Thursday, September 22, 2016

Chapter 22 - Update #8 - Raining Hope Ministries Sunday Services

The week of crusade & conference began with Sunday Services at Raining Hope & culminated with services the day before I flew home.   These two Sundays became beautiful bookends that supported the week of miraculous events that were just waiting to blossom in out growing bouquet! 
Interpreting music is a gift that God has given me to communicate to the deaf.  What they cannot hear with their ears they can see with their eyes and feel with their heart.  Through the years we have discovered that hearing people can hear the words, yet interpreting music allows them to see with their hearts.  
As I was preparing to speak at church both Sundays and at the conference,  I realized how much interpreting music is an important part of who I am.  It is not just an add on to a message to bookend the opening or closing.   This particular journey I understood in a new way that music is what is unique about me and how I am to communicate His love to the world.  
Have you ever caught yourself listening to a song over and over but never really knowing the words?  There is a show called, “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” where contestants will hear a song from various decades, and sing alongside a karaoke-style video screen until the music stops.  They have to fill in the missing word.   I have been shocked at some of the oldies but goodies that I had no idea what the words actually were.  
Today, with modern technology, you can find lyrics to songs with a quick search on the internet.   Somewhere along the way, I went from just enjoying the catchy tune to a song, to really getting to know the words behind the song.  
Hang in there with me because this is key to the whole trip.    Godfrey gave me the assignment to speak both Sundays, sign music at the crusade, and be the main speaker at the conference.   Our theme was “Christ in You - Hope of Glory.”  The scripture that I discovered to communicate this truth was “To whom God would make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory,” Colossians 1:27.   Throughout the week, all of 1 Corinthians 4 was the scripture my speaking was based on.  
 I had the scripture, a lot of truths, ideas, inspirations, and examples all excitedly dancing around in my head!  But honestly, I was having a hard time trying to put it all together on paper.  It was as if the words were not compatible and they just wouldn’t stick.  
Then two things happened that bonded it together like super glue. 
  1. MUSIC.  I began to just listen to music.  Unlike just listening to a catchy tune, I really LISTENED to the music.  I breathed in words.  I interpreted my own music for my own heart.  I realized that songwriters must be inspired by their own journeys.  As I began to listen, I felt like Danny Gokey or Jason Gray were the ones occupying seat 17B!  We seemed to have been on the same trip!   I can almost envision us having a conversation saying , “Yes, I understand!  I have been there too!”  Songs have helped me to know I am not alone.  Words have helped to pull me out of very difficult times.  Words have helped me to smile knowing how much God really loves me.   I began to really LISTEN to WORDS.     The week began to come together.  The words from songs began to inspire me, help me to focus & dig deeper in Scripture.   But the second point is why the week became effective. 
  2. THIS IS OUR  JOURNEY .  We had our own story to tell.  We effectively were writing our own songs this week.  The words began to flow because we were telling our own story.  To help you travel with me through this incredible week, I am going to include links to YouTube that should bring up the song for you to listen to.  I could give you all the words like I have done in the past.  But listening to the song itself should help to bring the week to life!

Two songs set the tone for us before Sunday.  The first one was “Stolen” by Jason Gray. Some of the key lyrics have to do with the fact that nobody is looking for heartache.  Sometimes we get broken down, busted and bruised from the inside out, but God uses that to build us up again.   The words that spoke highly to me and to the kids were this: 
“If my life never would have got broken, then my hands would have never been open
And my heart never would have been stolen. But Your love came to me at my lowest
And I've been singing ever since that moment.  Hallelujah, my heart has been stolen”

