Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Here are some of the responses I've received from people reading this blog. Praise God for all He does!!! I never would've expected that He'd use a blog like this:
1) I read this blog... thank you for sharing with me. What a life-changing experience. I read with tears the stories of the children needing so much. I wouldn't be able to stand looking in their eyes...
2) PTL and thank you for sharing! God is so real and people just don't understand the scripture that HE is the same yesterday today and forever. I am a pastor and work for Quality Floor in Frontenac, KS this message is so timed I needed to hear this TODAY! many blessings and thank you again.
3) Amen! Praise God!
4) It's amazing what God will do if we only ask.
6) That is awesome....thank you so much for sharing. Bringing so many people to Christ has to feel so good. Congrats and thanks again!
7) We support you and your actions, stay safe spread the word... you are in our prayers.
8) I bet that was a very humbling experience.. I know God does pretty amazing things in peoples' lives and mine. I am glad they have people that go to teach them the word.
9) Thanks for sharing. Sounds like an amazing experience. Too often in the North American culture are we caught up in business of being busy. I am the first to admit this. We need more of these kinds of experiences in North America.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Matthew 19:14 (New International Version, ©2011)
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
" In America, we have a problem. You see, there are parents who don't take good care of their children. There are parents who don't feed their children. There are parents who beat their children. There are parents who don't love their children. Uganda has the same problem. In America, if you don't take good care of your children, the government will take away your children, and give them to a family that will take good care of them. That is how I got all of my adopted children.
James 1:27 (New International Version, ©2011)
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
We are to take care of these orphans! We are to take care of the orphans in America, China, Guatemala, Japan, Haiti & everywhere else! It is not an option! As Christians, it is not a choice! We were orphans once too!
How is God calling you & me to care for these orphans? Not is He, but HOW IS HE? Because He is! No doubt about it. Is He calling you to adopt? He will provide the money it takes. He will provide the food. He will provide the space in your home. He will provide! Allow Him to be God, trust Him. You will be blessed!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Just then, two little kids, carrying water jugs, walked up barefoot. The little girl was extremely malnourished and looked starving. Her legs were just like sticks. They were carrying heavy jugs across gravel with no shoes and not much to wear so that they could at least have water to drink. We gathered up our leftovers and gave them to them. They ate some and then carried the rest off.
What have I really learned on this mission trip? God taught me once more how ungrateful I can be. Note to self - shut up. be grateful. give more, praise God... repeat.
Monday, March 21, 2011
So today I'm choosing to think about the things I miss at home.
I miss Muzungu (white people) toilets. Although our hotel's bathrooms are extremely nice, most of the toilets when we're out and about are African toilets. (squatters)
I miss my washing machine (and Downy).
I miss heating and air conditioning.
I miss my family and friends.
These are my kids. Above is Caleb & Brecken and below is Noah & Isaiah. I CANNOT wait to love on them!!!
I miss my bed, which doesn't have mosquito netting.
I miss electricity that doesn't go off at random times.
I miss stop signs and stoplights that mean something.
Hopefully we'll get one more chance to blog tonight before our flight leaves,
Before I left, the pastor came up to me and told me that she thought I should get a visa and stay here. I laughed and showed her pictures of my family that I'm coming home to and that I miss greatly. Before I got in the van to leave, she again came up to me and told me that I should stay here.
A big piece of me did. I will never be the same.
Julie and her good friend Winnie
Today we went back to Hope Children's Home and played/loved on the kids some more! Our 'job' was to put the pillowcases that the kids had made earlier this week, on the pillows that the previous team had purchased for them. They worked so hard on their pillowcase. This is the first pillow that they have ever gotten.
I've taught math to middle schoolers and young high school students for 15 years, so I jumped at the opportunity to sit in on a math lesson in the P-4 class. Their teacher was a young, enthusiastic man named Henry. After he taught the lesson, the students were writing down the problems from the board and solving them. Henry had 27 students in the class and it seemed a bit difficult for him to keep up with checking each kid's work. So, I got up from the chair I was observing from and began checking their work. The only problem is that I didn't have a red grading pen like Henry had. When I voiced this concern to Henry, he quickly went to the teacher's workroom to get me one. I felt like I actually contributed while I was grading. It was a lot of fun!
