Turning the corner at 2 Months!

This 2nd month has been hard, but we are learning a lot and things are slowly improving.

Started out with the car in the shop for over a week, driving ourselves to Gulu for the first time, and continuing our house hunt (all discussed in our last post).

Now, we have driven to Gulu and back 3 times on our own!…we got one speeding ticket, but otherwise, totally uneventful!

Map of our drive to Gulu from Kampala. The road is being repaved, and it is mostly finished. We can do the drive in about 6 hours now!

Map of our drive to Gulu from Kampala. The road is being repaved, and it is mostly finished. We can do the drive in about 6 hours now!

 

Cows on the road from Gulu. Sort of like driving in the Colorado mountains...sort of.

Cows on the road from Gulu. Sort of like driving in the Colorado mountains…sort of.

 

A small farm, a few huts, and lots of sky on the drive to Gulu.

A small farm, a few huts, and lots of sky on the drive to Gulu.

 

We have learned our car and figured out most of it’s little quirks (aka…still have things to fix, but they aren’t critical).

Our car's stereo and GPS are basically unusable. The GPS is convinced we are in Japan and the radio frequencies in Japan only have one or two frequencies in common with Ugandan radio frequencies. So, even though it is all techy and cool...it doesn't really work. At least it is a hilarious story! =)

Our car’s stereo and GPS are basically unusable. The GPS is convinced we are in Japan and the radio frequencies in Japan only have one or two frequencies in common with Ugandan radio frequencies. So, even though it is all techy and cool…it doesn’t really work.
At least it is a hilarious story! =)

We hosted our first Lumi visitor!

John (center) visited with Lumi last week. He is an Electrical Engineer who is considering working with Lumi. We took him to Gulu and he was able to meet the entire team!...this is almost the whole team in this photo.

John (center) visited with Lumi last week. He is an Electrical Engineer who is considering working with Lumi. We took him to Gulu and he was able to meet the entire team!…this is almost the whole team in this photo.

 

We made friends in Gulu! Jesse and I spent one of our Sundays up in Gulu so we could try to spend time with some people we met through Thomas. We had a great lunch with an awesome family, we visited another family’s new puppies and spent time visiting with them, and we met a 3rd family who is super great!

Lumi has started a product trial (and it’s going really well)!

Those are all awesome things, and we are really grateful!

The “bummers” of this month have been that we had one more car incident (very minor, but maybe the most rattling), have not been able to find a home yet, and have not yet received our visas. We have about a month left before our current visas expire, and the soonest we’ll be able to move into a place is now mid-October. The house we mentioned before (the one being worked on), won’t be ready until at least the end of October, and we are trying to negotiate with a landlord for another place opening up in mid-October.

Our biggest lesson this month has been work-life balance. Jesse and I have transitioned from each of us having our own 9-to-5 engineering jobs with different government-type groups in offices in the US to…

  • working together,
  • for a start-up business,
  • balancing US and Ugandan work days/time zones,
  • working “from home” without a home, and
  • living/working in Africa.

We are learning how important it is not to let work dominate our life 24 hours a days. We are going to spend time this weekend to really evaluate how to best divide our time so that we are both productive and thriving here in Uganda.

Prayer Requests:

– Praise: We are slowly adjusting to life here.

– Request: Safety and protection while driving in Uganda (especially while traveling to and from Gulu).

– Praise: For community (both here and on Skype) to help us through this transition.

– Request: Patience and peace while still being unsettled (no place of our own), and that we find a suitable and affordable house in Gulu quickly.

– Request: For our visas to be resolved in the next month.

– Request:  For Lumi and for Lumi’s founder, Thomas. Lumi is in a critical phase right now as the capital raise and trial are going.

– Praise:  That Lumi’s capital raise is getting more traction and the trial is looking positive!

Thanks so much for following along with us on this journey.

Please let us know how we can be praying for you!

~Rachel (& Jesse) Geiger

First Month in Uganda!

Month One Update:

We hit one month in-country on August 18th. I can’t believe we’ve been here a month already! I can tell that the jet lag has worn off (which reveals exactly how jet lagged we were!) and now the culture shock is settling in. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, the last couple weeks have been difficult. We had four days in a row where we either got horrible lost (day 1),

Somewhere down that road?

Somewhere down that road?

the car broke down (day 2),

That's not the angle that should be, right?

That’s not the angle that should be, right?

or we were hit by another vehicle (day 3 and 4).

It's just a flesh wound! -reference joke-

It’s just a flesh wound! -reference joke-

And a bunch of other things that are sad, stressful, and/or discouraging.

But at the same time, there have been a bunch of things along the way to remind us that God is in control, that we are where we are supposed to be, and that we’re not here alone.

