Sunday, May 31, 2009

A week of breaking

This week was one intense week. It was honestly like anticipating one of my surgeries when I was growing up, you know it's going to hurt like nothing you've ever experienced but then you know the end result will be worth it. This week our staff undertook the Self-Confrontation course in one week (5 hour sessions for 6 days). It was intense to say the least, I have to say though I don't remember the last time I've been so convicted about certain issues in my life. Things I've tried to ignore, things I've tried to make excuses for were finally brought out into the light. I would expound, but in order to spare you and honestly to kind of spare myself of the details of the mountains of the sin of my life, I'll just leave you with this: PRAY FOR ME. As always with learning something new you are almost immediately tested and right now I'm already failing miserably.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Good Ol'e Spurgeon Slap

So I was studying for a teaching and I was using my handy dandy libronix program and clicked on Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Entry for May 29 which seemed to apply to what I was going to talk about, well, it brought up today's entry and it pretty much was slamming me in the face about what God has been laying on my heart lately as an area of my walk that has room to improve. God is so good to bring things to light that we may try and ignore, but then all of a sudden He goes, "WHAM!" to the point where you have no choice but take notice. I love how He does that to His stubborn kids.

Spurgeon Morning and Evening, May 24 AM
In looking back upon the character of our prayers, if we do it honestly, we shall be filled with wonder that God has ever answered them. There may be some who think their prayers worthy of acceptance—as the Pharisee did; but the true Christian, in a more enlightened retrospect, weeps over his prayers, and if he could retrace his steps he would desire to pray more earnestly. Remember, Christian, how cold thy prayers have been. When in thy closet thou shouldst have wrestled as Jacob did; but instead thereof, thy petitions have been faint and few—far removed from that humble, believing, persevering faith, which cries, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” Yet, wonderful to say, God has heard these cold prayers of thine, and not only heard, but answered them. Reflect also, how infrequent have been thy prayers, unless thou hast been in trouble, and then thou hast gone often to the mercy-seat: but when deliverance has come, where has been thy constant supplication? Yet, notwithstanding thou hast ceased to pray as once thou didst, God has not ceased to bless. When thou hast neglected the mercy-seat, God has not deserted it, but the bright light of the Shekinah has always been visible between the wings of the cherubim. Oh! it is marvellous that the Lord should regard those intermittent spasms of importunity which come and go with our necessities. What a God is he thus to hear the prayers of those who come to him when they have pressing wants, but neglect him when they have received a mercy; who approach him when they are forced to come, but who almost forget to address him when mercies are plentiful and sorrows are few. Let his gracious kindness in hearing such prayers touch our hearts, so that we may henceforth be found “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Coffee with the kids

So I made a deal with the kids that if they memorized the books of the New Testament in order that I would take them out for coffee. Well, low and behold they did it, so today I took 13 kids to my favorite coffee shop and most of them got coffees, some got ice cream, and some who got coffee wished they had gotten ice cream. They had been asking to get coffee for a long time, so it's kind of one of those be careful what you wish for. All that I care about though is how there are several kids now (mainly under 10 years old) who know more than I did at their age about the Bible.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The kids

So this picture is a bit blurry but it's the best I could do considering the number of them and their energy/attention span. These are basically all of the kids who come to the kid's Bible study that I teach on Sunday afternoons and the three girls in the back are three of the girls who come to the girl's Bible study.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Things that make you go "hmmm"

Today was pretty much like a normal Friday consisting of doing some work, helping prepare lunch, going to the gym, taking language lessons, and playing with the kids. Then, tonight we went to a surprise b-day party and it was a bunch of people just hanging out eating food, me getting in touch with my inner 10 year old, and playing some crazy pictionary. Well, I'm sitting here now in my house just kind of pondering the events of the day, and it still takes me back realizing that I'm in Africa. It's funny because everywhere you go, and a lot of the sermons you listen to, they use the example of moving to Africa as the most extreme thing you could ever do for God, but more and more it just kind of makes me laugh hearing that. I honestly love life here, yes, it's the hardest work I've ever had to do, but really I know wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world. I'm VERY blessed to have the friends that I do, both here and back in the States. I just love how God places different callings on our lives and equips us for different tasks, He's so good! To Him be all the glory, all the honor, and all the praise!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Youth Conference Pictures

Youth Conference May 09

A beautiful view

Right now I'm working on some finance stuff and all the aftermath that comes after a big event and as I'm sitting here with the door open, a nice breeze blowing, and listening to a podcast from Fresh Life, I have the baby girl sleeping right next to me. Needless to say, it's a pretty sweet afternoon.

