Thursday, 19 July 2012

The End.

Well this is my final post for this journey I've embarked on and its been crazy to say the least. Over the last five months I've had some of the best times and worst times of my life. I've made new friends, experienced new cultures and foods, killed chickens, climbed mountains, swam in Ugandan lakes, preached the gospel, and ultimately learned of God's mighty love and His character. Its crazy to look back an see how much has happened. It seems so long ago that I was boarding a plane to Entebbe, so full of hopes and expectations. I was ready to see the world and gain experiences that couldn't be bought and thats exactly what happened. I've learned many things over these months, I've learned how to pray, how to worship, I've learned of God's extravagant love and grace, He will never tempt you more than you can bear, I've learned of His undeniable character of love for his children, I've learned of the importance of humility in the ever occurring theme. It seem God was ensuring I don't forget, and forget I never will. God truly is great and He revealed Himself to me more and more with each passing day. I will never forget my DTS experience in Jinja, Uganda. The last week or so was a hectic one. Once we got back from outreach we had little time to prepare for graduation and returning home, yet we wanted to squeeze in as much time with new friends that would soon be old friends. Finally twenty three of us graduated our class on July 14 and it was all over. Needless to say it was a week of late nights. And after all the sleep deprivation we drove to Entebbe Airport for the second time at six o'clock in the morning on Monday, flew nine hours, fifteen hour layover in London, eight hour flight to Chicago, two hour layover, and finally one hour flight to Grand Rapids for the first time in five months. I think I experienced my first reverse culture shock in the London Airport. The amount of people and stores overwhelmed me at first, but upon returning to Grand Rapids, I was just excited to see all the people and things I missed for five months. After a excellent meal and visiting with everyone, I fell asleep at 7:30 and didn't wake up until nine o'clock the next morning. Traveling can certainly wear you down. Today I feel a bit more adjusted to the time zone and culture and life is getting back to normal.. well as normal as it can after such an experience. I thank-you all so much for your prayers and support over the last five months and more. You truly have all been amazing and have blessed me more than you can imagine. The smallest thing, like just reading my blog has been a blessing. I couldn't have done it with out you all and thats the truth. THANK-YOU and God bless.
Psalm 20:1-4, "May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Small Beginings.

Only a half of a week of outreach left, how time flies. For the last week we have been in a small village again called Katiko, meaning small mushrooms. I didn't see any mushrooms there but I was able to see plenty of other things. The land there is blessed with plenty. They grow everthing from jackfruit to maize. We had roasted maize everyday and even though there was no shops to test my wallet, I ate in abundance. We also were able to swim in Lake Wamala (even though it was kinda swampy). On the Sunday before we arrived in Katiko, two others and myself were able to visit the church we were going to work with. The church was a less than half finished with maybe six benches. We got there and the church service had already started. I was a little confused at while it had started when there were only two people there and some few children. As the service went on I realized, that is just how small the church is. Some two other people joined us, but it turns out one is a drunkard that comes every so often and the other an irregular member. The pastor of the church and his family were the only solid members in this church. He had started the church two years ago and it was still at the stage that it started in. We realized something needed to happen here. We prayed about what to do in this place and an amazing conformation came as we all decided we needed to fix up the church. How can God fill a church that isn't big enough to fill? The excitment grew as more conformations from God came. God doesn't hate small beginnings as we read in Zechariah. Everything must begin small, it is our job to help it grow with God's grace. So we began getting supplies and on Saturday the work began. We leveled the dirt floor, finished the walls and roof, painted, got more benches, and even made a sign. After we were finished, the church actually looked like a church and we felt well satisfied with our work, so we went to the lake for a swim. It was amazing to see God's provision in the work that he has done for that church and I just know that one day they will have to move to a bigger location because God is going to richly bless that church. If you want to see pictures of the church you can visit (Alex's blog). Now we are back in town, doing more crusades and ministry with only four days left till we are back a the base then one week till home. I can't believe all God has done in these past five months and I know there is still more to come. Happy Fourth of July!!
"Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They'll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!" Zechariah 4:10 (The Message)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Living Examples.