An email I wrote to my mom seemed to reflect what life is like right now:

“The last few days…or week have been rough, but are getting a bit better. Everyday for a week now, we’ve been told that we’ll get our new car back from the shop “tomorrow”, but it never comes. We finally got it just now!…10pm 8 days after we “bought” it. No idea what the mechanic did to it, but we owe a million shillings. And we still need to have the alignment fixed and have to get insurance. Arg. ” [Side note: it needed the belt and a brake light replaced too!]
Glad to have it now, though!

I’m starting to figure out how to do life here a bit…

Cooking has been very frustrating, but I’m starting to see progress. It took 3 grocery stores to find the ingredients I needed to make homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch (since I can’t buy canned rolls), I truly almost cried when I found the last ingredient (shortening…which I’ve never actually cooked with before). Then I made the dough and made the cinnamon rolls (took about 5 hours to sift 9 cups of flour without a sifter and cut in 2 cups of shortening). Finally time to bake them and they burned.
Yup. 2 days of work shopping and prepping, just to have them burn because ovens aren’t temperature regulated here and my oven thermometer is off. Hilariously and mercifully, Jesse loves burned stuff. He thought they were great and especially with the icing/glaze that I made. Which is even more ironic because I thought the icing was HORRIBLE (at least partially because I used castor sugar instead of confections sugar).

First attempt = fail

First attempt = fail

 

Second attempt = Yummy!

Second attempt = Yummy!

So that’s been our kind of week. By about Thursday we gave up any idea of ever getting the car, so we hired a driver for Thursday and Friday and we LOVED her!!! She took me to all the grocery stores! We had 2 lawyer meetings, 2 meetings with Lumi’s cell phone provider, a 2-3 hour training with another solar group here, prepared for our first Lumi visitor (an Electrical Engineer who will be here in a few weeks), and Jesse’s been cranking out solar system designs and setting up Lumi’s 2 new agents.”

The set-backs and negative events really challenge my commitment and determination. I knew this time would come, and I know it will come again (probably a lot of times) over the next three years. Things aren’t “progressing” as quickly as I would like, and there seem to be constant threats to there ever being any progress at all. I’m currently reminding myself of all the people in the Bible who probably felt this way…people who were given specific promises by God, and who had to wait longer than they thought they would to see those promises fulfilled. People like Abraham, David, and the nation of Israel. Abraham waited 25 years (I think?) to become a father after being promised it would happen, already pretty late in the game. David had to wait…and wait…and wait to become king. And then there is always Israel…waiting for freedom, waiting to get to the Promised Land…waiting for a savior.

It’s making me look at what waiting is for. I don’t have lots of answers yet, but I think one reason we might not have gotten our car back from the shop on time was to let me recover from my fears that were building after all our car/driving problems the previous week. By the time we were ready to head back up to Gulu, I was actually excited! Last week (when we were supposed to head up there), I was honestly scared to get back in the car.

Also, there are relationships in the waiting times. Jesse and I got a lot of time together, we got to get a lot of work meetings in, but also meet the driver that we used (super sweet lady) and the woman who cleans the apartment we are living in (also super sweet) and a bunch of other people.

I know that waiting builds patience, too. I knew that before, but this car thing took it to a new level. After hearing “maybe tomorrow” everyday for so long…I just had to change my mentality about it. One day, when we heard “maybe tomorrow”, I realized, “oh, ok, I have 24 hours to be here, how should that time be used?” It wasn’t a frustrated question, but more opportunistic. Maybe more like living one day at a time. I have a feeling that living in Uganda will teach me a lot more about living one day at a time. I’m excited about that…even if it means a lot of “maybe tomorrow”s.

Looking Forward

We had a very quick visit up to Gulu this week and were looking at more houses. We found one that we LOVE, but it is currently being worked on and we still need to negotiate with the landlord. Assuming everything works out, we might get to move in around late-September. This means we may need to find a temporary residence in Gulu…or continue the back and forth from Kampala.

For this week, we are likely heading back to Gulu on Wednesday, since we have a lot of meetings in Kampala Monday and Tuesday. We are excited that Lumi’s capital raise has gotten some traction, and that means that more developments are soon to come!

Photo Updates:

Apartment we have been staying in is the ground floor unit. It's really nice!

Apartment we have been staying in is the ground floor unit. It’s really nice!

 

Our "new" car, a Toyota Land Cruiser!

Our “new” car, a Toyota Land Cruiser!

 

 

Prayer Requests:

– Praise: Safety and protection during our crazy first few weeks here…even through the collisions!

– Request: Safety and protection while driving in Uganda (especially with upcoming travel to and from Gulu).

– Praise:  For community (both here and on Skype) to help us through this transition.

– Request: Patience and peace while still being unsettled (no place of our own), and that we find a suitable and affordable house in Gulu quickly (especially that this potential house works out).

– Request:  For Lumi and for Lumi’s founder Thomas. Lumi is in a critical phase right now as the capital raise is going. Thomas is with WorldVenture also and is in need of more financial supporters. Pray for wisdom for Lumi and for supporters for Thomas.

