Spring Changes At GSF by Cody Fox
This season has been all about the process of things growing—both in our ministries at Good Shepherds Fold in Uganda and in our personal life. The missionary kid school where I teach debated almost doubling its size next year, and Katie’s responsibilities have branched out to even diverse avenues of service. In our personal lives, we continued to construct our small home and prepare for the birth of our first child in August.
At the beginning of the spring, the teachers at the GSF missionary kid school were approached about the possibility about taking on students from the greater missionary community (up to 45 minutes away from us). There is a real need for quality Christian education in our area for many missionary families with older children, as there are few affordable alternatives to home-schooling. After months of prayer, pages of emails, and a lot of meetings, I’m excited to announce that the missionary school is growing by 7-9 students, a drastic increase for our school of 12 students. If I’m being honest, a growth of that size makes me both really excited and nervous; we already juggle a lot of different grade and ability levels (even within the same grade, students differ up to 4 grade levels in their subject proficiency), and adding 8 students is not so simple as it would be in the states. Still, we feel like God has led these students to our school, and I can’t wait to write about the relationships and ministry opportunities that He grows out of it. I have to keep reminding myself that God’s power is “perfected in my weakness.”
In Katie’s side of the ministry, both her staff and the number of kids she serves has grown. During the spring, she added Irene to our special needs program staff. Irene is super helpful, kind, and hardworking; she keeps the program facilities running/clean and fills any short-term roles that crop up on a daily basis. In addition to Irene, GSF added 1 special needs child to its toddler house. The biggest development in Katie’s ministry is that her program has become more self-sufficient, giving the space to take on additional responsibilities. She has been helping develop a remedial class for struggling students at the GSF primary school along with a Ugandan teacher. The Ugandan school is only in its 2nd (of 3) semester for its school year, but initial impressions of the program have been really positive.
The most dramatic area of growth have been in our personal life (if I can actually make the distinction given our lifestyle). Construction on our house began right before Christmas and finished June 1. Our new house will still be on campus but is much smaller (600 square feet) and gives us a little more privacy. The house we’ve lived in on campus for the past year is going to be converted for ministry use. At the closing banquet for the workers, many of the workers stood up and thanked Daniel (a fellow missionary at GSF in charge of construction) for teaching them “what it means to be a man” in the weekly bible study he led for them on authentic manhood. Absentee/abusive fathers are almost an epidemic in Uganda, and so I am ecstatic and hopeful to see how God uses this experience. Also during these bible studies, one of the Muslim workers came to know Jesus, and several more mentioned how they became more open to considering the Gospel as a result of working with Daniel on our house. The biggest personal areas of growth for Katie and myself have been as we prepare to welcome our son into the world in August. After a lot of prayer and conversations, we decided to deliver in Uganda and have been encouraged by the reactions of Ugandan staff at GSF that this choice is going to open up some new and unique opportunities for ministry.
I could talk about so much more since it’s been a busy spring, but I promised to only write 500 words, and I am currently at 607. Sometimes I feel like we measure God’s transforming work in Uganda in inches of progress (over many months); however, we’ve seen peoples’ lives (including our own) grow by feet. I feel exceptionally lucky that he chooses to use such flawed people to be a part of his work in Uganda!