We started this Sunday recognizing that it has been 10 years since I was called to Uganda.  That first trip many of these children were only 7, 8 and 9 years old.  That first trip I met Godfrey who was not yet married to Irene.  That means all four of his children were not yet born.  That first trip I began to discover stories of how broken the lives were of some of these precious children.  After coming home from that first trip I entered a very broken & devastating time in my own life.   Yet, this song rang true for all of us on our first night together.  Our lives being so broken allowed God’s love to break in and take a hold of our hearts.  We were praising God this night knowing we have so much to be thankful for. 
You can take a coffee break and listen to the song… -  “Stolen” - Jason Gray.  LISTEN to the words and experience what we did.  Interpret the words to minister to your own heart!
On Saturday night, before we were to launch into the week of ministry,  a song by Kari Jobe called “We Are” was confirmation of living out 1 Corinthians 4:5-6. “You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves.  We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness.”  has made this light shine in our hearts so we could now the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.”  
We are the light of the world.  We are the city on the hill.  We are the light of the world.  And we gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine.”  
We entered into our week of crusade and conference knowing that we are the light of the world in a very dark world.  Our Raining Hope kids were ready to shine!  You would be SO PROUD of how bright their lights were this week!   Picture Raining Hope with encouraged hearts as you listen…  - We Are - Kari Jobe
Sunday, we began to tell the story of how the first two years we were all filled with so much hope as we began this journey together.  But then life seemed to come crashing down.  We spent the next six years walking through some difficult valleys & discouragements. We were all told to give up because what we were doing was impossible.   Many felt their dreams slipping away from them.  Ronald, our young man that got in an accident three months ago, became a picture of our story.   He was just walking on the road and suddenly he was blindsided by a taxi.  He was lying helpless on the road.  In the heat of the confusion, someone thought his legs were crushed.  Thankfully, only one leg was broken, not crushed.   That is our story.  At times we felt crushed.  Yet, we were only broken.   Yet in our brokenness, these kids believed the promise in Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.  They knew God would restore us if we stayed obedient to His call seeking Him with our whole heart.
It all changed in 2014 when the Ugandan Dream was born.  You know the story of how God rescued us and brought us to our new home and our new lives.  The song by Danny Gokey, “Rise” became our theme song for this week.  It is our story.  
There was a brokenness inside of us.  There were wounds that reminded us of the fear, shame and rejection we all experienced.  We knew we should get up but we felt defeated.  But there was something inside we couldn’t deny.  We heard the call of our creator.  He made us for more so we unlocked the door.  He wanted to restore our glory.  We are shutting the door on yesterday, leaving what happened in the grave.  We were made to rise, we were made to shine.
Do you find yourself needing to rise? This song will inspire you as it did our children.  I signed this after speaking on the first Sunday.  After signing it once, we did it again, this time the whole congregation signed with me declaring that they too are ready to RISE! - Rise - Danny Gokey 
Raining Hope is not only about food and fees.  We exist to make God known.  We exist to bring Him glory.   Our children have become ministers of the gospel. They are rising.  They are an army of hope! 
Ronald is doing well.  He is healing.  He will be in crutches for a total of six months.  But he will walk on his own again.  He will run.  He will rise on his own.  
Raining Hope has thrown away the crutches.  They are standing on their own two feet.  They are running with joy!  They are RISING believing that they were made to shine!  
The second bookend will need to wait until the end of the reports.  That Sunday was the culmination of the week so I will wait to draw it all together!   God is doing great things in a little corner of the world on Sundays at Raining Hope Ministries!   
Remaining Speechless, 

Mama Eydie Kisakye 

Chapter 22 - Update #7 - Bouquet of Flowers!

