2019 Overview

  • 1 – New Member (Evelyn, born March 24)
  • 15 – Wells drilled
  • 5,000 – Approx. number of people served by WET
  • 25 – People employed (8 full-time)
  • 16 – Large-scale solar power systems
  • 2,000 – Approx. number of people served through small-scale solar units

Personal Update:

2019 has been a year full of transition. We came back to Colorado in the Spring for the birth of our daughter Evelyn, who was born on March 24th (see our April 2019 blog post for photos!). After returning to Uganda, Rachel’s father suffered a severe stroke and we quickly returned to Colorado. He passed away a few days after our arrival, and we are grateful that Rachel was able to be with him and her family during that time (see our August 2019 blog post for information). We stayed in Colorado to help settle his affairs before returning to Gulu again.

Lumi had to move offices due to increasing rent prices and WET also learned that it would need to find a new office in early 2020 due to needed building repairs. Additionally, the year ended with the news that we would need to move out of our home due to severe termite damage. Unfortunately, we could not find another home to rent in Gulu, so we are house sitting for another missionary family who is in the US for 2020. Their home is a big upgrade for us and full of toys for Evelyn.

Learning to juggle two businesses with a baby in a developing country has been a big challenge, but we have had lots of support from friends here and we are making it work. We are so lucky that Evelyn is a very friendly, happy, and healthy baby. She loves greeting everyone with a smile and a wave. We are also fortunate that bringing a baby to work meetings is common practice here. I (Rachel) can’t tell you how strange it felt the first time I had a meeting with her! As we look into 2020, please be praying for wisdom, health, and that we can shine the love of Christ to those around us.

Lumi:

Jesse continued managing Lumi while we were in the US and caught up on large-systems installations once we returned to Gulu. Lumi’s office manager did a great job of handling the small-scale sales despite our absence. At the end of 2019, Lumi decided to discontinue selling the pay-as-you-go small-scale solar as the revenue was never able to fully support the cost of operating the payment collection system. Lumi will continue to provide large-scale solar power systems and retail sale small-scale solar units to serve the community of Northern Uganda. Since the pay-as-you-go small-scale systems was the more missional component of Lumi, Jesse is considering transitioning Lumi to Ugandan management in 2020. Please be praying for wisdom for Jesse in making decisions regarding Lumi’s management.

WET:

Rachel’s colleague Tim has done a great job managing WET while Rachel was in the US and has continued to manage all field work since our return so that Rachel could be in town near Evelyn. Rachel focused on transitioning WET to a new accounting system, filing WET’s annual taxes, and doing design work for water pumping and storage projects. WET has decided not to purchase an additional drill rig, and redirect those funds to the subsidized community boreholes (wells) instead. Additionally, WET was able to send two drill team members to a training in the capital city for borehole drilling supervisors that has expanded their capacity to manage large drilling jobs. WET will continue to move into larger drilling jobs this year as well. Please be praying for more communities to hear about our subsidized community borehole program.

Photos:

Back in Uganda

Jesse here. This has been quite the whirlwind season, but after about 6 weeks in the US we are now back in Gulu and trying to pick up our work where we left off. Since being back we have been diving deeper into community, figuring out our new normal with a now 6 month old and catching up on our backlog of projects.

To summarize our travels back to Gulu, everything went smoothly and the way it should have gone. Flights went smoothly with our well traveled baby.  Typical vehicle annoyances (flat tire, dead battery) in Kampala delayed our trip long enough to see an old friend in Kampala and begin our work visa applications before traveling smoothly to Gulu. Once we arrived our friends and community in Gulu were welcoming and gracious enough to cook dinners for us for the first week we were back which really helped us resettle and reconnect. It was such a blessing.

Finally getting a nursery 5 months in!

Once back in our place it was time to begin unpacking our lives from the last year.  We realised sometime near the end of our trip in the US that we have not slept more than 8 weeks in the same house consecutively for more than a year! Even now, many boxes still haven’t been unpacked but we are slowly getting our home back in order as we get back into the swing of life.

I jumped right back into the work process with Lumi once we got back to Gulu. There were many clients for larger system whom have ordered systems in the last month or so and I’m trying my best to get on top of the workload. So far I’ve commissioned a system that Lumi’s technician installed while we were away, installed solar pumps for 2 NGOs, and designed about 6 systems that will be put in over the next few months.

