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!