Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Back in Canada!

Hi Family & Friends,

Just wanted to quickly post that we have arrived safe and sound here in Vancouver. We got here on Sunday and it is great to see Becky's family. We are excited to be back. We will now begin the process of a million 'to-dos' and processing through the last 2 years before we head to Texas in March. Here we go!

Also, it's been an eventful couple of weeks leading up to our arrival so here are some highlights:
  • The EMI family threw us a farewell party before we left. Our team was able to share what our time with them has meant, and we were able to say good-bye to the people who have become our world in Uganda. It was great to see everyone one last time and we will miss our Uganda family.
  • Before we arrived in Vancouver, we had a week long layover in Montreal to spend some time with Becky's sister and family. It was COOOOOLLLLLDDD! But it was great to spend that time with them and see all their kids. Nathaniel and Bethany loved "snowing" which involved eating and throwing snow, sledding, and eating more snow! We are going to miss them.
  • Our last day in Montreal we all went ice skating and it was Nate and Beth's first time to go. They had a great time! It was all going well until Nathaniel fell hard and cut his chin open. So we spent a few hours in the emergency room on our last day. It ended up being a great ER experience and Nathaniel cooperated great. Never a dull moment with little kids.
  • Sunday we had our flight from Montreal to Vancouver and the last hour was on the turbulent side. So with about 10 minutes to go, Bethany looks at us and says in her loud silly voice "I'm going to die!!!!" She had this huge grin on her face and most of the people around us began to chuckle as we tried to explain to her that we don't need to say that on an airplane. It was hilarious nonetheless.
Anyway, we are excited to be back and start the process of settling. Thank you everyone for their support! We appreciate you.

The Whisnands

Nathaniel ready to play in the snow!

Ice skating!!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

January 2016 Update

Happy New Year everyone! We hope that you all had a fabulous Christmas and are looking forward to all of the things that 2016 will hold for you and your families!

This week the kids head back to school and I head back to work, and Jay started back on Monday. The weather here has been particularly hot and so after spending Tuesday on the porch watching Nathaniel and Bethany jump and splash in our blow up pool; it feels more like the end of summer vacation than the end of Christmas Break! I (Becky) even managed to get a little sun on my shoulders while filling up the pool...bucketful after bucketful...it’s a good-sized pool ;)

In some ways, though, it is the end of our summer break: we have a count-down chain to returning to Canada up in the dining room, and we only have one more weekend in our house before we head on over to a temporary house for our last month here. Our house is in disarray, as we try to sort our belongings: to take to Canada, to take to the temporary house and later give away, to give away now, to throw away, and items that we have sold to another family. And, as you can imagine, sorting things with two preschoolers who are happily rediscovering sorted items is challenging. One of the great things, though, is that we are able to talk to them and involve them in some of the decision making, and explaining to them why we don't need to keep all that we have and watch them get excited about sharing our things with other people.

One of our challenges, of course, with all of the packing, is that we still need to be engaged here until February when we go. It can be so easy to think about all of the things that we need to organize for our return, and miss the opportunities to serve and see God at work while we are still here. There are still new families who need community and support and Jay still has lots of work to do on his projects. His biggest task, though, will be helping the newest member of the EMI team integrate into work. In God's great provision, this week we have a new family arriving and the husband will be taking over Jay's role in the Construction Management Team. He will have about 4 weeks or so with Jay to learn the ropes and so hopefully, by the time we leave, he'll be ready to go.

Hmmm...other news....other news...*wink wink*

In the midst of all this transition, we are excited to share with you all that we are expecting our third baby! We are due July 21st and so far all is well. I felt pretty rough the last month, but this last week I have felt more like myself again, much to everyone in this family's relief! Nathaniel and Bethany love talking about LP3 (Little Person 3), and Bethany loves to give it kisses. They are so excited to have a little brother or sister and I know that they love LP3 already:)

The biggest thing that you can do for us now is pray:

- for focus during our move and as we finish our jobs
- for the kids and us as we transition back to North America, particularly with culture shock (the other day Bethany asked me who Grandma and Grandpa's guard was...ha!)
- for our LONG flights back, and also for safety as we fly out just before Uganda holds its Presidential election
- for the health of our baby and myself as we travel
- for us to finish well, to debrief about our time here, and to leave knowing that we did what God sent us here to do

Thank you all so much for your support: the work that God is doing here would not be possible without all of you!

