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."