Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Uganda Trip - Chapter 14 Update #1 - May 29, 2012

Chapter 14 - Update #1 - May 29, 2012 
Hello friends & family from Uganda!  
For those who are new to my updates, I am on my 14th trip to Uganda in 5 years.  I have entitled each set of updates according to the number of the trip.  So appropriately this is chapter 14 in my story of my life in Uganda!   There are some pictures at the end of the blog so make sure you read through until the end! 
We have only been here for a few short days, yet we have watched the Lord work in amazing ways!    We had great flights out of both Los Angeles and London.  We met a young man in the London airport who was returning home to Kampala to visit family.  It turns out that he is from Riverside!   Another young lady commented on my Ugandan clothes.  She is a singer and was traveling to South Africa.  As a performer she is always looking for unique clothing.  As we talked, I discovered that she was from Brazil but living in San Diego!   
The whole team did well with the long flights, but were very anxious to get to our destination!  As they looked out the windows and could see the land of Uganda, they immediately noticed the difference from peering out the window approaching London.  As soon our feet landed on Ugandan soil, the eyes of our team have been wide opened to the beauty of this country and the people.  They enjoyed the 2 1/2 hour drive from Entebbe to Jinja soaking in all of the sights around them.  We stopped for our traditional chicken on a stick and roasted bananas.  I always love watching their eyes as we pass around the chicken!  
As we approached the Nile River signaling we are only moments away from our hotel, the anticipation continued to grow.  After months of training, the day has finally arrived!  As we arrived at our hotel we were warmly greeted by the staff who are now my family.  The team immediately noticed how friendly and hospitable everyone was.  We spent the rest of Friday just getting settled in and adjusting to the new surroundings.  
I have been pleasantly surprised on this journey by the news of 2 of my friends pregnancies!  When I went into the business center of the hotel, my friend, Apophia rose up from behind the desk to greet me.  The joy I felt inside when I saw she was pregnant was overwhelming!  When we went into town on Saturday, I was again surprised when we walked into Rita’s shop.  Rita is the one who paints the batik clothes that we sell.  She too rose up from the back room and revealed that she was pregnant!  Rita is expecting within the next two weeks!  Hopefully we will still be here when the blessed day arrives!  
This seems to be the trip that new babies and new life are the theme.  Pastor Paul’s wife, Margaret gave birth to a baby girl just last Tuesday!   Their new daughter’s name is Keren named after the 3rd daughter of Job in the Bible (Job 42:14).  I saw her yesterday for a brief moment.  She is PRECIOUS!  
Sunday we worshipped at Revival Christian Church (RCC) that is the home of many of the staff members of the hotel we stay in. The team LOVED the authentic worship of the Ugandans.  It was exciting to be with the church as it marked the last Sunday they will be in this facility.  They have acquired land and are meeting in their new home next Sunday!  Praise the Lord!  Pray for RCC as they are conducting crusades all this week in anticipation of their first services.
We ministered to the children of RCC during  Sunday School time.  The team did an amazing job in communicating the message that Jesus is the Light.  We had close to 70 children in attendance.  At the end of our time together, the Sunday School teacher gave an opportunity for the children to accept Jesus.  There were 12 children who gave their lives to the Lord!  In the midst of all of this, we had a DOWNPOUR of rain!  It was so powerful that we had a hard time hearing one another as the rain hit the tin roof we were ministering under!  Most of our team members have never experienced rain quite like this.  Since arriving we have had tremendous rain in the evening, along with powerful thunder and lightening.  During the day we are having beautiful springlike weather!  God is good!  
Monday we were able to go to the Source of the Nile.  As one of our Sabbath days of rest, we took the morning to just appreciate the beauty of His creation.  It is so powerful &  inspiring to stand at the shores of the river Nile.  All of the Bible stories of Moses and the Nile just come to life when you actually can touch the waters!  Part of a devotion I share with the team talks about how the Nile river provides life for fish, birds, reptiles, trees, crops & people.  Everyday 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 it gives.  However, in 1862 John Hanning Speake completed his quest to find the source of the Nile river.  He would stop at nothing to find the source of the Nile River.  In the same way, I am watching the team stop at nothing to seek the Source of life.  They are seeking to open their eyes to the wonder of God.  The challenge of this devotion from the Source Cafe is this... “Seek the source of Life in all that you do, whether in America or Uganda, city or village.  My team is doing just that.  