Much love,

Jay, Becky, Nathaniel, Bethany and LP3

If you want to contribute to our support account, please go to http://emiworld.org/donate.php. There are options for donating from the US or Canada. You can donate by CC or check. Any questions, please email.

Some pictures from the last few months

Becky & the kids with some friends

We went to our car mechanic's wedding. This is a shot of the bride & groom at the reception.

This is our Thanksgiving dinner with our AWESOME intern Sean.

Becky took one of her classes on a field trip to the Kampala Sewage Treatment Plant. EWWW!

Merry Christmas!

Our friend Erin took some pictures of our family for Christmas. Christmas in Africa!

Kid picture

We had the EMI staff Christmas party at our house. This is the kids at the photo booth.

Photo Booth

This is from the kids school Christmas program.

Christmas break swimming fun in the back yard.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

October 2015 Update #2 - Looking ahead

Hello Again,
                 A few days ago Becky & I posted an update that gave a summary on specific ministries and organizations that we have been working with while we have been in Uganda. I hope you enjoyed learning more of the specifics of our ministry here. We wanted to follow-up that up by looking ahead to the coming months. As we announced in September, we have decided to return back to Canada at the end of our current contract. We have loved our time with EMI and in Uganda and are sad to leave, but are excited to move back as well.  We have booked our flights and are scheduled to leave Uganda on February 16, 2016. We will be doing some traveling in Canada & the US once we return to reconnect with family, friends and supporters. We are hopeful that this time will allow us to process through any potential culture shock and over life the past 2 years. Here is a quick summary of our tentative travel plans:

  • February 16, 2016 – Fly from Uganda to Montreal where we will be spending a week with Becky’s sister and family.
  • February 23, 2016 – Fly from Montreal to Vancouver where we will be spending 2 weeks staying with Becky’s parents while we try to find a place to stay and re-settle a bit.
  • March 8, 2016 – Fly from Vancouver to San Antonio, Texas where we will be spending 4 weeks staying with my parents, travelling around Texas to see family, friends and supporters.
  • April 5, 2015 – Fly from San Antonio to Vancouver.

***Invitation: We are looking forward to spending time with all of you during this time of travel, and so please do e-mail us so we can spend time with as many of you as possible! ***

As you can see it is going to be a busy few months. As a part of this time of processing, reconnecting with people, rest and re-settling, we will be having a lot of expenses. After looking at what we will need to re-settle and what we will be able to sell here, it looks like we are going to need an extra $12,000. Most of this need is due to a large pledge we have not received. Here is a breakdown of some of the items needed:
  • A vehicle for our family
  • Some of the cost for plane tickets from Uganda to Canada & Canada to Texas
  • Winter clothes for the kids
  • Deposit for a place to rent
  • Moving costs for our furniture
  • Miscellaneous re-settlement costs

If anyone can help out with an end of year / Christmas gift that would be great. Thank you all for taking the time to read this. We look forward to seeing some of you in the coming months.

Jay, Becky, Nathaniel & Bethany Whisnand

If you want to contribute to our support account, please go to http://emiworld.org/donate.php. There are options for donating from the US or Canada. You can donate by CC or check. Any questions, please email.

Some Pictures 
Becky's parent during their visit
Nate wearing a hard hat at Daddy's work
Nathaniel's 5th Birthday party
Picture with Jay's Mom on Safari
Family picture on Safari

Monday, 26 October 2015

October 2015 Update #1 - Year in Review

Happy Halloween Friends & Family!

