Thursday, January 28, 2016

Chapter 21 - Update #8 - Thursday

I have made it back safely to Maryland!  Thank you for your prayers.  When I arrived at Dulles International Airport, I had to take a taxi to Carol's house.  Due to the recent storm that has been categorized as a blizzard, she was not able to get her van out of her driveway.  But when I got in the taxi, the first thing the driver said was, "You came in on the perfect day.  It has been so terrible up until today."  God answered our prayers.  The driver said one day the ice was such an issue that it took him from 8 pm until 4 am to get someone to their destination!  I couldn't believe it.  

The other issue was when I make this stop in Maryland, I am wearing sandals and African clothes.  Carol will have my winter jacket, boots, hat, gloves and scarf waiting for me.  So this time my concern was walking outside without being properly equipped for the frigid cold.  But when I exited the airport to find a taxi, it was about 35 degrees and I was actually comfortable.  I was thrilled.  As we made the 45 minute drive to Carol & Diane's house, the roads were clear & there was snow everywhere!  It was BEAUTIFUL!  When we arrived at Carol's I could see why she couldn't come to the airport.  Not only was the driveway too narrow to drive through, the neighborhood roads were also too narrow.  I had never seen anything like it.  

We basically spent the first day at the house snowed in and I loved it!  I am spending time just easing back in, processing the trip with Carol, and missing the kids a lot.  Today (January 27) I helped shovel out the snow in the driveway.  It is now wide enough that Carol can get her van out.  For a California girl, snow like this is definitely an adventure!  I had a blast!  

Amazing to go from 75-80 degree weather, wearing sandals to 35 degree (20 degrees or so at night) weather, snow and wearing boots, hats and winter coats the next day!  It is a good thing we are snowed in.  Heather mailed my box of winter clothes here so I don't use luggage space taking those things to Africa.  Because of the blizzard, all delivery service has been delayed.  My winter clothes made it to Washington DC but they still sit somewhere at a warehouse until the big trucks can get down the street.  So I have found myself still wearing my african dresses which is fine as long as I stay in the house!

It is good for me to stop here on the way back.  It allows me to ease back in as the reverse culture shock is always hard.  I am processing the journey with Carol who is helping me tremendously.  It is good to be here with her family, which includes the four puppies!  I am catching up on updates which will take me a few days to complete.  I started the following update at the airport in Dubai. 

While outside shoveling snow, I actually got so warm that I took off my heavy coat and was comfortable with my light sweat pants and long sleeve t-shirt (the only clothes I had for outside). Unbelievably perfect weather!  Carol's sister, Diane went to Starbucks and brought me a latte!  It was "drive-thru" service!  She handed me the latte in the driveway as she drove back in.  That was probably the best tasting cup of coffee that I have ever had!  

I am blessed, I am thankful, I am loved! 
mama eydie kisakye 

Raining Hope - Chapter 21 - January 24, 2016 - Update #8
I started writing this yesterday and said, “It’s Sunday and it’s a beautiful day!”  Then I had to stop which is how it has been since the conference started on Wednesday!  I am going to catch you up while traveling as today is Monday.   

I am currently at the Dubai Airport with a 4 1/2 hour layover.  It was a good thing that I happened to look at my boarding pass for Dubai to Washington DC.  What I thought was a receipt behind the boarding pass was actually a voucher for food in the airport!  So I got some food & water with the voucher, then bought a latte at Starbucks and have settled into a corner to write.   I probably won’t be able to send the update until I am in Washington DC.  

One of the boys said to me last night, “I think this is the best trip yet since you have been coming.”  I believe one of the reasons he said that was because this trip was mainly focused on discipleship. Everything with this trip centered around the conference & the launch of the fellowship on Sunday.  It also included our Bible study in the evenings.  We also had significant times as a family that drew us even closer with one another.  

As I sit and think back on all that God has done since Wednesday, it seems like one LONG day!  Each day built upon the next day.  I was not getting back to the room most nights until 11:30 pm.  I was amazed at how fast I would fall asleep.  Some nights my head hit the pillow as soon as I entered the room.   I would immediately fall asleep without even changing clothes!   Then the nights I had energy to write, the internet was down.  

I went back to update #5 to see where I left off.  I was pleasantly surprised that I had already written about Wednesday and the first day of the conference!  So I will catch you up from Thursday forward. 

