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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thoughts From the Nile

It's early morning, here in Uganda, and I'm peacefully watching at least 17 monkeys quickly scamper up a hill beside the waters of the Nile to find respite in the surrounding trees.  The waters are swiftly moving, making me think about the fisherman the night before, who must have battled the current with great strength to throw out their nets by the light of a lantern.
Again I have returned to Mto Moyoni - a spiritual retreat centre, and this time I brought with me 4 adults who care for orphans in Soroti, and 4 church leaders from a remote village of Abim.  All of us have come to learn more about the heart of God.  Especially his Father heart and how He cares for us.  We spent a long time looking at the story of the prodigal son... when really it is a story about the Father... who forgave his long lost son, RAN out to meet him after patiently waiting for him, GIFTED him with robe, ring, and sandals that once again declared him a son, and also PLEADED with the older brother to come back inside and spend time with him.  Really, the younger son chose correctly on that day... he wanted a relationship with his father. 
Uganda is a country full of orphans.  This can happen through some obvious reasons - like HIV/AIDS, and war (Idi Amin, Joseph Kony), but also for reasons like - one parent is farming in the village while another is struggling to survive in town for months on end.  Or many children are sent off to boarding school... even for elementary level... where they have no parents with them for a whole semester at a time.  My heart breaks... no wonder it's hard to really grasp the heart of the Father.
These past few days have also made me so grateful for my upbringing!  I have amazing parents - who provided for me, or at least prayed for God's provision when they couldn't provide.  Parents who taught me how to read the Bible and love God's stories.  Parents who modeled never-ending love, discipline, care, support, affection, and patience.  I have always felt like I belonged!  And I know I have a place to call home.  I love that my parents not only taught me about faith, work, and the value of education, but they also had fun with me - played games, sang songs, and created in me a passion for travel. 
I know that my parents are not God... trust me, they are not even close... but somehow, because of my blessed life and upbringing, it is easier for me to feel, know, and understand God.  I am so grateful for His love, care, and compassion.  I know that God is always near, and He grants me peace in each circumstance.  It's so refreshing to soak in God's presence!

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