The Bredesens had us over for dinner tonight. They served us hamburgers, pasta salad, chips, delicious cucumber salad, pineapple, & a scrumptious chocolate cake. (Seriously, the thought of losing weight while here is COMPLETELY gone!) While we were together tonight, we all shared our favorites of this trip. Reliving all those great memories was amazing. It's hard to believe that the months of preparation have paid off and it's almost finished. I looked at Julie this evening and asked, "Do you think it's out of your system yet?" Neither one of us think it is. When I told Brad (my husband) this, I apologized. He said, "For what, serving God?" I LOVE that he gets it!!
Thanks for the prayers & love! Please pray for safe travels home for all of us,
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I'm sure you've all heard me say this before, but I'm going to say it again. For all of my adult life, I have known I was supposed to come to Africa. I have avoided it for years because I've had young children at home for the past (almost) 14 years. However, this past summer God hit me over the head and told me I was going.
I'm at the point now that I'm thinking, "Holy Cow! I only have 2 days left here."
As much as I miss my family, I am NOT ready to leave this place.
I LOVE Uganda. There is lush vegetation outside of the Kampala area. Brad (my husband) has been tracking the highs here for the past 6 + months. The highs have been between 80-85. Visiting the Nile River was an unforgettable experience. Are you getting the picture?
I LOVE the people. Each one of them is just beautiful to me. They greet so warmly and sincerely with their, "You are most welcome." Their handshakes are long. Hugs are given often. People take life at a much more relaxed pace than I'm used to in the US and they simply relish each other's company.
I LOVE the kids. While driving down any street, children of all ages come running to us shouting, "Hi, Muzungu! Hi, Muzungu!" The children hold your hands and love on you so freely. They LOVE carrying your backpack and help in any way they can.
I completely believe that once I get home I'll say, "I left my heart in Uganda."
Please pray that we all handle our goodbyes well,
Today we went to the prision to minister to the inmates. This is not something that I stressed to my family that we were even doing. I watched a movie years ago (Out of Alcatraz?) where people went into a prision and there was an uprising so they were stuck. I have never been into a prision, only the county jail (not because I was an inmate :0) ). SO, I was a little worried that we would be in the middle of some type of uprising, and not be able to get out of the prision. I do know that God loves the prisioners, and wants them to be ministered to.
Imagine this: beautiful land. Grass growing outside. 8 ft walls. Prisioners walking around outside the walls going to and from getting water. When entering you must give them (the lady at the front desk) your cell phone. You can take a bag, or whatever else you want inside. We took in a huge bag of bread, a box full of soap, and feminine hygine products. After entering the front door, you go through 1 gated door (not even sure if it was locked). You then enter into a courtyard. Across the courtyard are the wards. They are in 1 building. 6 rooms. Each room is 16ftX16ft. Each room has no furniture, no beds, nothing. 28 men share each room. On the porch of this ward were sitting the inmates in their bright yellow uniforms (which they just got recently, before that they had no clothes). The men were sitting perfectly still. The women (about 10) were on the side of the building sitting on the grass.
We were invited to go to minister to the prisioners by the Bethel Church. They go once a month. Over 10 of them rode in the back of a suzuki(?) tiny pickup. The ride there was extremly bumpy and took over 45 min.
When inside, the Bethel church sang a song for them, and then us Muzungus (white people) sang "Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord". Then Charlie spoke. God really spoke through him. He very powerfully gave the gospel message. 180 of the 200 people accepted Jesus into their heart!!!!! Talk about a revival in that prision!!! Charlie asked the warden privately and he said yes, so Charlie was able to give his Bible to a man who was obviously moved by the message. He could not believe it! Josh Varga gave the follow up message. He spoke about how Jesus is the bread of life. He encouraged them to seek God's word. That it didn't just stop with giving your life to Christ, but how you let him work through you. What a revial!!!
After the messages, all of us were leaving and one of the missionaries said that they needed 2 of us Muzungus to help pass out the bread to the prisioners. I kinda wanted to help and I thought that Charlie was a good fit because he had just given the message. I realized after reading his blog that he only stayed because he didn't want to leave me in there alone. AWWW, so sweet! But Mom, we clearly were not alone. The warden was in there (so what if he was only 5'7 and weighed only 140 pounds), 5 Ugandans from the church we came with, Alisa (the missionary), and Charlie and I, Oh, and the Biggest God, and the most protective God on the planet. So we were fine. They were so excited to get the bread. They got 3 pieces!
