Tuesday, November 26, 2013

a necessary debrief

I feel like i need to debrief after today. How can we be so cruel to each other? Today was a day of sad stories. First Dinah, an 18 year old girl that I've been sponsoring for school came back from the her home in the village to tell me that her relatives are mistreating her. She's what they call a bastard here and they keep reminding her of that.  Her mother had her when she was young and for a long time she didn't even know who her father was. About 4 years ago her mother died and so she's been staying with her grand mother and aunties. But while she was at school they ate the food that she had planted which she intended to sell when she finished with exams so she could build her own hut on the compound. Now the aunty wants her out of the house she is currently staying in and yet she has no money to build her own, they complain about feeding her, and wonder why she doesn't contribute money to the food. they're just generally mean to her and the grandmother mainly wants her married off so she can get some cows out of the deal. ugh. Now here she is in my living room crying and asking for help. I want to go and shake some sense into all of the relatives but instead I'll just look for some money and try to help her build a hut. and more importantly speak words of Truth over her and to her.
After she left we went to a school in a nearby village and was talking to the headmaster, Julius, about which students are most vulnerable in the school. We have begun researching for students who we can look for ugandan sponsors for. He told us there are many, 32 just in the bottom two grades, meaning they are either orphaned or living with HIV or their parent or guardian is living with HIV, etc... Then he told of one exceptional case where there are 5 kids in a child headed home. The oldest kid is a boy who is in 5th grade, then one in 4th and one in 3rd and two girls in kindergarden. The father killed one of their siblings so the village decided to kill the father and the mother ran away to her village which is reasonably far away, leaving her precious children behind to fend for themselves. ugh. So julius asked that even if we focus on the youngest ones if we could in this case think of at least two older boys too. Julius is currently letting them all attend school for free and taking it upon himself to pay for their uniforms. Please pray for these kids, i don't know their names yet, but God knows. And the two little ones only go for half day of school, so when they finish they don't go home and eat lunch, but they have to wait for their brothers to finish the full day and then go home around 4pm. And then they'll start cooking, which means these little kindergardeners probably don't eat breakfast and definitely don't eat the whole rest of the day until a late supper. Seeing them just standing around the school, just the two of them, broke my heart. I wanted to take them and just keep hugging them. Needless to say we will be trying to find sponsors for that family and the 32 other vulnerable kids in those lower grades at that school, and will also try to do a saturday program with them sharing with them the word of God and also giving them extra help in school work. I just needed to get that off my chest. I release them to our Good Father and entrust them to His care. To Him who sees us and is with us even when we feel so alone and invisible. amen.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I will not, I will not, I will not

I recently got the Amplified version of the Bible on my kindle and it has made reading some of the scriptures that I've gotten used to over the past several years come alive in a new ways. I love the way the writer in Hebrews 13:5b
"for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]"

Isn't that great? He says, I will not fail you, or give up on you or leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I WILL NOT in any degree leave you helpless of forsake you or relax my hold on you.

Makes me wonder...will He ever leave me? Umm....let me check...nope, looks like He's pretty faithful and trustworthy.

Love this God.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Be Strong and Courageous!

The other night thieves tried to break into our house. We have metal bars on every window, so it's almost like trying to break into a prison. It was around midnight, somehow they had managed to begin to pry the bars away from the window so they could enter and grab whatever they wanted. Thankfully we heard them and scared them away before they were able to accomplish what it is they wanted, and they just stole a bicycle from the shed and some of our hen's eggs. The next night someone picked my tennis shoes off the front porch at 8:30pm, while Ruudy was sitting near the door. Seems crazy, when both times we were obviously home, they were quite bold and daring. I was kind of shaken up by it at first, I couldn't sleep well that first night, half asleep trying to hear any funny sounds, and dreaming of the completed break-in, etc...
BUT... God has not left us or forsaken us, He is with us, and cannot leave us. He has been quietly speaking to my heart reminding me that the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy, and wants us to fear him and become paralyzed by fear. But my Father, He comes with His peace, and allows me to run under His wings of protection, and tells me not to be afraid, that He who is in me is greater than He who is in the world.
Lately Ruudy and I have been feeling a growing burden for the youth in our area, particularly in regards to sexual purity and intimacy with God. Also, one of my musl:m friends just accepted Christ. We think as we continue to pursue these ministries, the enemy is not happy and is pulling out all the stops to make us back down and paralyze us, to think twice about moving forward. In church on Sunday we read from Joshua 1:5-9, which reads:

