Monday, August 25, 2014

"First we have coffee..."

When I was young, my mom had a special biography among her stacks of home school books called "First We Have Coffee" by Margaret Jensen.  I remember seeing her read it more then once, savoring its pages like they were some of her own story. I remember asking to read it as a child and heard her say, "One day Honey. You're a bit too young.."  Twenty five years later, she handed me and my three other sisters a copy. Keith and I were about to leave Illinois with our car packed to the hilt.  I stuck it in the pocket of the door, hoping perhaps I'd get time to read during the nine hour drive. Traveling with five children means little to no book-for-mama time, due mostly to the "Mama, my tummy hurts" (to which I whip out the peppermint maneuver) or the "Mama, can you play 'I spy' with us?" time beater. Best of all is Keith's don't-leave-me-to-a-book/nap plea. I am certain my Dad must have told Keith early on that the way to a successful road trip was to never let your wife take a nap or get lost in a book, unless she's reading it out loud to you. Of course, Keith uses the "I'm so tired plea" to keep me engaged with him. Alas, somehow this trip was different. I slyly pulled out my book and was whisked away to the 1930's, drinking coffee with a beautiful Norwegian family, who's blood, sweat, and tears were real and true while serving our living God.  I was reminded of the importance of taking time to care for people over our family table, with care and with coffee.  Not just other people- this included my little people.

There's something beautiful about sitting around the table over a steaming cup.  Thoughts, feelings, emotions, sorrows and dreams tumble out.  Ears seem to open and hear. This is what we call "Family Tea Night". Yes, sorry to disappoint. We are not serving our children coffee. Just. Yet. We started this tradition after we returned to Uganda, following our anniversary day trip to Kampala. We were sitting in a gorgeous restaurant, drinking tea, thinking, remembering, and envisioning for our future.  Our children's hearts were discussed, especially in light of the recent transition back to Africa. It dawned on us that we needed to set aside time at the table to ask safe and heart revealing questions over a steaming mug of tea.  We realized that we can't go farther into their hearts if we don't know the beginnings of their thoughts and questions.  First we have coffee/tea, then we can (Lord willing) know their hearts.  Thanks Mom, for making our home the same.  May we hear the hearts of our young ones and all who sit at our table.

Friday, August 22, 2014

August Update

Have you ever dreamed in another language? I think over the years my (Keith) dreams have included smatterings of Spanish, Luganda and even Kinyarwanda. It gets even stranger when my worlds collide in my dreams. It often happens during times of approaching cultural transition. I can find that I am with Ugandan friends doing Ugandan things but in American places, or vice-versa.

But have you ever dreamed for another language? It happens to me quite often these days. I’m wide awake, but I find myself dreaming for the Luganda speakers all around me. It is probably connected to the current Luganda Institute class. Many have been unable to attend the Institute over the twelve years of its existence because the teaching is in English. Instead, they have been “teased” by the testimonies of friends or family who have been able to attend. Now that they are walking through “the journey of transformation and relationship,” they are eager to see what they are learning explode out into the villages all around them. I’m eager too.

Will you pray with us that every church around us will be able to offer its own Institute (which is simply intensive discipleship) in the days to come? This is a central part of our church planting/strengthening/multiplication movement that is on the horizon.

                                             Paul Kusuubira teaching on the Orphan Heart

One other area that we are inviting you to pray with us on is our support. This is a topic that I do not enjoy bringing up and am typically reluctant to discuss. In fact, our desire is to mention our direct needs and our ministry needs once in a year. Our hearts are not to burden anyone in this area. We are aware that our heavenly Father knows our needs and cares for us completely. We also recognize that many people do genuinely want to know our needs, both for prayer or for contributing to them. We understand  and submit to the beauty of II Cor. 8-9, recognizing that genuine partnership is both a give and take on both sides in various means, both for blessing to one another and thanksgiving to our Father!

So what are our financial needs?

Monthly Support: We definitely need monthly supporters. Our monthly support is just level with our monthly paycheck, at times below and at times just above. We do not have separate “ministry” and “personal” accounts, so when any needs related to the work we do arise, we have no way to reimburse them. So things like work permits, travel, plane tickets, maintenance, or any ministry purchases (like books, etc.) either comes out of our pockets or has to be raised separately. Quite a few months this year have found us taking less than half a paycheck because of these things. 

Because we are a small mission, we do not have things like retirement, kids education, etc. planned into our support. Having anything at the end of the year to put toward retirement rarely happens. Increasing our monthly support would help with some of these things.

Personal Ministry Needs: As mentioned above we have specific needs related to living and working here in Uganda. As of now, we have $0 for these expenses.

Work Permits: It’s a bit complicated and includes various fees, but I’ve tried to simplify it all here. $925 for a 3 year work permit for Keith (if they grant 3 years); Dependent Pass for Laura Beth: $275; Dependent Passes for Elliana &Malakai: $550; Student Passes for Elisha, Noah & Isaiah: $1350

Plane Tickets: While we will not need these until the end of 2016, the cost for our family to fly one-way is normally around $5000. We would love to begin saving towards this now so that as the time approaches we are not scrambling for the funds. Plus, it’s nice in case of an emergency to have this amount on hand with New Hope Uganda Ministries.

Construction and Maintenance: After we got back to Uganda, Laura Beth said to me, “How many more years do I have to wait for hot water?” Of course, it was with a smile on her face, but I hear her heart. I like the cold showers, but she freezes (graciously). This would be a bigger project as we’d have to re-pipe the house and add a solar hot-water tank. We would also love to add on a small bedroom to the house. These are special projects and would need to be raised as specifically designated funds.

If you are interested in any way to partner financially with us, here's the info:

For online debit or credit card giving, designate missionary giving and the McFarland Family via or click:

For direct giving, checks can be made out to New Hope Uganda Ministries. Include a note designating McFarland Support and mail to:
New Hope Uganda Ministries (NHUM)
PO Box 154
Belle Fourche, SD 57717-0154

Thank you for praying for us and for caring for us in so many ways!

Your Partners in Him,

Keith and Laura Beth