Big News

Greetings from the Okkens! We have some big personal news to share. We praise the Lord for His wonderful guidance and provision with regards to our next place of service. I have received a call to serve as a pastor at Shiloh Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. During multiple Skype interviews I enjoyed getting to know the pastor, elders and deacons. Then the church graciously flew our whole family from Uganda for a ten day visit in March. The congregation was truly wonderful and the visit went very well. The Lord led us to the decision that, should the call come, we were ready to accept. On April 8 th they voted unanimously to extend that call. We decided to wait on announcing it until it was approved by the presbytery. That happened today. I am so thankful that they allowed me to meet with them by Skype. I was interviewed and the call was approved. I look forward to working alongside Pastor Matthew Holst, whom I so enjoyed getting to know. In addition to helping w

Okken News

We write both with some exciting Karamoja ministry news as well as some pretty big personal news. I guess we’ll jump right into the personal. Many of you are already aware of our plans though others are not. This will be our last term of service in Uganda. We were due for a furlough this past November. Instead, we extended the term to conclude this coming summer at which time we plan to return to the U.S. A significant factor which led to this decision was our desire to be closer to and better able to help our parents as they become older. But there were other factors as well. The bottom line is that we believe that the Lord is leading us to a new place of service somewhere in the States. Though we are convinced that this is the right decision, it has not been an easy one to make. All of the challenges and heartaches of life and ministry in Karamoja notw

Merry Christmas

Dear Friends, Christmas greetings from Karamoja! When you have lived through enough of them in this place, you don’t even bother dreaming of a white one. It is dry, windy and hot as is typical for this time of year. But, the more unpleasant the weather, or whatever other circumstances, the more precious the truth which we remember. God left the glories of heaven and dwelt in the barren wasteland of this fallen creation. Out in the fields, the shepherds were shown that the glories of heaven had broken into their dark world. In that little baby, lying in a manger in Bethlehem, the Word had become flesh and was dwelling among us (John 1:14). It was a privilege for me to preach about those shepherds this morning, first in Akuyam and then in Nakaale. Additionally, Lord’s Day worship is now taking place in a new place. Some weeks back, we had become overwhelmed in Nakaale by attendance of folks from Nakasien. This is a village where we have done evangelism and village Bible study teac

Summer Update

Greetings from the Okkens! We enjoyed a wonderful time of vacation in the States. Now we are readjusted and back in the swing of things in Karamoja. For the last time, Friday morning I preached and prayed for patients at the old clinic location. Today was the first day of operation at the new site. With gratitude we think back on all that has happened to get us to this place. We are thankful for the hard work of Bob Wright and so many work who worked with him. Then, more recently, with the Wrights taking up new labors in Mbale, Christopher Verdick worked tirelessly with a Ugandan contractor as well as local helpers who assisted him in getting it to the place of operation. Leah Hopp helped cover some of his duties to help free him up. There remains work to be done, but it is quite amazing. We praise God. May the great love of Christ increasingly be magnified as the work of Akisyon a Yesu [“Compassion of Jesus”] Presbyterian Clinic continues, now in this wonderful new facility!

Our week

nearby view from the boys' hike one day Ending our Saturday play with a bible story just a cobra dinner with the Verdick girls opening day even in

Photo Update

beginning phase of the latest project Dead Genet more progress Spring piano recital

January Update

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” [Psalm 63:1] Happy New Year from Karamoja! It is definitely the dry season! Without a trace of mud on the roads, travel is easier. But the heat, wind and dust often feel unbearable. As water sources dry up, snakes and other animals search for new ones. One evening recently, our dog, Scout, went for water. Turning around the corner of the house to his water bowl, he discovered an uninvited guest already there having a drink – a Black King Cobra! Thankfully, his bark alerted the night guards who made quick work of the intruder. God continues to protect, sustain and bless us through hard seasons of weather and of life. More importantly