Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chapter 23 - Update #4 - January 4, 2017

  I kept thinking all day that Sunday was January 2nd!  It felt like Monday because I had gone to sleep around 5:30 am.  When I woke up it only seemed like it should be the next day, right?!  My body has surely been in a confused state!  
Because of the overnight, we all rested on Sunday morning.  Godfrey had announced that we would have church services at 5:00 pm rather than at 10:00 am.  He told me later the children didn’t even wake up until 10:00 am!  When I left the house there were still visitors lingering around.  The children were not going to be able to sleep until everyone had left.  They are such gracious, patient hosts.  I don’t think they were actually able to really go to sleep until 7:00 am.  
I spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon in my room in a cycle of sleeping, studying and sleeping!   I didn’t go down to breakfast because I knew we were going to have our New Year’s feast which I thought was going to be at 2:00 pm.  But Ugandan time put the feast closer to 3:30 pm!  Guess I should have eaten breakfast!  
Wow, did we ever feast!  Because of the generosity of those of you who have given, we were able to buy all their favorite foods!  We had rice, beans, matoke, greens, g-nut sauce, spaghetti (or as they call it macarone), irish potatoes, cabbage, and probably other things I am forgetting.  We also had our traditional bottle of soda which is reserved for special times of celebration.  
Because Annet’s birthday is December 23rd, Godfrey’s is December 24th, and mine is December 27th, the feast was also a birthday celebration!  Of course with the celebration of Jesus’ birthday on December 25th, it became one big party!   We didn’t have time to get a cake so we will celebrate once again this Sunday before I go home.   My former Pastor Cliff and his family would always tease me that my birthday was a month long celebration !  Nothing has changed!    

Getting ready to serve our feast! 

Our feast!  Left (Greens & salad)  Middle (Matoke, irish potatoes, Gnut sauce, spaghetti, watermelon, pineapple, rice)  Right (Chicken in sauce)
Our Raining Hope family enjoying their feast.  Thank you to our supporters!  
I suddenly realized that it was after 5:00 pm.  We were the only ones at the house at that point.  But faithfully the children started setting everything up.  On the way to the house, there were very dark clouds that were a welcomed sight.  But the concern was it raining during the service.  When we had the conference in September, we had purchased tarps to create an overhang that covered the front porch and connected it to the tents.  But because of the hot weather, the sun beating down on the tarps has spoiled them.  Eventually we would like to do something more permanent using metal to create a nicer looking overhang.   
Because we rented two more tents we were able to be under covering if it would have rained. But by time we started the services the light showers had already passed. One by one, faithful believers came to worship with us for the first service of the new year.  We actually had a pretty large group in attendance.  The fact that we spent all night in worship didn’t stop these from coming to honor Christ at the first of the year!


Joanne & Irene in worship! 
Silvia leading worship

Joel playing drums

Godfrey wanted me to share this morning giving an encouraging word for the start of the New Year.  We continued to expand on Psalm 65:11, “You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.”  This verse has been a huge encouragement for all of us.  It worked well with Godfrey’s message concerning our theme of PRAYER & LOOKING MORE LIKE JESUS.   In order to resemble Jesus we need to spend time in His presence.  Godfrey actually talked about how husbands and wives start looking more like one another the older they get as they spend more time together.  I didn’t want to say that in America they can say the same thing about pets and their owners!  They definitely would not understand that concept!  
Godfrey told everyone that when we are in town, so many people think that I actually am the one that is from Uganda.  Because of the way I dress and carry myself people mistake me all the time for living here.  I expanded on this as the point he was trying to make was the more time we spend in the presence of Jesus, the more we begin to resemble Him.  The reason people mistake me for being from Uganda is because of the time I spend in the presence of my Raining Hope family and the Ugandan people.  I adapt to their culture, their language and their ways.  This year we are calling for our Raining Hope family to spend more time in the presence of Jesus in prayer and in His Word.  We want others to see Him in us this year. 
I also read a devotion in our Daily Bread for January 1st.  It was called, “Thanks Living.”  It told the story of a girl who wanted to mature in her spiritual life and become more thankful.  She started a “Thanks Living Jar.”  Basically every night she would write on a small piece of paper one thing she thanked God for and dropped it in the jar.  Some days the praises were easy.  Other days when things were difficult she had a harder time finding one.  But at the end of the year, she emptied the jar and read through all of the notes.  She found herself thanking God again for everything He had done.  I challenged everyone to have a “Thanks Living Basket” or use a journal to write down one thing every night.  Because our theme this year is prayer, I had them go one step further and pray a prayer of thanksgiving for that item as soon as they write it.  
I encourage you as well to start a “Thanks Living” journal, jar, or basket!  Together we can see how many reasons we have to thank God this year - “including His gifts of friends and family and His provisions for our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs.  We’ll see that the goodness and love of God follows us all the days of our lives.”  Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  
I finished with the song, “Beautiful Day” by Jamie Grace.  Wow.  This ended up being a perfect song to celebrate the first day of the year with!  Our children know and love this song.  As I signed, they were all either signing, dancing and singing along!  “Oh, there’s something ‘bout the way, Your sun shines on my face.  It’s a love so true I can never get enough of You.  This feeling can’t be wrong.  I’m about to get my worship on.  Take me away - It’s a beautiful day.  It’s a beautiful day!”  
Right before services, I began to doze in the comfy chair in the living room.  But by time we finished services I was so energized by His Word and the response of His people!   The first day of 2017 set the tone of the new year!   
“You crown the year with bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.”  Psalm 65:11. 
Still celebrating the New Year! 
Mama Eydie Kisakye

Bonus: After we were done my iPod kept playing.  They broke out in dance and song and were filled with so much joy.  I am working on posting the videos so stay tuned!  

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