We will be working with Cornerstone Church all this week conducting Vacation Bible School,  Monday-Wednesday from 3 pm-6 pm.  The challenge we are facing is that the children are all back in school.  We were not sure how many to expect.  But at the beginning of the VBS we had approximately 70 children!  As the afternoon continued on more children began showing up.  By time we concluded at 6 pm we had between 175-200 children!  Praise the Lord!    Thursday-Saturday we will conclude our time at Cornerstone with a Women’s Conference.   Please pray for wisdom & discernment.  Pray for the hearts of the people who will be attending.  Pray for decisions to be made for Christ.  Pray for the team to adjust to the differences in the culture and the language barriers.  We are so thankful for our interpreters!  But just think how hard it is to try to translate “Duck, duck goose” or “Ring around the Rosy” when we are playing games!  Ha!  
It was also a privilege to minister in Cornerstone’s newly completed renovated building!  They finally were able to construct the top part of the church.  For years we have been ministering in the bottom level (what we would think of as a basement).  The new building is bigger, spacious with a cool breeze flowing through.  In the lower part of the building it was hot many times as the air would not circulate through as easily.  It is so humbling to stand in the place of answered prayer! 
The highlight of the weekend was visiting Raining Hope Children’s Home!  We were greeted enthusiastically & joyfully by the children!  As the team exited the van, they were each greeted by 2 or 3 hugs at a time!  It was joy for me to watch the children love on the team.  As we entered the house to have a time of welcome and introductions, I was overwhelming surprised by our Raining Hope Children’s Choir.  They 27 voices beautifully lifted up a strong & powerful welcome song to the visitors.  They also created a new “Raining Hope” song that they unveiled to the team.  I had a difficult time holding back the tears.  We sang, we danced, we worshipped, we loved.  
Our children attend school Monday through Friday from 6 or 7 am (depending on the age group) until 5 pm at night.  The team LOVES being at the home and would desire to be with the children more.  But they understand that it is out of our hands.  We are finding that the 2-3 hours we are at Raining Hope are so jam packed with quality time together.  We leave wanting to be with them more!  So the team is taking a difficult situation and turning it into a positive!  
Thank you for your prayers and your support.  The day that I sent the last update out concerning the current needs, close to $1,000 was sent to Raining Hope!  The wire has arrived here and we are busy paying for school fees and supplies.  It was nice to walk into the house and have electricity!   
We still are in need of close to $1,500 for additional bills and supplies.  Yesterday some of my children escorted us back to the hotel.  I had noticed one of the children did not have any sandals.  As I inquired about it she said, “Our shoes are over” meaning that they are all worn out and unusable.  The money that is needed is for my buying necessities such as sandals for all of the children.  Even without, the children are so full of joy just to have the visitors in their midst!   They are truly an inspiration and a treasure. 
  1. Continued wisdom & discernment as we trust in the Lord to lead us daily.  Plans change on a continual basis daily.  We just want to follow His plans not ours. 
  2. Pray for each team member as the Holy Spirit is ministering deeply to each one.  They are not the same group of young ladies I met last November.  They are seeking his treasures here in Uganda.  Pray they search diligently and deeply. 
  3. Pray for moving of the Holy Spirit.  Yesterday it was the windiest I have ever experienced at the Source of the Nile!  It was exciting for us as we thought of the words of in a song, “Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree.  Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.”  We truly stood there and felt His presence rushing like the wind!  
  4. Pray for the continued good health for the team.  A few of the team members are adjusting to malaria medicine etc.  Pray that we stay healthy.  
  5. Pray for the funds to purchase supplies.  If you can help with any of this, please contact Carol John at carol@raininghope.com or 805-377-7387.  
In the next update you will hear directly for the team members what their insights have been since arriving in Uganda! 
Thank you for your prayers!  We love you all! 
Revival Christian Center VBS

Raining Hope Children's Choir

Cornerstone Church VBS

Cornerstone Church new building 

CBU International Service Project Team Uganda Children May 23-June 13, 2012

Eydie & Shiphrah (Pastor Paul's daughter)

Eydie & Rita (expecting any day now!)

Eydie & Apophia (expecting later this year) 

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