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.”