August 2019 Update

What’s been happening the past 5 months?

We last wrote in March of this year. We had just moved into our new house that we spent 3 years building and were trying to get settled in. We were in the middle of our first term of our new school year. We felt like, this is it, the distractions of construction are behind us, now we can start doing more things that have been on our heart but couldn’t do before. We were pumped to be able to have a house large enough to accommodate Bible study groups and host events and such. We just needed about 2 months to complete the 1st term of the year, and prepare the house with buying furniture, appliances, and such.

April was more than half way through and our house really began to feel like a home. Ethan loved having his own room and was now sleeping through the night all by himself. The term was almost over and we were ready to begin our 3 week holiday between school terms by resting a little, and finishing some small things at the house. But the phone began ringing. One of my dearest friends for 20+ years had gotten really sick and was in ICU in a coma. A few days later, he died. We knew we had to go back to the US, but there was a big problem: my passport was about to expire and you’re not supposed to fly with a passport having less than 6 months expiration. I already had my appt setup at the US embassy during our holiday to get a new passport, 3 weeks from this time. We prayed and obtained favor from Dubai and were able to fly through Dubai back to the US, where I immediately started the process for a new passport.

We planned to stay in the US for only 6 weeks, speak at a few churches, get my new passport, and head back for term 2 of teaching. About the time we arrived in the US, my wife began feeling very very ill, and she was bedridden for weeks. She would barely make it out of bed on Sundays to go to church with me. We had the tests done, and our suspicions were true, Ethan was to become a big brother. We were overjoyed with excitement!!! About 5 weeks into our trip, Joanne wasn’t feeling any better so I decided we should extend our tickets another 8 weeks just to make sure she got past that first trimester sickness which thankfully she did about 6 weeks later.

I went ahead and flew back to Uganda on our original fly date for a week to settle affairs, and meet with the students, and returned back. It was great to meet with everyone, let them know the situation, and check up on our house.

While in the US, I spent most of my time working to make some extra money to support ourselves while there, and Joanne just rested for the good of her and the coming baby. In the first week of August, we finally flew back to Uganda.

Back to the Present

So here we are, back in Uganda and trials nearly overtook us the first 2 weeks. We came home to a blown surge protector on our fridge, which meant everything inside was completely spoiled. Someone had checked in the house every couple of weeks and found it just before our arrival. Though they had cleaned out the spoiled food, the smell of death was reeking in our house. We found the insides full of maggots and we spent hours taking apart the fridge and cleaning everything. We replaced the surge protector and got the fridge back online with lots of bleach and baking soda before we could start filling it again. Within days, we had another massive power surge and blew another fridge protector and again we blew out our stove, just as had happened before we left for the US. The $300 piece I had just replaced blew up again, and we can only get that piece from America as it was an American stove we bought secondhand in the capital. We are still in a predicament about what to do for that as we can’t buy it here. On the same day, I went to do some minor work on our car and found a massive electrical problem that started shorting out everything and blowing most of the car’s fuses. I tell you it was a terrible day. We took the car to the capital for a couple of days to have a mechanic go through and repair many things that were jimmy rigged from the previous owner. We now feel our car is in great running order.

So our first few weeks back, we have just been tackling problems, cleaning an unkept house for 3 months, and so many busy things. It’s been an interesting time as ministry just hasn’t happened for us, there’s been so much “home work”. But the timing of our return was perfect as term two was in its last weeks and holiday was about to begin. It’s been good having these few “down” weeks to first get our household in order as even the Bible urges. It’s been 3 weeks and we now feel that we are ready to begin again.

Term 3 is beginning in mid-September so we have adequate time to prepare. I’ll be jumping back in with our school of ministry teaching full time as I have the past 3 years. Joanne will be heading back to our elementary school as well as she is immersing herself back into our church choir that she leads.

What the Future Holds

In addition to our usual “work”, we are planning a few new things to finish out this year strong:

1. I want to teach some different things to our 6th graders. In term 1, I was teaching them, Farming God’s Way, a better way to farm with Godly principles and the kids learned so much. I also see the need to teach computers, which I had planned to teach term 2 but got out on hold while we err away, and as well teach them finances, how to manage money according to the Word of God. I’m not sure we will be able to teach both this coming term, but I want to integrate myself into the school more in the future and help these students learn life skills along with the general education they are already learning.

