20 August 2011
Sunday was absolutely amazing. We celebrated Thanksgiving in Africa, African style. People have been preparing all week, bringing food to share to the church, building booths out of sticks and banana leaves to represent God’s provision for us. The whole yard at the church was one booth after another and each one was filled with things those people were thankful for. Someone was at each booth to share how God has blessed them and met their needs in the past year. So, part of our church service was going from booth to booth and seeing how God has been faithful to meet needs. The very beginning of the morning began with a parade of sorts. We joined our family, the Jonathan Family and marched with them. It was one family after another, marching around the circular path that goes around the church. There was festive African music playing and we all danced and waved branches, just celebrating God’s goodness. There was so much joy it just couldn’t be contained! Troy had the honor of catching all the action on video, taking pictures and ringing the bell to start the party! So we all marched and danced and then met in the church to start the real celebration. There were 12 native African languages represented that morning and we were led in songs for each of those languages. These people know how to have a good time! The boys and I got up with our fellow Institute classmates to “help lead” a song in Tesso. I basically danced and laughed with the boys. The church was so packed we could hardly even make it to the front, so we were all just singing, laughing and dancing together. It was amazing! People were raising their hands, waving branches, jumping, dancing…it was a serious party for God, to celebrate HIM! I think this day will always be a highlight for me when I look back at this time we spent in Uganda. I said it already, but I have never experienced anything like this where there is truly so much joy it can’t be contained. God is so good!
A family was visiting from up north at the Kobwin Children’s Center. This is an extension of New Hope that works with the child soldiers. We heard from a young man named Moses, who was abducted as a child soldier. He shared with us the horrible things he experienced at the hands of the rebels and he shared of Gods’ protection during that period of time too. He was spared, though emotionally he had been through horrible things. He was able to stand before us, a life filled with so much hope only because of Jesus. It was such a powerful testimony to me. God is the Redeemer and Restorer of our lives. He is the source of our joy. So many things satisfy us, but it’s only for a short time and then we are left more unsatisfied than ever before. Only God can satisfy. So, Moses’ life was celebrated that morning too. Even more than that, it was God that was celebrated.
To top off the morning (which by now was well into the afternoon!!!) we ate together with our families. It was a fantastic day. I felt the joy of it well into the next morning. I am so thankful for all these experiences here. The longer I am here, the more my heart is asking God if there is a place here for us, for my family. I don’t have any answers, but I long to be a part of something bigger than myself and I love it here!!! I wonder what God is doing!
09 August 2011
What a full week this has been. In class, we talked about the orphaned heart. You can be orphaned physically, whether your dad was physically absent or emotionally absent. You can be orphaned spiritually, separated from a loving relationship with your heavenly Father. Or you can be both physically and spiritually orphaned, and that’s the category most in the world fall under. Everyone has father wounds of some kind and we all carry an orphaned heart. Father wounds can show themselves in our lives by feelings of abandonment or rejection, loneliness, hopelessness, shame and deep sadness. An orphaned heart protects itself by hiding, telling lies, mistrusting, being superficial, being overly sensitive, self pity, fearful, spirit of poverty, hoarding, manipulating, selective memory, fantasizing (avoiding truth), misinterpreting, independent spirit (rebellious heart) and striving. Our assignment this week was to take a close look into our hearts and identify where we have an orphaned heart in us. Going in to this week, I thought I would be learning about other people, the orphans, not so much myself. I was really surprised to find that I do have an orphaned heart as well. We all do. And we all need God’s healing in our lives.
We really dove into Scripture and what it says about the fatherless and what His heart is for the orphans. It is all over the Bible! God’s heart has always been for the widow, the fatherless, the poor, the stranger. From the very beginning of the call of His people, Israel, He has charged us with the care for the fatherless and all the needy. He reminded them over and over from generation to generation. Again when the church was formed, the charge to provide for and defend the fatherless and the widow…that is God’s heart. When we are doing a bad job, He defends them Himself! In the early church, when believers weren’t able to feed the poor, they would fast for a couple of days so they would have enough food for them. God doesn’t ask us to care for the fatherless if we have plenty. He asks us to do it when we are also in want. The job God has given us is clear. Our response to this call is horrible. Even now I wrestle with what God really wants for our family. Yes, it is crystal clear. Does that mean God wants for my family to take in the orphaned as well? I don’t know yet! But how can I not?
All week my heart has been so tender toward the orphaned. I think about my visit to the baby house and how easy it was to love those kids. They were so willing to give love too. All week, I’ve had one precious little face on my heart at a time and I can’t help but cry for them. Little Moses is a chubby 6 months olds and he has such a twinkle in his eye. His baby laugh was so precious and was such a gift to me. How do I walk away from Moses? On Sunday, we got to hold little Sam during church. He’s about 18 months old and my heart just breaks for him. He is mostly unresponsive emotionally and he just sits and observes. He has such a broken spirit inside of him; somehow he isn’t able to receive love. He had me in tears most of the morning. Oh, I want him to experience the love of the Father and for his young heart to be freed and healed of his rejection and abandonment. I don’t know his story, but I am told it is very heart breaking and this little Sam needs God’s healing in his life. Please pray with me for him. As I learn his story, I will share it with you…but please be praying with me now for God to heal this little boy’s spirit. I would love to see a miracle in his life. I would love to see his eyes twinkle and I would love to see this little boy’s face light up with joy. I would love to see him respond to a hug and a tickle. I would love to see little Sam come back to life.
So, now we are beginning a new week and I wonder what it holds. What heart searching will I have to do this week? What answers to my questions will I receive and what will it require of me? It’s all been good, but it has been more intense than I ever expected! This is a good journey my family is on, and I wonder what our future holds. I trust God will make it clear to us. Thanks for your prayers for my family. I am truly thankful for them!
I was invited to see a friends garden, about 5 acres, of coffee, beans, bananas and such. These are some of his children and some he looks after. They were so excited to see a visiter.
Taylor and the boys at soccer practice and Sarah and her friend Claire.