Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Praying for clear vision...

God has been doing so much in my life since I've been, and I initially thought things would just be so easy. Ha...foolishness upon my part. The Lord is seeking for me to flesh out a LOT of things, continue healing in some areas, and grow...grow...grow. I've definitely been called to TRUST HIM MORE than ever and to completey yield EVERYTHING I have to Him. I've had my ups and downs with this, to be honest. I have my house back in Richardson, TX, and have had to just let go of the stresses of leasing it out, having to pay around $500 per month on the mortgage b/c the rent that is being charged doesn't cover the mortgage, and hoping and praying that God will provide for the needs of my house in Texas as well as for me to be able to stay here in Uganda. Yielding up the finances, I know for me, seems to be one of the most difficult measures of faith...because you're stopping and saying "Ok Lord, you take it. I trust you COMPLETELY. I will not worry. I KNOW that you will provide. I KNOW You will take care of my every need...in Your time." Those are scary words to say and at the same time, so very freeing. I'm learning to lean more on Him DAILY and to continue to remember His promises. The Lord has told me repeatedly that He will not lead me astray and He WILL fulfill all of His promises. This is refreshing!!

So, I've pretty much completed things for now with taking pictures of the children that are being sponsored by Shalom Home. Rainbow Mike, myself, and Chloe went to all of their schools, talked to them and learned about their stories, and took new pictures of them. Now I can begin working on the website part and helping to update the Shalom Uganda website, along with helping it to be more accessible to sponsors and donors. There is also a ministry that Shalom Reconciliation Ministries has created called the Mercy Ministry. It is a ministry to help those (especially females) who are handicapped, vulnerable, and unable to care for themselves and their families. There are currently 12 women that are being helped by the Mercy Ministry, with about 3 of them being legally blind, several of them are handicapped (one of the ladies actually has to crawl to get around from place to place, even carrying her youngest child on her back to get him place to place), and then all of them are in severe poverty (as with many many people here) to where they cannot care for their large families.
We were able to meet these women and I took their pictures as they sang several beautiful songs to us that touched my heart. I also took individual pictures of them as well and showed it back to them. Most had never seen a picture of themselves, as with a lot of the people here. When I take their pictures, I try to show them. They always get a kick out of seeing themselves! It's pretty funny to see this amongst the children. They crack up at themselves and are so overjoyed. :)

In about 2 weeks, I'll be traveling to Kampala with Chloe as she will be flying back to the States to go back to school. I've learned about an orphanage there called Come Let's Dance that has the same mindset as Shalom Reconciliation Ministries. I have MANY questions for the people there and have set it up to where Chloe and I can stay there a couple nights before she flies out and can see their day to day operation, what all they do, how they do it, etc. I also have adoption questions concerning adopting a Ugandan baby/child and they can provide some answers as well. So, I'm pretty pumped to be able to take a little trip, meet some new people, and see how Come Let's Dance is doing.

I've been struggling for the last couple of weeks with trying to figure out what exactly my purpose is here...in Kotido and amongst the team. I've just been daily praying for wisdom and a clear vision as to how God wants to use me while I'm here and also when I get back to the States later on. It's been great living in community with 9 other people but has also been extremely challenging for me as well. I'm used to living in my own home, being very independent, making my own decisions, and things are VERY different here as you would imagine. Lol. I'm trying to figure out how to be me while also yielding up some things as well. As it stands right now, I've been yielding up pretty much my entire way of living, the way I'm accustomed to, in order to fit with my team. But I know God wants to show me a way to balance that...showing me and showing them. And teaching us how to daily love one another...to honestly love one another and for that not to be forced. So, I ask that in your prayers, that you lift this up: that we would live well in community, seeking to love each other as Christ loves us, and that we would seek to see others' needs amongst the group and not just our own.

