Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 In Review

So I came to the conclusion, what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't write an introspective post on the previous year as a new one is peeking around the corner. Trying to think of this past year is absolutely mind blowing just thinking of how I was doing last year compared to this one, but I'm going to do my best.

First off, this is absolutely insane to think that it's been ten years since the beginning of this millennium. I won't lie, I may or may not be freaking out about how I was a freshmen in high school ten years ago and it's just amazing to think of all that's happened in these past ten years. Graduating high school, college, and moving to Africa are just few things that have taken place. To God be all the glory for all that He's taught me and the things He has brought me through over the years.

This year began with me being at a very weird place, I was still somewhat upset with God for calling me away with all of my friends and family to live in the heart of Africa. After God did some work on my heart, which honestly started as the year began, I began to get more into the flow of life and ministry. I finished the School of Ministry which I can't even begin to describe how awesome it was how God worked out for me to go to the school there and just all the things that God taught me through the school and the bonds that were formed. We have had teams come through where I was able to learn so much about the effectiveness teams could have. Learning the ropes of full on ministry after the school was over and really just finding my niche was a little interesting but God just brought things together and everything has fallen into place. God has just done some absolutely awesome things, and I'm just so stoked that He has allowed me to have some small part in it. I was listening to a teaching the other day and one of the illustrations that was used really put it perfectly: imagine someone goes in for a heart transplant and the surgery was a success and the family goes in and thanks the scalpel instead of the surgeon. I'm a scalpel, plain and simple, and I would be absolutely nothing if it weren't for Him. It truly has been another insane year of breaking and pruning, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Now I'm looking forward to a new year of seeing what else God has in store, I know it will have it's ups and downs, but I just am so glad I serve a God who is always faithful and will never leave me nor forsake me.


Sunday, December 27, 2009


One of the greatest quotes I have heard on friendship is "A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out." I have never realized the truth of that statement more so than what I have learned in visiting the States. I have been blessed by having such awesome people to call my "friends" that fit this definition to a t. It's funny the things in our life that cause us to realize who our true friends are, and being here for only a short time, I get to kind of take stalk in the people who God has placed in my life and really realize and be thankful for those who have been there with me through all these past two years. For all of you who have kept up with me, e-mailed me, facebooked, skyped, or texted me, and for those of you who even make the trek down to the airport to welcome me home, I just have to tell you THANK YOU. If I forget to tell you to your face, God has used you in some amazing ways in my life and truly you are a very vital part of the work that He is doing in Africa by just encouraging me and just being a friend.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Chritmas time is here

Right now I'm sitting on the couch in my PJ's hanging out with my family. Our Christmases are filled with tradition, between that and how amazing my family is, I'm definitely torn between two worlds. I'm so blessed to have the family that I have, I love how on Christmas Eve my mom and I go on wrapping marathons staying up way later than anyone ever should, I love how my brothers and I all crowd onto one bed to watch the Grinch until our parents give us the go ahead to come out into the living room, I love that our "big" present is always hidden and our dad types out clues to go and find it. All of these things are what make up many of my Christmas memories that I will always cherish. The hard thing is that I have another family that is 8,000 miles away. I truly do feel like I live two lives, the one here in the States and the one in Uganda. I love each place and I really wish I could just have half of me in Uganda and half of me stay here in the States. Already, I'm thinking about next Christmas and how I won't be around to do the things we have been with my family, but I also look forward to the Christmas performances, parties, and the how low key Christmas is going to be. I wish I could put into words just all that I'm feeling and thinking right now. I KNOW without a doubt that I'm called to Uganda, so there's nothing wrong with that, it's just a bitter sweet day for me that's all.

Anyways, to finish this on a less introspective note, I hope you all have an amazing Christmas! I thank God that He sent His son to be born to die 2,000 years ago. It's cliche and so often we even here the phrase "the reason of the season" and we're numb to it, but in the midst of all the madness, expenses, and stress that this season tends to bring, just take a moment to thank God for all that He has done for us by giving us the Ultimate Gift.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The three things we should never forget...

To share with people when we're witnessing or even discipling someone.