For the last week we have been richly blessed but worked to the point of exhaustion. We stayed in a pastor's house for a week in Kyenjojo town. There we had amazing breakfasts, our own bunk, and even a television! We thought we had reached the ultimate outreach location when we first arrived. Little did we know how hard we would work for those little perks. The church we worked with was about a kilometer away from the house that we stayed and we walked there and back about twice a day. We also did door-to-door in the surrounding villages, walking even further. There was never a day that we didn't have our schedule jammed packed, between crusades, school ministry, door-to-door, and even the orphanage that is connected with the church. Needless to say we were pretty worn out from the adventure. But through our adventure I was able to experience true African hospitality. The pastor and his wife, David and Anette brought us into their home like family and told us to never hesitate to come back anytime because now we are friends and family. They are amazing examples of Christ to live by. They have never felt called to be involved in children's ministry but through God they opened an orphanage. But they didn't just open an orphanage, they parent the children there. Many of the kids were first raised in their home before living at the orphanage. But David and Anette don't just do ministry, they are constantly looking for God's next direction. They are real life circle makers in their prayer. Before the ground that the orphanage, church, and school rests on was anything, they fasted under the mango tree for three days praying for what God was going to accomplish there. They are truly examples of Christ in their day to day life. I am so thankful for them because without their hospitality and love, I doubt I could have handled the exhausting schedule of Kyenjojo town. On Monday we moved to Mityana and have settled into a nice house of a very lovely lady. The town here is big and very African. I think I am some people's first white person, the way they scream "mzungu" after me. Yesterday a little boy started to cry when he saw me and Alex. He tried to run but he couldn't because he was crying so he finally decided to cover his eyes with hands until we passed, which for some reason totally helped. I guess if he can't see us, we aren't there. Crazy kid. On other news, on Thursday we had a rooster and a chicken for dinner and I was on cooking duty. (Don't forget in Africa all the meat is fresh) So naturally I killed the chicken, with a kitchen knife too. Then we ate it a few hours later. Can't wait to show you the pictures! Otherwise all is well, and on Monday we are moving again to a small village close by, then returning here on the following Monday to finish our outreach.
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:5-6

Monday, 11 June 2012

Praying Circles.

"Work like it depends on me and pray like it depends on God." -Mark Batterson, "The Circle Maker"
Written on Friday, June 8
Another week is almost over and done, only five more until I reach home. Time is certainly flying by. This week has been crazy. People in the village have been so generous and grateful to us, that in the past few days we have received crazy amounts of avocados, eggs, bananas, passion fruit, mangoes, invites for tea and lunch, and even a live chicken that is sitting next to me right now. The joy and thankful heart that the people here have is an inspiration. This past week has focused on prayer for me. I recently finished a book by Mark Batterson called, "The Circle Maker." It is an awesomely insightful book that is all about praying circles around things both litterallly and figuratively. We must dream big, pray hard, and pray long. It seems as soon as I put the book down, an oppurtunity to put it into practice came along. We met a man who is thirty three years old named Moses. Since he was seven he has suffered with huge bumps all over his body and severe weakness that has slowly taken his abilty to walk away from him. The first value in this book that I applied was circling literally. It was the easiest first step to take for me. I circled his house and prayed for Moses' deliverance. Then I dared to dream big and believed that God can preform a miracle and heal Moses. I thanked God for the miracle that He was GOING to preform, not just asking that He would. Finally I prayed/am praying long. God didn't heal Moses on that particular day but I believe His work isn't done in Moses' life. Everything is in God's timing and I know He has a plan for Moses' life. So I will continue to pray for him. I also strongly recommend "The Circle Maker" for a convicting read and even all of Mark Batterson's books. So far I have only read two but I hear they are all good and I plan to read the rest upon return to America.
Psalm 5:1-3
"Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."
Ah, somebody just came in with watermelon, yum. God has certainly blessed this place.

Update: The chicken previously mentioned has been consumed and tasted delicious. :)

Deep in Tea Feilds.

Written Monday, June 4:
One week of outreach has already come and gone. Its almost impossible to believe. Many things have remained much the same from mini-outreach. We go door-to-door and proclaim God's love in the village center. However this time we are deep on an African mountainside. Tea leave fields stretch as far as the eye can see in one direction and on the other the African jungle, which I navigate through everyday to fetch water. The beauty of God's creation is all around, from the sunset to the children laughing in the school yard. This time around I am focusing on following God and discovering who He wants me to be. "He won't get you where He wants you to go until you become who He wants you to be." -Mark Batterson, "Soul Print" That's exactly it, I want to be who He wants me to be, so I can discover all He has in store for me. And sometimes it takes a trip deep into the jungle, far away from everything you know to fully rely on God and turn to Him. Sometimes it takes a trip with no electricity, for you to read the Bible when you are bored for lack of anything else to do. And before you know it, you begin enjoying seeking God and reading Scripture to find Him. Of course I am still counting down the days until I return but I choose to soak up this opportunity for all its worth, because, lets face it, how often do you travel across the world to be totally immersed in God? Really though, how often does this happen? Once in a lifetime I think."Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told." Habbakkuk 1:5

Friday, 25 May 2012

Bye, Bye.