Rachel with EV at a drill site near Gulu

While Rachel has been away, WET Consulting has continued to operate. In the last 7 months they have been able to drill 6+ boreholes for private clients and 6 for communities. Rachel had the opportunity 2 weeks ago to go out to a drill site so that the WET team could meet the new baby. Rachel will continue to support WET mostly from the office for the near term but she still plans to go to the field from time to time.

We are currently in Kampala for EV’s vaccinations and to continue moving the ball forward with our visa applications.

Coming Up:
Lumi has at least 2 major installs by the middle of October and will be making change to its small scale sales in an effort to improve sales.

Prayer Requests:
– As you may have guessed this has been a stressful season on all of us, as a family, as a marriage, as parents, etc. Please pray that we choose God as our refuge in this time.
– As we started to settle, life decided to add injury to our mix. I tore my calf muscle playing a friendly soccer match on Sunday. While it should not have lasting damage, it will be a few months until full recovery. Please pray for quick healing
– God’s guidance for how He would like us to be in this season and in where our path leads in the future.


Emergency US Trip

Thankfully everything went very smoothly with Rachel’s surgery and we were able to leave for Uganda on schedule (although Jesse had to do all the heavy lifting himself!). About 10 days into our time in Uganda, Rachel’s brother called to say that her father Russell, had a massive stroke and we needed to come back. Miraculously, and with thanks to many people, we were able to get flights for the next day, and after 37 hours of travel, we reached the hospital just in time to help make some medical decisions.

Russell passed away peacefully on July 10th with all his children, two of his grandchildren, many of his siblings, and his mother at his side. His funeral service was held that Saturday at Russell’s church, Calvary Episcopal Church in Golden, Colorado.

While we are deeply saddened and still in shock, we are also grateful for the many blessings along the way:  being able to get on a flight so quickly, Evelyn being so cooperative with travel and hospital visits, and all the extra time we had with Russell this year since he visited us in Uganda and we visited the US.

Currently we are planning to spend a couple weeks in Colorado to help settle Russell’s things, and then return to Uganda.

Please pray for Rachel’s brother, sister, and other family members as we process this loss, manage the logistics, and start the long process of healing. Please also pray for continued good health for us and especially for Evelyn as we prepare to take the long journey once more.

Thank you again for following along with us!
~TeamGeiger

Baby Announcement!

Meet Evelyn Virginia Geiger!
Born Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 9:39pm.
7 lb 6 oz
20 inches
EV about 1 hour old

TG with EV about 1 hour old

Rachel and Evelyn both did great and have had a smooth recovery!

Evelyn came the day before her due date and only 10 hours after Rachel’s first contraction to her birth. We were expecting a late and long delivery, but I guess Evelyn was in a hurry to get here!

Everything went great at the hospital. Our favorite midwife happened to be in which was SUCH a blessing and our doula (birth assistant) was amazing! Although it was very intense, we were able to laugh and enjoy the whole process. They took great care of us and we wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Since her birth, we have had a lot of family visitors, had lots of medical appointments, and have moved out of our mission housing and in with Jesse’s parents. All of which have kept us very busy!

After Evelyn’s first two weeks with us, Jesse started getting back into work. We are SO grateful that we have had this time together and we know how rare it is to have this opportunity. We are just overwhelmed with the love and support we have felt from family, friends, church members, and some total strangers!

During Rachel’s pregnancy, the doctor’s noticed an abnormality near an ovary and it has continued to grow since then. This week, it was decided that Rachel will need surgery. We would appreciate prayer for this surgery. It has not yet been scheduled and we are not yet sure if it will delay our return to Uganda.

Thank you again for following along with us!

~TeamGeiger

 

 

Big Christmas Update

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

2018 has been a big year for us and we already know that 2019 will have a lot in store as we are expecting our first child in late-March!

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We are grateful that the pregnancy had been a smooth one and that we were able to get ultrasounds and prenatal care while we were in the US earlier this year. We will be traveling back to Colorado to deliver our baby this spring and will return to Uganda in the summer.

