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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Birthday Story

The other day the ladies held a luncheon for my birthday.  I was blessed with many gifts, hugs, and words of appreciation.  One of the husbands sent along a letter for my birthday, and I have his permission to share it with you. 
"The story that you are about to read is very remarkable.  It's a story of a remarkable woman of God who left her cold country for the sunny one because of her great love for their people.
This woman arrived in the sunny country many years ago.  She met various people one at a time and they were all fascinated by the excitement this lady brought.  They buzzed about her in the street corridors, in the market places, in the churches, everywhere.  She brought a new kind of life, a new laughter, vigor, energy, and excitement.
The lady went about doing good, sharing her passion for God and helping people to be reconciled with their creator.  She went to different churches, different districts, different groups and to different homes and families.  In all these places, she left peace, joy, love, and laughter.
I heard all about this lady and I was enthralled by everything about her. As fate would later play its part, I met this lady from the cold country that everybody had been talking about!  She was the most joyous person I had ever met, she walked with such grace that only God could give.  The good thing about it was that I met her through another close friend and hence, we became friends.
One day, there was going to be a great wedding between her friend and a fellow from the sunny country.  This lady from the cold country participated whole-heartedly in organizing the wedding and making sure everything was in place.
On the wedding eve, she stood on the stool of the sorts and boldly addressed those who had arrived for the wedding rehearsal dinner.  Everybody kept quiet and listened to this lady; who spoke with such grace and boldness!  Whispers went around of people asking who she was; only to be told she was the "Honourable M.P." representing another lady from the cold country in the wedding.
The Lady sung with grace during the wedding, she spoke with a heavenly smile, and later on served people as though she was serving the Lord.  Rain poured on her, but even this could not deter her from serving the people.
In short, this lady from the cold country is well described by many as a woman of substance.  To me, she is an unending stream of joy, her laughter is extraordinary, she brings comfort to the sorrowful, she's a friend to everyone, she is a gift from God to humanity, there is not a single word that can describe her well.  I just found out that she is called Karebear Lubbers and today is her birthday!!!
Happy Birthday Honourable!  We celebrate you!!"
Thanks friend - speechless really. 


For the past few days, I have been with a few team-mates and our local Ugandan partners, learning about the Proclaimer.  It is a solar powered audio Bible, and it comes in the local languages of Uganda.  We spent time learning how to lead or organize a listening group and I truly believe God is going to use this awesome tool.
 Each group spends time listening to some passages of Scripture, and then will take time to answer three questions - of head, heart, and hand.  1. What did you hear?  2.  What has God touched in your heart? and 3. What are you going to put into practise?  Over time, we hope to hear, see, and gather many testimonies from the villages.  Please pray for God's Word as it goes out.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Time for a Top Up

Greetings fellow readers, it has been a while and now it's time for a "Top Up" in my world. 
 Top Up is the local version of ketchup and I can honestly tell you that I have no idea what it is made up.... but I like it.  :)
 Here are my Ugandan parents... Bishop George and Mama Cathy, as we traveled to the village of Pingere last week to share with some primary and nursery students at Forestview School.
 A typical classroom for this village education centre.
 I didn't see any pencils or notebooks, so I'm not sure how the kids worked out their math problems.
 I was able to share with all at the assembly. 
 Christ is the Rock - the firm foundation upon which we shall build our lives.
Did you know that the word "Rock" is in the Bible 117 times, and the word "stone" is 186 times?  I found that quite inspiring during my devotional time last week, and the Lord has turned that into a great lesson topic for Children's Ministry opportunities.  This week alone I have gone to three different nursery and primary schools, to encourage the kids and tell them Bible stories. While holding up a rock, I ask the kids "What do we use rocks for?"  Most of the answers I receive are for building houses, or for holding pots over the fire, but I make them think a little deeper - "What about as a weapon?  What about a firm foundation?  An altar?  A place to get water from?  or a Pillow!!?" The kids laugh as I rest my head on the dirty rock.  But soon stories of David fighting Goliath with 5 smooth small stones, or Moses getting water from a rock in the desert, or Jesus being tempted to turn the stone into bread, or Jacob sleeping on a rock and dreaming that God is in the place.  I always finish by telling about the most amazing Rock - Christ.  The Rock upon which we stand.  And He is able to be our Rock today because the stone was rolled away from the grave and He came to life again... defeating sin and death.  God is good!
 Two days later we went to another nursery and primary school.  Bright stars school is in Soroti and there I was able to introduce a new short termer to the school system.  Beth stayed with me for 10 days before transferring to another teammate's house.
 I started off the week at Precious Children Nursery school.  They were the cutest kids ever!!
 160 kids under a mango tree - to hear Bible stories about rocks.
 Cultural dancing
 My little bud Trevor!
Lunch time at the school.  For African Child Day celebrations they ate rice pilau and had a juice.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Back at the Farm