– Praise:  That Lumi’s capital raise is getting some traction!

Thanks so much for following along with us on this journey.

Please let us know how we can be praying for you!

~Rachel (& Jesse) Geiger

We Have Landed in Uganda!…and hit the ground running.

We landed in Uganda at 9:45pm Saturday, July 18th! Here is an update on what’s been doing on the last two’ish weeks.

Travel to Uganda

Packing was CRAZY! Somehow we got all our stuff into our bags and bins, but we weren’t able to make it in 6 bags. We checked one extra bag and have another “extra things” backpack that someone is bring us in several months that has stuff we wanted but didn’t “need” (which is really all our stuff, right?). We stayed up the whole night before our flight to pack and get each bag/bin just under 50 lbs. Jesse’s parents made us breakfast that morning, and then friends of ours (and their brand-new baby girl!) that have been mentoring us as we prepare for Uganda picked us up around 11am and drove us to the airport.

All packed up and ready for the airport!...(baby belongs to our awesome friends who drove us!)

All packed up and ready for the airport!…(baby belongs to our awesome friends who drove us!)

Halfway to the airport, Jesse’s parents noticed that we had forgotten Rachel’s laptop, and they actually drove all the way to airport to bring it to us! SO helpful! While they were driving up to us, we checked in our insane amount of bags and caused a little bit of a scene. People were asking if we were moving or delivering things to some far-off land…I guess we were doing both!

Apparently the automatic check-in stations have baggage limits and they won't let you enter 7 checked bags. =)

Apparently the automatic check-in stations have baggage limits and they won’t let you enter 7 checked bags. =)

After having to run through the Detroit airport and hardly sleeping during our 3 flights over 27 hours of travel…we arrived in Uganda where Lumi’s CEO, Thomas, picked us up from the airport!

Flight to Amsterdam from Detroit.

Flight to Amsterdam from Detroit.

Flight from Amsterdam to Entebbe (where Uganda's major airport is, which is right next to the capital, Kampala).

Flight from Amsterdam to Entebbe (where Uganda’s major airport is, which is right next to the capital, Kampala).

Arrived in Uganda with all our bags!

Arrived in Uganda with all our bags!

After falling asleep around 3am on Sunday, we slept in until 1pm with a 1-2 hours awake in the night. We had lunch with another WorldVenture missionary who lives in Kampala. On our way to lunch, I (Rachel) started to realize how much Kampala has grown and changed since I was here 5 years ago. After lunch, Thomas showed us some of the stores where we can buy groceries, appliances, etc. This included visiting Uganda’s newest mall which has SO many new American/imported things. It even had washing machines and dryers for sale!

Suburbs of Kampala.

Suburbs of Kampala.

The apartment we are staying in while in Kampala (and the WV dogs, Maize and Dakota).

The apartment we are staying in while in Kampala (and the WV dogs, Maize and Dakota).

The WorldVenture compound (and pretty much all of Uganda) are filled with beautiful flowers! This is in our current front yard!

The WorldVenture compound (and pretty much all of Uganda) is filled with beautiful flowers! This is in our current front yard!

Monday – We met with Lumi’s lawyer in downtown Kampala (Ugandan), and Jesse saw his first “trash bird”…in a dumpster.

This is the

This is the “trash birds” or Marabou Storks that roam all over Uganda, but especially in Kampala.
(photo credit to: http://kawamark.com/2014/10/28/wandering-kampala-uganda/)

We also got to meet James (Ugandan), who was one of the Lumi staff members that was in our presentation (if you saw that). It was great to finally meet him. We’ve been working with him pretty much every day since we got here, and he is a great co-worker. We are excited to spend more time with him over the next several years.

In the afternoon, we got Ugandan phone numbers, and learned where other Kampala stores are located. We had lunch with the Field Director for WorldVenture, where we briefly discussed WV Uganda field policies and who to contact if we have questions, etc. In the evening, WorldVenture held a Welcome BBQ for us! We got to met many of the WV people in the field. It was exciting to hear about what each of them do in Uganda, where they live here, and where they are originally from.

Tuesday – We met with Lumi’s accountant (Ugandan), and had lunch with another WorldVenture missionary, Catherine Coone. She has been working in the Gulu area for a long time. She works with children through feeding programs, school sponsorship programs, and will be building a school soon. Another couple from Denver that Jesse and I have become good friends with will be coming to work with her soon (trekkingwiththeflikweerts.wordpress.com). Later, we visited a company in Kampala that imports solar equipment (generally for larger-scale systems than Lumi). It is run by an Indian family who grew up in Kenya, and the husband has his Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the UK. They are very friendly and helpful. We’ll be training with them in about two weeks.

Wednesday – We were supposed to leave for Gulu, but had a last minute cancellation since some of the products we were going to bring with us were held up in the warehouse. We spent the day driving around and getting things together for our trip up to Gulu, as well as trying to get Jesse listed as a signatory on the Lumi bank account. Unfortunately, there are about 4 or 5 forms/letters/certificates that we need to show to get that done, and each time we visit the bank, there seems to be one more thing we need.