2018 Year-end Review:

As we look back over 2018, it is amazing to see what has developed:

  • Jesse restarted the small-scale solar sales and the Lumi store which has provided light to approximately 1,250 people,
  • Lumi has designed and installed 6 large-scale solar systems,
  • WET has drilled 14 boreholes and served over 3,000 people,
  • We decided to extend our time in Uganda beyond our original 3 year commitment,
  • We transitioned to a new agency,
  • WET and Lumi have both had short-term volunteers come to assist in the work,
  • WET and Lumi have completed all the necessary government registrations and permits to continue to grow the businesses into 2019 and beyond,
  • WET tested the subsidized community borehole model and it was successful, and
  • We’ve started preparing for our first child.

We could not have imagined that God would have had so much in store for us in 2018.

Looking Forward:

Lumi – Jesse is hoping to expand the larger system designs and installations by adding another technician or engineer in 2019. He also hopes to open at least one new small scale shop farther north toward the refugee camps.

WET – In 2019, in addition to providing water to more people, WET will be looking for high-level Ugandan professionals to manage the accounting/bookkeeping and to expand our engineer consulting and water well drilling work. We have identified some potential candidates, and hope to make progress with them this year.

Requests from TeamGeiger:
– Pray with us for health and peace during this season of transition.
– Pray with us for wisdom in leading WET and Lumi.
– Please pray a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.

As we wrap-up 2018, with all its changes and transitions, Jesse and I want to say a big “Thank You!” to each one of you. Thank you for following our journey, supporting us financially, and being such an encouragement to us!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to you and yours!

~Rachel, Jesse, and BabyGeiger

Geiger US trip summary

We are so grateful that we were able to spend almost 2 months in the US this year!

There were several reasons for our visit. The main reasons were:  updating supporters about switching agencies (new organization is Shepherd’s Staff) and extending our time in Uganda, visiting family since we aren’t moving back to the US yet, complete some work for Lumi, complete some work regarding switching agencies, and for a cross-cultural break!

Trying to see everyone in 7 weeks means that we moved around a lot! We did our best but we definitely missed some people during our trip. Hopefully we will be able to connect with those we missed next time we are in the US.

We have been in Uganda for about 1 week so far and have hit the ground running. We had meetings in the afternoon of our first day back, drove up to Gulu the next day, Tim handed over all the WET projects after church on Sunday, then started work on Monday! While we are looking forward to getting settled and back into a routine in Gulu, we know that the next 3 months will be CRAZY busy! I (Rachel) am running WET solo for the next 3 months as Tim is back in the UK on furlough/support-raising (what is a furlough? click HERE to learn more). Jesse has a new Operations Manager that he will be bringing on board while expanding Lumi’s sales territories and product offerings.

I’ve put some highlight photos from our time in the US below and our prayer requests are below those. Thanks for following along with us on this journey!

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A long way to go!

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First visit to the US grocery store. SO much stuff! I loved it. Jesse was overwhelmed!

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Dressed up for my friend’s wedding!

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Went to an orchard in Ohio. The apples were amazing!

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Beautiful sunsets on Lake Erie while seeing family.

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Jesse presented two sessions at the Engineering Ministries International conference near Portland, Oregon.

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I was able to attend as well and learned a lot about water, wastewater, etc.

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We take a picture with the anniversary number each year on our anniversary. This year (married for 7 years!) we found the number at an airport gate!

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Spent an extra day in downtown Portland for our anniversary. We visited the beautiful rose gardens!

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So glad we got to spend time with family, like our cute little nephew!

Prayer Requests:

  • For sustainable work/life rhythms while in Uganda, since we are hitting the ground running and have extra heavy work loads right now.
  • For health and safety for us and our co-workers.
  • For quick adjustment back to Uganda. We have had a bit of a rough landing due to car repair issues and multiple issues with the house we are currently living in. It is always a bit hard to jump back into another way to life and we would appreciate prayer that we can re-adjust quickly.
  • For a quick transition to the new organization. We are officially now with Shepherd’s Staff (SS)! The exit process with WorldVenture (WV) will take approximately 5 months, so we have some work left there. Additionally, we are trying to transition our financial supporters from WV to SS. Pray that our financial supporters transfer quickly and that we can communicate clearly with them to prevent lost support. Pray that we are able to exit WV smoothly over the next few months.
  • Grateful that we received a few very helpful one-time financial donations while we were in the US which will help cover some extra cost we’ve had lately (like the car repairs!) and some support gaps.