Well, its almost time to leave for Kyenjojo and Mityana. I can't believe lecture phase is over. Its seemed so short, yet so long ago that we began. So much has happened in the last three months and more is to come in the next two. I cannot guarantee how often I will be able to get internet and such so this may be my last post for a while but I honestly cannot wait to just be away from the distractions of this world for a couple months of my life. Sometimes it is good to just look back and reflect, not that I'll be having much time for that. Our schedule will be jam packed with crusades, door-to-door, and mercy ministries. I know that God has great things in store for us there though and I believe He is already paving the way for us. I have already been encouraged for the upcoming journey by different people and I know it will be a challenge.  One encouraging passage came from Hebrews 12:7-28. Actually the whole chapter is brilliant, I copied it below (in The Message Version). The upcoming journey is going to be full of hardships but also joy, and the Lord works through both.

Hebrews 12

1-3Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

4-11In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don't feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?

My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline,
but don't be crushed by it either.
It's the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God's training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God's holy best. At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

12-13So don't sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!

14-17Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you'll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God's generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God's lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God's blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.

18-21Unlike your ancestors, you didn't come to Mount Sinai—all that volcanic blaze and earthshaking rumble—to hear God speak. The earsplitting words and soul-shaking message terrified them and they begged him to stop. When they heard the words—"If an animal touches the Mountain, it's as good as dead"—they were afraid to move. Even Moses was terrified.

22-24No, that's not your experience at all. You've come to Mount Zion, the city where the living God resides. The invisible Jerusalem is populated by throngs of festive angels and Christian citizens. It is the city where God is Judge, with judgments that make us just. You've come to Jesus, who presents us with a new covenant, a fresh charter from God. He is the Mediator of this covenant. The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel's—a homicide that cried out for vengeance—became a proclamation of grace.

25-27So don't turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn't get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he's told us this quite plainly—he'll also rock the heavens: "One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern." The phrase "one last shaking" means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.

28-29Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He's actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won't quit until it's all cleansed. God himself is Fire!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Here We Go Again.

As I write this, main outreach is a week away and the preparations are in full swing. On Tuesday morning we started waking up a five o’clock for prayer and on Monday the outreach locations were finally officially determined. For my outreach I will be heading to Mityana and Kyenjojo in Western Uganda. They are both bigger towns than the location I was in last time and Kyenjojo is fairly close to the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I am excited to see the other side of Uganda, however I am very disappointed that Kate, will again not be coming with me. She will be going to the small village, that I was located at last time, Namayingo along with another small village, Lugala. Two weeks was hard enough to be apart so I am not sure how we will manage six, but its all God’s will. As we have learned our locations we begin to prepare more skits and dances. We have been working on them every day for the past two weeks. If it wasn’t for tea, I am not sure how I would survive. It amazes me how much this seems exactly like the mini-outreach, but yet completely different at the same time. There are so many people I will miss having on my outreach but yet others I am excited to work with for a change. We also have an increased amount of dances and skits this time around. We are all working hard and look forward to the upcoming weeks. They will certainly be a challenge, but not one we’re not ready for. The battle is already won. I feel much more prepared for this outreach and cannot wait to see God at work once again. The most amazing part, however, is that once we are back from this outreach, it is only a week until I fly off for the homeland. Philipians 1:6, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Reign Down.