Some other specifics you guys can be praying for:
-guidance from the Lord as to how we are supposed to be loving on the children out in our community, in our neighborhood...how are we supposed to be reaching out?
-clear vision as to what we're supposed to be doing in the here and now...we don't want to go out into the villages yet until we have learned the language pretty well so as not to have an interpreter (we want to be able to interact with the Karamojong without having the language barrier)
-for the Lord to provide a language teacher so that we can begin intensive language study

As always, thanks for checking out the blog and thank you so much for lifting me and my team up. Your encouragement and your prayers help me greatly. :) If any of you ever want to send a personal note, feel free to email me at nepal_12@hotmail.com.
"He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.'" --Acts 1: 7-8

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I’m sitting here in the living room of our home in Kotido, listening and singing to Kenneth, Chloe, and Kerri play the guitar, as we all worship in community and harmony. Today I feel extremely whole. So much has happened in the short amount of time that we have been here in Uganda, in Karamoja, in Kotido. I'll try to give an update until now and not be too long-winded...but those of you who know me know that's kind of difficult. :)
So, the Enemy sure didn't want us to get here to Kotido, no doubt. Just a briefer of what all Satan threw our way...Kenneth & Kristi's initial flight from DFW was canceled and they left a day later, my flight from Brussels got messed up and I left a day later from Brussels; in Kampala, Uganda, Kerri and Andrew had to wait for a package to arrive so the rest of us met up in Jinja. Kerri and Andrew went to take the bus to Kotido where we would meet up with them at our home...well, they were told to get on the wrong bus so it took them an extra day to get there. Then it took the rest of us (me, K&K, kiddos, and Chloe) about 4 days before we could leave Jinja b/c we were following friends to a halfway point called Namalu. When I say the dirt roads we traveled were horrible, I kid you not. Holes upon holes upon holes...our car almost got stuck twice and should have gotten stuck but God saw us through it. We were praying like crazy! Then, the very last thing...when we were 15 min. from Kotido, our tire FELL OFF our car, sending the tire rolling across a field to which a jumped out of the car and took off running after it. Lol. That part was hilarious to ALL of us. Kenneth and I stayed behind to work on the car and wait for the mechanic to come...when all of a sudden a truck with about 25 men came and helped get the tire back on. Yadda yadda...we FINALLY made it, driving like 10 mph. Ha. We prayed that night with Rainbow Mike and some of the other people from Shalom Reconciliation Ministries (the orphanage) and just rejoiced in our entire family making it to Kotido.

Our first week here was a time of gathering EVERYTHING for our home, down to dishes, silverware, beds, mosquito nets, food of course, lanterns (no electricity), etc. Most things you can think of for your home, we have had to get, even getting basic furniture made (kitchen table, bookshelves). Now having most of it here, we feel more organized. The first several days were challenging, learning the town of Kotido, which shops to find everything...we've finally gotten our water filtration system going so we continue to refill our water bottles about every other day. We've gotten a schedule going for all 6 of us adults to keep this ship afloat with who's doing dishes, cooking, sweeping/mopping, making town runs to buy food, washing clothes. Those of you who know me really well would be so proud of me...I've learned how to cook already. Haha. Yes, I've been cooking. And it tastes good. We hand wash our clothes and line dry them. We don't have refrigeration and are limited in the fruits, veggies, and spices that we can get, but we make it all work. Life is good.