"No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Wow! What promises. My heart is encouraged with this reminder. People are missing out on the full inheritance in Christ when we are paralyzed with fear.  I can confidently tell the enemy to bring it, knowing that he cannot touch me, and I am not alone. I am fixing my eyes on Jesus, I am not looking to the right or to the left. I am studying Him continually, I'm obeying Him, not fear.
Be encouraged with me friends. What the Lord has called you to do, it is worth it, no matter what opposition may stand in your way, no matter what the enemy tries to do to sabotage His plans, it is worth it to move forward in obedience, keeping your eyes fixed on Christ, we run the race with endurance. Be strong and courageous!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Loving people the way they are

This is my first post on this blog in here, hope it will make a good read. I was prompted to write this blog following our recent adventure towards trying to love them as Christ would; despite of their circumstances. Ruudy.

After my parents died when I was about two years, I grew up in different homes, going through different kinds of abuse and mistreatment, but God saw me through all of these. A few months ago, it came to my attention that one of my aunts (my paternal uncle's wife; the guy who tortured me most and would beat me until I bled) was sick, diagnosed with cervical cancer and none of her children, nor the husband was interested in trying to treat her because cancer treatment is quite expensive. Memories flooded my mind of the days when I used to stay in their home. What caught my attention was that, she never at any time beat me, even though her husband would torture me but then again, she also never tried to rescue me from the beating (I don't know whether because of fear of her husband or in support of the beating). I tried to look for a reason to hate her, but I couldn't find any.

One time Beckie and I were visiting the village, she gave us her papers to look at and take for further research on treatment. However, the most beautiful thing is that, we shared the gospel with her and she received Christ! And today, three of her sons have followed suit! After Beckie contacting her friend from the states (Nancy, I'm sure), she advised that this aunt needs immediate attention otherwise, she would probably die within two years. We had financial problems ourselves and we knew if we were to help her, it would cost us a good number of thousands of shillings and then, maintaing her in Mulago Referral Hospital would also cost us something. But then after carefully praying about this, we looked at her situation with love and we sent her to the cancer hospital. Her sister escorted her there but then left her after just five days! For the last three months, she has been going through Radiotherapy alone, without anyone taking care of her, not her husband, not her daughter or any of her sons, but the Lord did! Surprisingly, she could't speak any other language apart from Ateso, which is not spoken in Kampala, but somehow, the Lord led her to people who helped her throughout! She didn't get any chance to sleep in the hospital ward while there, instead, she had to sleep outside in the cold all this time because there was not enough space in the ward.

We visited her twice in the hospital and lo, she was always happy to see some faces she knew. Today, we received her back! The first phase of treatment is over, she will be returning there in about two months time, and we know, God is faithful to His word and He is already healing her. She is so glad that she got help from an unlikely source when her own, couldn't help.

However, she told me a very heart wrenching story of two old people who were taking care of themselves at the cancer institute. The man had cancer and his mistress had HIV AIDS together with cancer! They were all sick and sleeping under the verandah with no care taker to help them out. The old lady couldn't get cancer treatment until she started on HIV treatment. She went to the HIV section and they kept telling her they were full and couldn't admit her for any treatment until either someone died or until someone got discharged. Her case kept getting worse and worse. The man got discharged from the cancer Institute and they agreed that the old man should go back to the village and convince their son to come take care of the old woman. The day the old man left, the old lady's health started deteriorating further and by 2 pm, she was fighting with death, alone under a tree, without anyone to give a helping hand. Fellow patients informed nurses, who came, loaded her on a stretcher to try to take her to the HIV section again, but it was a little too late, she died! The hospital had no records of this old lady, no phone number to ring, no nothing. Her body was taken to the mortuary and till this day, nobody has come tracing for her, neither the old man, nor the son, came back and over two to three weeks have passed since she died. Our aunt says she was terrified, since she was also there by herself, but also thankful, that she had us to rely on, to call on and this touched me, how our simple act of love, mirrored so much, in our aunt's life.