I finally found my way back to Room 35!  Home sweet home!   Being with the children recharged my batteries!   My room is on the 3rd level of the original building.  There are no elevators so it transforms into a natural stair master machine!   
When I step foot into my room, I sense His presence and know I am finally home!   There was a bountiful fruit basket with bananas, apples & oranges overflowing!    Selevus, the food and beverage manager had hot water, coffee, & tea ready for my arrival which was perfect!  But then my eyes turned to a small table near the bed.  An unfamiliar sight was a bouquet of fresh flowers!  If that were not enough, I noticed a beautiful card on my bed.  I was drawn to the words, “welcome home.”  I thought “How nice!  They leave notes for guests now!”    But then I noticed the words directly underneath… “Aunty Eydie!”  Wow!  This was a first!  I felt at home when I walked through the door.  After entering, I felt deeply LOVED! 
When my day started on Friday, it just blossomed right before my eyes.  As I walked out my door,  it was as if I opened my world to a bouquet as beautiful as the one left in my room.  Every step seemed to open up another petal on an individual flower.  The most beautiful part of my journey is always the people who have become a part of my family.   As I walked to breakfast, I began to see familiar faces.  Whether it was a smile, a handshake, a hug or a “welcome back,” the petals began to open up one by one to reveal the treasure which is the heart of this hotel - the people.  
I have only been gone for about seven months.  In that time the hotel had begun a new construction project.  They expanded the upper deck of the restaurant that overlooks the Nile River.  They are in the final stages of this renovation.   Robert had hoped it would be done before I left to be one of the inaugural diners!   The day I left for the airport, I was able to at least walk out on the deck and pray a prayer of dedication and blessing for the new addition with Mr. Otile and some of the staff!   
Friday & Saturday would prove to be full and busy days.  Between the two days we accomplished a lot!   We were able to purchase all of the food supplies for the month of September for the home.   It is always good for me to go with Godfrey to the shops we buy our main supplies.    The flower continues to blossom with each passing word of thank you to these shop owners for the way they support our work. 
As we made our way though the main part of town, it was as if flowers were sprouting up everywhere!    Walk with me for a moment through the town of Jinja.  I want to introduce you to some of my dear friends.  The sweet faces of Rita, Faith, Irene, Jude & Mubeen are like the fragrance after a rain!   They all send greetings to friends and family back home! 
We met our friend, Mubeen after purchasing our house.  We began needing household items such as appliances and furniture.  The challenge with a new shop is they see a white face and immediately think they can charge more.  Sometimes, I will let Godfrey go in without me to first negotiate.  But as the years have passed, I have gained more credibility in town. I have a Ugandan accent that comes out when I am there.   The first time we bought from Mubeen, I was the one who was able to negotiate with him.  Godfrey told him, “This one is not only American, but she IS Ugandan too.”  That moment we gained a mutual respect for one another.   We have  all become very good friends & he always gives us “the very best price!” 
Rita & her husband are the ones who named their baby after me!  Baby Eydie is now called Little Eydie!  She regularly asks for me and wonders “where is Big Eydie?”  
Faith is a shop owner where I buy many of our gifts.  The surprise when I walked into her shop was she remodeled and removed the huge display in the middle of the store!  We used to have to walk sideways through the shop just to see all of her merchandise!  It also made the shop very, very hot!  But now the new configuration made the shop much more appealing and easier to see things!   
Just a few doors down on the same block is a place called Ozzie’s.   I have brought many of my teams here to have lunch.  The owner is an older woman named  Jude.   Yes, she is an Australian who came here years ago and never left.  I had opportunity to  just sit and share a meal with her during the week.  I have been more intentional over the years to find time to get to know these friends & also just be a friend.  They all have their own stories that are fascinating.  