We have neighborhood children at our gate all throughout the day, wanting to "play with da children", calling to us saying "mzungu, mzungu, how are you" (pronounced ma-zoon-goo...which means "white person"), wanting us to come and play with them outside our gate. Andrew and I have been going out daily and playing with these kiddos in the afternoons. Language is still a barrier but we all get by. I'm enjoying getting to know these neighborhood children. Chloe and I are starting tomorrow working with Shalom to take new pictures of all the orphans, update their info, and take video of them as well...all for updating the website in the States. This task is actually going to take a month or so b/c not all the children live at the orphanage. In fact, only about 4 of the 40 children affiliated with Shalom actually live there. There are different types of orphans here: those who have no parents; those who have lost one of their parents and the remaining parent cannot provide for them; those whose parents have been killed by warriors; those who's family can't afford to take care of them. So, these children are forced to live on the streets. So Rainbow Mike, who started Shalom Reconciliation Ministries, began getting to know these "street kids" and now has 40 children that are sponsored or trying to get sponsored so that they can have food to eat, clothes on their backs, school to attend, and hopefully eventually reconcilation with their families. So, all that to say, that a lot of the children live in villages far away where it takes several hours by foot to make it to Shalom in Kotido. So, we will be taking many day trips to visit all the children in their villages, in their schools, etc. I'm really excited about this and getting to know these kids on a greater level.

We met most of these kids on Saturday and heard a lot of their stories. Man, was I humbled. The realization that these kids (anywhere from age 8 and up to around 19 yrs old) choose to love Jesus Christ over their families...to hear the hardships that they've endured at such young ages but to hear the magnitude of faith in Jesus that they have...to hear how so many of these kids have lost one or both parents from warrior raids and how they are pressured to become warriors at such a young age...man, I just can't even begin to tell you how good I have it, even when I think I'm having a bad day. These kids are amazing. Simply amazing.

Well, I'm sorry if my blog is a bit scattered but it's getting late and I'm trying to remember all the things that I wanted to blog about. Oh well. Another day. :) Please continue to keep our team (family) in your prayers. My health is good and so is the rest of the fam. A couple of us had a few days of not feeling well but we're all good now. :) I ask that you pray for each of us to continue growing, to clearly hear God's voice and what He wants us to see/hear/feel/know/do while here in Kotido...that we would be obedient to His calling...that we would never stop seeking Him over anything else. I'll leave you with the chorus of one of the many songs we all sang tonight:
"I am the rose, I am the lily, I am Yours, I'm Your beauty. There's gonna be a wedding, it's the reason that I'm living, to marry the Lamb."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Family, New Home, Good Times...

Hi everyone! Well, this is my first blog posting in Africa. :) My team and I are in Kampala, the capital, of Uganda for a few more days and then we will be making the long busride trek to Kotido town (where Karamoja is). We've been getting a lot of things done here in Kampala, from changing money to Ugandan shillings, to buying a cell phone for here, to buying fruit from the market...I love it here. It's wonderful. The change of pace has been absolutely spectacular. It's nice to not always be going, going, going...and to have the realization that it doesn't have to always be like that anyway. We can slow down, enjoy life, get things done, be fruitful but also rest. :) Even take some time to pet the pig (we named Penelope), check out a preggo mama goat and her 2 babies, watch the monkeys carry their babies on their chest, and go around finding and eating the different fruits grown right here at the hotel. See the pics below...lol.

So our hotel is very interesting. hehe. It isn't the "fanciest" but it has everything we need. And by all means, we don't need fancy. It's just nice to have Westernized toilets, hot showers, beds, and good food. All we need. Backtracking a bit, it was quite the experience getting here via planes. Kristi and Kenneth (and kiddos) Williams' flight from DFW was cancelled (we were on separate flights) and they didn't get another flight until Thursday. I had trouble with my ticket from Brussels to Entebbe which made me miss my flight. I decided since I had an entire day to hang out the airport until my flight the next morning, it would be safer to get a hotel in Brussels for the night. It ended up being very restful and somewhat fun. I spent the day/night sleeping some, watching tv in English & French, taking a hot shower, and then having breakfast (morning time) Brussels' style. It was tasty. Got on the flight the next morning with no problems and my team was there in Entebbe to pick me up. The Williams' family got here the next day (Saturday). We were all relieved that everything worked out just fine and that we had all made it finally. Felt like family finally reunited...can't wait until August when all our family members will be here & together:)