Revelation 4

So God's Word amazes me on a daily basis, but today it was one of those quiet times where I just couldn't keep it quiet. The book of Revelation is one that honestly terrifies me to my very core. It's like I have a kind of holy fear of the book with how much it holds and just how intense it is. I've now come to it in my quiet times and so I'm going through it almost at a snails pace in order to try and fully (or at least to the best of my ability) wrap my mind around all that's in there. Today I began reading Revelation 4. Now, I've read through Revelation several times before but never allowing it to really sink in. If you've never read this chapter, I mean really read it, I highly encourage you to just get alone somewhere and read through that chapter and think of how safe our idea is of Jesus, and then just how much greater His splendor and majesty are than we could ever even imagine! How pathetic our feeble attempts at worship are when we have such a great king, oh if only we could truly realize how awesome He is!

Youth Conference Day 3

So we had a little bit later start today considering I threatened the girls with their lives if they woke up at 5:20 again. We got ready, had quiet times, and made sure everyone was packed and ready to go. We headed down to the church after all the boys were crammed on top of an SUV and the girls in a van and had some breakfast. Richard taught a devo that was a good warning/exhortation for how to handle unsaved friends and then there were two really cool presentations. One presentation was by a program called "why wait?" where it took one of the best approaches to abstinence that I've ever heard, the second was done by the Potter's Field ministry. The kids were in awe as they watched the head guy, Mike Rozell, form a beautiful pot before their eyes from just a chunk of clay. I think it was a whole new approach to what hey had heard time and time again and so it had a big impact on the kids of how they truly are the clay and He is the potter. After that was lunch, and then we packed up the bus and the van and headed home. I was in the van with the boys again and we all got back save and sound with only an hour before service. All in all, it was one of the coolest events I've done with youth and although I'm still absolutely exhausted, I'm just so in awe of all that God did and taught me personally over these past couple of days.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Youth Conference Day 2

The girls wanted me to wake them up at 5, so I told them 5:30 and they ended up coming in at 5:20. Needless to say it was an early morning.. The girls all got ready and then we had our quiet times, which was kind of cool to give them an actual chance to do what I tell them to do week after week. From quiet times we headed down to the church and rocked a chipate breakfast and I made coffee for Ryan, Richard, and I, which was honestly a huge blessing to be able to get since were still beat from the day before. We had worship, a devo, and our first session where the pastor of CC Entebbe taught. Then it was Ryan’s turn, he did a good job and we all had some laughs. From there, we began the shuttling to the Botanical gardens. I’m honestly ashamed to even call our “Botanical Gardens” back home by the same name, this place was like a huge forest/park with some of the coolest trees I’ve ever seen, we even saw a coffee plant! It’s right by the lake so the kids had fun hanging out there and just kind of exploring, but it was so unbelievably hard trying to keep 100 kids kind of in line while the only leadership that was there was Richard, Ryan, and myself because the CCE guys didn’t come for a while. It was really a lot of fun just us three getting to have fun laughing and hanging out with some of the students. While we were sitting by the lake at one point, a lady came up to Ryan and told him that he was the most handsome “mzungu” she had ever seen, Richard and I died laughing and that comment will give fodder to hours of good jokes. We then went back to the church after being there for about four hours and just kind of hung around, then they had presentations, and we ended the night there with us watching Nacho Libre while eating dinner. The kids all died during the movie, it was awesome hearing their reactions and their laughter through out the movie. We got home and found that one of our students was missing so Ryan and Richard had to go out and try and find him while I sat by the door and waited, as always there are those little things that come up, they found him and all is well now.

Youth Conference Day 1

It’s been just over a year since I’ve done an overnight youth event and I honestly forgot how awesome they are. We took 33 kids about 3 hours away to Entebbe for three day youth conference and it was just way too cool! You know those times when you’re preparing for something and you’re praying that God would be in all the details, but then when it comes to the actual event and things don’t go your way and you freak out, well, that was me for some of our trip.
It started out waking up in the wee hours of the morning and it pouring outside. Little by little the kids started to trickle in and by seven everyone was there…except for the bus. Around 8 the bus came and instead of seating 36 it sat 24, I have to admit I was not amused and I got in touch with my inner business tycoon and pretty much didn’t hold back when the guy was trying to charge us more for a bigger bus. In the end, we took one of our vans and the smaller bus, and I finally left at 8:40, over an hour and a half late. It was cool though, because I was in our van with Ryan and a bunch of the boys and so it was cool getting to be around them when they weren’t trying to be cool. We finally got to Entebbe at around noon and from there went to the church and hand lunch. Ok, now I know this sounds crazy, but I hate beans and that was a part of lunch but to humor everyone I ate my whole plate of food, including the beans, I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself.
We got ready to start the first session and the speaker looked at the schedule that had been sent to me and saw I was scheduled to talk about David and Jonathan (which I had been super excited about) and he told me he hadn’t heard about that and so his whole teaching was on their friendship. I have to admit I was pretty bummed as I love that whole story and all that lies in there. That also meant that I had an hour to write a teaching for the biggest group of students I’ve ever taught before. God is good though, and He just kind of kicked my butt about where my heart was in the whole thing and how I was lacking faith like none other. I ended up teaching on what it means to be a friend of God above all else, and honestly I really feel that was the teaching God wanted me to do, so it was cool.
After my teaching, they were trying to involve the audience and they asked people who their best friends were and at that time I had come in and Richard gave me a high five and so they asked him if I was his best friend and then they had us come up to the stage and talk about why the other person was our “best” friend. Richard pulled a fast one on me and totally played it up like we were more than friends and told everyone (all 100+ people) about how when he’s sad I say, “sweetheart, what’s wrong?” I seriously turned about 600billion shades of red, it was fun though because all the kids were dying laughing. After he went up, it was my turn, and so I just said that he’s like a big brother to me and I love how we’re just able to talk. Needless to say, we now have a super fun inside joke and call each other “sweetheart”. After that there was some time for presentations and then we went down to the lake and hung out, it was cool getting to laugh with everyone, and at least so far, it seems like this is really good to help grow my relationship with the girls. After dinner and sharing with Brenda because I was still full from lunch, we watched a movie, of course I was dying the whole time because I was tired, but it was still really awesome.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A little field trip