I took a photo of her with Beckie today in our home, and the smile on her face, can tell it all. Truly, Love is the greatest! Sorry I wrote it too long, but hope you learnt something. God bless you. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

a lady & her chicken

The other day we headed out to a certain village to collect some bamboo from a distant relative's place. As we were driving there I remembered an old man that we had brought home from a burial a couple of months ago, who pleaded with us to come visit him and his wife at home in the near future as some people were trying to grab his land and he wanted us to see where he stayed. He was the cousin to Ruudy's grandfather.  So we decided on our way back home to pass by. When we arrived we parked at the neighbor's house and then walked over to their place. The neighbors had two big "modern" houses, and then a couple of huts. Then when we reached the grandparents house they had one hut that they sleep in, cook in, store food in, and some animals also sleep with them. There was also a half built small two room house on their compound. They said that their roof was leaking, it may cost only something like $20 to repair. They said that the neighbors, who are somehow related, said they would build them a place, and take care of them in their old age. But it appears that it's just a ploy to grab their land.
Ruudy & I with the grandparent, their hut is behind us
The house they are building, looks like it's been trying to be built for a long time, and they haven't even provided a bed for them, and yet these guys are now left with only a small piece of land. It broke my heart to see the way these guys are living. Especially when I saw where they were sleeping and then the half built house that laid their vacant, only used to bathe in.

The couple's bed

The kitchen, which is in the same hut as the bed

the clothes and food storage
  But one thing that blessed my heart is the old lady. I had gone to pick my camera from the car so I could take a photo for them, and when I came back I saw there was a chicken sitting on her lap. Now if you're familiar at all with chickens, they generally are afraid of people and run away the second they sense anything moving near by them. But this chicken was just resting on her lap. I smiled and she told me the story, through Ruudy. The chicken's mother had died when it was just born, and so she began feeding it and communicating with it. Now the chicken has become her friend. She can call it and it comes, they can go to the garden to dig together, it sleeps right next to her bed at night. And I'm thinking in my mind, if only she had someone caring for her the way she cares for this bird. She never had any children, so there's no children to care for her, but it hasn't stopped her from caring for the ones God puts in front of her.
Tata with her orphaned chicken
It was a beautiful lesson of love. No matter how loved we feel as human beings, we have that love of God that is pure and real in our hearts and can manifest itself through us, even when we don't feel like it. His love overcomes. EVERYTHING. Period.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