This week we have learned about spiritual warfare and to be honest the teacher was really boring and I can’t really tell you anything great that I learned in class. However, I did learn a lot outside of the classroom this week. On Monday, this week class started and it was incredibly boring and I struggled to pay attention. In small groups that afternoon, my leader was telling us how during the week of learning about spiritual warfare it is war. More people will be sick that week and unexplainably absent. It was already true, there were four people missing from class that morning where the most missing is usually one. This made me realize just how everyday life spiritual warfare can be and how we need to wake up everyday for the battle. However, the teacher still remained boring after that and I’m sad to say I think the devil won that one.
On another note, on Tuesday morning I decided to get up for quiet time, which I was neglecting for at least a month now. So I got up at six o’clock and had coffee and quiet time with two others, Jessica and Alex. We basically sit at a table, read our bibles and if anything interesting comes up we share it with the group. It’s actually a time that I can truly enjoy now. I can also sense it in myself with attitude throughout the day. I feel more alive and ready for the day. It got me thinking just how important that time with God can be in our lives and how if we neglect it our day is just not the same. Sure I was at first very against getting up an extra hour earlier than needed just because our leaders said so, but once I changed my attitude of it being forced upon us and made it into something I wanted to do, it became exactly that, something I wanted to do. I also found a new favorite verse that I found in my quiet time. The Lord knows how much I love rain; Zechariah 10:1 “Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone.” 

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Climbing Mountains

So this week I’m going to try and be really spiritual and relate my everyday adventures with my walk with God. Yesterday morning we climbed a mountain that is just behind the base. It had been something we had been planning to do for sometime. Anyway, we set out right when the sun began to rise. At first the journey was really easy as we were full of energy and excitement. We would only be a little ways up and we would stop to look at the view because we were still full of amazement for what was ahead. But as our adventure continued and we had to crawl through thickets of thorns and up steep and slippery slopes we soon forgot about all the amazing things around us and complained about the difficult journey. Finally we reached the top exhausted and dirty but pleased with ourselves. Looking around we could see the breath-taking view. Lake Victoria stretched out before us in its entire splendor and a rainbow on one side. 
As I was thinking about our journey, I kept thinking of how it relates to our spiritual journey. At the beginning we are so excited for God and cannot wait for what awaits us. But as the journey continues we often start to focus on the hardships and not the ‘view’. We lose sight of why we really are climbing up this mountain. We need to remember the glorious riches that lay in store for us at the top and the promise that God has given us through the rainbow. He alone is the reason we can make it to the top of the mountain. “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Genesis 9:16

(hopefully you can see the rainbow in the picture because it was beautiful!)

Saturday, 21 April 2012


This week has been refreshing to say the least. Sunday started off with a church service at a ‘missionary’ church. So it consisted mostly of mzungos. It was exactly what I needed after such a fukwe outreach. It renewed me. It’s amazing how much you can actually miss the ‘boring’ church service of the West. We sang English songs that I knew, didn’t dance around with chairs on top of our heads, and it only lasted an hour and a half or so. It was amazing! Other crazy things that happened this week; I tried some fried white ants. One of the guys here just came up one night with a bucket of what looked like ants with wings, and threw them in a pan to fry and we ate them. I can’t say I particularly enjoyed them but I ate bugs! :P On another note, also we played with a wild chameleon on Thursday! I’ve never expected that to happen coming here. Other than that, it has been great to get back to the base and settle in to our ‘home’ here. It is amazing how it feels like home now, being away from it from so long. We rejoice in the little things now that we used to complain about, like the cold shower and unpredictable electricity. Its the little things in life that let you just breathe. Even the most simple weeks can bring around a renewal that we didn't even know we needed. Isaiah 57:10, “You wearied yourself by such going about, but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’ 
You found renewal of your strength, and so you did not faint.”