I have known Irene at the Source Cafe since my very first trip.  She and our friend,  Justene came to the first day of our conference.  The day after I had opportunity to talk with her at the shop.  She began to share with me the impact the conference had on her life.   For the first time, since I met her, she began to give me her testimony of her husband’s passing in January 2007 (right after leaving Uganda on my first trip).  God used the conference in a significant way to reveal God’s love to her and give her much needed answers regarding her faith.   Two truths were confirmed to me from this very precious time of sharing.  
1.  People in Uganda do not draw attention to themselves in times of crisis, illness etc.   They truly live out the truth, “It is all about Him, not about me, and everything we do is Kingdom work.”  
2.  Irene and I have become very dear friends in the past 10 years.  Yet it takes times to built credibility in people’s lives, especially in another culture.   They need to see you as genuine and this only comes from time.  Her testimony was precious.  I was left in awe as I walked out of her shop.  God is so good. 
These are all familiar friends who I look forward to reuniting with each time I return home.  What I didn’t know was I was about to add a whole plethora (I just love that word!) of new friends to my growing bouquet!   This is the second day we have driven up to the home with a van FULL to the brim!  This is only possible because of your generous love and support.  As the children  unloaded all of the food, I looked around and realized there was already a beehive of activity!  
Godfrey is so well connected.    Little did I know but he called in an army of people to help us with the new sound system!  Everywhere I turned, I was shaking a new hand learning a new name.  Each person was invited because they had a very specific job.  One of the men from the shop in Kampala, came all the way to Jinja to deliver the items we could not fit in our van.  He also brought two guitars for us to borrow for the crusade as well as other necessary items he didn’t want us to go without.  The amazing thing is he stayed to help us set up the equipment!   There were other men there to help teach the children how to use each piece of equipment.  I was honored when Godfrey introduced me to his friend, George.  This man not only was Godfrey’s best man in his wedding, but he is extremely gifted in running sound systems.  He is employed by a large ministry in Jinja to take care of all of their media needs.  Someone like this who is in high demand in Uganda is called a “hotcake!”  Love it!  So we had Uganda’s “hotcake” helping us set up our sound equipment correctly!  I had not thought through this as well as Godfrey had.  Having an avalanche of equipment come all at once would just be a pile of machines unless we plugged it in correctly to the right sources.  George was a gift from God for us.  
Two of the other men who became our dearest of new friends were Byaruhanga from Kampala & Pastor Jeremiah from Entebbe.  They like the others attended Bible College with Godfrey.  These two men were refugees from the Congo.   Byaruhanga came to teach Joel and others how to play the drums.  Pastor Jeremiah’s gifting was in playing the guitar.  To my surprise, at one point I looked over and he was playing an old accordion !  These two men committed to staying with us for the whole week from my arrival until I departed.  I will talk about them more in the updates to come . 
Like a beautiful orchestra, each person was on point in their unique spot.
As I stood in awe, I saw Pastor Jeremiah seated in a circle with at least seven students who wanted to learn more about playing the guitar.  Byaruhanga had a very attentive student in Joel who never passed up a moment to stand next to him as he gave lessons in playing the drums.  Another friend of Godfrey’s came to teach Henry how to use the new keyboard which was much more complicated than our old one.  George was going back and forth from sound board to speakers, hooking up cables and testing the sound.  It was a picture of the body of Christ, all using their gifts to bring glory to Him.  
The moment that all cables were plugged into the correct slot, all buttons adjusted to the right volume, and every person with their instrument ready to play was a moment I will not forget.  The gift of the sound equipment came to life the moment that the first notes together were played.  A symphony of praise erupted on our grounds.  I don't think my words can adequately bring to life what actually happened in that moment.  Speechless.  Simply speechless.  
My “bouquet of flowers” is a gift from God.  As the sounds of music drifted off into the neighborhood, it spread a sweet aroma like night blooming jasmine.   Be still.  Listen. Can you hear it?  
This is the sound of God’s love for us.  This is the sound of not giving up.  This is the sound of trusting in God and God alone.  
God is good, all the time.  And all the time, God is good.