It's funny how sometimes the most "unimportant" verses you read can be the ones that when you read them again they hit you the hardest. I am going through Acts in my quiet time and today as I was reading, 24:25 just really hit me of what an awesome outline it is of what we should be sharing with others, but very few ever do. Paul was standing before Felix, a Roman governor, and just sharing his faith and in this verse it says how Paul talked about righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment. If you go into most churches or turn on the TV, very rarely will you ever find any or all of these three things discussed, but this is what it all comes down to. I mean without these three things, our faith is so small, our walk so weak, and our maturity so hindered. This life is not about us plain and simple, it's not about our happiness or our health, it's about seeking to live righteous lives where we don't merely go to church or read our Bibles, but we live our faith. Our Christianity is not about living one way on Saturday night but then thinking going to church on Sunday is going to make everything ok, we HAVE to practice self-control and not giving into our fleshly desires, but instead seeking Him. And finally, the coming judgment, something people shy away from talking about because they don't want to seem too "preachy", but way too many people are so afraid of talking about it, that by doing so, they're really just holding open the door that is leading to Hell. We will ALL have to stand before Christ at some point, either to receive a crown or to receive judgment, and if you have denied Him your whole life, the later of the two is exactly what you will have to face.

I realize that this is a bit much, and a little heavy for most, but it's the truth. I just wish we could all follow Paul's lead in how he just laid it out there even to a man in authority. He didn't "tone it down", it didn't try to be politically correct, he simply was faithful to fully lay the TRUE Gospel out to a lost man.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Back to the "norm"

One of the cool things of coming back here is how I have been able to kind of fall back into lot of the same things I used to do: living at the church, late night ihop and chick flicks with Mat, and even getting to dive into helping out. Last night we had Renovate and I was able to go there with Mat and just be a part of the set-up/tear-down and it was just cool how they let me be a part of things like that. My Student Ministry guys are just awesome and involving me right away and allowing me to be a part of it again.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A little shout out to my boys

I have seen this certain group of guys grow up from back when they were in middle school to now they are leading ministries here and other places. These guys amaze, humble, and challenge me. They're a few years younger than I am, but they have so much to teach me. I am able to have talks with some of them that I would never be able to have with anyone else and the wisdom that they have is astounding. I know countless "adults" who do not have a fraction of the maturity and passion that these guys do. It just goes to show you that age does not mean everything. I am so thankful that God has placed these guys in my life. I love them so much and I just pray those guys never loose their momentum or passion to serve.

Is this for real?

Talking to other missionaries, they tried to tell me what to kind of expect when going on furlough, but nothing they could say really would have prepared me for what it really has been like so far. These past few days has been times of catching up with old friends and trying to wrap my mind around how nothing has changed while at the same time, everything has. I am so blessed to have people who care about me and it just cracks me up some of the reactions that people have when they see me. One thing that I am experiencing is how God is humbling me and working in my life to kind of put a spotlight on certain things that He might want to deal with. To me, pride is one nasty monster that likes to really grab a hold of me, and the crazy thing is that a lot of the time I don't even realize that it does have a hold on me until it gets hurt. Already, there have been a couple of things that really made me have to check myself where my heart is at because of some things that either people back in Uganda or here have said, or even just in the middle of a conversation realizing that all I've been doing is talking about myself for the past 15 minutes. God is definitely reminding me of the crazy fact of how I'm absolutely nothing and can do absolutely nothing without Him and that I am 100% replaceable. I haven't even been here a week and already it's been an intense time of reflection, I guess the only hard part is the fact that I'm always going and moving and so most of the processing that I do over what is in my mind is done on the go but it will be interesting to see all the lessons that God teaches me over the rest of these two months.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

First day in the States

Well I woke up this morning with a little confusion as to where I was. My dog Scooby came in to wake me up (which on an added note, he is THE best dog in the world). I had some breakfast and then got ready for the day. We went to the Flea Market to buy our Christmas tree, and then my mom and I went to Costco. I was in shock seeing all those things that they had there. I am pretty stoked to be able to now have honeydew, blue berries, strawberries, and grapes! Oh, I also got my phone all set up so the evening also consisted of me getting in touch with people and for the schedule beginning to be filled. Dave and Vivian also came over so that they could drop off their Jeep for me to use while I'm here. God is blowing my mind right now, and it's only the first full day. Oh yeah! I also saw a little patch of snow which pretty much made me stoked out of my mind.