across the table

Last night we were eating some of my most creative spaghetti yet, when I looked across the table at the two girls sitting there. Both whose minds were obviously far from there, leaving their bodies mechanically filling their stomachs. One, got results back from second term of secondary school level 2, and appears to be failing in every subject except one. She stays with us because her mother is abusive, mostly verbally, but sometimes physically as well. Now it's time for a 4 week holiday and she's supposed to go back to the village and help her mom in the garden. But she's afraid of her mother's tongue concerning what is revealed on that slip of paper. It breaks my heart, one because every night and every morning early she's studying her notes, she leaves for school at 7am and comes back after 5pm normally, she helps us with dishes and mopping and cooking and then begins studying until she sleeps around 11pm and then wakes up at around 5am to start studying again. She's not failing for lack of trying, maybe she's a product of the terrible education system here, her spelling is atrocious, and she most likely has some learning disability that will never be diagnosed this side of heaven, (and there she won't have it :) ). Now secondly, she'll go home to her mother who will begin by telling her that she wishes that she would have been the one who died and not her sisters, and then go on from there. I just want to take her and hug her and never let her go. Oh Father, let her feel your sweet embrace.
Then there's the other girl, we had just come back from a walk to pick up some things for supper, where she poured out a few things on her heart. Her mother has taken another boyfriend, she tells me it's the 4th one this year, and she just can't believe it. Her mother thinks he's nice as he has given her two skirts already. And I'm thinking in my mind, yeah, two skirts and AIDS probably.... But this girl knows that her mom's new boyfriend isn't all that. He's already approached my young friend who is not yet 14 twice asking her to be his lover. She is not impressed to say the least. Her and her brother have tried to tell her mom that this guy is not good for her, but the mom isn't buying it, he gave her two skirts after all. Oh Lord, have mercy. I'm glad my friend knows that multiple men isn't the solution to a hungry soul, but I hate that she has to live in such a situation, to the point that she had begun praying for a family, because she doesn't feel like she has one.
As I gaze across the table, at these young, beautiful women, whose minds are far away, I feel so helpless. I want to solve everything for them, take both their mothers, lock them away somewhere and pour the love of Jesus in to their hearts, directly. I want to shake them and say, wake up, look at the gift God has given you in your precious daughter. But for now, I'm trying to love these girls the way I know my Father does. Father let them know that love that surpasses understanding, let them feel your embrace as they face their mothers in the next few days, and the rest of their lives. Let your truth reign in their hearts.
What about you, who is sitting across the table from you? How can you minister the love of our Father to those that He has brought into your life? Do you even have time to listen, or the courage to let such people into your life? It's a lot more convenient to just keep going and not sit and listen and hurt with and love on the one our Father puts in front of us. But I dare you to try, because I know there are hurting souls across every table, and our Father longs to embrace them through us.

Friday, August 9, 2013

the Beginning of the creation of God

    You should have seen the way I pleaded with Dad to let me create you, for I knew the way He held you in His heart. He said it would be great and full of wonder and beauty, but He also knew that it wouldn't be all sunshine and roses, but there would be storms and thorns as well. He warned Me of the pain, the loneliness, of the anguish, but I WANTED YOU,  I NEEDED YOU, I was LONGING for YOU, I LOVED YOU, and it was that love that I allowed to blind Me to the pain, the loneliness, the anguish, the storms, and the thorns. I just HAD to HAVE YOU. And of course Dad, He also wanted you, for He had carried you in His heart for all of eternity, but He hated the idea of you suffering, of creating something/someone so beautiful and perfect and then having to be separated from you, having to chase you away from such sweet fellowship, watch you turn your back on Him and walk full face, unknowingly, into suffering, storms, and thorns. I told Him, Dad, I'm willing to go and get them back for You. I am willing to go and live among them, even enter the woman's womb, make myself so small, face all the storms and thorns and I'm even willing to die for them, my life for theirs.
     Now Dad is wise, He asked if I could really allow Myself to be completely separated from Him, cuz that's what it would take in the end. I told Him, yes, but it wasn't until I found myself face down in the garden of Gethsemane that the difficulty of my work became reality, I felt it in the very depths of Me. So close to you and yet so far away, I even told Dad, let this cup pass from me, but if I must I will go through with it. I already knew His answer, I knew I must go through, I couldn't lose you, and neither could He. You're too dear to us. And when I was on the cross, about to commit My spirit to Dad, that's when I felt the full force of separation staring me in the face, I even asked Him why, oh why had He forsaken me. But I knew that it wasn't about me, but about you, I knew this temporary anguish would be worth it. YOU are SO WORTH IT beloved.
     And when I had convinced Dad of my willingness, and my understanding of just what it would take, He seemed satisfied, but still hesitant. But what about when You come back and sit at My right hand, He had asked. He knew that you would feel like I'd left you, just there, like that, like poor orphans. He knew you would be afraid and crying for Me, for Him. That's when Holy Spirit piped in. He talked of how He would have to play a part too, and He was so willing and looked forward to going and dwelling in your hearts, to comfort you. He said he would love to walk alongside you, guide you, give you the wisdom that you need, and teach you about your authority, and the power that I've given you, He'd be willing to teach you about your identity and help you to walk in a manner worthy of your calling. He would help you to find your way, the Way, back to Dad.
     Now when Dad heard this, a big smile spread across His face, and He laughed a deep laugh, full of joy unmeasurable, and Holy Spirit and I, We joined in too, We couldn't contain ourselves. Dad said yes! He said, let's go for it, and that was all I needed to hear. Holy Spirit and I began the work at His word. Creating a beautiful place and a beautiful people. And when Dad breathed life into you, I'm never going to forget that moment, when your eyes locked with His, the way He gazed into your eyes with such love, as if it was love itself He was breathing into you. And every evening we would come and walk with you, it was what We looked forward to everyday. It was was such a beautiful time, Oh that you would come back beloved, that we could have such sweet, sweet, fellowship again.
     Beloved, when you walked out of the garden that day, it broke our hearts, Dad was trying to hold it together, but His love shown clearly, in the tear that slowly made it's way down His face. And from that day, I waited for the perfect day, when I would come to get you back. Dad kept reminding you that I was going to come. And FINALLY I was with you again, walking on earth as I once had, but the circumstances had changed and it was a painful journey, and you looked me in the face and betrayed me, you denied me, you spit on me, you hung me on a cross and you killed me, and I didn't care because I knew, I knew, even when you didn't, and even when you deserved it the least, that you were mine again, and I was taking you back to Dad's heart, and I had you, and I just knew that the seed of love Dad had planted in you so long ago would now begin to flourish in your hearts, and you would turn your hearts back to Us, and I would look into your beautiful eyes again, and you into Mine. Oh beloved, you are the one for Me, you are so precious and worth it all, and here I am, standing at the door to your heart, and I'm knocking, and I'm saying please, darling, please let me come and love you, let me have sweet fellowship with you once again. I WANT YOU, I NEED YOU, I'm LONGING for YOU, I LOVE YOU. I want to be with you, I want you to come and sit with Me at Dad's right hand. Are you willing? Oh that you would be willing.