Saturday, 14 April 2012


First of all, let me tell you about this word; fukwe. It is basically a word made up by one of our leaders that can mean anything you want it to. It is usually along the lines of crazy, wild, intense, stupid etc. This word has been used more times than you could even imagine in the last two weeks. It is really the best word I can used to sum up what has happened.
Let me start from the beginning. Upon arriving I was dreading the upcoming time we were about to have. We arrived in a beautiful village right on Lake Victoria. The village was made mostly of mud huts, with fish, fishing gear, and boats all over the place. The first night we slept with nine girls on four mattresses in a tiny room that only had left over room to stand three people when we were all lying down. The night was hot and filled with rats and cockroaches. Needless to say the next morning we were exhausted. I thought the two weeks were going to take forever. However, God slowly revealed Himself the longer we were there. We moved our sleeping locations and we’re able to rest easier.
Once we started the ministry, God’s presence was ever upon us. Crusades were bringing many people to Christ and there was a whisper about us all through the town. On Friday, April 6 we had the most fukwe day of my life. The day started out normal as ever. Then after breakfast, a lady came over to the church and told us she had been coming to the crusades and needed prayer. So we brought her inside and next thing I knew we were casting demons out of her. This lasted for approximately an hour. Then we ventured to her house to pray for her family. When we arrived, we began praying and cast out some more demons. Her husband showed us a small plastic bottle buried in the ground, something from witchcraft. So we burned it. All throughout this time, the song that kept playing over and over in my head was, “Let it rain, let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven.” After leaving we were stopped numerous times and asked to pray for various people. We finally arrived back at the church in time for a late lunch. At lunch, I was told that I would be preaching at the crusade that afternoon. Instead of preparing however, I went swimming in Lake Victoria. I arrived at the crusade exhausted and with nothing ready to preach on. I prayed for God’s peace and the words to speak. As soon as it came time for me to speak, the heavens opened and rain came down. Lord, let it rain. I can honestly say I have never in my life been that comfortable speaking in front of people. It was rather amazing, considering I had no idea what I was going to say when I walked up there! When I had finished, amazingly the rain stopped. A fukwe day to say the least. At a later crusade, the woman we had been praying for was there. Which was incredible, because it is over an hour walk for her. She was so happy to see us and was completely healed! I have never seen somebody go through one eighty to that extreme. Her story is just one of many that we experienced throughout the two weeks. Besides ministering, we also were able to eat lots of fish, swim, go for boat rides, roast a goat over a fire, and just enjoy God’s creation in the fullest! This outreach has been a challenge both physically and spiritually and I feel drained from it but I wouldn’t have it any other way! God certainly let his grace rain down on us, and my song, “Let it Rain” soon became the theme song of the outreach.
Psalms 18:12-13, “Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.”

Saturday, 31 March 2012


As some of you may know on Monday, April 2 we are leaving for our mini outreach. It seems the last couple weeks have been packed full of preparation for it. Our days are filled with skit practices and dances as well as the usual schedule of classes. Each night we fall into bed exhausted, only to wake up at five o’clock the next morning. I will be going to an island in Lake Victoria, which one of my leaders is from. I’m excited to enjoy lots of fish and see the beautiful countryside. However, the village is very rural. No electricity or running water. It will defiantly be a challenge both physically and spiritually. And to add to all of that, Kate will not be coming with me, but instead she is in a separate group, going to a village outside Jinja. I will miss her in the next two weeks but I am also hoping the separation will help us to grow in ways we couldn’t together and also grow closer to members of our team.
To be completely honest, I had been not looking forward to this outreach for the last weeks. I was excited to get off base and see more of Uganda, but the whole proclaiming the gospel didn’t seem like something that I could ever be good at. I just hoped I wouldn’t have to do much but sit back and watch. However, today I had to preach for the class. The sermon wasn’t that exciting, just some encouragement before we left from Ephesians 1:17-19. You know me with speaking in front of people; lets just say it was short and sweet. The weird thing was, after I had finished and sat back down. I realized that I can do anything with God’s help and I became excited to see how He could use me in ways that I couldn’t even imagine. Then I thought about the verse I had just preached about and it hit me in all the right ways. The message I just preached was for none other than myself. Its amazing how God can speak in ways that I never would of imagined He would. Who would ever think that they are preaching for themselves? God works in mysterious ways. Now all I have to do is pack. So I ask you for your prayer in the next two weeks and other than that, bring on the Outreach!
Ephesians 1:17-19 (The Message Version) “But I do more than thank, I ask – ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory – to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing Him, personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is He is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life He has for His followers, oh the utter extravagance of His work in us who trust Him – endless energy, boundless strength!”

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Another Week Gone By.

Not much has happened this week to tell of. We had some visitors from the States over this week. It was interesting with them around, felt like a little taste of home. They were from a small town in Wisconsin and were coming from a church. The pastor of the church was with them and spoke to us on Monday. It was good to have a "Western" preacher again and I found it really nice to be able to listen without straining to understand. Later, they kept asking us questions about the culture and things, like we were really experienced. Compared to them though, we were. It kinda gave me a reassuring feeling of okay I got it. I think I have this whole other culture thing down. Isaiah 43:5 " Do not be afraid, for I am with you; 
   I will bring your children from the east
   and gather you from the west. " 
PS. Sorry its so short this week.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Ministry in Kakira.