So we've got just a few more things to do in Kampala before leaving. Andrew & I are going to try to go ahead and get our international driver's license since we'll have our own vehicle. If we don't get it now, we'll have to make the long trek back here at some point. Trying to capitalize on our time here. Couple other small things to do and then on to Karamoja! I can't wait. We're all excited. :) Well, please continue to keep us all in your prayers.
-Good health for all of us (Kerri in particular)
-Safe & smooth traveling at all times
-Quick adjustments for the Williams' kiddos...some of them are having a little tough time with the time change, etc.
-That we would spend good time with the Lord and continue to grow & seek Him first
-That our families and friends will adjust well to our being gone for a year+
I love you all and am so grateful for you!! Keeping you posted...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fulfilling His Promises...

I can't even begin to explain how the past week has been going. How God has just provided again and again and again. I'm in awe. Seriously. Just standing amazed at Him. :) So much has transpired lately to where I KNEW that God had called me to leave for Uganda on the 16th (this Wednesday) but there were roadblocks that seemed to arise everywhere. Stress stress stress. But God continued to tell me "Do not worry. I've got it all under control. Rest in me. Rest in my promises that I've already shown you and those that I haven't even begun to unveil. I am good. I am bigger than anything you can ever possibly imagine."

He keeps reminding me of this and you know what? He's totally right. Lol. The Lord has got the funniest sense of humor, I swear. Just a couple of examples. Nothing seemed to be panning out with me renting my house out. So I had decided I was going to go with a management company to take care of things. Some good friends pointed me to the right person. We talked and she told me what she'd be able to charge for rent...unfortunately for me, it was going to be a couple hundred dollars below what my actual mortgage is. So, I had begun stressing over this...how am I going to be able to get enough funding for Uganda much less have enough money for money to go toward my mortgage? How is this going to work? Yadda yadda yadda. Well, I'm in the beginnings of refinancing my home and knew the mortgage would drop some but there would still be money I would need to pay. I began just saying "ok God, you've got this. You'll make it work somehow." And so I let it go. Well praise God! Today I got a call from my guy who is refinancing my home and my new mortgage payment will be $3 less than what the renters will be paying. Isn't that incredible!!!! AND, my house showed twice on Sat. and twice yesterday...and someone is already in the application process to lease it. :) HE IS GOOD!!!

I've started having little bits of money come out of the woodwork from places I never would've imagined. Blessings! And I've just begun trusting more, deeper, bigger, wider, longer...it's such an amazing process. I wish I could list everything that the Lord has been doing so that you could all rejoice in every specific detail...but just know that God is all over this journey to Karamoja. He's got us in the palm of His hand...we are tightly knit...we are being molded, refined, renewed. I am so excited to leave for Uganda this Wed!! I've got so much to do in just one day...but I'm praying for the day to lengthen and for all important things to be taken care of in time. I know HE will provide. :) I'm expectant of it and awaiting it!!

I do want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of you who have been praying for me and my team, helping me in physical ways, financial ways...just being there with me through the preparations. There aren't enough words to describe just how much you have blessed my life and how I can't thank you enough!! To everyone reading this, please just keep me and my Karamoja family in your prayers as we are about to embark on a new chapter in this thing we call life. I can't wait to turn these new, fresh pages and see what the Lord is waiting to show us. You all are deeply a part of this journey...take that in. You all are a huge part of this journey. We can't do this without your support, prayers, and love. Thank you!!!

Until our departure on Wed the 16th, just know these things and rest in the peace and comfort of our Lord Jesus Christ that He has a lovely, beautiful plan and can't wait to unfold it bit by bit. Be blessed!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Love is everywhere...