2. Marriage in the village is done very poorly. For many, marriage is simply moving in with someone; for others there is a ceremony in a church, but it’s not many. In addition, marital roles are not understood and women are many times second class citizens. Its rare to see a couple walking down the road together; usually they walk separately and you’ll never see a married couple sit next to each other at church. It took me a long time to identify who was married to who. We also don’t find people bragging about their spouses, or even acknowledging them many times. Its sad to see how downplayed marriage is in the village. It’s been on our heart to start a young couples Bible study in our home. We brought back a bunch of material and want to open our home up weekly to young couples in our village and teach them what the Bible says about being husbands, wives, and parents. I’m grateful to have a wife who is Ugandan, who understands the culture, but also how God has designed marriage to be.

3. Yesterday, after church, a couple of young ladies arrived at our house for a visit; it’s common for people to come unannounced just to visit. One is 14 and the other 16 and they are sisters. The 14 year old went to kindergarten only, and now works as a nanny. The 16 year old has never been to school, and now has a baby of her own; they brought the baby with them. The baby is 6 months old, makes no attempts to crawl, and can’t sit up and stabilize by himself. Now we all know that babies develop differently, some quicker, some slower. When we began asking things about the baby, we found he is put in a basin and stays there all day, with no chance to do anything. We also learned that mom gives tea to the baby, something also far too common. Earlier at church, someone who works in our elementary school saw us asking Ethan where his different body parts are. He was amazed at how much Ethan knows for a 1 1/2 year old. I told him we are teaching him body parts, colors, numbers, and letters. He asked me what would Ethan learn when he joins kindergarten. I joked that he would help teach it. It is very common to find that parents don’t give their babies any encouragement to grow, develop, or mature here in the village. Joanne and I have talked about this many times since Ethan was born. We’ve heard many bad suggestions on how to raise him, and been told some really awful things about our “bad parenting”. But as it turns out, Ethan is the most advanced kid his age, and his best friend is 4 years old, and learns from Ethan. People are starting to realize, something is different. We want to help educate parents on how to better care for their little ones. We’re thinking that it might need to begin with Joanne meeting with new moms weekly and help teach them the best ways to care for their kids, encourage development and maturity. Sadly dad’s don’t have a serious role in many families, but we are hoping that the marriage Bible study we teach can also open the door to a parenting study which would include fathers.

We’re praying about feeding people at our Bible study, other times of having the mom’s over, School of Ministry students, and 6th graders. We would love to provide full meals for these gatherings. We’re estimating it would cost us about $300 a month more than our current budget to be able to do this well. We ask that you would consider partnering with us in this.

There is a lot of work to do, and we are so ready to get back into the groove. But in the mean time we are thankful that we have some downtime to re-acclimate to life in Uganda, catch up with everyone, and finish preparing our house.

Here are some things you can pray for us:

1. Baby “Penguin” who is still in the womb, due at the end of the year

2. Joanne as she maintains being a full time housewife, is pregnant, and ventures into more ministry

3. Our 7 SOM students: Alex, Benjamin, Ezra, Gibson, Ivan, Joseph, & Joshua

4. Our 6th grade class that Joanne helps to tutor and I teach life skills

5. Ethan as he continues to grow and mature

6. Wisdom for us as parents

7. The young couples Bible study

8. Young moms that Joanne will be ministering to

9. Finances, especially the extra $300 each month we need

10. Continued health as none of us have had malaria or any major sickness since I’ve been here and we hope that continues

Thank you so much for all of the love and support you give us.

Love, The Pierces (Robb, Joanne, & Ethan)

Ps, if you would like to help in supporting us monthly, you can easily give online through our website and click on the donate button: http://beardinguganda.com/help-me-out. After small processing fees from the bank, we receive 100% of what you give. Thank you for supporting us.

We also have some specific needs that would be a blessing:

  1. Increasing our solar system & installing a power stabilizer to prevent equipment damage as we’ve been experiencing: $3000
  2. Purchasing a motorcycle for moving around the village: $1500
  3. Monthly sponsorship: we are needing about $300 a month more to help us feed visitors. Any monthly amount to help us get closer to our goal is greatly appreciated. 

Or you can mail a check to:
Robb Pierce
1717 Vista Chino #A7-235
Palm Springs CA 92262

Thank you in advance for your financial support. It’s people like you who make it possible for Joanne & I to serve the people of Uganda.

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