It was very humbling today. God loves these prisioners just as much as He loves you and me. He died for these prisioners, just as he died for you and me! It was a privledge to serve God today.
Matthew 25:35-46 Jesus Speaking
"For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prision, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? and when did we see you a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?' The King will answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
"Then He will also say to those on His left,' Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison and you did not visit Me.' Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked , or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You? Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me'. These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Love ya lots!
God really used our words today. I was really proud of my sister, Julie, for speaking on adoption at the church we went to. She told the church that they needed to take care of the orphans and if they were willing, that God would provide the money, food, and everything else they needed. She said that they are God's children. It was especially powerful because Julie has adopted so many kids and has been an insiration in my life.
At the prison, God revealed himself to many many prisoners (both men and women) who accepted Christ. They were told that they may have to be kept inside the prison walls but that it's their choice if they want the break free from the chains that bind their souls. It was awesome to hear their shouts of joy! Praise Jesus!
As most of the people left the prison, Julie stayed behind to hand out the bread to the prisoners. I would've rather left and let someone else pass it out but since my sister stayed behind I didn't want to leave her. All of the men lined up squatting on the ground. As we handed out 3 pieces of bread to each, they would hide it anywhere on their body so that they could get another 3 pieces. They were starving.
I got a little nervous when it came down to the end because I wondered if there would be enough. We let the men hand out the rest of the bread and Julie and I left. I didn't want to be caught with my sister in the middle of upset people if there wasn't enough bread. God has protected us this entire trip and allowed us to be a part of and see miracles. Why was I so scared about handing out bread? Jesus is the bread of life! My faith was lacking in the midst of uncertainty.
Thank you God for all you've done through me and this team! Thank you for the prayers that you've prayed on our behalf! We've needed and used each and every one!
Saturday, March 19, 2011
We brought the kids into a room at Hope two at a time and the kids got to "shop". We started with the youngest boys, then worked our way up. Then we went on to the little girls and worked our way up. Yes, we started with the easiest, least picky group and worked up to the most challenging and pickiest group. Let me just say that teenage girls act the same about shopping in Uganda as they do in the US. It's not wise to offer advice about what looks good. They have a "look" they're going for and if you suggest something, they'll choose ANYTHING but that one.
Another precious story from today was that when we were starting VBS there was a little girl who wouldn't come within 100 feet of us strange white people. We would wave and she would step back. I walked a little towards her and she took off running. I thought it was so funny. She really wanted to be in the church but was scared. I through her some sweet tarts (they love sweet tarts) and she started eating them. A little later I held up a piece of gum. She yelled at me in her native language (and I understood) to throw it to her. I shook my head "no". I put it on a brick on the church wall. Over the next 30 minutes she literally inched closer and closer to the gum. She eventually came inside the church!!!
Sean - no ants were eaten that I know of :)
all the kids in that area. It was pretty cool. There was about 200 kids that showed up, and what
was really amazing was, we all fit in this little tiny church. About half the kids that came were
members of that particular church and the other half were muslim kids from the village. There
was this one little girl in particular who was a muslim, who practically refused to come into the
church. Charlie tried for about half an hour to get her to come into the chuch, he even bribed her
with candy, and still she refused. Slowly but surely she finally came in. It was such a blessing to
see this little muslim girl who at first refused to come in, finally work up the courage an come in
and join us. Once we finished vbs we went to field of dreams and took our group pictures, then we
went to Hope. I loved all the things we have been able to do on this mission trip, but going to
Hope is my favorite thing to do. The kids there know just how to touch your heart. As soon as you
step through the gate you have 5 kids hanging on you. Today was very eye opening, as was all the
other days. We only have a few more days and in a way I'm sad, but I'm ready to come home and
tell everyone about all we have been able to do while in this amazing place called Africa.
Alex Akright =]
Auntie Stefan wearing underwear on a hat to make the kids smile for their picture!
Jennifer showing Winnie the letters she received.