Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city

I am in Uganda now and I have never felt so okay with being so selfish. After what has been going on, it feels good to take some time with myself to recharge and praise Jesus with no time constraints and no plans.

I'm sure most everyone has heard, so I'm not going to go through the entire story again, I will give a very short story. A couple of men tried to break into our house in Nairobi. There were a few injuries, everyone is alive. The week that followed the incident was incredibly hard for me. I was hurting for our team and surprisingly, hurting for the men that attacked us. I could not imagine what was so bad in their lives that they were willing to hurt people, especially women, for possessions and all I could do was pray for them. There were so many miracles and blessings that happened that night, just thinking about it gives me chills. Satan attacked us hard, but God's plan was perfect...down to each second, down to who was in the house, down to where we were placed in the house. When I think about it, I can't help but realize one thing....we were saved for a purpose. He spared us on purpose. The Lord had an opportunity to bring some of His children home, but He left us here.

Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city. If we were done, He would have called us home. This inspires me, gives me courage, and solidifies my desire and want to spread the Good News and live for Him. I can only imagine how pissed Satan is right now. He attacked with all of his might, but all it did was throw us off course for a week. It made our love for each other and our love for our Father even stronger.

We spent a few days in Bugoma, a part of Western Kenya. We were supposed to be there over a week, but we needed time to emotionally and physically heal after the attack. Though the few days in Bugoma blessed me and I made lasting relationships, I wish that we could have stayed longer and had more of an impact.

Gahlee I wish ya'll coulda seen me out there haha. We lived in mud huts. We had limited water, which was hard because that is a very new thing for me. I have never feared not having enough water before, but there I had to constantly watch my water use. We woke up at 6am and went to bed at 8pm. There was no electricity, so we just went to bed when we couldn't see anymore and woke up when the light came up. It is so strange to me that millions and millions of people live like that all over the world and I felt so blessed that I got to experience that for even those few days.

Sarah Freeman and I stayed with Pastor Wycliffe, his wife Josephine, and his children Jonah, Derek, Calvin, and Kate. The were so generous to us. They cooked for us each morning and night and let us sleep in their bed. The parents slept with their 4 children in a bed that is smaller than the one I sleep in by myself. They were so amazing and I saw Christ so clearly in them through the way they loved and served us.

This is my last night at the Nile in Uganda and we are headed back to Nairobi tomorrow. Camp starts again on Sunday and my heart is anxious, but excited to meet all of these children because most of them are Hindu. I am very excited to learn more about their religion and also to share with them the unconditional and overwhelming love of Jesus Christ. I have learned so much these past 2 months and have another part to add to my testimony and I am ready to share.

As always, please continue to pray for my team and I. There are always going to be people that do not like what we have to say and that want to stop us or hurt us, but we are here in His name and His will will be done no matter who or what gets in the way. Physical wounds are beginning to heal and the emotional wounds will be much easier to heal after those are gone and we do not have constant reminders of what happened. I actually kind of like the wounds because by seeing them every day, I am constantly reminded that there are still people that need His love. Greater things are yet to come.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Things do you for the Kingdom will never spoil

So we have finished up the first 2 weeks of camp and been in Nairobi and Masai Land for the past 2. It has bee really tough and completely out of my comfort zone and I cannot say that I have enjoyed every part of it, but the things I have learned and the blessings I have received have made it all worth it.

While in Nairobi, we were fortunate enough to be able to work with a missionary family and help them with their ministry. Their main focus is teens in the slums called Eastleigh. I visited Eastleigh for a day and my heart aches for what I saw, but at the same time it jumps for joy. The part that breaks my heart is seeing God's children sleeping on trash, sniffing glue to get high so that they forget how hungry they are, eating rotten food that is months old, and having no way out. The part that fills my heart with joy is talking with these people a seeing how much they love our God. They have a genuine, mature faith that is very rare. I met several men in their 40's that spoke of Jesus as their best friend. I couldn't believe it. These people still believe even after everything they have been through. It was a real heart check for me and humbled me to the core.

After spending a week in Nairobi, we headed out to Mt. Suswa to spend a week in Masai Land. I was extremely anxious. As much as I love different cultures and yearn to spread the Good News, I can't deny the fact that I enjoy the comforts of a shower, a place to sleep, and good food to eat. We slept in a cow pasture, didn't bathe for a week, and ate whatever we could get our hands on. It rocked my world and I feel in love with it. The people we worked with had a completely genuine love for the Lord and intense desire to share it with anyone and everyone. Only 2 people in about 30 miles spoke English, but that didn't stop them from trying to communicate with us. They shared their love with us in their own language, but we still recognized it as the type of love that only comes from a person that knows Jesus. Their worship was not about who could sing the loudest or the best, or who knew the most songs, but it was about praising the Lord and catering to what is pleasing to Him. It was unbelievable.

