Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Chapter 20 - Update #9 - August 15, 2015
Monday - 8/3
We are home! This is the first time in all my years traveling to Uganda that I am sending my updates after I have arrived home! As soon as the team arrived, we hit the ground running! After spending the first week by myself, I had to shift into team leader mode. I had immersed myself so much in the culture this time, when the team arrived I had a little bit of reverse culture shock...and I was still in country! I found myself with no time to write updates as my responsibilities to the team and to the kids both increased. We started the day early and ended very late. My notes under the door and prepping team surprises all happen once everyone was off to bed. I actually did get to sleep in between all of that!
It was a HUGE blessing that I had Shannon Sutton with me as my photographer/videographer. I am so thankful for Shannon. She posted 4 video updates for our team. That took some of the pressure off because she was at least posting a few video updates so you could “see” what the team was involved in. They are all posted on the Raining Hope Facebook page. Soon they will be added to my blog in case you do not use Facebook.
I believe that the updates will still have an impact on you as you read what God did!
I still have the Monday before the team arrived to report on what God was doing. After experiencing God in an amazing way Sunday night, I was still in awe on Monday morning. I was able to share one more time in the morning fellowship at the hotel. I arranged to have the team take turns leading that time once they arrive. Because many at the hotel attend Glory Be to God Church, they were aware of all that happened yesterday. They were overjoyed when they heard about the deliverance of Vivian and her healing!
I was able to spend most of the morning sitting and catching up on updates up to that Sunday. It was so helpful as Godfrey was trying to take care of other business. We were able to purchase a luggage rack for the top of the van with the generosity of all of you who give to the ministry. This was important for our ministry as now we don’t need to rent the larger vans for airport pickups! This will save us a lot of money!
Godfrey met me at the hotel for lunch. We were able to go over a lot of details in preparation for the arrival of the team. We made more decisions concerning the completion of the perimeter wall. We decided to spend the money to finish the sides of the gate with stones that really added a lot to the beautification of the entrance. The wall has given the property a whole new look from when I was here in April! Thanks to everyone who gave towards the completion of this important project.
Godfrey & I also began discussing the direction that Raining Hope is moving. The majority of our children are the equivalent of upper jr. high school and high school. We are beginning to focus on Biblical discipleship and spiritual development. We got into a long discussion about this. Godfrey had the name officially changed in Uganda from “Raining Hope Children’s Home” to “Raining Hope Ministries.” This will allow us more freedom to minister in multiple areas not only limited to the home. For example, going to the schools, ministering in villages, preaching in churches, will all fall under Raining Hope Ministries! We are excited about the direction God is leading us!
With that said, Godfrey has been spending time with the children helping to discover where they are at spiritually. This is something I have not had with any of the four managers who have served in the past. I was under the assumption that discipleship was happening, but recently found out that it was more limited than I was being told.
When I was there in January of this year, I was able to sit and hear all of their testimonies. We were under the assumption that all of our children had accepted Christ as their Savior. Yet, Godfrey began to discover some of them were confused with what they believed. The good news is during one of the devotion times a week before I arrived, four of our children prayed to receive Jesus as their Savior! I was overjoyed but surprised at the news! Godfrey said that the problem in Africa is there is a lot of bad theology that is circulating. I am so thankful to have Godfrey leading our children as they are being taught straight from the Word of God.
God is moving at Raining Hope. This news was overwhelming for me. And it got even better...
Before our nightly devotion time, Henry asked me more about my signing music. He wanted me to teach him the process I go through in picking a new song. We put on a CD and picked a song I had not heard before. It was on the CD “Hillsong Young & Free.” The song was, “Sinking Deep.” Something amazing began to happen. I was walking him through the words teaching him how I listen to the words and add movement according to the moving of the Holy Spirit. But as I closed my eyes, I began to listen to the words and I stopped teaching. I was overwhelmed with the words of the song. So I kept signing knowing that Henry could learn by watching. He was surprised that I had not heard the song before. But we all got captivated by the power of the song.
Sinking Deep - Hillsong
Standing here in your presence, in a grace so relentless
I am won by perfect love. Wrapped within arms of heaven
In a peace that last forever, sinking deep in mercy’s sea
I’m wide awake, drawing close, stirred by grace and all my heart is yours.
All fear removed, I breathe you in, I lean into Your love, oh your love.
When I’m lost you pursue me. Lift my head to see your glory.
Lord of all, so beautiful. Here in you I find shelter
Captivated by the splendor of your face, my secret place.
Your love so deep, is washing over me
Your face is all I seek, you are my everything
Jesus Christ, You are my one desire.
Lord hear my only cry, to know you all my life.
After, I opened my eyes there was a long discussion about God’s love for us. First it was Henry & Frank and a few of the children. The more we talked about the meaning of the song and explore what it means to truly have a deep relationship with Him, the more children that gathered. We kept sharing with one another until it was time for evening devotions.
I can’t remember now all that I shared during the devotion time. But it was an extension of what we began talking about the night before desiring to be totally immersed in Him. I watched the children have a thirst for knowing more. I signed the same song, “Sinking Deep.” I had Godfrey close our time with an invitation for those who desired to accept Jesus. To my absolute surprise, six of our children stepped forward. Surprised only because it was Maria, Ronald, Zuluta, Sophia, Difasi & Henry. These are all our older children who I thought already had received Christ. Henry especially was a surprise. I thought maybe he misunderstood what was happening. But when I talked to him later he said that for a long time he was not confident that he was saved. Because he is a leader in the home, he was hesitant about voicing his doubts. He has been evangelizing at school, but said he knew something was missing. That night he said, “I knew tonight was the night. I know now that I am saved.”
It was a precious moment for us that evening. In the past two weeks, ten of our children have come to know the Lord. Two of our children have been delivered & freed. The first girl I talked about is Esther and the second is Vivian. The other four who accepted Jesus were Doreen, Joel, Daniel and Sharon. God is alive at Raining Hope. It is a new day.
By time I went back to the hotel that night, I was speechless. I am still processing all that this means in the life of our ministry. I am thankful to have Godfrey who is training them the way they should go by directing them to Jesus and depending on His Word.
The next morning I would awake and go to pick up our team. I sent Pastor Doug an email to let him know what had happened. He was already at the guest house in Entebbe. I asked him to prepare the team by telling them God is moving in ways that I can’t explain. All I ask is that they join Him in what He is doing. What a great Henry Blackaby teaching moment.
The next update will finally pick up on the team’s arrival and ministry!
mama kisakye !