Thursday – In the morning, we packed the car with products for Lumi and go to meet David (Ugandan) who works with James for Lumi. We drove to Gulu with Thomas and James from 11am to 5pm.

Uganda is so beautiful!

Uganda is so beautiful!

Monkeys!

Monkeys!

Baboons!

Baboons!

Crossed the Nile!

Crossed the Nile!

This is a

This is a “squaty-potty”, and yes, we are not afraid to use it!…ok, I was the first time, but it’s really not hard. =)

This is the hotel where we stayed in Gulu.

This is the hotel where we stayed in Gulu.

Then we unloaded the car at the office and meet staff there.

All of Lumi's Gulu staff (plus James who is in Kampala). LtoR: Jesse, Mawa, Eric, James, Rachel, Taban.

All of Lumi’s Gulu staff (plus James who is in Kampala).
LtoR: Jesse, Mawa, Eric, James, Rachel, Taban.

After checking into the hotel, we ordered dinner and after waiting 2 hours, it finally arrived. =/

Friday – In the morning, we worked on anti-tampering processes with different products in the office. In the afternoon, Thomas went with us to meet a real estate broker who showed us over 10 houses! There was a wide variety available, but many shared a compound (walled yard) with other homes (which isn’t ideal, but is do-able). The homes that had their own compound were outside our budget. We will keep looking, and since prices here are all negotiable, we hope that over time we can get some of the prices to go down.

This is one of the homes we are looking at. See?...not a mud hut.  =)

This is one of the homes we are looking at. See?…not a mud hut. =)

Saturday – In the morning, we worked more on the anti-tampering processes and Thomas gave Jesse and I a Lumi 101 session where we used our potential house as a case study for designing a solar system for an large electrical demand home. In the afternoon, we visited one more house.

Sunday – We attended our first Gulu church service! After service, we met with the Pastors and walked around the property. We found out about an American who keeps water well drilling equipment in one of the churches sheds. He is back in America now, but hopefully I’ll get to connect with him soon and learn more about what he is doing. In the afternoon we saw one more house.

Monday – In the morning, we had an on-line, webinar-style training for 4 hours with a company Lumi may partner with. We learned that doing an on-line training from downtown Gulu can be very problematic. We had the internet drop out 2 or 3 times on our side (and once on their side, as they are in Kenya). We literally had an impromptu parade with a drum line pass in front of the store, and with so many generators running outside and general traffic, it was just hard to hear. There were at least 4 different accents on the training as well (Indian, British, Ugandan, and American). I’m impressed that everyone was able to communicate so well considering all those factors. In the afternoon, we looked at two more houses with our broker, but we are beginning to think that he has shown us all the available properties since he is now saying that he doesn’t like some of the properties he previously showed us or that random things are wrong with those properties. In Uganda, people communicate indirectly to save face (or to prevent shaming themselves or others), so I don’t think our broker would say that he has no more houses to show us.

Tuesday – We took the morning off and had a nap! In the afternoon, we meet with a missionary family about designing a solar system for their home and special needs school in Gulu. Then we worked from a restaurant for a few hours, and visited two more homes with our broker.

Wednesday – We worked in the office in the morning, then headed back down to Kampala. Jesse even got to practice his driving during part of it!.

Jesse learning to drive in Uganda! They drive on the left side of the road, and sit on the right side of the car...but that is really just the beginning of the differences.

Jesse learning to drive in Uganda! They drive on the left side of the road, and sit on the right side of the car…but that is really just the beginning of the differences. This photo was taken in downtown Gulu. All the downtown streets have storefronts like this.

“You say goodbye, I say hello”

We met so many other expat (expatriates: people who live outside of their native country…in this case, living in Uganda) families at meals and around town. One sad thing, is that while we are arriving to Gulu, it seems that many are leaving. When we meet expats here, they always ask when you got here, and how long you’ll be here. Then they say when they are leaving. It is almost like living in a hotel. No one just “lives” here. Everyone is here for some amount of time that they agreed to with their agency or group. Also, most of the NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and UN staff have left or are leaving since the war here ended about 10 years ago and most groups were working with issues around the war. Now is the time for businesses to come in, but that means the NGO expats are leaving. In many ways, it seems like this is the part of the development curve where the ball can get dropped. Jesse and I are truly excited to be here at this time to help bring Gulu from stabilized to growing.

There is one great coffee shop in Gulu where we met a lot of other expats. They make delicious iced mochas!

There is one great coffee shop in Gulu where we met a lot of other expats. They make delicious iced mochas!