Thank you all for following along with us and we are so glad that we were able to reconnect with so many of you during our recent trip!

¬Team Geiger

New Agency!

Starting November 1st, we will no longer be with WorldVenture, and will start receiving our support through Shepherd’s Staff.

If you would like to continue supporting us, please click HERE to donate through Shepherd’s Staff!

Why are we changing agencies?

We would need to greatly increase the amount of money we raise to support ourselves if we continue with WorldVenture as their costs have increased over time. With Shepherd’s Staff we can keep our support amount at it’s current level.

How do I stop my WorldVenture donation?

If you have set up an automatic donation payment with WorldVenture, you do not need to contact them. WorldVenture will stop all automatic donations at the end of October. If you would like to confirm this with WorldVenture, please feel free to contact them at (720) 283-2000 ext. 2600.

How do I start donating through Shepherd’s Staff?

To set up donations through Shepherd’s Staff, please click HERE or visit https://ssmfi.org/ and follow the links to donate. You will need to register as a donor and create a password. After entering your payment information (credit/debit card or electronic funds transfer), you can select the frequency of your donation (monthly or quarterly) and the day of the month you would like the payment to be made.
Shepherd’s Staff can also receive checks in the mail as well. If you want to mail a check, there is no need to sign up online, just put our missionary account number (6078) in the memo line and send the checks to:
Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators
6739 Academy Road NE, Suite 320
Albuquerque, NM 87109

What about those King Soopers/Kroger shopping cards?

Please use whatever you have loaded onto the card, but after that, there is no need to re-load the shopping card as we will not receive any money from money loaded after October 31st. Thank you for having used them for the last 4 years!

Thank you!

We are so grateful for your support of the work in Uganda and we feel honored to be trusted with your donations.

Requests from TeamGeiger:
– Pray with us for wisdom during this transition especially regarding health care.
– Pray with us for health and safety for our next season in Uganda.
– Please email us with any questions (or advice!). We couldn’t have come this far without all of you, and will really value and appreciate your input and thoughts.

Thank you for supporting access to light and clean water in Northern Uganda!
It would not be possible without donors like you.
~TeamGeiger

U.S. visit – Let’s catch up!

Visit with us in Castle Rock or Denver!

We have finished our first 3 years in Uganda and are back in the United States to give an update on our work and to connect with supporters, friends, and family. We are so grateful to have some time in the United States, and we would love to visit with you before we head back to Uganda.

We are presenting at New Denver Church this Sunday, and holding two open houses at coffee shops, as well. Please contact us to get together for a coffee, lunch, or dinner.

Castle Rock Open House
Date:  TONIGHT, Thursday, Sept. 13th
Time:  5 – 7pm
Where:  Lost Coffee, 390 Perry St, Castle Rock, CO 80104
Denver Open House
Date:  Tuesday, Sept. 18th
Time:  5 – 7pm
Where:  Solid Grounds, 6504 S Broadway, Centennial, CO 80121
New Denver Church
Date:  Sunday, Sept. 16th
Time:  Service @ 9am & meet-up after service
Where:  700 Bonnie Bra Blvd, Denver, CO  80209
Schedule with us!
Jesse:  303-478-3761
Rachel:  303-842-0018
Team.Geiger.CO@gmail.com

 

3 Years in Uganda and more to come!

This July was our 3 year anniversary in Uganda!…and we have decided to stay longer!

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Landing in Uganda. July 2015

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June 2018. Haven’t aged a bit, right? Ha, ha.

When we decided to follow God’s leading to move to Uganda, we thought we would be working for Lumi for 3 years. We never could have imagined what actually would happen in those 3 years. In that time, Jesse has taken on a much larger management role with Lumi, and I (Rachel) have started a water well drilling and water supply services company with another missionary here.

Let me share about the last 12 months specifically. As part of our annual reporting to our organization, we need to document the number of people impacted by our work. I never sit back and think about numbers like that. There is too much to do on a daily basis just running our businesses! However, when I did the numbers this year (July 2017 through June 2018), I calculated that approximately 5,000 people have experienced an “enhanced level of development” because of Lumi and WET. After checking my math a couple of times, I just sat back as tears filled my eyes. The last 12 months have been our most fruitful and it feels premature to leave now.

