Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sweetly broken

You know the times when you maybe think, "hey, life has been going pretty well for a while now, I wonder if I'm due for a little difficulty?" Well, that was today. These past couple of weeks have been pretty awesome - ministry wise and personally for me. But then last night God began the breaking process as He begins to chisel yet another chunk of that old me away. I won't lie, it's hurting pretty badly right now. Today in my quiet time I was in the book of Romans and then I was in the book of Numbers and both passages were about being zealous for God. There are two key struggles that I've noticed missionaries seem to face: loosing a passion and/or focus for their work and pride. Those two things are absolutely toxic for ministry as well as ones personal pursuit of holiness, and God has convicted me to my core that both of those things have been slowly creeping into my life lately.

I just feel so gross right now, just thinking of how I teach and teach about how to live a life that is focused solely on Him, yet I'm like the dogs on the movie Up, and all of a sudden I go "squirrel!" I know that's kind of a funny illustration, but it's true. It's funny how you can go along fine and then it's like "WHAM!" and God hits you upside the head to get your attention and get you back on track. Even though it does hurt and I'm fairly miserable, I'm rejoicing in the fact that I have a Father who loves me enough to do what it takes to get my focus back on Him and pursuing the things He desires from me.

Just another day in paradise

One of the things I love more than anything is when I'm able to wake up early in the morning, have a good cup of coffee, and just spend some real solid time in His Word. On top of that, one of the coolest blessings of waking up early is that here we have some of THE most amazing sunrises. This morning, I woke up and it was raining and the sunrise was such an awesome smokey purple and it honestly almost took my breath away (as it very frequently does here).

The beauty that our God creates for us to enjoy just brings to mind Romans 1:20, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A battle of the gifts

One of the struggles that I tend to experience the most is striking a balance with the gifts God has given me. I absolutely LOVE to teach and share His Truth with others and see it work in them to change and mature those who listen. On the other hand though, I LOVE to rock the administrative aspect of things. If you give me an event to plan, it's all I can do to have self control and not go crazy finalizing logistics even an hour after I've been given the task. Yesterday, I was able to spend the day studying, except for the times when I was actually teaching. I was trying to wrap my mind around 1 John 2:12-29 as much as I could so that I could teach it today at Jinja Modern and I was so mentally wiped out by the end of the day, but it was awesome! Then today, my day has been spent putting things into place for the beginning of a new series we're doing in youth group: The Race to Revelation. On top of that, I also was able to do some work on planning our youth conference that's coming up in May and began to think about and plan a ministry fair we'll have at the end of April. I love that I have a job where I can use all that God has given to me and do so for His Kingdom, the task that I have before me though is that little thing called "balance".

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A new chapter

This weekend was a pretty crazy weekend as far as embarking on new things. Richard, who used to be Ryan's assistant youth pastor, was officially made the youth pastor of our church. On Sunday morning, he was officially prayed for by the elders and so now he's legit. He is another one of my awesome "brothers" and therefore we get along great, but it's just going to be interesting trying to figure out where we're going to go from here. Trying to follow God's lead and not our own ambitions or where we think the youth group should be going, I know will be a challenge. Pray for us as we embark on this new chapter with the youth ministry. Pray that we follow God's lead and seek Him in everything and that we would be like the early church when they were constantly in prayer. Also pray for Richard to lead these students and shepherd them in the way God wants him to. Boy oh we go!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A fancy fan.....

So before I begin this blog, let me just preface it with the fact that I'm absolutely exhausted and half the time I don't even know what I'm typing and the "delete" button is my friend right now. I just wanted to enlighten you about our fancy fancy today. We had a party in honor of Ryan officially handing over the youth group to the guy who has been his assistant for a couple of years.

We had some crazy games. The first game was "Knight, rider, princess" it was awesome and I'm just glad I wasn't a part of the game, then they had to eat through a thing of Jello to try and find a bottle cap, and finally they did the usual water balloon toss and try and get as far away as possible.