As I was reading Revelation 3:14-22, this story came to mind. The verse begins, "...The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Origin of the creation of God, says this:..."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


We went to the village again at the beginning of the week. The good news is it had rained a good rain and I was able to help with weeding our peanuts. The bad news, is, well, when we first got there our friend informed us that his two cousins who are also former child soldiers, had along with their uncle, raped a young girl of 13 years. They were most likely high and/or drunk. They've since ran and no one knows where they are. If they show themselves again they will be arrested. The girl was tested and found to be HIV+. Whether or not she was before that they don't know, but if they catch the men and any of them is HIV+ then it's a capital offense, or at least life in prison, because giving someone HIV is charged as murder, rather than the 18 years they would otherwise be sentenced to. It's so disappointing to me. We had taken those guys to Father Heart, we had talked with them, prayed with them, but it seemed nothing was releasing them from the grip that marijuana and alcohol had on them. If they had never been captured and taken as child soldiers for 3 years, maybe this would never have happened. But the uncle was never taken to the bush, and it was their father who introduced them to marijuana at a young age, so maybe it still would have happened. Either way, it makes me feel bad. This one mistake has changed the course of their lives. And now, as I begin spending more time in this village with Ruudy, I was hoping he would be able to reach these young men in a way that I was never able to. And now it's too late. They can't come back or they'll be in prison for life.
And then another one of my friends in the village seems to be thinking of taking a second woman, even though he has one child and another on the way, and he's a christian. The way satan can deceive us and we become so blinded that we don't see the way he has come only to steal, kill and destroy. Somehow he makes it look so attractive, so appealing, until you take the first bite and realize...and by then it's too late. Thank you Lord for redemption, for grace, for being slow to anger and abounding in love. Help my friends, heal their deepest wounds that they try to heal with temporary bandages, like money, drugs, and women. Oh Lord, only You. How we need you, so desperately need you, no matter how much we realize it or not. Minister to the depths of our hearts. Help us to recognize the schemes of the evil one and not be blinded by them, but thwart them.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I guess I have to stop waiting for stand-out stories and just begin telling it as it is. Ruudy and I just came back from the village in Morungatuny today. Francis and I had done several community assessments before as I described on a previous post (I'd put the link here if I knew how) and so we let Ruudy try it out this time. As he was sitting there asking questions in Ateso, I let my mind begin to wander a bit. As I carefully studied the women and children who sat before us, I tried to put myself in their shoes or lack there of actually. There were two women who were around 40 years somewhere, then there was an especially old lady sitting behind a ways, then there were some of these ladies' daughters with their own children. I looked at their arms, as thick as a man's. Speaking of men, where were they? hmm...anyway, back to the arms, strengthened over years of lugging water from the well, collecting firewood, planting food, weeding, harvesting food, and carrying food to the weekly market. I then looked around at the trees, and the rest of the landscape thinking, this is all they know. They rarely leave their village, there is no electricity, no running water, no how-to manuel, village living for dummies...not there... how do you dream of something you don't even know exists? How can I say I want to be a chiropractor when I grow up when I don't even know that such a thing is even a possibility? and is it even a possibility? The chances for a girl in this village to even finish grade school is so low, then if she can make it in to secondary, will she be able to complete? And if she does complete, is she really equipped enough to think about university in the big city? And if by the grace of God she finishes university, will she really find a job?
Sitting there amongst the ladies and the huts, I began to really wonder how they manage life, and what is life for them? Do they have a longing to go out and see the world, or because they don't know what's out there, there's no desire. Do they think that the rest of the world is just like their place? And where the heck do these white folk come from and why? And somehow without an Iphone, an Ipod, or an Ipad, these ladies are able to survive.  Are they any worse than anyone else? Any better? I guess they are who they are, and so am I. This blog has no ending, it just keeps asking questions? What questions do you have?