The trip to the States

So I left Jinja at around 2:15 on Friday afternoon with Ryan, Judy, and Malia. Saying goodbye to all the kids and staff members at CC Jinja was so hard! We made our trek to Entebbe, had a little coffee in a posh little coffee shop, and then hung out with some friends who live in Entebbe. We ate some pizza and then they took me to the airport. It again was not a real fun time saying goodbye to those three. I can't believe I won't see all of them for two months. I finally boarded the plane at 12:30 in the morning and took the 9 hour plane ride to London.

Getting to London, I was in absolute shock! Seeing all the stores like Prada and Coach, and they also had Starbucks which I haven't seen guessed it, 15 months.

Then came the next leg of my trip to Dallas. That flight was 10 hours. Getting to Dallas right away, there was a Dunking Donuts, Chile's, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. It's just absolutely amazing, and I'll be honest I can see how Americans are so overweight ;)

The knots continued to grow bigger and bigger as the final plane trip was about to begin. We boarded the plane and I finally was able to sleep a little bit. I got off of the plane with my legs feeling like Jello and my heart racing. I walked down the hall to where the people wait for incoming passengers and could see my parents and brothers standing there. I jumped into by bothers arms and had an awesome time finally seeing each other. Then, I turned around and there was the rest of my family: bunny, leroy, marcus, jacob, hannah, gina, my grandma, and my grandpa. Going down the escalator, there was a huge group of my friends, and I just couldn't believe it! I can't tell you how thankful I am that God has placed all these people in my life.

We then headed to Chile's and had a sweet time just hanging out, although I feel bad I couldn't spend much one on one time with anyone.

I got home, and my parents brought back to get settled in my room. They opened the door, and it was so beautiful and decorated just for me. We then just hung out and them my momma and I just spent some time hanging out with my momma.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My oh my!

Right now, I'm writing this blog from a little kiosk in the Heathrow aiprort in London. I can't tell you how in shock I am right now! Everything is so big and fancy, and everyone's so white! I know that sounds terrible, but it's true. Already I miss the simplicity of Uganda where when I went into the bathroom here and the hand dryers were so fancy I would never have been able to figrure them out if it weren't for other people doing it before me. I'm surrounded by people, and escelators, and shops, and I even have a Starbucks in my view right now. This is absolutely insane!!!! Just warning all of you that you will hear me pretty much constantly saying things like 'Woah!!!!' and 'I haven't seen that for 15 months!'

The flight from Jinja to here was about 9 hours, I have a four hour lay over here in London, then the flight from London to Dallas is about 10 hours. I'll have a three hour lay over in Dallas, and then it's on to ABQ!!!! So far everything is going so smoothly, I just pray that it continues to go that way.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Last things

Most people I'll be saying goodbye to, will only be for two months and then I'll see them again, but the prison ladies are another story. When I first started teaching them six months ago, there were about thirteen ladies in the condemned section of the prison, all guilty of mostly murder. Little by little the number has been going down and today there were 9 amazing ladies for me to teach. They were informed about a month ago that they will be transferred to the prison in Kampala in the very near future and therefore, today was most likely the last day for me to ever see them (until we meet again in heaven). They don't allow pictures in the prison, but I would have loved to capture especially this day with them. I spent the morning making chapatis and Julie baked a cake, we also brought a case of sodas and just had ourselves a little party. God answered some serious prayers with how the Officer in Charge actually was really accommodating which was something we were not expecting. After the food, I taught briefly just emphasizing how things change but God's Word never does and therefore they should always look to it and not to people. When the teaching was over, five of the ladies performed some songs and dances, and then they each gave me a gift they had made. I then said a couple of words and had tears streaming from my eyes. I've been so blessed by these ladies and I'm so glad God has brought them into my life. I will never forget their joy even in the midst of being in a Ugandan prison without seeing family or the outside world for potentially the rest of their lives. Please pray that these ladies seek God and that they don't just follow where the money is but truly follow after Him and that they would grow by leaps and bounds as they continue to go through life.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The last weekend

So I've been trying to make the most of the last few days that I'm in Jinja with all the kids, the girls, the prison ladies, and everyone in between. Hmmm...where do I begin?