Then it was time for Ryan to do worship and then he taught. I won't lie, I got a little teary eyed thinking about this is kind of the begging of him not being around anymore after June, and it kind of just hit me. He's my big brother, and I'm really going to miss the guy! Then he officially shared with the group that he was leaving, and Richard talked for a bit. Finally, it was my turn and I got up there and cried like a baby and prayed for my guys. Then it was time for the food!

Mama Peace, Stella, and Priva had been cooking away the whole afternoon and we ended up feeding about 100 kids when it was all said and done. We also had some cake that Jo made for the occasion.

It was really a lot of fun, but now after that and the women's conference and putting on the St. Patrick's day madness for my "family", I have to admit I am so crazy tired, it's not even funny. I just have to make it through tomorrow's usual ministries, and then I reach Monday (i.e. my day of "rest). I don't know if I've ever looked so forward to a Monday before in my life!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Women's Conference

Today was our first day of a women's conference in a village called Igluibi. It was also the furthest I've ever driven before, so it was a bit of an experience. The conference went amazingly! Bev, me, Mary, and Jo taught and then Lillian and Grace led worship. By the end of the day about 70 women were there and it was awesome. We had lunch of matoke, meat, rice, cabbage, and beans and it was just so cool getting to serve alongside our Ugandan staff.

I had to leave early so that I could make it back to teach at a high school. So Mama Peace and I went in the truck and headed back to town, and she was a great navigator and I didn't even get lost! We had such an awesome time just talking. I love that lady so much! Seriously she's climbing my list of top ten favorite people very quickly, and that really was the hight lite of my day.

Tomorrow, we have another day of the conference so hopefully it will go as well as today did.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day in Uganda!

My poor Ugandan family, they had no idea what hit them when this March 17th rolled around. Last year, we were traveling from Kenya and so it was pretty uneventful, and so today I made sure that we did it right. My American family already rocked St. Patrick's day for me back in February right before I left but today I got to do the legit thing with the people here.

It was so awesome because even our Ugandan staff wore green for me. Looking around the church tonight you could see who really were a part of our staff with all the green outfits. Everyone made me smile so much because even in the States, the only people who ever got into the day was my family and so it was really just a day full of disappointment but capped off with fun. Today though, was awesome all around and it was really like another birthday for me - I just felt so loved!

I spent the day with going to gym, then spent the rest of the morning in the kitchen cooking up corned beef and cabbage Uganda style. It was actually more of a stew since the corned beef was canned, but it worked out really well. I also whipped up a little green Jello No Bake Cheesecake. I then decorated the house. The afternoon was completed with a very hot walk to a primary school, studying for a teaching, and sipping a beautiful iced vanilla latte.

We had another awesome Bible study in 1 Thessalonians and then it was party time. The "family" came into the house and put on the extra garb I had set aside for them. I had also made a fancy little punch for them that my family makes every year. We put on a little Irish music and we had a great time! I loved this whole day and tonight having the food actually turned out and they all actually had an awesome time.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A moment I hope I never forget

In ministry, one of the hardest parts is confrontation. I'm definitely one for just calling people out on the carpet but sometimes I forget about the whole grace factor. I have one girl in my high school girl's ministry that we'll just call her a problem child. I pretty much was done with her and after hearing about what her reputation was, I had already settled it in my heart to give her the boot and call it "looking out for the holiness of the church". Then something crazy happened, in the book of John, we're told that the Holy Spirit will be given to "remind us of all things" and boy did he remind about something...the whole church discipline process. It had never dawned on me just how soaked in grace and mercy the whole approach really was. But if you pursue the biblical avenue to discipline, it's really cool! After that little "Holy Spirit Reminder" I was able to talk to her in the morning, no emotion, but purely out of love - again another lesson I actually had to live out but this time it was from Galatians, "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently..." It was just so cool how it was all Him and His conviction, and realizing that what I had thought was "righteous indignation" was actually showing itself in a sinful manner. After talking with her, and God seriously being at the heart of it, she came back to talk to me and acted very angry about the entire thing but after some more work done by Him alone, she couldn't really find anything else to say so I just kind of left it at that. Then, that afternoon, an unbelievably awesome thing happened! She came to the girl's Bible study alone - normally she comes only if she's got this one friend with her - and then she actually was an active participant in the study! I honestly wanted to cry when she came around the corner all by herself. I just pray that it really was the mark of the beginning of some awesome things in her life! It truly was one of the pinacles of my ministry career by far, and the coolest part about it was that it was all the work of His Spirit in not only her life, but my life as well.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A busy day in Kampala