                Becky told me a few days ago that she saw a post on Facebook that announced there are 8 weeks until Christmas. What! Crazy. Now all of the sudden I am inspired to pull out our Pentatonix Christmas album or some Charlie Brown. I know in reality that Christmas is still 2 months away but lately it seems that the end of 2015 is racing towards us. Recently Becky’s parents and my mom have both come and gone to visit us here in Uganda. They were great trips filled with lots of laughs and memories made but they went by way too fast. The main project I have been involved with since moving to Uganda has, to use a construction term, been substantially completed and I now have the privilege of working with some other great partners and ministries. But again it went by way too fast. As we hurdle towards the new year, the end of our time here in Uganda seems to speeding up as well. We still have about 3 ½ months left here, which is a long time, but we are starting to have logistical items that are needing attention in preparation and that naturally leads us to looking ahead. So we currently find ourselves desiring to still be ‘all here’ in Uganda and make the most of what God has but in at the same time being pulled back home.
As a part of our looking ahead to the end of our time in Uganda, I wanted to write an update that gave a brief summary on some of what we have been doing here in Uganda and what your prayers and money have been supporting.

  • Engineering Ministries International (eMi) www.emiusa.org – EMI is the organization that I have been working for while in Uganda. They are a group of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors, Construction Managers & support staff that really want to serve God with all their hearts using their technical & professional skills. They are a group of people who really love what they do and love the people they are serving.
  • Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) www.maf.org – MAF is an organization who desires to get the gospel to the isolated places of the world. They use aviation to take people and supplies to countries like South Sudan. I have had the privilege to work closely alongside some MAF employees and they, like EMI, desire to use their technical skills to serve God and the ministries they support. The main project I have been working here has been a new shared office space for MAF & EMI.
    MAF/EMI new office building on MAF's existing airfield
  • Cherish Uganda www.cherishuganda.org – Cherish Uganda is an organization that exists to help children living with HIV in Uganda. They have 56 children currently living on their campus that have HIV. They support these kids and the surrounding community with a primary school and hospital. EMI designed & built a clinic that is the first piece of their hospital they desire to have. I am currently involved on several small projects for Cherish like a generator house and 2 latrine buildings for 2 of their existing homes.
    Clinic at Cherish Uganda that EMI designed & built
  • Universite Chretienne Bilingue Du Congo (UCBC) www.ucbc.org – UCBC is Christian university in Beni, DRC that is a community development initiative to educate and train Christian leaders of tomorrow in the DRC. EMI has been involved with UCBC for a few years in the repurposing of some of their current buildings and the master planning of their future plans. I got to visit UCBC in 2014 and am continuing to work with them periodically on their existing community centre.
    UCBC Community Centre that EMI is helping to retrofit
  • African Children’s Choir (ACC) www.africanchildrenschoir.com – ACC is an organization that supports children all over Africa by giving them support and an education that they could not otherwise afford. ACC supports these kids by doing choir tours in the western world to raise funds for their education. EMI has been a long partner of ACC in Uganda and has designed & built their primary school campus. I will be a part of starting construction for their new Choir Training Centre before we leave in February.
    ACC existing campus
  • Acacia International School www.acacia.co.ug – Acacia is a Christian international school in Kampala. Becky has had the privilege of getting to teach science at their secondary school for the 2 years we have been here. They are a school that really wants to make a difference in the children they educate, particularly providing world class education for missionary families.
    Becky's science class doing an experiment

There have been many other people & ministries that we have been involved with while living here but the above are some of the ones we wanted to highlight. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support that have enabled us to live here and be a part of the body of Christ here in Uganda. It’s been awesome. We appreciate you all very much. We will be doing a follow-up update in a few days, so be looking for it!