If only staying were so easy.

We have spent a lot of time over the last 6 months trying to find the best way to stay in Uganda, and we believe that we have finally found a good path forward that will be more sustainable for us and more supportive of our businesses. This involves partnering with a couple of new organizations to provide business and logistic support, while bringing on additional staff to better manage both Lumi’s and WET’s increasing work loads.

At this time, we are asking you to:
1) Pray for us as we pursue these new partnerships and as we try to follow the desires of our hearts to remain in Uganda,
2) Consider providing (or continuing to provide) financially support for us and our work in Uganda. While we will be transitioning away from WorldVenture soon, we are currently working through WorldVenture. If you would like to donate, please click HERE to see our page on WorldVenture’s website. We greatly appreciate those of you who have financially contributed to our work as we could not be here without your help!
3) Let us know if you are in Colorado in September and October! We will be setting up coffee dates and open houses most likely in the second half of September, and we would love to see you! If you are not in Colorado during that time, please feel free to send us an e-mail and we can schedule a Skype meeting!

We want you to know that we deeply appreciate your prayers, encouragement, and financial support these past few years. Thousands of people have received power and have improved access to clean water through Lumi and WET, and this wouldn’t have been possible without your support. Thank you.

Thanks for tracking along with us as we enter the 2nd chapter of “TeamGeiger in Uganda”!

~Rachel & Jesse Geiger

Top 3 Drilling Company

“WET is probably our top drilling company. At least in the top 3.”

That’s what the inventor of our drilling rig told WET Consulting Ltd during his visit to Gulu. He said of the 60+ drilling groups that have one of his machines, we are in the top 3 in terms of how many boreholes we’ve drilled and the quality of our work.

Background:
I was eating dinner at the local coffee shop -slash- American restaurant in town when a fellow diner asked me if I live here, what I do, etc. I responded that I run a drilling company and he asked what machine we use. I said the Village Drill and he excitedly said that the inventor was coming tomorrow to train a group from Kampala on the new version of the machine. We scheduled to meet up at his hotel later that week and then visit his drill site.

At the drill site, we saw the newer version of our rig. It was cool to see a brand new one, as we bought ours used. It was so clean! There were a few new features that would be nice to have, but given the customs charges, I think we got a great deal and made the right decision when we bought our rig.

The next day, we took our drill team out to the site to meet the inventor and see the new rig. Our drill team leader asked great questions and actually offered some better techniques to the official trainers! It was great for both WHO Lives (which produces the Village Drill) and for us. Our team felt so encouraged hearing that we were doing so well compared to the other teams, and the inventor felt encouraged to see one of his rigs doing so well. Tim and I enjoyed meeting with him also as we learned a few tricks to maximize our rig.

Photos:

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The newer version of the Village Drill.

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The inventor (John), a photographer for his group WHO Lives, Tim, and a WHO Lives trainer discussing the soil samples.

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The WHO Lives trainer (pink shirt on the left) and our drill team (dress, black shirt, red shirt, and blue jacket) discussing some of the new features on the rig.

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Tim and I with the wheel for our drill rig! Photo for WHO Lives

Parts of the rig have been with a welder for a while, so we haven’t had any drilling lately. Instead, I’ve been designing water distribution systems and re-learning all that is Fluid Dynamics! I’ve identified a guy on our drill team who has great promise, good educational and experiential background, and strong ethics. I’ll be training him one day a week with the hopes that he could potentially take over some/all of my role and/or just move forward in his career.

Prayer Requests:

  • Jesse has finished his 2nd round of the UN Grant application. We should hear the results in late-May. Pray that Lumi gets the grant.
  • Lumi has been in discussions with an organization that supports start-ups in difficult regions (like Gulu). This organization has already offered a lot of help for the business and MAY be an option to support Jesse and I to stay here after July. Thank God with us that we have found this group for Lumi and pray that we have wisdom in this partnership.
  • Our term with WorldVenture ends in mid-July. At this point, it looks very likely that we will stay in Uganda a bit longer. We still don’t know if that will be with WorldVenture or not. Please pray for wisdom for us in this decision.

Thank you for following along in our journey! Let us know how we can be praying for you!

~TeamGeiger