Yesterday I had the privilege of going to Kampala with the women I call the "rebels of the missionary community" (i.e. Bev, Kathy, and Diane) Jo also came along which only added to the fun. We spent the time talking and laughing and having an awesome time and that was only the car ride there, the adventures only got better as the day progressed. I was able to see a side of Kampala that I had never seen before. The joy of Kampala trips is that everyone has their own little to-do lists because it can be such an ordeal going there. So Diane got some things taken care of for their vehicles, Jo went to the doctor to get a better cast on her arm and Bev and Kathy and I went to check out rooms for our ladies to stay when we host a women's conference in the Entebbe area in two weeks. On our way back into Kampala, we drove past the Taxi park and into this one market area where there were multi-story buildings with clothes hanging on the balconies and literally THOUSANDS of people walking around us, it as absolutely insane and Bev was a trooper in driving through all that madness - if it were me, I would have had a nervous breakdown after the first fifteen seconds of driving through all that. Then we rocked some lunch - it took a ridiculously long time but such is life with pretty much everything here :). Then it was shopping time. The two stores that are pretty much a must to stop at every Kampala trip are Game and Shoprite. Where we are able to grab a few things they don't have in Jinja. It's awesome, the ladies I went with are like a machine! They go in and get out, they don't pass go or collect $200, they just go in and rock the place and then come out and load up their cool bags that have ice in them and we head back home. It was a really fun time and I'm so glad I got to be there with these awesome women!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Comfort zones

When I tell people that I'm a rather shy individual, they pretty much all but laugh in my face...but the truth is call me shy, antisocial, or what have you...I'm definitely not the most socially outgoing person I know. Comfort zones are a funny thing, and lately I've been convicted about how I am needing to step outside of mine from time to time, especially when it comes to the social aspect of my life. I like to rock the excuse of how I've been working all day and am surrounded by people and would really just rather be with a few consistent people and hang out. This past Sunday though at our missionary fellowship I was reminded what a sweet and vital thing fellowship with peers really is. And now as my close circle of friends looks to be changing in the near future, I'm definitely realizing that I do need to branch out and expand my horizons. But it's one of those things that I definitely revert back to the me I was as a freshman in high school when I think of the perception others have of me and I know I just need to suck it up and take risks and put myself out there and just be a friend. I guess the moral of the story is I'm learning the real truth behind "if you want to have friends, you need to be a friend first" and that's a tough one for me sometimes.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Three weeks

It's so funny how different time is here now that I'm on the other side of the countdown spectrum. At this time last year, I had just graduated from the School of Ministry and was not quite sure what capacities God was wanting me to serve in. This year, I know exactly where God wants me and I actually am settled and seeing fruit in the ministries. It's so nice to be here and have things really be under way. It took a while for me to get into the groove and especially the first five months of my life here in Uganda, God was having to do a lot of work on my heart to put me into the place that He wanted me to be and ready to serve in His way and His strength, instead of just waiting for the time to end so I could go back to the States. I'll be honest and say that I didn't even begin to hit the tip of the iceberg when it came to knowing how to live/work/minister at this time last year. I'm not saying that I have it all together now, but I just can't imagine what I would have missed if I had only been here for a short amount of time! God has truly taught me so much, and now instead of counting down to when I go "home" I'm now able to live in the moment and be ready (or as much as I can be) for whatever God has to throw my way.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Women's Day

