Donate Here

DONATE HERE: If you wish to send support for God's Work in Uganda, please click here! Every donation is deeply appreciated.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Life's Little Blessings

Days continue to pass by quickly here, as each one is filled to the brim with diverse activities.  I just want to share a few praises with you.
1. There is a new Anglican priest in town.  He wants me to do a week long training at the end of February for at least 2 teachers from every parish that he oversees.  That means over 100 teachers, to be mentored on how to lead children.  I'm excited about this huge project and delighted to be working with yet another passionate man of God.
2. Last week I spent 4 days in Kampala, waiting for new, but delayed team-mates to arrive.  Being in Kampala is not my favourite thing, but it did give me a chance to catch up with a few good friends, to eat out in some more western style restaurants, and to watch "The Hobbit (2)" and "Epic".  Both of the movies were fun because I watched them with friends who had never been to a theatre before.  What a treat!!
3. Yesterday I overheard the neighbour kids playing in my living room.  I was doing dishes, when I heard the 8 year old boy say to the 3 year old girl: "Hey, no bad manners in here.  We don't even think of abusing... this is a house of God!"  I couldn't stop smiling.  Yes, a house of God.
4. TWAM (Tools with a Mission) have finally arrived.  It's been over a year since I've been assisting the Catholic youth director in getting these items to Soroti.  Now we dream of having a youth centre where youth can learn tailoring, crafts, mechanics, carpentry, plumbing, and more.  It's a big dream, but at least we now have tools to start with.

5. This month I have been blessed with tons of Christmas cards in the mail.  I can't even begin to describe how real snail mail totally makes my day! 
6. 74 youth just went through a 12 lesson course on "True Love".  On Sunday we had a closing program and already there are testimonies of how girls have been able to keep themselves from harm.  God is good.  I pray these young teens will remain patient and wait for God's perfect spouse.
7. Lastly, I just want to say that it's been exciting to be walking in power.  When I asked one 12 year old girl what it means to be walking in power, she said, "Oh, Auntie, that's easy... it means to be walking with Christ.  If you walk with Him, everything will be okay."  And somehow I think that's true.  If I stay connected to the Vine, everything turns out better.  Big problems seem small, joy abounds, and love grows.  I can't wait to see how much more I will learn about "Walking in Power" for 2014.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Walking with Onac (Oh-nach)...

Squeezing into the corner of the sitting room, I sit on the couch with the mother of the house, while two little girls kneel down on the grass mat on the floor.  The father takes another chair, and picks up the guitar.  "Okay ladies, let's worship God as a family before I go away to school tonight."  The girls choose songs first - simple songs that mean so much.  Then the father continues to lead with a meek and contrite heart and a sweet voice.
I can only imagine how much this family will change in the next 8 months.  As Onac (Brother in Christ) leaves to study, the wife will be home - trying to be the breadwinner, mother, and decision maker.  Honestly, I know this is all a part of God's plan.  If there was any brother who should be in ministry - this is one!!  But it's hard... knowing that rent will be difficult to pay, no male role-model will be around... and the girls love their daddy so much. 
And then I remember that about 1.5 miles away there is a home that has started a construction phase.  A decent sized plot, with the walls laid out - but no cement, floors, roof, or windows.  Another home that began during strong financial times, but never finished.  So now, they are renting a home, and struggling to get by, month by month.  Less than four years rent would pay for the construction to finish.  $4000 approximately... and yet, everything is on pause.
After worshipping together, we circle together and talk to our precious Heavenly Father.  How awesome it is to bring our joys and concerns to God!  The Lord alone knows where food, clothes, and rent will come from.  He knows how hard Onac will study or how the mother will work to provide.  He will help the girls to be successful in school.  And He will help "Auntie Karen to learn to cook better meals."  (I had provided dinner that night - a rice and chicken dish, where the little one devoured the chicken.) 
I'm humbled as Onac commissions me to be a part of the family, especially while he is away.  But I know I can't walk alongside them alone.  Church of God, let's be together in prayer, as we trust God to be with this family throughout 2014.   


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Youth Matters

Sitting at the registration desk, I listened and listed down names of 1005 Anglican youth and collected their fees for a 5 day youth conference.  It is a pleasure to work behind the scenes... just assisting the leaders of the church.  I slowly got to know more youth and loved being with the priests, bishops, reverends, and vicars once more.  Running a youth conference in Uganda is so different than back home.  Honestly, when money started to come in at the registration desk, leaders quickly went out to buy beans, cornmeal, and firewood to cook food for the first day.  If money is there, the conference continues... and it did!!  God provides in the coolest ways.
On the final day, I was asked to speak to the youth about purity.  A huge topic in a very sexually active era.  I spent much time in prayer and while standing on the platform, I felt God moving in me.  The huge crowd was very attentive as I shared many Scriptures, stories, and my personal testimony.  I don't think the youth have heard anyone ever say "I am 37 years old.  Very single.  Very Content.  And very virgin!"  Church leaders were grateful for speech I shared, and together we are praying for change. 
One more thing I'm excited about... one of the village reverends that I have worked with on a few occasions - a 17 Stories training, and another youth conference - is being relocated to Soroti town.  The diocese is requesting the transfer and he has been placed in a new ministry - To focus on children at the main cathedral.  This may not sound exciting, but for me it's awesome.  He is a wonderful man of God, and he has a passion for the children, and at the moment there is not much children's ministry happening with that church in town.  Already he has asked me what I'm doing in February, as he wants me to walk alongside of him and help set up a one year program for the children!!  Yeah Jesus!!
In the middle of the conference, I hopped on my bicycle and rode over to the Baptist church where I help 5 or 6 other leaders in running a Bible Club for kids.  Well, on Tuesday afternoon I show up the church only to have the kids hand me all the keys to the church and offices.  No other leaders are around and the kids are desperate for an afternoon Bible Club.  I sit in the office for a few minutes and pray for inspiration.  "Really Lord, I have to run this program alone?"  Soon, ideas begin to flow in my brain and I take close to 30 children outside to the open grass to play games for a long while, then we went back inside the church for singing and prayer.  I taught the children (all 12 and under) a few fun action songs.  Then finally two other leaders walked in.  They helped me to summarize their books about Heaven and God's gift of grace and we spent time memorizing Scriptures together.  I was glad the whole program worked out, but I would rather serve with a team any day than try to run it alone.
But I'm grateful for the Bible Club program, and today a friend is coming over to help me organize the graduation store for the club.  For the past year, whenever there is a school break, the children get together for games, singing, and Bible study, and they get points for memorizing Scripture, bringing a Bible, participating, doing their homework, etc.  So on January 18th we are having a closing program for the past year and it's going to be a fun event.  The kids will be able to buy clothes, school books and pens, toys, toothpaste & brushes, etc with their points.