Monday, December 17, 2007


I do not remember much about That Day.

October 3, 1995.

The months and weeks preceding it are mostly a blur as well. Goodbyes. Tears. Unknowns. Many hopes and dreams.

It was a relief and a stabbing pain to board the plane. I was relieved to be done with the packing, the sorting, the buying.

It was a stabbing pain in my heart to think of all the dearest, most precious ones we had hugged goodbye.

When we landed in Entebbe, I felt excited. Nervous. And downright scared.

We came to a land that held no memories for us. No traditions. No people who knew us very well.

Everything was new. This fact made my husband’s heart beat faster with joy. Mine shuttered and quaked at the reality of the unknown.

I remember Dave and Jana’s faces smiling as we exited the baggage claim area. I remember riding in a taxi to their house. I remember feeling overwhelmed…and ready for a shower.

Then…nothing. I can’t remember any conversation of that day or the days that immediately followed.

I don’t know how Andrew and Aimee Jo will remember December 12, 2007.

But I know, I will remember this:

And this:

And this:

I didn’t get a picture of me hugging Aimee Jo. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Tears for all she has been through to get here. All that lies ahead for her.

How faithful her Lord will be.

Jeff and I have "looked back” a lot as we have processed and prepared for the Martin’s arrival.

A world of memories and emotions accompanies every conversation.

But the most delightfully startling fact always emerges:

God has never left us.

Sometimes we’ve deserved His abandon. Through the years, we’ve followed closely and we’ve meandered too.

But He has always stayed the same.

Just. Present. In Control.

I praise Him for bringing these treasures to this land.

We receive them with joy. We honor their presence with respect.

They are not sent easily…or let go of without pain.

The Martin's service and their families’ sacrifice glorifies God.

I’m proud of all of them.

That I will always remember.


Kimberly said...

Oh, how wonderful! :)

Dennis said...

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is comforting to know that my children are as well thought of by you as by Donna and myself, and can receive the comfort we can not physically give at this time.

Procters said...

I remember that day in October all too well. I feel that same awful feeling everytime you leave. However, I always look forward to the overwhelming joy of seeing you again. I'm so thankful that the Martin's are there safe. Love you, Reese

Sandi said...

This is beautiful, Cheryl. Thank you for sharing your reflections and your blessings on your new teammates.

sarah said...

It is so good to hear those words and see pictures of our friends gathered with the church in africa. It seems so long ago we said goodbye as they went on their survey trip. It is always amazing to me to see what God does when people are willing to let him be in control of their lives.

Joy said...

Cheryl, Oooh, Thank you for the wonderful pictures of our children and especially are little Anaiah. I cannot hold back the tears when I saw the pictures and they looked so good and loved by all of you. I know our God is watching over them as well as your loving family. Thank you!
Love, Joy

Cathy said...

I don't even know the Martins, yet I cried tears of thankfulness and love when I saw the pictures and read of their arrival. I can only imagine the excitement and heartache as they begin this new endeavor. I'm thankful that they have you and your family to mentor them. Merry Christmas to you all.

KMiV said...

We have been praying for Amie Jo and Andrew and the little one.

After reading your blog Lori and I both know why the Ft. Portal family wanted you to be a minister. You show a lot of compassion, support, and faith.

Trisha said...

Wow. You have teammates. I pray that this season will be filled with great joy at the comfort of having partners to share it all with you. Not to minimize the joy of the partnership you share with many around the world, including us--but someone who is right there to hold hands with and get on your knees with and raise your babies together, that makes life so much more wonderful sometimes.

May God bless Andrew and Aimee Jo and little Anaiah as you all work out all the little nuances of being a team, as they adjust to life in Uganda away from family who love them.

My heart is full thinking of you today, sweet Cheryl. Andrew and Aimee Jo, I'm proud of you for having the courage to step on the plane (and all the other steps along the way). May God grow His kingdom in beautiful ways through you.

Glenn said...

We also remember that time over 12 years ago. (Has it really been that long? Has it only been 12 years?) I don't know which is harder, to watch your children take off for a strange land and watch their plane disappear, or to be on the plane and watch the world you know disappear behind you. You had fear, anticipation and a sense of excitement - we had fear, anticipation, and a sense of pride. For both of us it was a letting loose, turning the doubts and hopes over to God. As we have "watched" over the years it has become clear without a doubt that God has never left you, nor you Him. When we are all together in heaven, you may learn that some of your greatest "mission" work was on this side of the planet, building faith and trust toward the Lord in those of us whom you "left behind." To the parents of Aimee Jo and Andrew, we understand the fear and sense of loss that you felt as you watched them leave - we also share with you the Godly pride as your children flew off to make part of the world a better place and to capture it for the Lord. I have no doubt that God will bless them as He has Jeff and Cheryl. Our family talks about the protective umbrella which God keeps over them. (It was a world of AIDS which they went into.) Yes, your kids (in the offspring sense) were no doubt scared half to death, but they are strong, they had good upbringing, and most of all, God is with them. We are excited as we look forward to how the Lord will use them.

Glenn (Dad, Granddad)

Leila said...

I'm so glad they arrived safely!! My good friend Jonah got to sit next to them on the plane from London - I was so amazed when he told me! He held Anaiah and everything! God definitely works in mysterious ways. =)
Love you guys!

Steve Maxwell said...

I believe that every now and then the Lord will tap you on the shoulder and slow down one of His blessings so you can see a little bit more than usual and that is what happened when I got to work with Drew and AJ for PUMP Sumer Program. I have no doubt that God will use them mightily because they allow themselves to be used for His glory and purpose. God bless you Jeff and Cheryl as you and Martins work in your special vineyard.

Martin said...

I am so thankful that you have teammates. I pray that relationship will be the comfort and support it has always been for us. Louise