Saturday, August 28, 2010

Raining Hope Uganda Trip - Aug 8-23 2010 #8

Update #8
It is Saturday, August 28th, and I have spent this first week back unpacking, resting & processing all that God has done & continues to do. I wanted to fill in the missing few days I was not able to get to a computer to update you. I read over the updates to see what blanks to fill in. Wow. Reading it all at once is just overwhelming. It is difficult to describe how we were feeling each day. We were awestruck at how He orchestrated each day. Seeing on paper how much God accomplished in 2 short weeks continues to amaze me.

I had updated you on various aspects of the last week of our trip. In the midst of the ministry, it is important to provide the team moments of rest. These are our “Sabbath Days” of rest & recharging. These are all local attractions that don’t cost us a lot of extra money.

The Source of the Nile is where the Nile River begins. Everyone always enjoys our stop here. Here is an excerpt from the devotion we use about the Source of the Nile…(Rev. 22:1-5) “The Nile River begins here and twists and turns around 4,000 miles before it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Every day, from the beginning of recorded history until now, communities of people from Uganda to Egypt have come down to these waters to take part in the life that it gives…we are all here because at some point we became discontent in merely drinking from the waters of life and we decided to seek the Source….we are seeking to encourage you, wherever you are to open your eyes to the wonder of God. Seek the Source of Life in all that you do, whether in America or Uganda, city or village. May God open our eyes to Christ all around us.” Kelly & Solomon were standing at the edge of the Nile and caught a glimpse of a family of otters! That surprised me too!

I always explain to team members that the area of Uganda we are in is very green & lush pasture. It is unlike what most people think of as more like the Rift Valley, dry and barren. Consequently that also means we are not around animals such as lions & giraffes. The most that we may see is an occasional monkey or two. Well, God gave us more than we expected! When we were leaving the park we were greeted by a huge family of monkeys on the side of the road! The most I have ever seen at the park is one or two. Denise & Kelly loved it! Funny story and answer to prayer… that morning, Denise had woken up in the middle of the night. She said she was praying for me about the upcoming meeting I had that day. She had written me a note and left it at the door. Each morning I was leaving notes under the door for the team…so she knew I would be coming by. When she laid back down, she looked out the window at a palm tree. She prayed that it would be nice to see some monkeys even swinging on the tree. She got back up and noticed that I had come by and slipped something under the door. But this morning was Kelly’s Golden Day…and I had slipped a bunch of paper “monkeys” under the door! She busted up laughing…God answered her prayers! Little did she know that God had a huge family of real monkeys waiting at the Source of the Nile!

We also took a boat ride to Samuka Island. It starts on the Nile River and travels across Lake Victoria to this little island. It is a very relaxing ride. Part of the trip includes going past Jinja Sailing Club and the Fishing Village. This is one of my favorite devotions we share because it is very challenging as followers of Christ. It comes from Mark 1:16-18; 10:17-23. It gives a stark difference between the beautiful hotel/sailing club (under renovation) on one side … and a common fishing village on the other. “In light of Mark 1 and 10, which group of people here would most likely drop everything to follow Christ, should he show up on the scene right now and offer an invitation? Standing between these two worlds, which ones would be the most likely disciples of Jesus? Many of the Christians here in Uganda have left everything to follow Christ. They have been extradited from a Muslim family to become a Christian. They have been misunderstood by their communities because they have refused to see the witch doctor or take his advice. They dropped their nets to ride a bicycle to a village once or twice a week to preach. It makes us question every day who the real disciples are. They are examples to us of freedom. It makes us re-imagine what we terms as “sacrifice for the sake of the gospel” into “an opportunity of freedom. The invitation is always open.” Really makes you think.

The third place I take the team is Bujagali Falls. This is a beautiful part of the Nile River that has rapids more than “waterfalls.” The blessing was we arrived right when two tour groups of white water rafters were going through the rapids. We had free entertainment! Most of the time I pay the locals to watch a man go down the rapids holding onto a jerry can! But this time we watched boat after boat of rafters brave the rapids! Only a few spilled out into the raging water!