Today was a very different day to say the least. For starters, it was nice and rainy and so that just automatically gave the day a relaxed feel, not to mention that today is technically my day “off” which just put the icing on the cake, and to add to that even more today was a national holiday. Every March 8th comes a glorious little holiday here in Uganda called Women’s Day, to put it in “Kelli terms”: it’s the one day a year where men technically have to actually do something for their wives (or men for the women in their lives-don’t get me started on the other 364 days during the year). All this to say it was a very laid back day. I spent the day trying out my little $30 espresso machine, reading, and just messing around on my computer. Not productive by any means, but it wasn’t anything to complain about. The afternoon though was where my highlight came. After having my teaching at Jinja SS cancelled due to it being a holiday (they didn’t quite think the scheduling through when they asked me to come), I was able to just sit and talk and laugh with a couple of our ladies here. It was so much fun! Very rarely do we get opportunities to just hang out and it was just awesome to put all “business” aside and just relax and enjoy one another’s company. We then all gathered together - there were about 50 of us when it was all said and done - and we ate the amazing food the guys spent the afternoon preparing. My stomach is still hurting from all the posho, rice, meat, and chicken I ended up eating. We all (missionary and Ugandan staff) just had an awesome time spending the evening together laughing and playing and I just am so excited that we were able to have all this time together and really be like a family.

This picture sums up the whole purpose behind Women's Day in my mind, this is Martin serving his wife Alice - they have an awesome relationship and a great family and seeing him do this for her with such tenderness and her gratitude shining, it made the whole evening for me.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

youth, Lost, prison, and duck duck goose

Weekends are never boring, that's one thing I can always tell you will be a guarantee around here. Because Bev and Jess went for some much needed R&R, I got to be the go-to girl for the weekend. It was pretty uneventful so it wasn't bad at all and I'm glad i was able to help, but wow! It's just craziness sometimes (well, a lot of the times) around here. Yesterday, I worked on studying for several teachings, watched and sporadically "helped" Ryan build a little trellis (sp?) outside of my house for some added privacy, rocked youth group, went out to dinner with the usual gang where we partook in happy hour coffee drinks, and then came back for an episode of Lost. Today, I made myself a rather lovely latte, and then rocked our services (where my cough was the subject of one of JB's illustrations again as to what will NOT be in heaven). And then I got to be a part of something I've missed so much...I got to go to prison! I'm telling you it was so amazing seeing those ladies again and getting to just be around their joy and humility. We were in Hebrews 10 so it was a pretty heavy chapter but I just was able to lay out there the ultimate forgiveness we have in Christ even for whatever got them in there. From there I went straight to teaching the kids and we rocked the end of Genesis 12 and learned about Abraham's disobedience and selfishness and I gave them the low-down on baptism since we're having one next week. There are a couple of them who I think are ready and I really am excited to see their interest in maybe getting baptized! After the kids, I thought I was going to teach the big girls, but we were having what was supposed to be a small wedding here that ended up being really pretty big, and so I just joined the kids and the girls who live on the compound while they were playing with Jo Daniels. It was really a lot of fun, and it was nice to just play instead of always being at my desk with my computer in my lap studying. Ryan, Judy, Malia, Rochelle, and I then went to the missionary fellowship where we actually did a pretty unusual thing for us and actually fellowshipped. It's funny because even though you're surrounded by lots of people with common goals and interests you still gravitate towards the people you know, but this time even I branched out and socialized which was a pretty big step for me. Now, I'll be honest, I'm absolutely exhausted but am rather content of the outcome of the weekend. I love how God just filled it with so many different things!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Boy oh boy has it been a week! I was down and out for the first half with one of the worst colds of my life, I'm actually still battling with it a week later. But in the midst of the physical struggles, God is so faithful to bring about other victories.

One thing I've been struggling with is with my high school girl's ministry and how I just don't really know what to do with or about them. Then yesterday, I woke up to a letter slipped under my door from one of them that basically just talked about how excited she was about the changes others were seeing in her life, and a couple of other things...let me just tell you, there is nothing that makes my heart soar more than hearing that from someone that God has brought into my path! He is so good to have His Word and His Spirit work in our lives to change us and conform us more into His image.

