Friday, January 6, 2012

Chapter 13 Update #3

Raining Hope Uganda Trip
December 28, 2011-January 11, 2012
Chapter 13 – Update #3

Happy New Year!   We had a GREAT overnight prayer gathering in Uganda last night! The various churches in Kakira meet at Deliverance Church to have a join service. We arrived a little early. As I walked in, the first person I saw was Shiphera (Pastor Paul & Margaret’s little girl!) I had great success because she actually came to me and stayed with me the whole time! The past couple of visits it took some time for her to be comfortable with me. You can imagine my delight to have overcome that obstacle! She is actually celebration her 2nd birthday this Thursday!

Unfortunately, Pastor Paul was not able to attend the services. Apparently, they had some timber delivered this week to continue with the construction of their church building. Two nights before they began having thieves try and steal their timber. So Pastor Paul was staying the night at the church to stand guard. He did come over for just about 1/2 hour to visit with me & wish me a Happy New Year.

Annet (our houseparent) was also missing from the festivities. Annet is an accomplished singer and has just released a new CD! She is now in quite demand and was ministering in one of the other overnight services in Jinja! I will be excited to get one of her new CD’s!

The ushering in of the new year is such an amazing experience. We sing, we pray and we listening to great messages from various speakers. Just before midnight, a speaker begins talking about the closing of the old year. The worship team of singers and dancers are standing ready to burst out in song! The people are on their feet in anticipation of breaking out in celebration. The atmosphere is growing with excitement as everyone is ready to leave 2011 behind. Everyone begins praying out loud. The singers begin a worship song. Everyone begins jumping and dancing and shouting praises to God. When the clock strikes midnight everything breaks loose! People begin carrying chairs over their heads. The sound is almost deafening! Everyone is filled with overwhelming joy. You really can sense that 2011 is now a thing of the past. We are ready to begin a brand new year!

In the midst of all of the joyous celebration, Shiphera had fallen asleep on my lap about 1/2 hour before midnight. She was fast asleep through it all! It is hard to put into words the feeling I had with her sleeping on my lap. I had such a sense of peace and calm. I prayed the new year in looking at the face of a sleeping little child. I believe that was God’s Word to me that this year will be one of complete Peace!

We left the overnight just before 2 am. Because we were going to attend church on New Year’s day at 10 am at Pastor Paul’s church, staying until 6 am would have been a challenge. I found out later that they organizers of the event had included Godfrey & myself to speak a few words to the congregation...but not until after 3 am! I think by 3 am I was already safely in bed resting!

This was a good decision because I enjoyed starting my New Year at Cornerstone Church that morning. Pastor Paul delivered a very inspiring message. He encouraged us to keep our eyes focused on God this new year and not to allow anything to sidetrack us. We believe together that God is going to do great things this year.

Paul asked if I would sign a song to bless the congregation. The words of song became my prayer for Cornerstone & myself this year. I share them with you as well to be your hope for the new year...
“Be strong in the Lord & never give up hope.
You’re gonna do great things, I already know.
God’s got His hand on you so don’t live life in fear.
Forgive and forget but don’t forget why you’re here
Take your time & pray
These are the words I would say
From one simple life to another
I will say, come find peace in the Father”

I invited my family here to join me for lunch at the Hotel Paradise. This ended up being a blessing that God lavished His grace upon. We sat for hours by the river Nile having lunch and enjoying our time of fellowship. These are the moments that they ask about all of you by name wondering how you are all fairing. They pass on their well wishes to you all.

But Pastor Paul initiated a precious time of sharing before we left. We each went around the table and shared our prayer requests for this new year. We then spent a good time in prayer for each request. It was a powerful moment of bonding. This ended up being my “New Year’s Brunch” with my family here.

Pastor Gerald joined us back at Raining Hope Children’s Home for a while of sharing. Right now because it is holiday time, many of our children are back with relatives. There are only 6 children at the home right now. But by the end of the week they should all be back home so we can enjoy time together before I leave. We are postponing our Christmas/New Year’s celebration until more of them have returned.

The one thing about having only 6 children at the home is ALL of them get to escort me back to the hotel! They love coming to make sure I arrive safely! Because the Christmas tree is still up in the reception area, I brought them all in to see it! They were all smiles when I took their photo next to the decorated tree.

It was only 9 pm when I arrived back at the hotel. But it took all I had to stumble into the room to “lay down for a few minutes!” But I woke up at 3 am to continue putting final touches on what I am sharing today in the conference.
And I wonder why I am so tired at 9 pm!

This morning has been so refreshing. I attended morning devotions with the hotel staff in the beautiful area on the Nile. It is so peaceful. I am always amazed that the Lord allows me to start my New Year in such a holy place. There are also more of the staff that attend the gathering. It has become a small house church! It is so good to stay in a place that puts God first in their business.

Mr. Otile, owner of the hotel, shared the first message of the New Year. He too encouraged us to draw close to God this year. This year we should walk in the truth. God desires to bless us if we would just let him!

As far as I know, the conference will be each day this week concluding on Saturday, January 7th. The host is Amazing Grace Church in Bukaya. It runs from 3 pm-7 pm. (4 am-8 am California time) I will be speaking and Godfrey will share as well.

Our theme is 1 Peter 2:9,  “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people.  you are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.  As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”  

Please pray. I will update you tomorrow on more of the details of the conference after I experience the first day!

1 Samuel 12:16 , “Now stand here and see the great thing the Lord is about to do.”    


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