Remembering what brought us here

During one of our house hunt visits, the Ugandan man showing us the house who worked for the landlord asked what we do, and we told him about Lumi. He got so excited when we mentioned the name of the business. He said that his home village has been discussing Lumi and asking why Lumi isn’t in their village. He said that he thinks that these lights from Lumi are the most needed thing for villages right now. He told us that when we are ready to expand into his part of the country, we should let him know and he’ll tell all the village leaders. Jesse and I were almost in tears while hearing him speak. This is why we came.

There are so many other stories about our time in the last week or so, but to try to prevent this blog post from being too long, and so I can get back to work, I’ll stop here.

Prayer Requests:

– Praise: We and all our luggage traveled safely to Uganda!

– Praise:  Safe drive up to Gulu and back.

– Request: Safety and protection while learning to drive in Kampala (which is very different than in the US and can be dangerous)

– Praise:  We really like Gulu (this week was our first time seeing Gulu), and are excited to be working regularly with the staff at the Lumi office there.

– Request: Patience and peace while still being unsettled (no place of our own), and that we find a suitable and affordable house in Gulu quickly.

– Request:  For Lumi and for Lumi’s founder Thomas. Lumi is in a critical phase right now as the capital raise is starting. Thomas is with WorldVenture also and is in need of more financial supporters. Pray for wisdom for Lumi and for supporters for Thomas.

Thanks so much for following along with us on this journey.

Please let us know how we can be praying for you!

~Rachel (& Jesse)

Last Pre-field Update!

4th of July!

We had a great time with all of our immediate family (and Rachel’s grandmother) in Crested Butte for the 4th of July last week. I won’t even try to describe it in writing, as even the photos don’t do our visit justice.

The whole family attended the Black and White Ball in Crested Butte!

The whole family attended the Black and White Ball in Crested Butte!

My mom and I on top of Mount Crested Butte!

My mom and me on top of Mount Crested Butte!

My little sister out ran me on our jog. Way to go Abbie!

My little sister out ran me on our jog. Way to go Abbie!

Jesse and I at the 4th of July parade in Crested Butte!

Jesse and I at the 4th of July parade in Crested Butte!

We got to see a moose on our way back from Crested Butte.

We got to see a moose on our way back from Crested Butte.

Final To-Do’s

We bought our water filter, received our background checks (for our Uganda visa application), bought some American treats (like maple extract) that we think we’ll want in Uganda, bought enough medicine and sunscreen to last a year, and have visited with friends as well! We still have a few last minute things to do, but the greatest challenge will be prioritizing what we will bring so that it will fit into our 2 suitcases and 4 storage bins!

Commissioning and BBQ

We had our Commissioning at New Denver Church and our Goodbye BBQ today. It was such a great day and we are so grateful for everyone who came or sent a note!

Being prayed over at our NDC commissioning. SO grateful for their love and support and we are already missing our NDC community.

Being prayed over at our NDC commissioning. SO grateful for their love and support and we are already missing our NDC community.

We also had a commissioning service at Faith Lutheran in late-June which was a great send-off, as well.

Upon Arrival

We will take-off Friday and will land in Uganda at about 10pm (Ugandan time) on Saturday night. We are grateful to get to stay in an apartment in WorldVenture’s Kampala (that capital of Uganda) compound. We will likely live there for at least a month.

An image of downtown Kampala.  Care of http://www.globotreks.com.

An image of downtown Kampala.
Care of http://www.globotreks.com.

During that month, we will be VERY busy. We’ll get to rest on Sunday, but the next 2 weeks will be spent between Kampala and Gulu (the town we’ll eventually move to, about 5.5 hours north) running a product trial, getting trainings, and meeting staff with Lumi. Then we’ll get a week “off” which will be GREAT! I’m (Rachel) hoping to show Jesse the Engineering Ministries International office that I spent 6 months living and working in back in 2010. This office will be moving in August, so I’m really glad that we’ll get to see it one more time.

I’ll also hope to reconnect with some friends (both Ugandan and expat) during that week.

Then our 4th week will be field orientation with WorldVenture. This will include safety information as well as practical day-to-day advice on living in Uganda.

Contact Information

Many people have asked how they can contact us and if we are able to receive packages. For now, please contact us primarily through email. We will be able to Skype once we are set-up in Uganda, as well. We do know that we will be able to receive packages but we do not have an address to give out at this time. We’ve been told that lightweight packages and snail mail can be delivered relatively cheaply, but can take 3+ months to arrive. We will send out more information once we are settled in Uganda.

Prayer Requests:

– Praise:  Great time with family and friends during our last months in the US!

– Request:  Safe travel to Uganda.

– Praise:  We reached 100%!

– Request:  For Lumi and for Lumi’s founder Thomas. Lumi is in a critical phase right now as the capital raise is starting. Thomas is with WorldVenture also and is in need of more financial supporters. Pray for wisdom for Lumi and for supporters for Thomas.

Thanks so much for following along with us on this journey.

Please let us know how we can be praying for you!

~Rachel (& Jesse)

Leaving in mid-July!