I spent the morning studying and preparing for the conference.  I usually sit outside the hotel restaurant to study.  This way I can greet my friends from the hotel.  Today I had an “unwanted little guest.”  I had my portable fan on the table next to the computer.  All of a sudden, a bee landed on my computer case.  It wasn’t bothering me so I kept working.  But then I heard a strange noise...SUDDENLY the bee was upside down ON my computer.  I realized the bee went THROUGH the fan which ended up being fatal for the poor bee!  I took my sandal and swept it off the computer feeling sorry for it.  That feeling did not last long.  I went back to the computer and kept working...then all of a sudden I felt something pinch my arm.  Turns out...when the bee went through the fan, the stinger part of his body didn’t go with him and my arm landed right on it!    I ended up stinging myself even though the bee was gone!  Geesh!   I pulled out the stinger and threw it on the ground.  I used a bottle of cold water to keep the swelling down.  After about 30 minutes, I looked down where I had flung the stinger and it was gone!  Turns out, I witnessed a team of ANTS carrying that stinger bottom of the bee off to who knows where.   I created my own entertainment for the morning!  I actually had an “insect sting” wipe in my little first aid kit.  One of those things that you think you won’t use.  This time it came in handy!    I knew when it first happened, I knew a sermon illustration could be drawn from this.  

“Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. ‘O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.  But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  I Corinthians 15:54-57  

It reminds me of the wonder of the good news of the gospel.  Death has no hold on us as Paul says in these verses.  The glory of the resurrection has doomed satan forever.  The stinger was separated from the body but it still had a bite.  Satan was defeated at the cross but he still has a bite.  But the resurrection of Christ and our future resurrection says he is doomed forever.   Amen!   So the day the little bee went through my fan turns out to be a lesson that shares the Good News!  

Most of the morning it rained!   I have had perfect weather.  It has been in the 70’s and lots of rain.  It cleared up in time for the conference that afternoon.  

The second day of the conference we had more people attend.  Fred is already back in session for this first term at school.  He invited some of his classmates to come back with him after school concluded.  He had 4 or 5 friends there.   We had more neighbors attend.  Andrew came from the hotel.  Plus we had about ten of the neighborhood children come.  Godfrey also asked our plumber to come and do some work at the house.   He invited him to come earlier and stay for the conference.  The plumber accepted and stayed for the whole conference before getting to the work we needed.  He was fully engaged in the worship and was challenged by it all.  He told Godfrey he had work the next day in Mukono but would try to reschedule so he could come for the last day.  I have been doing the teaching and Godfrey concludes with prayer and time of commitment.  It has been powerful to see our family rise to another level of commitment as they grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus.  

The focus on the second day was how we can find ourselves farthest away from God in the desert/dry times in our lives and living lukewarm in the middle between the desert and the river.  We talked about work base faith which is a problem in the Ugandan culture.  So many in this culture believe that you need to do things to gain approval from God.  God’s grace is an unmerited gift of his favor and kindness.   So many have been in the desert away from God because they think they have made too many mistakes and are too far to accept His grace. 

Romans 10:9-10, 13 “ If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.  For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” 

This was powerful for them to hear.  This was important for them to understand.  I wish you could all have been there to see their faces and see acknowledgement as they let this truth soak in.  

We have been concluding the conference closer to 7 pm (Ugandan time)!  As supper is prepared, I had the opportunity to just spend time with the kids Individually.  They were challenged by what God was teaching them through the conference.   It was inspiring to hear what they learned.  I am hearing so many stories of their past, especially how they have been told they are not good enough or would never amount to anything.  The message of GRACE impacted them.  They have this new energy and new hope.  Annet also came and shared how God is working in her life & she now has courage to keep pursuing the ministry He has put in her heart.  

Godfrey called a meeting each night with the praise team and all those who were involved in the leadership of the conference.  When I looked over he must have had over fifteen of the kids evaluating the current day of the conference and how to improve for tomorrow.  I sat in the sitting room in such peace ... taking a short nap on top of that!  

When I woke up they were just finishing the meeting.  All of a sudden there were at least seven of the older girls walking towards me with chairs.  I thought maybe they were going to talk to me about an evaluation of the meeting or something about tomorrow’s message!  But they formed a semi circle around me and said, “Older Girls Night!”   They said one of the sweetest things to me.  “We love you and we just wanted to hear your voice!”  I just melted!  So many times this is how I feel about God.  I love Him and I just want to hear His voice.

In the meantime, Jonathan went to make sure that they made chapati for me.  Earlier he said, “We had wanted to make chapati for you but got back to the house too late.”   I told him that it was not a problem.  But it must have bothered him because he felt as if he promised to do that for me.  So he returned and said,   Mum, “We are going to make you chapati.  So just sit and relax!”  They are such servants filled with the love of God.  I watch themed serve with such love not obligation.  They are examples of God’s grace and love!  

I left that evening filled with wonder & awe at how good God is.  When I go to bed at night, and my head hits the pillow, it is not just from exhaustion.  It is a deep sense of peace and gratitude for our loving God.  “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,  all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”  Isaiah 26:3

mama eydie kisakye 

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