Well, This weekend we had our Pastor's wives conference which was actually really cool although I typically try to rebel against all things women's ministry just because I don't feel like I'm in that place in my life just yet. Bev asked me to teach and my subject was on the characteristics that make a mature woman of God focusing on the verses from Titus 2 and 1 Peter 3. I have to admit I was really intimidated by the subject considering I was about ten years younger than the youngest person there, but God seemed to use the teaching and I just hope that these ladies were able to draw closer to Him through what they learned. Then I helped lead a small group and got to know some of the ladies a little better, that was awesome! I am so glad I had that unexpected opportunity to minister to a whole new group of people.

Then after the conference we had a fancy fancy for our youth group, kind of congratulating those who had finished their schooling for good and welcoming in the holiday. After a day full of preparations, we had about 90 students show up. We had some messy games (years of youth ministry put into effect there), worship, a great teaching by JB, and then lots of food! It was a cool way to cap off youth group for a couple of months.

On Sunday, I had my last time of giving announcements for the services. During the second service our power went out, which it tends to like to do, and I was able to get the generator started all by myself, and I won't lie I was pretty proud of myself. After service, we went to Irege, one of our staff member's houses, for lunch. He lives on the other side of the lake and he takes a boat to get to our side to work, but we just took the long way and drove for about 30 minutes. Irege is our cook, and he's a really awesome guy. He's shorter than I am, but he's respected by everyone here and in his village. He has 14 kids (that's right 14) and has raised his kids so well! We got there and he welcomed us with TONS of food - seriously anything you could think of that is traditional Ugandan food, he pretty much had for us. He also loaded us up with sodas. He was so cute because he knows I love orange fanta so while everyone else got a coke, he had fantas for me :). After lunch, we went down for a boat ride on the lake, I'm just sorry that my stomach was still recovering from all the food that I really couldn't enjoy it all that much. Then he took us to see his garden which really is bigger than any garden I've ever seen. He's such a business man, he grows his own food, raises chickens, and has a boat that he takes fees for people crossing the lake. He really is an awesome guy, and it was such a privilege to get to see his home.

Now if that wasn't enough for the past couple of days, today I decided it would be a great day to take all the kids who live here on the compound to a place called King Fisher to go swimming. I also made sure to invite Ryan, Judy, and Richard for some extra sets of eyes. We had a blast, and of course they didn't want to go, but it was an awesome kind of last hurrah before I go.

Well, that was weekend in a nutshell. Tomorrow I'm going to embark on making my own chapatis to bring to my last time of being with my ladies in prison. Hopefully it will go well. I just am so bless by having so many people that I hate to say goodbye to. I know that for most of them it will just be for two months, but still I love my Ugandan family and I just thank God that He has brought me here and to serve Him alongside all these amazing people!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Getting ready

So in one week I'll be at the airport getting ready to get on a plane in about three hours. It's been an interesting time for ministry since the schools let out for their holiday and between that and preparing to go, everything has just been a little off. I'm so close to finishing the book of John - we're on ch. 19 now; and with mama Peace, we are in the minor prophets so I'm trying really hard to finish everything and do it well. It's insane saying goodbye to some people already and I just don't think I have words for all the excitement I have yet at the same time wishing I could just have the best of both worlds.

Now, even though I'll be heading out soon, that doesn't mean things slow down and today we had the first day of our first pastor's wives conference which I had the privilege to teach at and it was about being a mature woman of God - talk about a humbling topic. Tomorrow we're going to have what we call a fancy fancy which is basically just a big party with food, games, and a Bible study. This next week will hold some tying up loose ends and just general preparations for the trip. I just can't believe it's almost here.


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