Friday, June 21, 2013


Enter in.
Holy of Holies.
Guarding the mercy seat for eternity.
One at each end.
One with the mercy seat.
Wings stretched up toward heaven.
Facing each other.
Facing the seat.
They wait.
With great anticipation.
They wait.
For the One whose blood would finally satisfy the King.
Every year a man, with the blood of animal.
To satisfy the wrath of the King.  
Cherubim watching.
Blood poured out.
Gazing at each other anxiously.
Awaiting a day.
The day.
When blood would be shed for the last time. 
Gazing at each other.
At the mercy seat.
Year after year.
Sacrifice after sacrifice.
Waiting for the adoption of the sons.
The complete redemption of creation.
Waiting, groaning, longing, praising, loving, gazing
Until He comes.
He comes.
The One whose blood put an end to all other sacrifices.
As His body was rent, so also He rent the veil.
The curtain.
The wall.
The separation of man from God.
We are invited in.
Led into the King’s chambers.
Joining the Cherubim.
We take our place.
The edge of the mercy seat.
We turn our gaze.
From each other to the seat.
The ultimate sacrifice.
We gaze at the seat. 
Love manifested.
Eyes opened to the Way. 
So deeply. So truly. So wholly.
We turn our gaze.
To each other.
It is for each of us.
No one left behind.
Each person called.
The edge of the mercy seat.
Each deserves our love.
We love because He first loved us.
Looking at one another.
Eyes of love.
Encouraging each other.
Staying connected.
To each other.
To the mercy seat.
How deep the Father’s love.
Connected to that seat.
Of mercy.
Of Love.
Of Grace.
Poured in. Poured out.
We gaze upon lit faces.
Our arms are lifted high.
Reaching for our King.
Longing for Him to return.
In all His glory.
Surrendering all of ourselves.
To all of Him.
We’re holding on for life.
There’s no other place.
One with the mercy seat.
One with this Heart of Grace.
King of Kings.
We gaze at each other.
Great expectation.
Our King will return.
Calling us to Himself.
Once and for all.
We are here.
Holding on. Held on to.
Encouraging. Encouraged.
Reaching toward heaven. Embraced by heaven.
Waiting, groaning, longing, praising, loving, gazing.
Until He comes again.

