Wednesday, March 23, 2011

He's Waiting

I went to the market this afternoon for a few things. I greeted my friend Nuru as I always do when I go to market. For those of you who don't know, she is a and she is one of my friends here. She entered my life a few days after a teammate prayed that each of us on the team would come to know a by name so we could begin praying for them by name. She has become a friend, she helps me when ever i need to know the best place to buy something, she'll escort me around market. I help her sometimes giving her a ride in my car or on my bicycle. Anyway I keep sharing with her about Jesus, but she is not ready yet to give her life to Him. Today after I got my few items she was ready to go to prayers so I walked with her towards the m0sque. This is the second time in a week I've walked her to prayers. Man, it feels like I'm walking her to her other lover when I should be walking her to Christ. I think of God's jealous heart for His children and how He longs for each of them, and how they are His precious bride. And Nuru has the opportunity to come to Christ and experience his pure love, but now she's with another lover, one that will never satisfy, one that she could struggle her whole life to please and still die not knowing whether or not he accepts her. How I long for her to know the peace that surpasses understand, the easy yoke and light burden, the abundant life, the loving Father, His precious Son, and His Spirit within us! Please pray with me for her. She has become a good friend and my heart is burdened for her.

Monday, March 21, 2011

a "temporary" bridge story

So back on the 4th of March I headed to Sisiyi Falls with 4 guys from the village in Kamuda. This was the 4th such group that I've taken. Mostly on the way there the roads are ok. We travel on pavement (mostly with car-sized potholes) for about an hour and half, and then a marram (like dirt) road for the last 15min. Back in May or June of last year a bridge got washed out somehow on the marram road. They quickly made a temporary bridge out of wood mainly 4x4's for the support and 2x6's for the road portion. It would always sway a little but as we crossed but overall it felt pretty secure. I never really feared for my life. Anyway, this 4th of March trip was a little different. You see the original bridge had still not been rebuilt so the "temporary" bridge was still there. It had of course seen better days, and looked more like it had been patched together over the last couple months and I feared as we made our way closer. The boys in the back were also a bit concerned, but I said a quick prayer and crossed. We made it. We enjoyed our time at sisiyi falls. And then came sunday when we had to cross back over the "temporary" bridge. This time as we approached we saw some ladies who had been standing on the bridge walk slowly away, each lady carrying some small pieces of wood. (were they taking parts of the bridge for firewood?? I don't know) It made me a little more nervous, but we prayed and crossed again. Yes! Success. Now that brings me to this past weekend. This time our team was going to Sisiyi Falls for a two-day time of fun and refreshment together. I shared with Jennifer that I was thinking maybe we should all walk across the bridge and let the driver alone cross or something like that, because it didn't seem too secure last time I was there. But as we approached the bridge this time it looked good. Almost like the original "temporary" bridge before the patchwork. The other people on the team wondered why I was so concerned about this bridge when it looked so good. When we reached to sisiyi. I was talking to Margaret (she's a worker at Sisiyi Falls Garden). She told me that the day after we left last time, back in the beginning of March, a car went down with the bridge. She assured me that there were no casualties, at least immediately...and she went on to inform me that they just finished repairing the "temporary" bridge two or three days before we came this time. I'm thankful for the Lord's grace protecting us as we traveled that last time, when the bridge had only one day of life left in it. And I'm thankful it was repaired in time for us to come back. Now we wait maybe 3-6 months for the real bridge to be repaired...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Transformed lives in Abim

I went to Abim on Monday to follow up with the youth who had been to the Father Heart Encounter last month. Many are full orphans and some have either just a mother or father still alive. All have been affected in one way or another by the karamojong cattle rustlers or the LRA (the rebel group that abducts children and forces them to fight). When these youth were at the Father Heart Encounter I saw many receive freedom from the shame and fear and bitterness in their hearts. I wanted to check up on them and see whether or not the change was remaining in them or if they had been overwhelmed with life back at home. I also wanted to talk with them about starting up a meeting for bible study and prayer once a month to continue discipling them. To my great delight each I talked with reported a great change in their life. I was only able to go for two days instead of my desired 4 days, but I was able to meet with 12 of the 20 youth. Below I am meeting with S, W and R. We're at S's home. She had been abducted by LRA and raped from there. She has a daughter which she produced as a result who is now three years. She testified that since coming back from the F-H Encounter that she now feels free, she's shared with her friends about this new freedom and what she learned from there and she says her friends have noticed a difference in her.

Next I talked with W. He explained that since coming back from F-H Encounter he has stopped getting drunk on alcohol and also shared with his friends about Jesus and they also stopped drinking. Now instead of drinking they either play football or chat with friends about the word of God. Then R. He says that he used to be rude to people and could quarrel with people, but now he has more forgiveness in his heart and forgives people much easier. Also he used to struggle to get money to survive, but since coming back from F-H Enounter he's been able to get some little money to survive on.
After visiting these three I went on to visit J. She's in school at the secondary school there. She's pictured below with me. Besides just visiting them I was also able to give many of them a picture that I took of them from Jinja where the F-H Encounter took place. They have so few pictures of themselves, if any, so they loved receiving these. Below we are looking through some of the pictures. J shared that her heart was now free, she feels better and she's even shared at her church about the freedom that comes with forgiving others.