As I was on the way back to my house from the main house, some of the kids said, "Kelli, we're bored, take us somewhere". Now it was about lunch time so I decided to take four of them on a little field trip into down to have lunch at my favorite place in Jinja, Flavours. I pull up to Flavours in our truck and the four of them get out in their miscellaneous attire, as you know how all kids dress when they dress themselves. I can honestly only imagine how we looked coming into these posh little restaurant the way we did, but it was awesome. We sat down in the garden and the kids were kind of in shock about the place as they gave us placemats and cloth napkins and then the kids ordered Fanta Berry and fish sticks. We sat around and talked and laughed, now mind you, not one of them was over ten years old so it was totally laid back and just a really cool time being silly. The kids got their drinks and were impressed when they were given glasses and the waiter poured the cokes into and then they got the food and it was the first time they had tarter sauce and one of them took his finger and ate every last bit of it. All of the kids annihilated their food and I just had fun watching them have this experience. Now, I don't want you to think that I'm feeding some needy children, these kids have food, it was just a fine time to hang out.

This whole experience got me thinking about how childhood in America is marked by going to places like McDonalds but they don't have anything even remotely like McDonalds here, I don't know it just kind of hit me about those little things that are such a vital part of growing up in our minds aren't here and the kids here are content...hmmmm...just one of those thoughts.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

the rose colored glasses are gone

So I've been in youth ministry for about 6 years now and I realize that high schoolers are far from perfect. They face struggles, temptations, etc... that I would never even dream about and the kids here are no different. Of course, either I'm incredibly naive or they're about a million times greater here than back in the States (it's all in the eye of the beholder though). I know some of what the girls in the youth group do, what their reputations are, and how they tell you one thing but they laugh at you when you're not looking, I get that...but tonight all kind of came to a head. I have been praying about dealing with one girl and what she has been caught doing, and the questionable reputation of another, but then I was made aware of three other girls tonight who have been taking part in not so good things. There are issues spanning the spectrum from lying to parents to well, let's just not go there. I guess there are some things that you just never get used to. Please pray for me as I will be talking to pretty much all of them over the course of the next few days. How they handle criticism and rebuke is a lot different then what I'm used to, so it's gotta be filled with His wisdom and not mine.

Confession time...

No, it's not what you think. I can honestly say that I love teaching! It's by far my most favorite thing to do, its challenges, its potential fruit and getting to experience God just speaking through you, there's seriously nothing better. I used to be bitter about how because I'm a girl, I'll only ever get to teach youth or women, but honestly I wouldn't have it any other way. In four days I taught four times and I'm just so humbled that God has allowed me to do that here and be used in that way. One thing I have to keep in mind is how it says in James that we are to be careful if we aspire to teach God's word because we will be held to a higher standard, and I'm seeing the truth in that more and more as while I'm teaching I get the realization that I need to truly practice what I preach.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Our first Mwena Mwena

In one of the local languages here, "Mwena Mwena" basically means "everyone". The vision for tonight was to have a cheap night of fellowship and a little something out of the usual for the kids without us having to break the bank to put it on. So tonight consisted of three big bags full of popcorn, four crates of sodas, some benches, a stage, and over 80 kids. It was nice having it be somewhat more low key than a typical Fancy Fancy and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. I was the "guest" speaker tonight and taught on Mark 10:35-45 where Jesus defines what greatness is in His kingdom. It seemed to go pretty well, and I just am humbled during times like this when I teach and God just seems to put the words in my mouth, because if you saw my outline versus what I said, you'd be surprised. Afterwards one of our girls gave me the silent treatment (which is what they tend to do when you offend them) and so I hope that in some way that meant it convicted her. We were absolutely exhausted afterward, but I really hope and pray that kids were challenged and that they would remember what God showed them tonight.


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