Raining Hope Incorporated
Chapter 11 – Update #3
January 1, 2011!
Happy New Year from Uganda! As I write this, I have already celebrated the ringing in of the New Year at an overnight service in Kakira! Back at home on the West Coast, you will be celebrating the New Year in just about one hour! Seems so funny that I have already gone to sleep and started the new year!
I arrived safely yesterday in Entebbe. For the first time while I was going through passport control, the agent said, “Are you a resident?” Even though I was standing in the line marked “others,” she still asked! The security was a little higher yesterday. The praise is all three of my pieces of luggage arrived safe and sound as well!
Solomon & Annette were both waiting for me at the airport! The traffic was pretty heavy going through Kampala because of New Year’s Eve. Many go to overnight prayer services. The Nelson Mandela Stadium has a huge gathering for prayer. Solomon is an amazing driver! He knew how to get around all of the traffic by going back roads. We picked up Godfrey in Mukono on the way to Jinja. By time we arrived at the hotel it was close to 6:45 pm.
Solomon wanted me to rest before the overnight service. It was just enough time to freshen up and rest a little before heading to Kakira. My normal “house” (room 35!) was occupied when I arrived! Someone had decided to stay an extra night. So they put me in room 34 for the night and will switch me back to my normal room today! It really was not the same staying in a different room!
The hotel is very festive, decorated with Christmas lights and Christmas trees! I am enjoying them as much as I can today as they will all be put away by tomorrow!
The overnight prayer service was at Deliverance Church in Kakira. It began at 10:00 pm and went on until I believe 6 am. By time we arrived it was close to 11 pm. We picked up Pastor Paul’s wife, Margaret and Shiphera on the way to the church. It was a glorious night of praise and worship. There is nothing like praying in the New Year here in Uganda. The church probably had close to 250 or more people. When we walked in the church, it was alive with everyone singing and praising God! There was dancing and shouts of joy! As it got closer to 12 midnight, everyone began praying to God. The joyful sounds just elevated as people were thanking God for the past year and looking forward to 2011. We continued on until just praising God until about 12:15 am. After that there were specials in song that were amazing. Everyone was so full of energy and joy. Annette shared in two songs and was great as always.
Pastor Paul shared one of the first messages of the New Year. The four points that he made that will be his resolutions for the new year came from Acts 6:4 “Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word,” and Joshua 24:14-15 “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
1) This will be a year of prayer and ministry of the Word.
2) Fear God
3) Serve Him Faithfully
4) Throw away everything that was a problem last year. Do away with anything that doesn’t glorify God.
5) Worship and serve God together as a family.
Simple but to the point! Amen!
Pastor Paul also had me share a few words and sign a song. I shared the song “Brand New Life” by Rachel Lampa. It seemed appropriate as we began a New Year together! Some of the words to that song are, “I never realized what is meant to be free. Now I see all I need is what you want from me. I believe that you’ve erased any doubt. I know it now, can’t live without all you’ve given me.
So this is how it feels to be forgiven. So this is how it feels to be really living.”
“I’ve never seen a miracle before. Now I see them everyday for sure. It’s almost like you’ve opened up a door to a brand new life.”
And as I was reading in the book of Luke 4:18-19, these were the words of Jesus, “God’s spirit is on me; He’s chose me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind. To set the burdened & battered free. To announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
Amen! May this be a prayer for all of us this New Year! In the NLT, verse 19 reads, “The time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
Yesterday, on the flight from Dubai to Entebbe, we made a stop at Addis Ababa. The checking in was a little crazy. People were not listening to the woman trying to control the flow of people boarding the plane. She announced that they would board by zones. This way they board from back to front. No one seemed to listen to her. There was a flood of people that tried to make “Zone H” into “Zone B!” I finally got to my seat and settled in waiting to see who would occupy the seats next to me. I think I got bumped and hit more by people going down the aisle than all my flights combined! I felt like I was in the bumper car ride at the county fair! I even had a person drop their carry-on on my toe!
The lady sitting across the aisle from me was in the wrong seat. The gentleman tried to tell her that she needed to move. At first glance, it looked like she was being extremely rude. She appeared to not want to listen to him. He finally got a flight attendant to help. Turns out…she was to sit next to me!
As she settled in, she didn’t converse much. But then as she had trouble getting her seat belt to buckle, I leaned over to help her. She quietly acknowledged with a nod “thanks.” Then after takeoff she couldn’t get the tray to open. So I leaned over to help her. Again, just another nod. But then when the flight attendant came to ask if we wanted a soft drink or juice, the woman next to me tapped me on the shoulder and said, “coke, pepsi.” To my surprise, the flight attendant said, “which one? I have both.” The woman said to me, “Miranda” which is a local soda in Uganda. I knew that much and told her…no Miranda…and she nodded and took a pepsi. That broke the ice and she finally tapped me again and said, “You American?” This began one of the most interesting flights I have had. She is from Ethoipia and speaks basically only Arabic. She tried to tell me how she cleans houses, she is not happy, very sad, someone is not nice to her. We were able to communicate that much because she started using “sign language” in a sense to convey her story. She would sign “tears” coming down her face to tell me that she was sad. She told me someone was “not good.” She made the sign for “house” that I understood she does some cleaning.
When we received our landing cards, she asked if I would help her fill it out. Now that was a challenge! Imagine her speaking Arabic & I asking her in English, “What is your occupation?” “What is your purpose for your visit?” But we were successful because half way through our struggle, I saw on the back of the card the same questions in Arabic! God used that to show me what to do! The questions I could not answer from her passport, I counted the number of the question in English and matched it with the Arabic and pointed to her! Amazingly enough…it worked! There was another young man sitting next to her next to the window. The whole time he remained quiet as well. But towards the end of the flight, he saw she was not watching anything on the entertainment screen. He quietly leaned over and turned on the flight information so she could watch the flight in progress.
It was difficult to not be able to talk to her with words about God. But I pray that the Holy Spirit revealed to her the truth by actions. I gave her one of my necklaces that I pray God will use to remember our visit on the plane. She almost did not take it but then said, “thank you.” When she got off the plane at Addis Ababa, she gave me a big hug and kisses on the cheek. Her name is LemLem. Please keep her in your prayers.
This was a great lesson in not pre-judging someone. She wasn’t being rude in her actions. She just didn’t know any English and did not know what people were saying to her. She ended up being one of the sweetest young ladies I have met on an airplane.
I now am in my normal “house” of room 35! I now feel like I am in my home in Uganda.