Ex 25:19, 20 and Heb 9-10

Saturday, June 8, 2013

a thousand words

In no particular order, a few pictures from the last couple months. I'm hoping the whole "a picture is worth a thousand words" thing, covers for my delinquency in posting of the last several months...that's like 7,000 words, that seems like a lot, it might just work...
We hope you enjoy.
With our parents after the wedding, the precious lady
on the right is Ruudy's aunt Hellen who helped raise him, whom we call mommy,
she went to be with her Savior the 1st of May
Praying for Ruudy just before the wedding

At Tunyi Falls looking for land for a transformation center

The men a week before the wedding

One week before marriage

Ruudy, Betty and Musa playing Ludo

On the honeymoon near Fort Portal


We had a beautiful wedding and a short reception due to the blessing of rain. I know so many people were not able to come, due to the distance, who would have loved to be there. So first I want to say thank you for all of your support and encouragement from near and far. I think I will write about the wedding in our next newsletter.
I wish I could write a reflection on married life, but as I think of what to write, I don't know where to begin. Somehow it doesn't even seem real yet. Months of preparation and then it's over in a matter of seconds, I do, I do. We did, and now we're two become one, just like that.
I think the hardest thing must be unmet expectations. I expect certain things that I may or may not verbally express and he also has his expectations. And then to make it more confusing, i can assume what his expectations are and he mine, and cause even more confusion and doubt.
Like in my mind, I find myself allowing the enemy to discourage me, thinking thoughts like, I know he would probably be happier if he had married a Ugandan woman who would treat him like lord & master and do whatever he says. I know it's a lie and sometimes it takes time before I dismiss it as such. And my loving Father keeps calling me to Himself, telling me to trust Him. And Ruudy is being so supportive also and reassuring me of his love. It amazes me how I can feel so strong in my identity as a child of the King one minute and then have such superficial doubts the next (I may blame it on my womanly cycle though I don't have sufficient proof).
All that to say I am learning and though to be honest have gotten discouraged at my own poor thoughts, I press on. I know that I have the mind of Christ, and He is renewing my mind day by day. I don't live as someone who has no hope. I have hope.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

a reflection of self

Wow, I waited too long and now where do I really begin? hmmm. I guess I'll begin with myself. Sounds selfish, but it's something which I've been learning so much more about as of late. I think it's easy to come to Africa, be overwhelmed and go home be overwhelmed and get over it. It's also easy to come to Africa, be overwhelmed, stay for a long time and allow your heart to become hard or remain hard. It's a common struggle amongst long term missionaries, experience so much pain, then not know what to do with it, so stuff it down somewhere in the cracks of an ever hardening stone heart. We are human beings and somehow in the midst of all of the pain and over abundance of work, (surely we live in a fallen world desperate for a Savior), we become human doings. Maybe it's so we don't take the time to consider the pain that has so deeply penetrated so many of us. If we run from one hurting soul to the next, if we pack our days so full of activity we won't have time to really face the ugliness, the wretchedness of the sin that is destroying so many lives, and could even be slowly ebbing away at our own.  It's only over the last few months, that my eyes have been opened, and more importantly, my heart has been softened by our loving Father, who works in us as much as we can handle. I think I've cried more in the last four months than most of my life put together. I'm learning more completely what it means to suffer with those who are suffering and rejoice with those who are rejoicing. I guess you could say I'm becoming less productive, in order that I may take the time to really feel, and to really hand the burden over to our Father, spending less time talking at God, and more time listening to His heart and how He's moving in the lives of His precious children. So though I may see myself as less productive these days, I'm trusting Father that it's for the best, that He's working things out in me, allowing my heart of stone to become flesh again and experience Him in a new and deep way. I've learned I can work 24hrs a day here, there's always some crisis that I could be a apart of solving, but actually I can be even more productive if I spend more time just listening, listening to Papa and listening to His children, moving with the triumphant Lion of Judah and the tender Lamb, rather than running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. You see the chicken eventually dies and makes a mess in the process, but the Lion, He's eternal and loves rebuilding lives, and though it can get messy He ultimately cleanses us to the depths. Thank you Jesus. So though it's hardest to come to Africa, be overwhelmed, and continue to have a soft and feeling heart, we have a loving Savior who pours His living water into our hearts and continues to bring healing and restoration, and it's easy to enjoy being with Him, He's the protector of our hearts, and He does a much better job than the stone that eventually crumbles.