I got some good time for internet today, so I am posting an update!
Things are wonderful here in Uganda. It is comfortably warm, sunny, and I am having a true african experience with housing. I feel filthy from head to toe, and have been dreaming nightly of my first American shower when I get home, but I am loving every minute of it!
We have been preaching in street crusades where we have seen several people come to Christ, and we have been preaching in churches. So far I have personally seen two demon possessed people freed, and 3 instant healings including a paralyzed woman.
A girl on my team who is deathly allergic to bees got stung and started to swell up immediately, but we all prayed for her, and by the time she got to the hospital she was perfectly fine.
Oh there are so many stories to tell, and so many pictures to share, but it will mostly have to wait until I am home. We have just learned of the terrible tragedies in Oklahoma, please be keeping our home state in your prayers. I am thankful though that we were out of the state during it all.
Tomorrow and Wednesday is more church and street ministry, and then we start hut to hut ministry. These two weeks have flown by! Only 2 left. The internet is too slow to post pictures. But I hope you will enjoy these brief words.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
I dreamed of an orphanage, living a simple life. Not preaching, never preaching. As years went by my dreams began to change. I found a passion for the children in the foster care system. I also developed dreams for thriving in my book writing. I even began to accomplish my dream of being a missionary in Africa. But still I never dreamed of preaching.
Yesterday is finally hit me, the irony of the fact that I was placed on an evangelism team for Africa. Last week I didn't even know how to write a sermon. Now I have written and practiced 3. It is nerve wracking but I have found that I love it.
In 2007 a minister who had never met me before, told me something that rings in my ears daily, "I see great things in your future. If you keep your heart right with God, then the sky's the limit. The Lord challenges you, to dream."
This week I have been having dreams at night, of sharing my funny stories in front of large crowds. It was a task that was far beyond my wildest dreams.
I can now see that Uganda is only the beginning. I dream of publishing many books. I dream of finding homes for America's foster children. I dream of sharing the hope I have found in Christ, with the people of Africa. I dream of a husband and adopted children. I dream, I dream I dream.
I dare to dream.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Tuesday morning training I had to walk on a wire in the air, and I had to lean on a teammate who was walking on another wire across from me. We were our only support to make it across the wire. Our goal was to make it half way.
My teammate Mariah was the person who went up with me. It was so hard for me to let go of the pole we had climbed up to get there, because I was so nervous about the height. The cords strapped to us were little comfort to me.
I kept losing my balance, and screaming as I flailed in the air. Mariah then told me to look into her eyes, and focus on leaning on her. I would focus on her eyes, and we would take a few steps further on the wire. Then I would look away, and just like a science, I lost my balance every time. Then Mariah would remind me to look into her eyes, I would focus, and we would take a few more steps.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that it was looking directly into Mariah’s eyes that kept me focused enough to keep walking. If I even looked down to her nose, I lost my balance.I thought the lesson from the activity was to learn to lean on my teammates, but through out the day I started to learn something that was much more profound for me.
October 2011 I had just started my internship working with foster kids. I was so troubled, seeing how much the kids needed God, but not knowing how to get that to them when God was forbidden in government agencies. One night I couldn't sleep because I was so restless over the question of how to help foster kids. That's when God told me to apply to ORU and go learn how to be a Christian social worker. I sat up that moment, and at 2 in the morning I submitted an application.
I came to ORU with a vision and purpose; to learn the ways of God, and learn how to reach America's foster children.
It didn't take long after getting to ORU, for me to get all caught up in the hype of the school. I got so caught up in meeting all sorts of cool people, and doing all sorts of cool things, that school became all about having fun and getting a degree. I lost the vision.I became more curious about who would be the next famous person to visit campus, than figuring out what it would take to bring Christ into the foster care system.
As I stood on the wire looking into Mariah's eyes, I realized that when I lose sight of the vision, I lose balance. Just as Peter sank into the water when he took his eyes off Jesus in Matthew 14. I loss sight of why I was at ORU, and as a result I have begun to lose motivation and desire. Homework became a chore, class became a bore. These last few weeks lack of energy has been a major problem for me. All I want to do is sleep and it feels I can never get enough. I have been praying, asking God to give me my energy back, but I see now, God was trying to give me my vision back.