mama eydie kisakye 

Chapter 22 - Update #6 - Back from Radio Silence!

Dear Friends,
I know our journey was somewhat interrupted over the past week.  I started to think of missionary days in the past where communication was mainly by snail mail!   Aren’t we blessed by modern technology?!

One of the reasons for the “radio” or “internet silence” was because the internet at the hotel was truly bothersome.  The hotel is switching over to an increasingly popular service provider, but I got caught in its transitional stage.  My side of the hotel did not have the modem equipment up and running yet.  So late at night being the only time I could write, didn’t matter much.   Yahoo also continued to disturb me throughout the journey.  At times I chose not to fight the battle.   I was also coming back to the room between 11:00 pm and 1:00 am each night.  The internet challenge gave me the opportunity to actually get some sleep!

But that turned out to not be the main reason why I went silent.  God was doing the miraculous.  We were in awe of what was happening around us.  When I sent those first couple of updates, it actually took me hours to put those together.  I found it was taking me away from time with the kids, friends and preparation time for the events.   So bottom line, I came to a decision and the kids won.  It was important for me to be in relationship with the family.  I knew you were all praying.  I will now spend the next couple of days trying to catch you up.  The stories will be just as powerful as if I wrote it on the day it happened.  I have actually had time to process and readjust while I have been in Maryland with Carol, Diane, Teri and puppies .    New insights have come during this time of debrief and reflection.  I am just as excited to write and have you re-join the journey!

So as you anticipate reading more of the story, here is a preview of what the week has in store for you!

Church Services
The Crusade - Christ in You - The Hope of Glory
The Conference -
Step In - Lean In - Rise
Point the Way - Light the Way - Shine
He Loves Us - We Love Him - Go and Love Others
The Party
The Movies
The Send Off

I am currently at Reagan National Airport waiting for my flight.  I would appreciate your prayers for safe travel!

Depart Washington DC Reagan National
Saturday, September 17, 2016
9:15 am
Alaska Air Flight 5
Arrival Los Angeles International Airport
11:52 am

I will be writing while in flight from Seat 7F!  I am excited to see what that seat has in store for me!

California, here I come!
Mama Eydie Kisakye

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Chapter 22 - Update #5 - September 6, 2016

Yes, we missed stopping for chicken on a stick!   It has become a “welcome to Uganda” tradition when I bring teams.  There is a specific place we stop on the side of the road in between Kampala and Jinja.  Once it becomes dark, the hustle and bustle of the market goes quiet.  It is ok because the welcome phrase of Godfrey, “You look younger!” was better than a dozen chickens on a stick!  (Yes, I am still soaking that one in as long as I can!) 

Godfrey called the children to let them know we would stop at home first before taking me to the hotel.   They were thrilled because usually I go to the hotel first to check in after traveling 24 hours.   It was so late they did not expect me there until tomorrow.  What they didn’t know was we were traveling with a FULL van!   

Approaching the Nile River quickens my heart because I know in just a few short minutes I will be hugging the kids!  Even in the dark as we cross the bridge, I can see clearly enough to know that I am finally home! 

Once we turned onto our road and got close to the gate, my heart began to overflow with love.  It was good to see the security wire around the perimeter wall.  When Godfrey “hooted” the horn, I jumped out of the front seat and hid behind the van.  They would be looking to the front seat knowing I was coming.  I walked in behind the van as he approached the house.  I could hear them screaming and laughing and shouting for joy!  Then it became quieter, so I peered through the window from the back.  I think Henry saw me because he quickly came running shouting my name, “Mama Kisakye!”  All of a sudden I had at least 10 kids trying to hug me at the same time!!!  Even little Jireh pushed her way through and hugged me with her arms wrapped around my knees!  I was totally covered!  As we walked into the house, more of the children came running out the door so we could hug and greet one another.   I am home!  

The storyteller in me desires to bring words to life so you can have a picture of what happened the next hour we were together.  Think about how you feel when you see friends or family you have not been with in a long while.  Now multiply that thirty two times!  This is the excitement that was flowing through the room!   After each one came to me with smiles and hugs, we settled into the living room.  They always have my “queen” chair ready for me!  Godfrey first welcomed me back home with kind words of love.  We spent the first part of our time truly being thankful that we were once again reunited. 