Back to the garden, to check on the corn and the beans that were planted using the "Farming God's Way" methods.
 Chris and Pastor Fred are looking over the beans.
 I'm excited by the health and height of the popcorn.
 Standing in a sparse garden or field, you can see how the "Farming God's Way" patch is flourishing.
 Pastor Fred has never see this anomaly before - corn growing out of the top of the stalk.
Cobs are beginning to grow!
 I also had to share a few pictures of my neighbour kids playing with my niece Kate.  Kate is a missionary kid - the one in the striped pink dress... and she came to hang out with me one morning.
 Fun times.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Apology Accepted

Biking home this evening, I was stopped by a young man whom I haven't seen in some time.  He was glad to see me because he had something heavy on his heart and he thought I was out of the country.  For some reason he hasn't found me in two months, but I've definitely been around.  Anyways, he wanted to apologize for lying to me.  You may even remember a previous blog post I wrote about this young man, a former child soldier, who said he had no home.  Well, I thank God today because the Lord is truly working in his heart.  He wanted to ask for my forgiveness for lying to me and for making up that story.  But even better yet... he now knows he definitely has a Father who cares.  He spent some time on the edge of the Nile river, thinking it would be better to just jump in and drown, but now he smiles with true peace on his face.  He said that he heard God's voice saying "The pain is gone!"  The Lord has removed his burdens and struggles and replaced it with joy.  He was delighted to tell me that now he just laughs out loud when he is in a room alone, visiting with God.  His life has changed and he wants to make things right.  He is a child of God!  AMEN!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Biblical Business Training

It's been a full week with Mukasa Livingstone in town.  This very knowledgeable, Godly, and giving Ugandan man came to Soroti to lead a training on Biblical business practices.  Chris (my team-mate) and I walked alongside a group of very enthusiastic trainees.  We discussed products, services, and the poverty bucket.  We studied cash flow and other mathematical problems and people were excited to start a business that will actually make a profit.  I pray that this training will bring a few people out of poverty - and that food can be on the table, rent can be paid, and school fees planned for. 

Just a Little Messy

My latest bus journey was quite interesting.  One man had come on the bus with his two children and was sitting near the back.  The conductor was slowly making his way through the bus checking or issuing tickets.  When the conductor reached the man in the rear, he told the man that his 8 year old daughter needed a ticket.  The man started to complain that he didn't have the money for a ticket, and he thought that children were free.  The conductor started to explain that a new policy was in place, and children now had to pay to ride the bus. 
People on the bus started to back up the passenger.  You can't just charge for children... that's not how it goes.  Voices were raised and people were angry. The girl was standing in the aisle, so she wasn't taking up any seat space.  After a five minute debate the conductor finally let the girl remain at no charge.
Later on the journey, as the bus was emptying, my seat mate decided to cross the aisle.  I thought it was so that he could sit by an open window and get fresh air.  Well... open window yes!!  Within seconds, he was vomiting out the window.  That was bad, but what made it worse is that the bus was sailing down an open stretch of road, and the speed of the bus carried the vomit into the open windows behind the nauseous patient.  I thought I might need my open window after I saw passengers in the rear wipe vomit from their faces.  Oh the joys of public transit.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Discipling Community Transformers

Recently I met with fellow kid's camp leaders for a follow-up meeting.  Conversations centred on how exciting it is to see so many youth coming to play games, memorize Scripture, and study God's Word.
The most exciting part for me was when one of the leaders pointed out our true goal for the Kid's Camps.  Three times a year we are having children come during their school term breaks.  We might start getting kids around 4 years of age, and it would be awesome to see them leaving camp when they are 20 years of age, ready to become Community Transformers.  The Word of God will be tucked in their hearts.  They will be shaped into leaders as they participate in the Bible studies, and assist in leading worship or playing games.  A long term goal is awesome!  I look forward to seeing how this group of leaders can grow tighter and stronger in their vision.
 Serving Servants... the loved both the banana and spice cakes. 
A great group of leaders