I met with many others, which I won't describe each one, but I kept hearing things like: Respect for family and others have increased, discipline has gotten better, has begun praying about everything, stopped quarreling, and have been meeting together to pray and share the word, feels a new love for Christ, no more bad dreams, freedom from shame and fear, came to know God now cannot do ungodly things. As I talked with each, my heart continued in praise to our great Father who had ministered to these broken hearts. The power of the Holy Spirit at work in these lives. All were excited to have some kind of bible study and prayer group started to continue learning and growing.
This place is called Lotuke Sub-county in Abim district and it is a beautiful place that has suffered much. As I drove and walked around the place I found it hard to believe all the death and destruction that had taken place there. It seems so peaceful and quiet now. Many have moved close together to help protect each other. Below is a picture of one group of houses.

Though there was much change with these children in their hearts, they still have much need in the physical, seeing how poverty often comes married to war and violence. Many of these youth expressed a desire to go back to school, but did not have school fees. Some are the heads of their households and need to help provide for their family, but are struggling to do so. Some are being taken care of by grandmothers who are very old and sickly. Please pray for these youth for continued provision in the spiritual and physical. Please pray that I would have wisdom as to how to help meet some physical needs as well as spiritual. Thank you for your continued partnership in prayer. You have helped to set captives free. Praise the Lord with me for His continued grace and power displayed so evidently in the lives of these youth!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

grace for each day

The power has been out since yesterday, I was supposed to teach Lydia this morning, but she was sick. Betty was at my door by 7:45am wanting to wash her clothes from our tap. We first had to take Jennifer to the bus park. Shortly after returning… a young woman about 17years old shows up at our gate with her 2 year old son. At least I thought he was a boy until I saw he was wearing a cute frilly dress (he was strapped on to her back until then). Turns out he is indeed a boy, just doesn’t have clothes that are “gender appropriate.” Neither have shoes and they don’t speak ateso. They’re from southern sudan, well they’re trying to get back there. Apparently the girl worked in mbale for about 1.5years for a mslm lady who never paid her and abused her. The lady wouldn’t even give her transport money back home. So I’m still not sure who told her she should come to my gate, but there she was.

All she owned in one diaper bag. Gave her some tea and food and she wanted to wash her clothes too and bathe the baby and herself, so gave her some soap and water. She’s a Christian, but didn’t have a bible says she can read, so gave her a bible and a children’s bible. We also have a few shoes left over from Remembrance church’s vbs donation, so we were able to give them shoes also. And even got an outfit from Luka (MK) for little Joseph. She was so grateful for all things.

Brought her to the bus park and gave her money for transport. This is all before lunch. Power came back sometime in there so I could get the email out that I needed to. Brought Sarah her school uniform and some other things for Jennifer since she had to go to Kenya. Then had to go back to the house to clean it a bit b/c we (betty’s still with me) were having Nuru over for lunch (my mslm friend from market) along with her children. Then we quickly went to pick her up brought her to the house and prepared lunch and then ate. Made the mistake of using pans and plates that have touched pork in the past, so she was a bit troubled by that, and so was I, but she said she forgave me, I try not to beat myself up over how I could ruin a relationship just like that. Lord help me. Thank you that you can even use my mistakes for Your glory. After lunch took nuru home. Stopped by a boarding school to visit Dina, who I am sponsoring to go to school. She seems to be doing well. Enjoys geography, shared some interesting things about the choir members who have demons or worship the devil, and how they call homosexual activity in the dorms “bonding”. Hmmm, what an innocent name. anyway, so we (abella’s with me now) went back home, to find about 10 kids waiting outside the gate. They want to play. We decided on a movie, after much debate we decided on the Disney’s Joseph movie. Made some kool-aid. I was able to make some phone calls and wash my hair while they watch the movie. Movie finished, they went home. Bathed. The guard’s step-daughter shows up to turn on the gate lights and inform me the guard’s is going to be delayed. Learned yet another way to say thank you. Afowyo. Add that to Wanyala, Webale, Apowyo, Iyalama. All in one country. Yeah, so then began gathering the chickens to put them in the hen house, still can’t find my sweet village hen called gwen. Then began working on my newsletter. Internet not working…Finished newsletter, internet working emailed for proofreading, checking facebook, internet not working again. Approaching 10pm. Trying internet one more time. If not this will have to post tomorrow…nope, no internet…this will have to wait. Now it is morning again, internet net working, but power is back off, and so it begins again. Praise the Lord for His grace is sufficient. Yesterday morning I had prayed that my house would be a place of refuge and for the pouring out of Jesus’ love. God Answered that prayer. I also asked for the grace I needed for the day. He answered that one too. Praise the Lord who hears our cries and answers them.