Well its the end of another week and this week has been a good one for sure. The first half was pretty uneventful but once the end of the week neared we could see that this week would be like no other. On Friday we planned to go to a town about a half hour walking distance called Kakira. We practiced a dance and a skit in preparation. All week it was the much anticipated event.
Finally, Friday arrived. We started the long trek to Kakira right after lunch. When we first arrived we weren't entirely sure where to set up and finally found a place. After beginning to set up we had many struggles getting the equipment to work so while we waited we played with the kids of the streets. They came from all over and within the first five minutes we had probably thirty of them surrounding us. They all shouted "mzungu"(incase you didn't get that from before, it means "white person" and is constantly yelled at us everywhere we go) and reached out just to touch us. At one point there was so many children grabbing onto my arm that I could not move. They also loved it when we took pictures of them. I would take out my camera and they would all crowd around trying to get into the picture. Then I showed them the picture and they would all point to themselves and laugh. We even sang some songs with them and I went in the back and danced with one of the the little boys and soon all of them were turned around laughing at the mzungu trying to dance. It was such a joy to see their smiles.
At last we got the sound system to work at around five o'clock! So we did the dance that we practiced and then sang some songs as we danced behind. Mandy, one of the DTS students, made up steps and we all followed his lead. It was really cool but I could not understand any of the songs because they were all in Luganda. So I just danced and tried to follow the Africans amazing lead in dancing. Then our leader spoke to the people. After he finished talking he asked if anyone who wanted prayer or to give their life to Christ to come forward. A few people came forward and they began to pray. But this did not satisfy Mandy. No, he walked through the crowd, wearing his "Jesus gown" no less (because he just put it on for the skit), and asked specific people if they wanted prayer or wanted to be saved. He found three more people that wanted to give their life to God! Praise Jesus! Then we preformed the "Everything Skit". For those of you that don't know what I'm talking about I strongly suggest looking it up on YouTube. I have seen the skit on numerous occasions and I absolutely love it! I was so grateful to actually be a part of it for once. I played the part of the model. All week we had been practicing it and had never once executed it perfectly but the Lord was with us that day because we were able to preform it beautifully. We finished for the day and finally had to walk the half hour back in the dark. Needless to say we all made sure we had a guy with us as we walked through the sugar cane fields. I walked with Mandy and made sure he kept me safe. As we were walking, I was just being stupid and freaking out because the sugar cane workers were going to kill us and Mandy said to me, "Haven't you heard? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Thank-you, Mandy. Its amazing to me the amount of faith the Ugandans have! Each one of them is so anchored in God that it would be impossible to move them. All together, Friday was a day of God revealing His amazing love. It is utterly unbelievable how much love for the Lord everyone could have when they have so little worldly wise. Their faith is stronger than I even imagined. I have so much to learn from them. The children of the street who literally have absolutely nothing praised God with all their heart. Psalm 34:18, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted 
   and saves those who are crushed in spirit." 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Living out an 'African Lifestyle'.

I think this week has been all about learning how to live like a Ugandan. Sometimes I think they have all their priorities right. They work had but all in due time. Often we say we need to get on ‘African time’, which is very unspecific. On Tuesday, one of our leaders, named Susan, was telling us how when somebody says five o’clock you have the full hour of five. It could mean five fifteen, five thirty or even five fifty nine. Even though they may never have an exact time and are very relaxed schedule it is nice to live like that for a while. Even if I am worried about being late I will probably be the first one there and I find myself becoming more and more relaxed with my time. It is good to slow down and take a look at everything that is happening. However, even with the African relaxed attitude they certainly know how to work. This week we started our work duty, or ‘worker duty’ as the Africans call it, and have been learning various African chores. First of all, laundry. Laundry is all done by hand and has to be washed at least three times before being considered clean. Lets just say after this I will never take a washing machine for granted anymore. Second, mopping. You wouldn’t think such a simple thing would be that much more work in another country, but here its quite the undertaking and must be done often because of the mud. The floors are forever stained red so mopping involves first mopping a thick layer of water on to the floor. Then squeeging the water off and finally dry mopping it clean. Then there is slashing. A lawn mower would be much too easy; instead we must take a long stick with a curved blade at the end and whack at the grass to make it shorter. A small area may take a group of 30 workers an hour. And I won't even mention the sorting of rice and clean up after meals. It truly is great to relax, work hard, and worship God with everything we do. Africans certainly know how to live. They show who deserves the glory in everything they do. Sometimes I think the western society is too wrapped up in their own world and making it on time to this and that, that they fail to see the big picture and what this life is really all about. Work hard and worship God harder, that my friends is how to live. Colossians 3:23, "Whatever work you do, do it with all your heart. Do it for the Lord and not for men."
On another completely random note, we visited the source of the Nile River yesterday. That is why I did not get internet because we were busy seeing the spring where water comes up and travels four thousand miles to Egypt! 