I lost track of why I came to ORU. When I lose vision, I lost motivation, and when I lost motivation, I lost energy. When I lost energy, I got lazy.
I felt a light switch turn on in the preaching Tuesday night, when the speaker said, "You're faithfulness and diligence today, will shake the nations tomorrow. Your laziness today, will make you in effective and will rob the futures of those you are supposed to help tomorrow."
This week my vision has been renewed. I have always felt a call to greatness; a call to change the world. This is why I came to ORU. This is why I must not tire of the mundane work. My laziness today, may cost souls tomorrow.
It is true for me. It is true for every one. We have not even left for Africa yet, and already I can say I am forever changed by this experience.
Monday, May 6, 2013
This moment of waiting would be the first of many things to come throughout the day.
The first part of the day was spent learning evangelism tips and training. Then the entire afternoon was spent on team building and doing different exercises to show the importance of every individual on the team, and the importance of communication and support.
All through out the afternoon we had to do several physically exhausting activities, which all had a lesson to it of how to work together as a team.
By the end of the day, all of our muscles felt like jello, and we all felt more confident and more unified as a team ready to take on the challenges of Uganda.
Each evening we have a service for worship and some teaching. Tonight the message was on "What's worth it?"
This week of Ropes, is worth it to prepare for what is to come in Uganda.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
|My suitcase all packed and ready for Africa|
I worked 6 a.m. to 2:30p.m. today. When I got off work, I hurried to Walmart to get some last minute supplies: duct tape, another box, bug spray, and trail mix.
I was back to campus at 3:30, and then met with the girls of the team at 4:00.
We had to show our outfits we were packing, to be sure they were appropriate for Ugandan culture; skirts and dresses only, nothing tight.
Also found out the itenerary: Minnesota, Netherlands, Rwanda, and then finally Uganda.
|My room, not quite so packed|
I have 7 sleeps left in the USA until we board a plane across the world.
Well.... I should get back to packing!
Thursday, May 2, 2013
People are flooding out the doors with various boxes, excited to be headed home.
Saturday night I will be moved out of my dorm room. Then Sunday ORU missions starts five days of missionary training called, "Ropes."
|Team Leader John|
This is it. After 19 years of dreaming about going, I am finally about to accomplish my dream of going to Africa.
I could not wish for a better group of people to go with.
We come from every kind of background
|Assistant Team Leader Meka|
We go with one goal, to be a short term investment into a long term movement for God.
8 of us met in October, some later left the team, and some later joined the team. None of us really knew each other those seven months ago.
Now we have become not only traveling partners, but friends.
Memories will be made. Lives will be changed. This journey has just begun.
I am so excited to see this story unfold.
Side by side we'll see the world.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
I got off work a half hour early on Monday. I decided to go on a joy ride on my bike down the Riverside nature trail I talk about so much. This time I went a different direction on the trail than my usual route. Needless to say, from now on I will stick to the path I know I like.
I had been going along for a while. There were lots of people around in front and behind me. It felt like a very public and populated place, so I was not on very high alert to scary people.
Only about 2 more minutes passed, and I realized he was now riding beside me on his bike. When suddenly the guy reached out and grabbed onto my bike basket. I got scared and instinctively wanted to go into fight mode.
I halted my bike, and my heart was racing. As I clenched my fists and had thoughts racing about how to handle the situation, he threw something into my basket and then kept riding on. My mind was still trying to process everything, when he looked back, smiled, and gave me the peace sign.
When it finally registered with my brain that I was not going to have to fight him, I darted back towards campus as fast as I could. What would have normally taken me 20 minutes, only took about 5 minutes for me to get to Lewis Avenue, which put me right across the street from campus.
It was then that my adrenaline calmed enough for me to wonder what he threw in my basket. I looked around, and found at the bottom, a plastic wrapper, with some green looking leafy stuff... It was marijuana.
I threw it out as fast as I could, not wanting anyone to see me with it, because I was sure they would not believe my story.
When I got back to my room I told my roommate the whole story. "Ha ha," I said, "I was about to fight him. But he just wanted to make my day a little happier."
Thank you mister homeless man, but Jesus is the only drug I need.