It’s the Final Countdown:

On Tuesday we got approval to leave in mid-July!…so I’ve had this song stuck in my head since then…

While we are SUPER excited to get to leave in 4 weeks, for the last month or two, it was looking more and more like Lumi would need us in the US for a few months, and our departure was likely going to be pushed back to September. Fortunately, Lumi has recently had a CFO join the team (SO grateful for him!) and now we are more needed in Uganda than the US. So despite all my efforts to get everything done as if we might still leave in mid-July, we still feel like there can’t possibly be enough time to get it all done.

Photo Updates:

At least we got our shots done this week! One thing done, a hundred to go!

At least we got our shots done this week! One thing done, a hundred to go!

I've been working out with my mother-in-law at the fitness studio she works at. She is the one who writes quotes on the board at the studio and this one seemed very applicable to this time for me: "The biggest failure you can have in life is making the mistake of never trying at all."

I’ve been working out with my mother-in-law at the fitness studio she works at. She is the one who writes quotes on the board at the studio and this one seemed very applicable to this time for me: “The biggest failure you can have in life is making the mistake of never trying at all.”

Goodbyes:

We are SO fortunate that we’ll get a week in Crested Butte, Colorado with basically our whole family over the 4th of July. Rachel is able to visit some extended family in Ohio right after that, and then we’ll have a “TeamGeiger Goodbye BBQ” on July 12th! Please let me know if you are interested in coming to that! We should be sending out information on that later this week.

Jesse and Rachel on top of Mount Crested Butte in 2013.

Jesse and Rachel on top of Mount Crested Butte in 2013.

Prayer Requests:

– Praise:  We got approval to depart for Uganda!

– Request:  That we can get everything done in the next 4 weeks to be ready to leave and stay caught up with Lumi, while getting in good time with family and friends.

– Praise:  Continued time with family over the last several weeks and for the next month (our last in the US for a while).

– Request:  Safe travel as we drive all over Colorado, and Rachel goes to OH in early-July.

– Praise:  We get to spend Father’s Day with both of our dads this year!

– Request:  For Lumi and for Lumi’s founder Thomas. Lumi is in a critical phase right now as the capital raise is starting. Thomas is with WorldVenture also and is in need of more financial supporters. Pray for wisdom for Lumi and for supporters for Thomas.

– Request:  Pray that we reach 100% of our monthly support before we the end of June!…we are at 96%!

Thanks so much for following along with us on this journey.

Please let us know how we can be praying for you!

~Rachel (& Jesse) Geiger

Phase II: Working from home has a whole new meaning.

“Working from home”:

Jesse used to work from home one day a week. That used to mean bringing his work laptop to our house, remotely logging into the network, and working on projects from the comfort of his own office. Now, working from home means working from the United States…keeping our laptops on top of the luggage pile in our car so we can work on Lumi tasks from the comfort of whatever bed/couch/table is available at wherever we are staying that day (and “thank you” to those of you who have supplied those places to stay!).

After nearly 5 weeks of training, with over 30 other adults (and their kids), in two different towns, with weekend trips to partners, work meetings, family, and life stuff (like updating car registration), we have finally completed all our trainings and have settled into Jesse’s parents’ home in Castle Rock, CO. At this point, we think this is our last base camp before leaving for Uganda in mid-July…but as I was reminded at church on Sunday (see the first photo below), even that is not guaranteed.

This passage has been the lesson of the last 3 years, but couldn't be more literally applicable than it is now.

This passage has been the lesson of the last 3 years, but couldn’t be more literally applicable than it is now.

Training Summary:

The second half of our May training focused on cultural immersion, conflict styles, team relationships on the field, stress management, grieving, loss, and saying goodbyes. It was emotional…seriously. It was great information though, and we learned things about ourselves and each other that will help us no matter where we live or what our work will be. The second training was with our agency. It was more of a debrief of our Partner Development process and a little bit about the next step in our transition to “the field”.

Photo Updates:

Finally got a bit sunnier at the end of our May training! Here is the same lake a photographed during week one.

Finally got a bit sunnier at the end of our May training! Here is the same lake a photographed during week one.

Apparently the only thing crossing the street at 6am is me and deer! This was the 3rd time during my morning jog that I had to wait for deer to cross the street.

Apparently the only thing crossing the street at 6am is me and deer! This was the 3rd time during my morning jog that I had to wait for deer to cross the street.

Sunset from our room at our May training.

Sunset from our room at our May training.

Each family at the May training wrote down a something memorable from our time at training. We picked 2 Corinthians 5:1 "For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands."

Each family at the May training wrote down a something memorable from our time at training. We picked 2 Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

We spent 2 nights in Buena Vista, CO at a B&B. This was the view from our room!

We spent 2 nights in Buena Vista, CO at a B&B. This was the view from our room! That mountain peak is over 14,000 ft!

We visited the Mount Princeton Hot Springs. It was such a great break after so many weeks of training.