It's been an incredibly difficult yet rewarding several weeks. I had my wisdom teeth taken out, had huge difficulties afterwards with my migraine headaches being triggered daily, had to finish working at my job which actually entailed quite a bit, and am still waiting on getting my house rented. The attacks have been coming strong but I still know that God is bigger than...anything. I still know that God desires for me to go to Uganda...there's nothing that I'd rather do in this world than go to Karamoja and be amongst the Karamojong. I've been terribly disappointed with a lot of things lately, but through this disappointment, God has shown me Truth, blessings, authentic love, great realizations, and a deepening of trust in Him. I am His beloved, His creation, Chosen for His Kingdom...He's unashamed to call me His own. He is my Sustainer. He is all-sufficient. He's all I need. :)

God has truly blessed me in the past week and 1/2 by me having an amazing visit with my family and friends back in my hometown of West Monroe, Louisiana. It was deeper than any visit I've had in a long, long time. I hung out with a couple of friends, new & old, who have become a substantial presence in my life and whom I know will always be in my life. I've realized in preparation of being with my new family in Karamoja that I need more of my family here.
It's a realization that might seem silly if you see your family all the time but I see my family a couple times a year now. And that's been completely acceptable for me. I've grown accustomed to it. I've liked it. In this though I will say I've had lots of work to do on myself these past couple of years and God has had to do quite a work in me. I've had to do lots of healing from many things, but God has made me new. So new. :) And now, I realize how much I need my family MORE in my life. How much I actually do miss them. And how much I love them. I've actually been deeply contemplating moving closer to my hometown or even back to West Monroe, Louisiana when I return from Uganda. THIS is something I NEVER ever thought I'd ever say. But God has been showing me so much in these past couple of months. What will be when I return from Africa is yet to be shown, but I am fully confident that the Lord will show me, tell me, and reveal to me in whatever method He wants to where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing.

I just have to laugh at the changes going on in my life. I chuckle at God's sense of humor and I'm amazed at His goodness. He is moving me and showing me much in abundance. My life is changing...for the better...and it's so exciting to me to ask God and to receive...in His timing. It's exciting to not have a plan. To just let Him lead. It's exciting to see His plan unfolding before me...sometimes one step at a time, sometimes multiple steps, sometimes huge leaps....just incredible. God is amazing...so amazing.

My Uganda family has seriously been under attack lately, dealing with different health issues with several people on the team to support raising, houses selling/renting, etc.
Kerri: has been dealing with some issues with her WBC count (white blood cell count) being extremely low resulting in low energy, low immunity...to the point to where they didn't know if she would be well enough to leave on the 16th for Uganda. And their tickets are non-refundable/non-exchangeable. HOWEVER, we've all been praying hard, hearing from God, and are confident that she will be well enough to go. Just got an update from Andrew & Kerri yesterday and she had recent bloodwork done...her levels have drastically improved, energy is returning, and it is going to be safe for her to travel to Uganda. Praise the Lord!!
Kenneth: spontaneously began having an intense allergic reaction to something this week and there's no explanation for why this is happening. So, keep him in your prayers for healing, good health, and strength as he leads his family of 6 (not including himself).
Me: Still waiting for my house to rent. Struggling still with my migraine headaches and jaw/nerve pain from my surgery. Satan has also been attacking me with complacency and I don't want that. And just praying for everything financial to get take care of...financial support, things in the present... I need 2 medications for an entire year (for my PCOS and my migraines) and it looks like my health insurance will only cover 90 days worth. So, to pay for the meds outright will be quite costly.
The Fulks (Cody, Michaela, and kiddos): Praying for all financial obligations to be taken care of, house to be sold, kids taken care of (passports, any $$ remaining off of adoptions, etc.).
The team as a whole: Just all the details to be taken care of, staying strong/finishing strong before embarking on this next adventure, financial obligations taken care of and all support to be raised or to be sufficient to go. Safety. Physical healing. Good health. Spiritual strengthening and expansion. That time with family and friends would be rich and fruitful.

I'm sure there are things going on with my team that I've failed to mention but these are the highlights of big prayer requests. Please keep us in your prayers as our departure is coming quickly (June 16th). I'll leave you all with some words from Isaiah 40: 28-31 --
Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A little vision...

