gratitude to each of you for your encouragement, support, and belief in us ... let us say it again and again:

We love you and can't thank you enough for being a part of our Next Generation Ministries' team.

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