We visited the Mount Princeton Hot Springs. It was such a great break after so many weeks of training.

Jesse passed his Professional Engineer exam!!!!!! The cake reads... "3.14159 Now its celebration time! PE Congrats!"

Jesse passed his Professional Engineer exam!!!!!!
The cake reads…
“3.14159 Now its celebration time! PE Congrats!”

Awesome storms/sunsets from Jesse's parents house!

Awesome storms/sunsets from Jesse’s parents house!

This is what happens when lightning strikes in the middle of a panoramic photo.

This is what happens when lightning strikes in the middle of a panoramic photo.

Prayer Requests:

– Praise:  Jesse passed his Professional Engineer exam! We found out earlier than expected and consider it a miracle!

– Request:  Wisdom, grace, and patience as we start discussions with our agency and Lumi about our departure date (possibly as early as mid-July).

– Praise:  Continued time with family over the last several weeks and for the next month.

– Request:  Safe travel as we drive to and from Castle Rock to meetings, etc all over Colorado.

– Praise:  One month in the same place (with Jesse’s parents)! So nice to unpack again and get settled for a bit.

– Request:  For Lumi and for Lumi’s founder Thomas. Lumi is in a critical phase right now as the capital raise is starting. Thomas is with WV also and is in need of more financial supporters. Pray for wisdom for Lumi and for supporters for Thomas.

– Request:  Pray that we reach 100% of our monthly support before we the end of June!…we are at 96%!

Thanks so much for following along with us on this journey.

Please let us know how we can be praying for you!

~Rachel (& Jesse) Geiger

SOLD OUR HOUSE!

We are in the last week of our month-long training and we are at 96% of our monthly support.

Here is an update of what we’ve been up to while at training!

Jesse has been doing major computer surgery since we got to training. He's getting us all set up for the next 3 years!

Jesse has been doing major computer surgery since we got to training. He’s getting us all set up for the next 3 years!

Rachel was on a Marathon Relay team with WorldVenture! She ran 3.7 miles and reached her goal pace (which she had given up on about a month ago)!

Rachel was on a Marathon Relay team with WorldVenture! She ran 3.7 miles and reached her goal pace (which she had given up on about a month ago)!

One of the families brought an XBox and Jesse got to play some FIFA on the projector.

One of the families brought an XBox and Jesse got to play some FIFA on the projector.

Rachel's brother turned 27 last week! We were able to celebrate with him, his wife, and our dad!

Rachel’s brother turned 27 last week! We were able to celebrate with him, his wife, and our dad!

Rachel finally finished her audiobook Undaunted by Christine Cain. Really great book about facing fears and following God's call in life.

Rachel finally finished her audiobook Undaunted by Christine Cain. Really great book about facing fears and following God’s call in life.

Prayer Requests:

– Praise:  We SOLD our house!

– Request:  Grace, patience, health, and fellowship as we transition from this training to some visits and our next training in Littleton, CO.

– Praise:  Continued time with family over the last several weeks.

– Request:  Safe travel as we drive to and from our training center to meetings, etc all over Colorado.

– Praise:  One month in the same place! So nice to unpack and get settled for a bit.

– Request:  We’ll receive Jesse’s Professional Engineer exam score in late-June. Please pray that passed his exam.

– Request:  For Lumi and for Lumi’s founder Thomas. Lumi is in a critical phase right now as the capital raise is starting. Thomas is with WV also and is in need of more financial supporters. Pray for wisdom for Lumi and for supporters for Thomas.

– Request:  Pray that we reach 100% of our monthly support before we leave MTI training at the end of May!…we are at 96%!

Thanks so much for following along with us on this journey.

Please let us know how we can be praying for you.

Thank you SO much for reading up on our journey, and supporting the work we will be joining in Uganda!Please let us know how we can be praying for you!

Failing Fast

Jesse and I attended an event last summer that was for people involved or interested in Social Entrepreneurship. I’ll never forget one of the speakers who got up front and said something like, “the only way to succeed in a social enterprise is to fail often and fail early.”

I remember it so clearly because I was genuinely frightened by the idea of going into something with the expectations of multiple failures. Engineers aren’t really designed for that. We do all our work to codes that have been “proven” and we have safety factors to make double-sure things will NOT fail. You can’t build a bridge with the mentality of “fail often and fail early”.

Since that event last summer, it seems like we have been told to “Fail often and fail early” a lot of times. We’ve also just had a lot of things fail.

However, I’m also learning to see the wisdom in “Fail often and fail early”. It’s basically the fastest way to learn.

We are at our month-long training now, and the first two weeks focus on language acquisition. It’s actually really fun, but just today, our instructor said, “when you learn a language, you have to make a million mistakes first…so get started!” After laughing, I realized how that statement seems to have been true about so much lately and how I better just embrace it!

