Update #6, Sunday, June 10, 2012
I have personally been in awe this week of all that the Lord has done. On Wednesday morning, Pastor Paul had invited me to attend a very special reconciliation meeting for the city & region of Jinja. A US-based international evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke was in town to conduct a crusade in Kampala. The story is that in 1991, he was barred from holding a crusade in Jinja. While preaching, Bonnke noted, “I had an unhappy incident in Jinja when armed soldiers stopped me from holding the crusade and told me to go away.” Bonnke has not been back to East Africa since that unfortunate event.
The pastors of Jinja have been working for some time to bring a time of reconciliation to the city of Jinja with Bonnke. Before beginning the 4 day crusade in Kampala, Bonnke traveled to Jinja for this significant time of reconciliation. The event was held at Jinja Christian Center (JCC). I came on a boda boda as I had the team stay back at the hotel to have their quiet time. I met Pastor Paul there at the church as he was one of the organizers. I was surprised when I arrived that there were hundreds of people there praising the Lord. As we waited for Bonnke to arrive there was such great anticipation. Then he came by police led escort. It was as if the President of Uganda himself were there. Yet this humble man of God stepped out of the car with smiles and a wave of the hand. He came and greeted each pastor with a handshake and a simple, “God Bless You.” Pastor Paul kept me by his side the whole time so I too was able to greet this man of God.
I was overwhelmed with the power of the Holy Spirit as I witnessed this beautiful reconciliation event. There was a pastor that spoke on behalf of the pastors, the city of Jinja and all the surrounding regions. Part of what was said was this, “We take this opportunity to say thank you for coming back to Jinja. We have been having a deep thirst and longing to meet you again. Especially after the unfitting manner you left Jinja the last time you were here. We take this opportunity to say we are embarrassed, disappointed and deeply hurt by the disrespectful way that you were treated which led to your departure against your wish and our great loss. We repent for the painful way you were treated. We want you to forgive us and have a prayer of blessing over our pastors, this city of Jinja and the region as a whole.”
I watched as the pastor approached Bonnke and reached out his hand. Bonnke took it with a smile and accepted the apology. With hands raised and smiles on each face, the place erupted in applause and praise! Bonnke then came to give a word of encouragement to the people. He did pray. He pronounced peace over the land. He gave very prophetic words over the city. I felt honored and privileged to witness such an event in my lifetime. Even though I was not here in 1991, Jinja has become such a part of my heart. As I too received the blessings of the day, I felt the power of what happens when we are obedient to being reconciled to one another. In a newspaper article, Bonnke stated, “As a man of God I hold no grudge against anyone who who was involved in stopping me from holding the crusade.” He also “advised pastors who are fighting each other to instead fight the devil who is causing divisions among them.”
They said, “Last time we don’t know how Bonnke actually left the country. We don’t know if he left by car or what. This time, he enters into the land by police escort!” He came back as an honored guest.
Watch and see what the Lord does in the town and region of Jinja.
This week we have been ministering at Amazing Grace Church in Bukaya. This is the church our children from Raining Hope Children’s Home attend. We have learned great lessons in being flexible and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us each day. During the week, children do not get out of school until 5 pm. Many adults that work also are not finished until 5. Each day the conference was scheduled from 3:30 - 6:30 pm. Each day as we walked into the church, there would be 5-6 adults leading in worship. One by one as adults & children came, we would end up with close to 40+. I was leading the adults in a study of the Holy Spirit. The team would close the time with a shorten version of what they had been teaching. It was a powerful time for all of us. The team told me that twice after the end of the service a white dove would fly from the rafters out of the room! It was an overwhelming experience after the Word of God was shared. The Holy Spirit was ministering deeply to our souls. One day as the pastor came for a time of invitation, five people came forward and prayed with the pastor. It was a powerful moment to see the moving of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the people.
The Holy Spirit moved in the hearts of the team as well. I would look and see tears streaming from their faces. I talked and prayed with a couple of the team members as the service continued. Several of our team are making significant commitments to the Lord. I am witnessing the team being touched by the Holy Spirit in ways that they are getting rid of things in their lives that have been holding them back. The team has been overrun with the joy of the Lord!
Two decisions that have been significant this week have involved Tessa & Jessica. Both of these women have been touched by the Holy Spirit in a precious way. They recognized that even though they have a deep love for Jesus, they wanted Jesus to be their personal Lord and Savior. I had the privilege of praying with both of these girls to accept Jesus in their heart! I have watched Tessa become a brand new person in Christ. She has become a bold testimony for a changed life! Jessica’s great faith has deepened in a new way. She has been so full of joy and peace! One by one all of our girls are experiencing Jesus in very personal ways.
Today is a very significant day as we will conclude our time of ministry at Amazing Grace Church. Services begin at 9 am and conclude somewhere around 1-2 pm. Godfrey, our pastor from Mukono will be preaching in the 9 am hour. I have been asked to speak in the 12 pm hour. It is not 2 services but just one long service! Pray that we allow the Holy Spirit to move mightily through His house.
After the services, we are going down to the Nile River. The exciting news is 4 of the students are going to be baptized today! Tessa & Jessica, Elizabeth & Brittani (who have accepted Christ but not been baptized by water immersion) will be walking into the baptismal waters of the Nile! I will be joining them to assist the pastor in the baptism.
Today also marks an important day in my life. After 5 years of ministering in Uganda, my close friends and family of Raining Hope are giving me an African name! They are having an unveiling of the name at a “cake ceremony” at the home after the baptism! They said the Lord revealed a name to them and they are waiting to tell me at the “naming ceremony!” After the baptisms of the students today, the pastor will “baptize” me into my new Ugandan name!
Another significant event happened a few days ago. One of my dear friends who many know is Rita. Rita & her husband gave birth to a baby girl last week! You can imagine my surprise as they announced that they named the baby after me! What a joyful and very humbling experience to have such an honor given to me. We visited them on Friday and I was able to hold the precious baby! The team said, “Look, Mama Eydie is holding Baby Eydie!”
Last night, Mr. & Mrs Otile, owners of the hotel treated the team to a beautiful dinner next door at their sister hotel. As we walked in, they were seated at the head of the banquet table. The girls all commented that they felt like royalty. It was as if we were in the presence of the King & Queen! Yet they are humble and Christ-filled servants of the Lord. They treated us like royalty as the honored guests. We all felt so undeserving. It reminded us of how undeserving we of are of all that the Lord gives us. Yet our Father lavishes His gifts on us if we would just accept them. It was a very precious time for the team.
I will share in a separate update words from the students as they prepare to conclude our journey here in Uganda. Yet you will see for them, the journey is just beginning. Thank you for your prayers. The Holy Spirit is moving in ways that we can’t explain!
|Pastor Paul, Eydie & Mrs. Otile at Bonnke Reconciliation Meeting|
|Eydie, Rita & Baby Eydie!|
|Eydie speaking at Amazing Grace Church|
|Raining Hope Children & ISP Team|
|Baptism Day at the Nile|
|Eydie's African Naming Ceremony|
|ISP Team & Naming Ceremony|