Reflecting on a very busy year

We haven’t yet reached the end of 2017, but the year is closing out very soon and it’s been one amazing year with so many exciting things that have occurred. It’s been a wild and crazy ride, but a year I’d never trade for anything. I’ve been reflecting on all that God has done in and through our lives here in Ishunga, Uganda this past year.

This year began in January with Joanne and I being joined as one in holy matrimony. We had our Ugandan traditional marriage in December and had the legal & church weddings in January; a total of 3 weddings.

We quickly settled in to our new life, and slowly restarted construction on our home after putting it on hold for the weddings.  We originally began construction May 2016.  We’re hoping to have it completed in the next few months.  The roof should be completed in the next 3 weeks, and then we can focus on the inside. God has been faithful in providing for every one of our needs as we continue to wait on Him.

 

Along with beginning a new life in marriage and settling in, we were preparing for the incoming students at our School of Ministry. We conducted interviews with several applicants and settled on 7 young men that it seemed God had a call on their lives and they showed a desire to learn the Word of God and deepen their faith.

 

Soon came February which brought a new school year for the elementary school that Joanne was volunteering at and the School of Ministry that I serve at. Both schools kicked off to a great start.

March brought the exciting news that we were going to have a baby, an unexpected but wonderful and welcomed gift from the Lord.  We later found out that he was to be a boy.

 

Because of this news, we had many decisions to make quickly.  One of those was my visit to America, which I had planned for later in the year.  We decided that I should go quickly, early in her pregnancy, rather than later.  So in April I went back to the US for a few weeks to speak at churches, raise support, visit family and friends, and to get some much needed supplies. It was a wonderful time visiting with family & friends, eating some nice junk food, participating in an outreach in Mexico, and sharing at some churches.  But after 3 ½ weeks, it was time to re-unite with my love.

 

May-July brought a new season of work as Pastor Bill went back to America in hopes of getting more kids sponsored for our project and we filled in the gaps during his absence. We split the duties of work/project management, building the new medical clinic, additional school classrooms, preaching at church, and more.

The school of ministry students had grown so much in the first term, we knew it was time to give them some practical application.  We began doing weekly outreaches in surrounding villages.  Our team would drive around, finding new villages that we hadn’t reached before, go and speak with the community leaders, asking for permission to setup a sound system and share the gospel.  Every village we went to were very welcoming of our program and our students continued to grow through the experiences and also we got to see lives changed.

 

In August Pastor Bill’s wife Danyal joined her husband in America for the last leg of his trip. Thankfully we were on holiday during that time, no schools were in session and workers were few so it was a time of rest and preparation and also continuing the other work here at Uganda Kids Project.

In September, Bill & Danyal returned, and both schools began their 3rd and final term for the year. We also began visiting many high schools to meet with graduating students, sharing the vision for our School of Ministry, and seeking applicants.  In addition our School of Ministry students held outreaches at the schools.  It’s a great thing that we have such freedom in Uganda to walk onto a school campus, meet with the Head Master, and hold an outreach, preaching the full gospel with no restrictions. We also continued our village outreach program. We continued this through October.

 

In November the students took a trip with Pastor Bill to the capital where they were given the opportunity to do 1 on 1 evangelism. It was their first experience doing this. They came back sharing some exciting and also some difficult testimony. They had not experienced rejection and foul responses before. One of the students had motor oil poured on him by someone who didn’t want to hear about Jesus. But overall, they were excited to continue doing evangelism and did so on several more occasions around the area we live.

At the end of the month, we bought a turkey and had a great Thanksgiving celebration. We enjoyed some great homemade food and celebration.

 

December has already arrived, which brings many endings and preparation for many new beginnings in 2018. We completed school on Friday.  As I was praying at the end of the class, the realization hit me, that this was the end, they wouldn’t be coming back again on Monday. Our School of Ministry students are graduating on Sunday as we are having a special church service including their graduation ceremony. They are a great group of young men and we’ve been so blessed to see them grow so much in the Lord, watch their faith increase, and to have had a part in their lives. We’ve been talking about how difficult it will be to let these guys go. We made a plan to stop that from happening as we know there is more the Lord wants to do in their lives, they still have much growth opportunity and it would be good for them to have a bit more experience and training before setting them free. So we chose to offer each of them a small pay, intern position, where they will continue living at the dorms, work a position in our organization and have serving opportunities in the mornings, attend afternoon classes, and be given an incoming student as a person to mentor and disciple. It will be a challenging time for them to share their faith and help to train up new disciples. We are excited for the incoming students next February as well as seeing the current students/future interns in a leadership role making disciples.  We will be processing applications, setting up interviews, and choosing new students in January.

December is bringing one sad thing, at least for us, the departing of our missionary family, the Brook’s. They made a one year commitment, fulfilled it, and are returning home as planned. They are praying about what God has for their future, and so are we. They’ve been a great help for us here in Ishunga and we’re sad to see them go, praying God would lead them here again but we’re also trusting in His plan for their lives. They are unsure of God’s next plan for them, but are confident that He’s calling them back to the States for a time to watch and pray. We know that God is going to fulfill the void they are leaving and has something great in store for them.

 

Joanne and I will be moving into the mission house they were staying the past year as our house is not yet completed. We’ve had several setbacks but are slowly progressing in the construction. We feared bringing our son into this world, and not really having a place of our own to begin our family. God has answered by allowing us to stay in that place until ours is finished.

With the departure of the Brook’s as sad news, exciting news also arrives as many are coming to join us starting in December, continuing through March. We have at least 8 new people joining us during these four months and staying for as little as 3 months and as long as 10 months. It’s going to be one very busy place when all arrive, which was one of the concerns in starting our family in such a busy environment with so many people. But God is so good at meeting each and every one of our needs.

I have one more very exciting piece of news. On November 26th, at 12:50am, Joanne and I welcomed into this world our son, Robert “Ethan” Pierce, otherwise known as Oreo. He weighed in at 3.5kg, approx. 7.7lbs. He’s a very healthy and big boy who is a great blessing from God. Already he seems to know our voices, recognizes his name, and smiles. At only 6 days old, we can’t believe those things are possible but they seem to be. He’s full of life and changing fast. Unlike many newborns who sleep most of the time, Ethan likes to be awake and check things out. He hates lying down unless it’s time to sleep; he wants to be upright, experiencing this new world. His neck is strengthening so fast; many times he holds his head up without support. I was telling Joanne, he might start crawling next week and talking the week after if he continues like this. We are excited to be chosen as his parents and to have this great responsibility from the Lord. Also, he loves Beards!

 

 

We ask for prayer in the following things:

  1. Choosing of the incoming School of Ministry students
  2. New intern roles for past SoM students
  3. Health and well-being for our family
  4. Growth and development for our son Ethan
  5. Financial support to complete our house
  6. The departing and coming missionaries

We are grateful to each and every one of our friends and family who support us in our work. Your encouraging words and letters, prayer, and financial support all play huge roles in our lives and we can’t do it without you all. Thanks for everything and may God bless each of you with the greatest blessings He has to offer.

 

Robb, Joanne, and Ethan

 

All financial contributions are tax deductible through the organization we’re working with, Agents For Christ/Uganda Kids Project. You can give online at UgandaKids.org or you can mail a check to:
Agents for Christ
PO Box 67276
Portland, OR 97268

Be sure to include our names (Robb & Joanne Pierce) on the memo line.

Or you can give directly to us (non tax-deductible):
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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