Sunday, February 20, 2011

the experience of bible study

Too often I'm failing to write in this blog because I am wearied by the thought of how to explain the experiences that I go through in a way that i feel is sufficient to really allow the reader to completely share in the experience with me. And things happen in experiences here it seems. I don't just go to do bible study in the village at 2pm and come back at 5pm having read, shared, prayed, sang. no. I'm finding it's always an experience. I don't want to be wearied any longer by this daunting task of transforming experiences into written word. So i'm going to try to share about the experience of bible study yesterday. I'm now not going to fear writing for too long or too short, i'm just go to write, so be prepared. On saturday morning I had bible study with betty and abella and a Lydia (the missionary kid that I teach twice a week). After we finished i was left with a few hours still before having to leave for the other bible study i help lead in Kamuda. Though it is only about 13km away it is definitely village. I thought I would use the few hours before hand to prepare what I might share if the guy who was supposed to share didn't show up. I began preparing. We'd been studying out of John each week and so i was looking through John and considered sharing about when they wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery. I've heard so many sermons on this, I thought, well this will be easy and so i began in my mind preparing what I might share. I wasn't feeling completely sure about it, but felt good enough and thus moved on to reading a book. The book is called The Path of Loneliness by Elisabeth Elliot. Anyway, I would periodically stop reading and consider what was being shared in that book. My mind also wanted to meditate on a portion of scripture that the Lord had brought to my mind in the morning while i was out for a bike ride, "The enemy is His footstool" All that to say...I was in a process of listening to the Lord and attempting to learn from Him, more about Him. I continued reading from the book where Ms. Elliot quoted from Isaiah 43:1-5. I wanted to read it from my version and found that I was encouraged by it, especially the part where God says, "You are precious to me, honored, and I love you." What powerful, transforming words, to know that the God of the entire universe, thinks I'm precious and loves me so much. As I was processing those words from my loving Father, I began to picture the faces of the young men and women that God had thus far had me sharing His word with. I could see so much the pain in their eyes and how He longed for them to know how He loved them, and that no matter what they were going through they are precious to Him and He is with them. With that in the back of my mind it was time to go to bible study. I left at almost 2pm and reached around 2:15pm. On my way I found one of the youth walking, she's called Mary and she's usually the first one there, so I knew I was in for a wait when even she hadn't arrived yet. Mary and I reached the Sub-county headquarters, which is where we meet. We hadn't had bible study in two weeks and it was the day after elections so we weren't sure how many would actually come. Of the group I think Mary's english is not the best and my kumam is limited to greetings pretty much and Berna was not able to come and translate. ok, let me continue on here. So we waited until about 3:30 and only one other person had come. We decided to go look for another girl called Dina. I've put her into boarding school b/c of the situation at home, but she was home for the elections and had told me she would meet me at bible study. On the way to Dina's we stopped by Paul's house (he's the one supposed to lead today). He was out grazing his animals and said he was coming when he finished. We went on to Dina's and found she had gone to church. we went to her church and found she had left for bible study. we headed back to bible study, passed by paul's house and paul's wife said dina had come by and was headed back to her house to find us. Somehow we had passed each other twice on the way. So we quickly headed back toward her house and found her on the way this time. Then she went home packed her things (she was going to head back into to town with me b/c her grandfather was quarreling with her and there were too many temptations around, she said even over holidays she no longer wanted to go home), so we waited for her. While we were waiting Mary said that her heart was hurting because she loved the word of God and wanted to have bible study...but where were the people...and now it's becoming late and we have no time...and then Dina came and we drove back to the bible study, stopping by paul's to pick him up. When we reached we found Grace and Maggie waiting for us. We were now 7. Seems like a good number. Paul had not had time to prepare anything to share with the youth and I felt compelled to share what I had studied earlier that day from Isaiah. But before we could start bible study we met a woman who was staying at that clinic that was just there nearby. She was Paul's cousin and we felt we should pray for her. We went in her room and we sang a worship song and then prayed for her. I know the Lord touched her heart even in that short time as tears began falling softly from her eyes. I pray the Lord continues to draw her to Himself. Then it was finally time to begin bible study. Just as we were about to start, it was now about 4:45pm Brenda arrived. After reading Isaiah 43:1-5 I was able to go around to each of these young woman, and look them in the eyes and tell them how precious they are to God and how much He loves them. As I was going around the group Beatrice arrived. After that we had anyone share about anything difficult that they were going through that we could pray with them about. Dina shared about her struggle at home, quarreling with her grandfather, who had even told her to excavate her dead mother and have sex with her (or something along those lines, it may have changed a bit in translation). Anyway she shared how they didn't want her in school and were wanting her to get married (so they could get cows for her). After she shared Mary volunteered to pray for her, but first encouraged her to harbor no bitterness in her heart toward them and forgive them for mistreating her. The others shared also, Maggie with temptation with school (like dropping out to get married) and Beatrice with her parents always quarreling and her dad not wanting her to continue school so he can sell ( i mean marry) her off. It breaks my heart that so many of these beautiful young ladies are reduced to a few cows in their parents eyes. Too many fail to reach secondary school because they are "married off" for a few cows. We prayed for each after they shared and it was a good time of encouraging and prayer. Sarah recommitted her life to Christ. And Richard joined us just as we were finishing. I bought soda and crackers for the now 10 people, because, wow it was hot and we were tired. Afterwards Dina said she wanted to stay at her home until monday rather than coming home with me now. I think the Lord did a work in her heart, as she appeared to want to stay and resolve the conflict with her grandfather, rather than leaving in bitterness and unforgiveness. So...I took dina home, then Sarah, then Paul, where it was insisted that I stay and have supper, as it was now around 7:30pm. So Mary and I stayed, had some supper, and then around 9pm continued on our way. I dropped Mary, where I had to stop and greet her family for a few minutes, and then finally head for home around 9:30pm. So much for just going to bible study from 2pm-5pm. But I wouldn't have had it any other way. I don't know if I've adequately described the day in it's entirety, but I hope you at least get the idea.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

waiting for friday

Most people in america are always waiting for friday, for the freedom of the weekend. This week we're waiting for friday also in uganda. We're too hoping for freedom, but not so sure it will come. I returned on tuesday to Soroti after two weeks of being in Jinja and Kampala. I had an amazing time with two different groups of former child soldiers over the two weekends, learning about God's Father heart for them. I'm still processing these weekends, but hope to update on them in my next newsletter. On the drive back from Jinja to Soroti (it's about 3.5hrs drive) every thing seemed so peaceful and calm. Presidential Elections are on friday and most people are concerned about what will happen. I thought there would be more unrest up to this point for some reason, but things have been calm. I asked my friend at the market about it and she said we're just waiting for Friday. My 12 year old friend Abella says that they will not go to school on friday because the school headmaster said he didn't know what he would do if war broke out and all the children were at school. seems like a legit reason to stay home for the day. It seems no one wants war, and yet so many are fearing it will come. How can war come within a country when no one wants it? Haven't the people here seen enough of what war can and has done to their country, their people? I wondering just how fast it could turn from calm and peaceful to anger and chaos? I find myself now also just waiting for Friday. What will happen? Only the Lord knows, and I'm thankful He is my Keeper. So as you wait for friday in america or europe or where ever, please be praying for Uganda. We want friday to come and freedom and peace to follow.