These moments of rest in the midst of a day are refreshing. At each one we marvel at God’s creation. There always seem to be teaching moments if you listen carefully. Even at Bujagali Falls, we quietly looked at the calmness of the waters just before the rafters plunge into the rapids! But they all came out on the calm end of the river and continued to float down until they reached the next set of rapids. Isn’t life similar to this picture? Life will have moments of turmoil and trouble. Yet with God, we will endure.

After the meeting with the landlord’s daughter on Thursday, we went to Cornerstone Church with Pastor Paul. The church was having a women’s conference. I had been invited to come and share a word of greetings. Because of the meeting I had with Paul at the beginning of the week, I was able to go together with him, Margaret & Shifora. It was a celebrative & healing time! We worshipped & praised together with the women. Paul introduced me and welcomed me home. I signed the song “I Found Love” that seems to be the running theme of the week!

On Friday, we went back to Pastor Gerald & Ruth’s home to help him string the guitar. It being a 12 string guitar, it became a challenge for Kelly & Pastor Gerald to re-string. But it gave us more time to spend with Ruth and the kids. I was able to see more of the YWAM campus than I ever have before. Ruth even prepared a meal for us. They were excited that we were able to stay and share a meal in their home!

On the way back to the home, Solomon asked if we could stop at the Global Seminary campus where he used to live. He wanted us to meet his other family there! We were greeted with huge hugs and welcomed smiles! Solomon also wanted us to see their business they have of raising chickens both for eggs and for fryers. It was amazing! Once we get our farm in working order, this is another avenue of income for the home to help them become more self-sustainable.

We made one more stop on Saturday to the orphanage that Solomon’s friends run. These are young men that Solomon grew up with in another orphanage. It was really a surreal moment to see all 4 of these men standing together. The director, Moses said that they were given a chance in life. They now just want to do the same and give children the same chance for a better life. They are ministering to street children, all boys. Moses is a tremendous artist…one of the best I have seen in Uganda. They are teaching the children art so they can have a trade to help sustain them as they get older.

This trip has been about reconciliation.
This trip has been about our being more self-sustainable.
This trip has been about hope.

We had our soda party on Saturday. Some had said they had not had a soda since Christmas. We bought small muffin/cakes for each one. Some couldn’t remember when they last had one of those. They were elated when we told them we bought meat for their supper!

Each night we had praise & worship, prayer & devotions. We started signing to one another “I Love You.”
We shouted at the top of our lungs “Strong & Courageous!”
We signed our memory verse, Jeremiah 29:11 “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 a hope and a future.” The children believe this. They have a renewed hope.

The funny thing is each night as we closed, we danced to the song “Cupid Shuffle.” They loved it! Move over makarena…the cupid shuffle has taken our kids by storm! It is just good to see everyone get up and dance and be so filled with joy!!

We met another woman and her husband at the Paradise Hotel. Their names are Athol & Rosie. They are a couple from Australia that also ministers to those in Africa. As they were leaving, Rosie stopped to pray with the three of us ladies. We exchanged contact information. As she looked over my brochure, she became overwhelmed as we prayed. She shared that she saw our ministry expanding. She saw an expanding of our tent peg. She encouraged me to not get discouraged because He has plans for us.

That has been confirmed over and over on this trip. It has been a highly encouraging and powerful trip.

I believe it is because we have been obedient…
Reconciliation is a powerful tool.

I am sending a separate email concerning the home and what God is doing in regards to the future. It is big! Please be in prayer for us that God would provide.

Today is Saturday, August 28, 2010. I will be going to Ojai to attend the 2nd Annual Micah’s March. This is a walk and dinner/concert to support the family of Micah Marshall (son of Devo Marshall – my co-laborer with the children in Uganda) They are raising funds for his medical needs as well as raising awareness of SMA (spinal muscular atrophy). Please be in prayer for this fundraiser and for Micah who is now 2 years old!

Thank you all for your support & prayers. “He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3 We experienced Him. He came to us. He poured Himself out. We are moving onto the Promised Land!


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