Please feel free to email us anytime with what’s going on in your lives. We would love to hear. (jaywhisnand@gmail.com / becky.whisnand@gmail.com)

Jay, Becky, Nathaniel & Bethany Whisnand

Support Info
If you want to contribute to our support account, please go to http://emiworld.org/donate.php. There are options for donating from the US or Canada. You can donate by CC or check. Any questions, please email.
Trip with my Mom to Queen Elizabeth National Park
My Mom took me rafting down the Nile River for my birthday. It was AWESOME!!

Monday, 7 September 2015

September 2015 Update

School has started back and so the kids and Becky are going at it full-tilt. Nathaniel is in Preschool 4, and Bethany is in Preschool 3 and they are both loving it once again. They study reading and writing as well as Swahili, dance and music.  One of the entertaining things about the kids attending international school here is that they learn childhood songs and games in slightly different versions. Quite hilarious at times.  

Things are picking up again for Becky as she is teaching part-time at Acacia International Senior School. She is teaching a course called IGCSE Biology and is also mentoring a Ugandan teacher. The science department at school has swelled from 1 teacher to 4, and so she is also providing leadership to the team. 
Becky’s other ministry here the Moms’ Group that she hosts weekly at our house. Imagine living in a foreign country, surrounded by barbed-wire topped compound walls, with no parks, libraries, or even sidewalks to provide an outlet for trapped moms and young kids. The group provides community for moms who bring their kids each week for fun, fellowship and bowls and bowls of popcorn! We also have the privilege of hosting missionary moms and their kids who come into Kampala for respite from serving in other parts of Africa like South Sudan.

Jay has been involved with several projects during our time here, and his most recent, and largest project is just coming to an end. The new Missions Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and Engineering Ministries International (EMI) office building is now occupied! Although there are still lots of things that need to be done, the building is now both functional and beautiful!

Jay has also had more recent opportunities to get to know some of the construction crew over the past month. The site project manager went back to the US at the beginning of August for home assignment, so Jay has been doing both his current job (office project manager) and the site manager role this past month. It's been a crazy busy month but Jay has loved the experience and gotten to know some of site guys better. On August 18th Jay got to lead the monthly chapel with the site guys (over 50 guys!) and it was a great time.
With the new office up and running, nearly all of our teammates here have moved out of our neighbourhood to be closer to the new office, which is nearly 45 minutes away by car. This has been a sad transition for all of us, as we are now significantly farther from friends we saw several times a week. 
Around our house, we have been counting down the days until Becky’s parents arrive for a 2 week vacation with us. They get here in a few hours! Becky will be taking 3 days off of work, and Jay will be taking some time as well: this break is LONG overdue, as our last vacation was last Christmas, and it has been nearly 18 months since Becky and the kids saw family.

As for the future, after much prayer and consideration, we feel at peace to return back to Canada at the end of our 2 year contract with EMI. We are sad to leave our friends, our schools, our work, and our ministries, but we are hopeful for what God has planned next for us.

Prayer requests:

·         Endurance for Jay as he finishes up the MAF/EMI building
·         Rest for us all during Becky’s parents’ visit
·         Wisdom for Becky as she teaches and mentors
·         Clear guidance as we make decisions and prepare to head back to North America
·         Wisdom for Nathaniel and Bethany’s teachers as they support them in their learning

Jay, Becky, Nate & Beth

 If you would like to contribute to our support account, please go to http://emiworld.org/donate.php. There are options for donating from the US or Canada. You can donate by CC or check. If you have any questions, please send us an e-mail.

Nate on his first day of school
Beth on the first day
Some of Becky's Grade 9 Biology students

Jay & the kids wrestling in our back yard

The kids with our former neighbor Rose. We miss you ROSE!!

Beth with Rose's dog Jumper

Jay taking the kids for a ride in our back yard

Beth loves to hold babies

Popcorn at Mom's group!

Mom's group

Date night at our local "Pork Joint"

Mommy got everyone a special treat for dessert!

Jay with some awesome guys from site!

Some pictures of the new office

Jay leading the monthly site chapel a few weeks ago. We also had some sodas that day!

Willy, one of the site guys, translating the verses into Luganda.

Saturday morning errand