Saturday, 25 February 2012

School Starts.

School officially started this week; so many people from different cultures are here. We have students from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, England, and all over Africa. To see the all the cultures intermix in one place is really quite something. Us westerners have had a difficult time to be completely immersed in the culture here and try to help each other out. Hearing about the lives and viewpoints of the Ugandans has certainly been interesting. On Wednesday, we talked with a strong woman of faith who lives in our room. Her name is Faith and I could not have given her a better name myself. She told us of her life story and I was shocked the background that she had from a woman of her standing. When she was very little her mother abandoned her and when she was twelve her father had left her as well. So she wandered from place to place with no home. She would stay with friends or go to a home but many times they would tell her that they had no room. She’s had to fend for herself ever since. She received a sponsor who helped her graduate school and accepted the Lord as her Saviour when she was sixteen. Last year Faith had a sponsor for her college career but they told her not too study music which is her passion because there is no future in that, so she had to take social work classes instead. She has the most amazying voice I have ever heard. However, they failed to come up with the funds to send her back so she decided to come to YWAM and find money for school in the fall. In all of this she keeps in mind the verse that states although your father and mother forsake you, I the Lord your God, will never abandoned you. Recently we learned that she does not have the funds to stay with us and she fears she has to leave. So the muzungos (white people, and I totally have no idea if I spelled that right) have decided to help her our as it only cost four hundred US dollars for her to attend and we feel out of everyone here she longs to be here the most. So if you want to help out Faith, you can talk to my mother and she will get the money to me.
You never really understand a different culture until you find yourself some how completely in the middle of it. I love hearing about how our lives are so different and strangely unique but yet we are all of one people praising God, singing and dancing as one! I had been struggling with finding God in this new culture but yesterday we sang “Mighty to Save”, which is my favorite song and I realized He is the same God here in Africa and all the way back in North America. Never changing, always the same. Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Just Chillin in Uganda, NBD!

Well here I am in Jinja, Uganda. It has certainly been a quite an adventure already. Currently I am just sitting at an internet cafĂ© because we don't have internet on base. Which will probably much more do-able once I get a phone. Phones are super cheap here so that will be a great comfort to have but seeing as I haven't had one for almost two years now I feel as though I am giving up my status as a non-conformist. But isn't that what being here is all about. We come to this foreign country and try to adapt to our surroundings as much as possible. Its been hard already. Cold showers, rice and beans, no internet, but its good. Its a bit of a balance really. Trying to find the happy medium of fitting in and keeping our identity. Even though it is so different here there are things that remind me of home. We have two people on our team from Ontario and I think of all my friends there. The rolling hills and smell of cow manure remind me of Nova Scotia. And plenty of things daily remind me of home; the smell of raw chicken reminds me of China and thus Dayna, the boy who runs around our base with his dog reminds me of Derek, the big trucks that my dad would love to tell me all about reminds me of him, and practically everything reminds me of my mom and her warning words or words of wisdom from her past endevors in Sierra Leone. Overall, I'm glad I am here and cannot wait for the school to start on Monday, to get into a routine will be nice. Romans 12:2, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Flying Through the Air.

Currently, I am sitting on a plane from London to Entebbe, Uganda and I can’t believe I’m actually here right now. So much needed to happen for me to arrive at this point and with God’s help it all went according to plan. My mom recently told me that my third grade teacher remembers me telling her that I wanted to travel like my mom when I was older. It seems this trip has been in the making for eleven years now. As I look back at all the preparations for the final time I can see that God was there each step of the way. He gave me hope, when I feared it wasn’t possible. He confirmed His plan when I began to doubt it. He provided sufficient funds to the exact amount. He was there all along leading me even when I couldn’t see the way myself. Now I cannot wait to see what He has in store for me when we land. I thank-you all for your prayers, they have been heard! I wish to leave you with this verse: John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” NIV or in the Message Version, “I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left-feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.”