Godfrey then welcomes me to have a word for the children.  Before we unveiled the contents of the van, we wanted to prepare their hearts.  Godfrey does an excellent job discipling the children.  God has blessed me with a person who has the same vision and operates in the manner I would if I was here.  We have continually tried to teach truth and serve Christ with the highest integrity.  In a culture that has been taught the only way to success is to take advantage of others by manipulating & deceiving, our children have been learning the lesson of becoming more Christ-like in every part of their lives.  

A bigger lesson was at stake.  Over the years,  I have seen gifts given large or small, corrupt individuals who then want more.  Our children have been preparing for a time such as this.  They were able to see God’s hand in this provision.  Because of the work done in discipleship since Godfrey began managing the home, together with my visit in January they were ready to humbly receive with thankful hearts.  

I shared the story of how God worked from the time they wanted to postpone the crusade to when I received the news of the generous gift.  Telling them in person was a priceless moment.  It humbled all of us.  They did not know the exact items purchased.  We were waiting until this moment to stand overwhelmed at how God provided over and above.  One by one,  Godfrey and some of the older boys brought in the equipment.  With each item brought in the house, the children lifted up their voices in praise!  They were in awe to see how God had provided COMPLETELY! 

We took a few moments before we brought in one of the last items.  The keyboard was moved to phase 2.  However, the donor knew how important that piece of equipment would be.  The over and above gift was to help cover the cost of buying it for the crusade.  Henry is the one who plays the keyboard on a regular basis.  He told me later that when he was watching various boxes come in, he had hoped one would have the words written on it, “keyboard.”  Box after box came in and not one was a keyboard.  Henry was still thrilled with all the other items.  He thought, “It will come when it is time.”  Then he saw the box labeled “Yamaha.”  Could it be?  Could it be?  He told me he just couldn’t believe it when he saw the words, “KEYBOARD!”   He began jumping up and down and giving praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.  They have been so thankful for the other one I brought with the team in 2013.  But kindly he said, “That was has been more like a toy!”  When I looked at the new one…he was right!  There is no comparison at all!  What else would we expect for a keyboard I bought at a garage sale for $20!  It served its purpose and now is a backup!    

Just when the kids thought we were finished,  I told them there was one more gift.  We had all developed the new sponsorship program together in January.  They knew that I had asked all of the sponsors to give a monetary donation to buy the same gift for all.  I think they thought we would buy more clothes for each one.  I explained that I checked with Uncle Godfrey about buying this one gift for all…and it was a big!  I had them close their eyes as Godfrey & Henry went to the van for one last box.  As they entered the house, the children open their eyes…and I am sure you could only imagine the praise that erupted!!  Didn’t you hear it?  They were ecstatic with joy jumping up and down and shouting praises to the Lord.  This gift was from all of you who personally sponsor our children on a monthly basis & others who designated funds.  They send their deepest of thanks for the way you love them and care for them.  

We closed out that time by giving our thanks back to the Lord.  We dedicated the new “machines” for ministry not only for the crusade but for all future efforts to reach people for the gospel!   Godfrey and I each gave a word and I closed with a song called, “Stolen” (oh wait, not the most appropriate song after just buying all of this!).  Ha!  It is a new song by Jason Gray.  It was a reminder of the path we walked to get here.  Over the past 10 years we have had many ups and downs.   We have remained faithful standing on the promises of God.  Part of the words to the song went straight to our hearts: 
“If my life never would have been broken, then my hands never would have been open. 
And my heart never would have been stolen. 
But your love came to me at my lowest, and I’ve been singing ever since that moment
Hallelujah, my heart’s been stolen.” 

We finished in a time of praising God, praying as a family, lifting up our voices to our God. The sound of the Raining Hope family joined together like this is one of the sweetest and most precious sounds I know of.                                                                                               Remaining speechless,           mama eydie kisakye

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Chapter 22 - Update #4 - September 5, 2016

When you are 35,000 feet in the air, everything looks so small. For much of the trip during the day, all you see are pillows of white clouds that appear strong enough to walk on or take a comfy nap in! During the evening all you see is the blackness of night. As we break through the clouds to descend into Entebbe, it opens up to a world of color! Suddenly the whiteness of clouds is replaced with patches of brown and green that represent life giving crops.