This video was created by Kristi to remind us of the orphans across the world who need our help. Most of this footage is taken from their trip to Karamoja last year. (Double click on the video if you can't see the entire clip on my page...it'll show up on a separate page.)

And this video was created by the Fulks...just a glimpse into Karamoja and the Karamojong. :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Under attack...

This last week even up until now, I've felt so under attack from the Enemy. It's not that things haven't been falling into place...it's just that it's been extremely difficult to get them done. Many impetuses stemming forth and trying to make me swerve off track. I've got so much to get done but I KNOW that God is for this journey to Uganda. I KNOW He wants me to go. I seem to have people that support my going yet at the same time, I'm not getting any help from those that I'm closest to. I'm not trying to be selfish by any means. It just seems that I'm having to continue to reach out for help when people know that I'm in need or am struggling. But then...wow. When I shut off the noise for a bit, just hear the sound of my fingers tapping away at the keyboard, and take in what I am typing, God begins to speak to me.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me." (Matthew 25: 40-43)

I hear this. I read this. And am reminded of eternal perspective. I'm convicted of my own faults of not doing, helping, going, being...just not. I've been on both sides of the fence, as well all have I imagine at one point or another. I've been completely "safe" and feeling like I'm in a stable position (financially, emotionally, spiritually...), but did I remain in complacency b/c I was "set"? And then in the last year or so, I've experienced TRUE need in various realms. Oh how it's easy to point fingers at others who don't seem to be there or seem to help when it's actually just my own mirror of how I can be sometimes.

I think if I can get across one thing about Uganda, it's this: it's not just some mission trip. It's a journey of love. It's put forth and set forth by God and is His desire for those of us going to be going...and to GO. It's not like summer camp where the goal is looking for a fun experience, lots of pictures, yet without yielding to ourselves...without struggling...without hurting. No, this is not it. This journey is about love. Love for God. Love for people...ALL people. Love for the least of these. LOVE.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should di it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. (1 Peter 4: 8-11)

How I pray for renewed vision...for inspired hearing...for a peaceable tongue...for a heart that loves like Christ. This week and weekend has been pretty rough and those of you who know me well know that I am pretty open about how I'm doing, where I'm at, or what's going on in my life. So, I speak all of this openly, humbly, and vulnerably to you all...that you might lift me up in prayer...that you might pray for renewed strength, patience, tenacity, and good health for me!! It has been quite challenging lately. My list of things to complete seems to be growing longer with my time here in Dallas becoming shorter. Time is fleeting...this is such a multi-faceted statement. The past couple of weeks my migraines have been exacerbated and considerably worse. It's detered me from work, my clients, getting things done for Uganda, and just taking good care of myself the way I want to. I realized that my wisdom teeth needed to come out and this is a big reason for my increased incidence of migraines lately. So, I'm going tomorrow to get my wisdom teeth taken out. Taking a couple of days off work. Not bringing in hardly any income currently. Praying furvently that God will provide somehow and someway. I've had a stomach bug additionally for the past couple of days. Sigh. I got a speeding ticket today driving to my basketball games that I coach. Just another bump in the road for me.

I don't tell you all of this to make it seem like I'm being a Debbie Downer and am having a pity party. I tell you these things to be honest. That I've never been more certain about moving to Uganda but I speak openly to show in a small way (without being extremely detailed) that the Enemy sure doesn't want me to go!! God wants to use me and my family there in Karamoja to do HIS work and the Enemy doesn't like that one bit. I'm led to this passage of Scripture regarding all of this...

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saaved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4: 12-19)

I take a deep breath. I inhale goodness, mercy, and grace and exhale negativity. I can rejoice at my present trials for the outcome is all for the glory of God. I do ask that you all keep me hard in your prayers for this next month especially...I leave a month from today. :) I love you and I'm so glad you all are walking, running, crawling, limping, victoriously traveling on this journey with me. :)