So, as of today, I’m committing to embrace the wrestling, the effort, the falling down and getting back up, the starting over, and the failure…because it is the fastest way to get to success.

Here are some photos of our last few weeks! We traveled over 1,000 miles, driven more than 19 hours, and stayed in 7 different places over the last 2.5 weeks.

We visited petroglyphs in Crow Canyon!

We visited petroglyphs in Crow Canyon!

Mom took us to Chaco Canyon to learn about the ancestral Puebloan culture. It was SO cool!

Mom took us to Chaco Canyon to learn about the ancestral Puebloan culture. It was SO cool!

Tested a solar oven for Lumi. Just because we are on the road, doesn't mean we aren't working.  =)

Tested a solar oven for Lumi. Just because we are on the road, doesn’t mean we aren’t working. =)

After Farmington, NM, we hit the road for Rocky Ford, CO. Beautiful wide-open road.

After Farmington, NM, we hit the road for Rocky Ford, CO. Beautiful wide-open road.

Brian, one of my (Rachel's) previous co-workers, let us ride his horses during our visit! So fun!

Brian, one of my (Rachel’s) previous co-workers, let us ride his horses during our visit! So fun!

We got to learn a lot about drip irrigation systems. I bet this will be helpful in dry northern Uganda.

We got to learn a lot about drip irrigation systems. I bet this will be helpful in dry northern Uganda.

After Rocky Ford, it was time to head to training camp. Excited to be at MTI, but sort of bummed about 7 days of rain!

After Rocky Ford, it was time to head to training camp. Excited to be at MTI, but sort of bummed about 7 days of rain!

Still, it was a beautiful week. 1 week down, 3 more to go!

Still, it was a beautiful week. 1 week down, 3 more to go!

Prayer Requests:

– Praise:  We are under contract with a buyer for our house!

– Request:  This is actually the third buyer we have had a contract with, so pray that this buyer will work out.

– Praise:  Great time with family over the last several weeks.

– Request:  Safe travel as we drive to and from our training center to meetings, etc in Denver.

– Praise:  One month in the same place! So nice to unpack and get settled for a bit.

– Request:  We’ll receive Jesse’s Professional Engineer exam score in late-June. Please pray that passed his exam.

– Request:  For Lumi and for Lumi’s founder Thomas. Lumi is in a critical phase right now as the capital raise is starting. Thomas is with WV also and is in need of more financial supporters. Pray for wisdom for Lumi and for supporters for Thomas.

– Request:  Pray that we reach 100% of our monthly support before we leave MTI training at the end of May!

2 Corinthians 12:9:  “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Thank you SO much for reading up on our journey, and supporting the work we will be joining in Uganda!

Please let us know how we can be praying for you!

Closing a Chapter

There is a list of awesome things that have happened and a list of crappy things that have happened since our last blog post. I think that is just what transition looks like. Next week, we will move out my dad’s house and start the next chapter of transition.

Instead of focusing on one thing, I’m just going to share some photos with you all of what Jesse and I have been up to for the last couple weeks.

We taught my little sister how to play Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo system I got in first grade!

We taught my little sister how to play Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo system I got in first grade!

My brother and sister-in-law took our little sister on a Scavenger Hunt through downtown Denver! We got to see and learn about so many awesome things!

My brother and sister-in-law took our little sister on a Scavenger Hunt through downtown Denver!
We got to see and learn about so many awesome things!

Jesse and I visited the Bible Study club that we used to attend in college.  When we attended, there were only 10 students. When we visited the group hit over 220 students! This photo shows Jesse and I with two of the men who supported the group then and now.

Jesse and I visited the Bible Study club that we used to attend in college.
When we attended, there were only 10 students. When we visited the group hit over 220 students!
This photo shows Jesse and I with two of the men who supported the group then and now.

Had a quick visit with my grandmother in Crested Butte. Got to say "goodbye for now" to my favorite sign!

Had a quick visit with my grandmother in Crested Butte.
Got to say “goodbye for now” to my favorite sign!

I spent a day as a substitute 6th grade math teacher at an all-girls charter school in Denver. I have never subbed before and learned a LOT! Teachers are amazing.

I spent a day as a substitute 6th grade math teacher at an all-girls charter school in Denver.
I have never subbed before and I learned a LOT! Teachers are amazing.

Prayer Requests:

– Praise:  We are under contract with a buyer for our house!

– Request:  This is actually the second buyer we have had a contract with, so pray that this buyer will work out.

– Praise:  Great time with family over the last several weeks.

– Request:  Safe travel on our next trips. We’ll be driving over 1,800 miles and sleeping in at least 8 different places over the next 3 months.

– Request:  Jesse’s Professional Engineer exam is Friday (the 17th). Please pray that passes his exam.

– Request:  Pray that we reach 100% of our monthly support before we leave for MTI training at the beginning of May!

Thank you SO much for reading up on our journey, and supporting the work we will be joining in Uganda!

Please let us know how we can be praying for you!