I see the familiar dirt roads that bring to memory the many miles walked & driven on over the past 10 years. Villages appear with houses or huts that look so small I could almost reach out and pick one up in-between my fingers! I don’t think this route passes through Jinja, but if it did I imagine seeing our children waving saying, “We are waiting to welcome you home!”

I began to think upon my very first trip. I didn’t know what was in store for me. What would this new place hold? Why was God bringing me half way across the world? What did my eyes see back then when I peered out the window? A whole new world was opening up for me. I believe that my eyes became a window that saw straight into my heart.

From 35,000 feet, my call to Uganda became clear. Of all the places on the face of this large expanse of earth, God uniquely called me to a home in Uganda. His assignment for me is to a group of 32 children in a home in Jinja. It is to the family of God at the Hotel Paradise. In such a large world, God chose me to serve here. What an honor and privilege it is to call this home.

As I heard the familiar announcement, “Cabin crew prepare for landing,” my heart began to quicken. Out the window I now could see Lake Victoria which always signals we are almost home. I starting thinking about Godfrey who was at the airport waiting to receive me. “What too must he be thinking now? As we approached the runway, I asked myself, “What awaits us on this journey? What will God do on trip number 22?” I realized that as we touched down all I was required to do was step into it and follow His lead. He has everything in His hands. The miraculous was waiting and He would receive all the glory. As I put my foot on Ugandan soil, or airport terminal floor (soil sounds better!) I dedicated this chapter to the Lord. I was seated near the back of the plane so I was near the end of the lines for passport control.

The health check you pass through now is designed to physically check your yellow immunization card. That was a surprise to me. I was glad that the day before I left I got a booster shot for typhoid. Because I didn’t have my passport for a couple of weeks while it took it’s vacation without me, I didn’t know it was time for the booster. Whew! Covered!

Then came passport control. I have the uncanny knack of picking wrong lines. I pick a short line and it will inevitably turn into the longest line! I was just about the last person from the flight to approach one of the windows. I had been in the “Others” or “Visitors” line. But the “Ugandans” line had opened up so they moved me over to that window. I have called Uganda “home” so this seemed appropriate! We were fine until they had me use the fingerprint machine that is just a scan for the computer. The strange thing is, my fingerprints didn’t want to scan! The agent kept saying, “Push harder,” “It is easy,” “You have no fingerprints!” Still the machine just flashed a series of red lights (we’re looking for green!). I have never had a problem before! My thoughts turned to, “I made it all the way here and will be denied because my fingerprints now have taken a vacation!” Suddenly, the machine worked correctly and the lights turned a beautiful green! I was so thankful to see the “entry” into Uganda stamp on my Visa! As I walked away to collect my luggage I realized that episode was similar to what the enemy tries to do in our lives. He pulls out all the stops and tries to deny our entry to the blessings that God has waiting. Red lights can be flashing everywhere that feel like a dead end. Things in life sometimes don’t make sense. “You have no fingerprints!?” What?! Yet, God always gives the green light! When we persevere and don’t give up, our “fingerprints” will show up! Actually, His prints will be all over it!

As I pushed my luggage out to exit the terminal, I searched the crowd of faces. Immediately emerges the face of the one I was looking for ... Godfrey! What a welcomed sight with his huge grin! I know in that moment that I am in my Ugandan home. As we greet one another with a huge hug he then utters the familiar words, “Welcome back!” But then he said something that filled my heart... “You look younger!” Ha ha ! That was new! But you know that I loved it! We had a good laugh as that statement actually left me speechless. I thanked him and he said, “Younger is good! That just means He has added more years that we will have with you!” Don’t you love it!?
We were definitely NOT speechless on the drive. Godfrey had decided that it was better we buy the sound equipment today as we drove through Kampala. That way we avoid having to come back to Kampala on Friday, saving petro (gas), time and the headaches of daytime traffic. I wholeheartedly agreed to that plan if it saved us an extra trip!