The Masai people we worked with had just lost almost everything in a drought. The pastor that hosted us lost 100 cows and others lost everything. While we were there to share the love of Jesus, we were also there to help them build a greenhouse. This greenhouse was build to that during the next drought they would have a way to make money and they would have something to keep them going. We put it up (by we I mean the men of course) in a week and the people were so appreciative. We all cried together when we had to leave. We tried saying goodbye in their language and they tried saying goodbye in ours, but at the end it was only tears and hugs that we understood. This was probably one of the best weeks of my life. It changed my heart and showed me that no matter what you have or don't have, you ALWAYS have opportunities to share the Lord's love.

A couple of us were blessed with an amazing opportunity. Another girl and I headed into the Bishop's hope to put some food away and sitting in the room was Pastor. He was from another church a days worth of walking away and he had come just to see us. We said hello and we entered into a conversation that I though would be routinely brief and we would go on our way. It lasted over 2 hours. Pastor shared his culture, we shared ours. He told us all about his amazing church and the things it was doing. For the first time in maybe my entire life, I was brought to tears because of the amount of love that was pouring from him. I didn't see him at all, I saw Jesus. In third world countries it is very rare that people with any type of disabilities are taken care of. They just don't have the money to do it. It is survival of the fittest. But not for Pastor. He took in 4 orphans into his own 1 room home, housed widows, the dumb, and the deaf. And he was asking us how to communicate with them. I couldn't believe that he thought I had an experience ministering to this demographic. He was so concerned for their souls and just wanted them to know Jesus, but he didn't know how to. Well, he thought he didn't know how to, but he was already doing it. We ended up getting into a discussion about what the church's biggest need was and he said it was money for the women to do missions. I was shocked. Money for missions??? Why not money for food or clean water??? Why not a decent house??? I realized it was because the only thing that mattered to them was sharing the Good News and bringing salvation to their brothers and sisters.

This astonished me. And we wanted to help. To make this already long story a bit shorter, the head of the Assembly of God mission team and a couple of our girls are going to set up a business for the Masai women. They make beautiful jewelry but the only way they have to sell it is if someone comes to them. We will be going to them and bringing the jewelry back to the states, putting it online, and setting up a catalog. I am so excited. This is a great thing to keep me busy while I am waiting to return to Kenya in January.

Super long blog, but I have only shared a couple of stories out of the hundreds. I can't wait to share these things in person. It is so hard to explain these things and actually doing the Lord's work justice because it cannot be put into words. I love you all.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I am Free

Gahlee...These past 3 weeks have been so crazy. We are in our second week of camp now and it is so cool to see the differences between these campers and those last week. These kids are so crazy and so fun to relate to. I have never been asked so many questions in my life and I love it. I love being able to use my story as living proof of Christianity. 5 girls accepted Jesus last night and I have never been happier in my life. This is what we came here share the Gospel and pray that it plants a seed in their hearts. We were so blessed to be able to water that seed in a few and I can't even describe waht an amazing experience it was.

We sing a song for worship that is called "I am Free." There is a line that says "I am free to live for You" and it really got me thinking how blessed all of us are to actually be free to worship Christ. We have been brought to a place where it is not against the law to scream His name, it is not against the law to sing to Him, and it is not against the law to share His love. How blesses we really are. I forget that sometimes. All the time actually.

Thanks so much for all of the emails, messages, and phone calls...I miss everyone so much and to know that ya'll are thinkng about me and praying for me really helps put my soul to rest. A lot of the emails I am getting are asking what exactly we are doing with these kids and that made me realize that I totally forgot to talk about that. For the 5 weeks that I am a camp counselor, we are working with kids from all over Kenya and the rest of the world. Some are already Christians, some are Muslim, some are Morman, and some have no idea who Jesus is. Our camp was modeled after the Winshape Camp at Berry. It is a week long camp and during those weeks we have crazy skits, outdoor games, sports, talent shows, scavenger hunts, high ropes courses, rock climbing, hiking, and camping. We do all of this with our cabins that usually consist of about 5 girls or boys and there will be a couple of cabins in each age group. We just want these kids to have fun and learn a bit about Jesus. We have devotions each morning and night and our theme is overcome from John 16:33.

I have really just fallen in love with these kids. They are so awesome and I cannot wait to be able to make life long connections with them :)