Godfrey had been dealing with a business in Kampala for over a year now. He was compiling the list of equipment that we would eventually need. This particular shop deals with many churches in the area. They are reputable and fair. They even honored original prices from a year ago, even though their prices have risen. Godfrey said in Uganda it is very important to buy from the right people. Godfrey knew that we were purchasing quality equipment. So many other places are selling imitations that end up breaking after a short time of usage.

As we arrived, the shop owners had reserved a spot right in front of the shop to park. This in itself is not an easy task. They actually lost the original spot to another driver, but another spot miraculous opened up. Godfrey said it is a rare jewel to find a spot in such a crowded place. Having the list ahead of time, they were prepared for us. They had three other items that were needed in order for the equipment to run properly. Because of the generous donation above and beyond the need, we were able to add those items with no problem. There were a couple of things the shop gave us to borrow. We decided not to buy the guitars right now and add that in phase two. But the owners wanted us to have a full sound lacking nothing so they insisted we borrow two guitars! We finalized the list and had everything that we needed and more.

Because I had just arrived I had not exchanged money yet. We walked to one exchange center but they closed the door just as we walked up! We eventually found another one that was still opened. I exchanged enough money to cover the sound equipment plus a little more. Then something happened right in front of our eyes. There is a whiteboard that has the current exchange rate for buying and selling. That moment the US dollar had an exchange rate of 3370. After the exchange, we were standing next to the whiteboard as someone came and changed the rate to 3360! That may seem like a small amount. But when exchanging thousands of dollars it adds up! God gave us more for our money just at the right time before it was lowered! That is the first time that has ever happened to me.

Since in Kampala, we also took care of purchasing the TV for the home. This is a gift given from all of the children’s sponsors. You can get much better prices in Kampala which is a big city. The owners of this shop brought over the man from another shop they trusted. We had already priced TV’s in Jinja. We purchased a 40” flat screen TV for the wall for the same price as a much smaller TV near home. God is so good.

As they began to pull all the merchandise and get it ready to load in the van, I found myself tucked in a corner on a stool. Close your eyes and imagine this with me. You hear the city sounds of Kampala busy with activity. Horns are “hooting” as Godfrey puts it! Cars are trying to squeeze down the two lane road, or make it three lanes depending on how aggressive they want to be. People are bartering on the streets trying to get those going home from work to stop. They are selling everything from food to shoes to clothes to household items to some things I am not sure what they were. Voices and laughter fill the air. Street evangelists are proclaiming the name of Jesus. Mocker’s voices try to be just as loud. In the midst of all of this, I sat in the shop, in a corner and I am overwhelmed. “Be still and know that I am God,” is going through my mind. These familiar words from Psalm 46:10 became alive to me. I watched as boxes labeled, “Yamaha” or “Pevey” and “Honda” filed past me. Honda was for the generator that is a beautiful red. I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful generator! Pevey is for the drum set that is a gorgeous maroon. I was so overwhelmed that I ended up sitting in the van after most of the items were loaded.

When I got in the van, Godfrey had turned on the CD player for me. I had to smile when these words from a song by Building 429 immediately filled the van, “There is no such thing as impossible. And nothing is unreachable when we trust the God of miracles. We know, we know, we know that there’s no such thing as impossible.” “It takes a little time, takes a little time, it takes a little time to see. It takes a little time, takes a little time, it takes a little time to believe.”

We left the shop believing nothing is impossible with Him. We were speechless that we drove away with everything needed for the crusade.

The drive at night is much more peaceful than dodging traffic. So peaceful I dozed off a couple of times. We would not arrived in Jinja until 10:30 pm (yes it means we missed the traditional chicken on a stick!) You will have to wait to Update #5 to hear what came next! 
Remaining speechless,
mama eydie kisakye