Another area that's just been kind of a point of difficulty for me is just trying to find my feet (ministry-wise) again. Kind of the whole thing of "what do I really do here?" I know it seems crazy but in the midst of everything of recovering from jet lag and then this cold, I really felt lazy and kind of worthless in the work I was doing. Then this week, I got two HUGE open doors. I got the go ahead from Jinja Modern (the secondary school I taught at last year) to start teaching there again, so I'll be there on Thursday afternoons teaching through the book of 1 John. And then one place that I've really tried to get my foot in the door in lately is in a school called Jinja SS, which is the largest school in Eastern Africa. Last year it was a whole bunch of road blocks but then today I was able to meet with the leader of their Christian group and they said I'm good to go and come in and teach next Monday afternoon, and they'll call together an assembly and everything! I don't think the reality of that has hit me yet (in fact, I know it hasn't). These are two huge doors, like I can't even begin to tell you how huge these opportunities are.

Along with these things, I had all my previous ministries that I was a part of, have the interest to start up again too. So I'll be helping our teaching pastor's wife practice how to read as we go through the New Testament. I'll also be taking two of our ladies on staff through the Self-Confrontation curriculum (a hard-core discipleship course). And to top that off, I get to start teaching in the prison again, they haven't moved my ladies yet so I get to hang out with them every Tuesday afternoon.

I'm SOOOO excited about all these things God is allowing me to be a part of. I just pray now that I will have wisdom in teaching and actually teach, and not just practice my public teaching skills. I also pray for time management, because I have so many ideas for all of these ministries, I just want to make sure I do each one of them in the right way.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cool down

Growing up, I used to watch this show on the Disney Channel called "Mickey's Mousercize" it was basically Jazzercize for kids - I know like I really had to break it down for you. Anyways, at the end of the episode they always had a cool down time where they would stretch and do all the cool down things that technically you're supposed to do after working out but nobody ever does. Well, during that segment, they always had a song that went along with it and go figure the main lyrics are "COOOOLLLL DOWWNNNN", well that's the song that's going through my head right now as I sit here typing this. All that to say it's cool down time in my world.

Starting from 6:30ish on, the nightly routine is pretty much the same every day of the week except for Friday and Sunday. We eat a family style dinner (these days it's been a really big family), then after cleaning up we all plop down to watch a movie, by about 10ish it's time to head home and Bev being the good woman that she is walks me to my house-just for some extra chat time and "just to be safe' (honestly I love those times because normally we have too many people around to really just be able to talk), and then I sit myself down in front of my "baby" (i.e my Apple) and check out facebook, try and respond to some e-mails, potentially write a blog, and all this while listening to the sounds of Africa at night - the crickets chirping, dogs barking, music going, and my neighbors. From this, I progress towards PJs (one of my life motos is "life's too short for uncomfortable pajamas"), and I climb the obstacle course up to my bed: step on the step ladder onto my desk, then to my dresser, then onto my bed. I turn on the fan, set my alarm, and turn on my iPod and then flip to the page on my book that's on my iPod that I'm currently reading - I've gone through Pride and Prejudice, A Christmas Carol, Alice in Wonderland, and I'm now about to finish Pilgrim's Progress - it's really a great way to read without needing a night light. Finally it's time to drift off to dream land.

Yes, I do realize I just wrote a whole post about my nightly routine, but...well...what can I say: 1) I'm WAY too informative and 2) I must be progressing towards the latter part of that description. Hopefully tonight I can go to sleep without the assistance of my good friend Nyquil since he has been my trusty side kick these past couple of nights due to this nasty cold I've had. Well...the time has come for me to bid thee adieu cyber world...well, for tonight at least.

Oh blogs...

Tonight we watched a movie where one of the main characters chronicles here experiences of making her way through a certain cookbook on a blog (I'm not going to say which movie for fear that any appearance of endorsement main taint you view of me - haha yeah right-yeah right meaning "like you have much of an opinion in the first place" not "like anything could hurt my petestal view of the one and only Kelli O'Hea"). It reminded me of what an awesome thing a blog is and honestly what sort of responsibility it holds. I mean, what you read is all that I really give you to ascertain about my life here. For those of you who don't have facebook, you don't have "status updates" and although I try to be a good girl about my newsletters I don't get those out nearly as frequently as i should, and that therefore leaves us with the blog posts. I will try to be better at being more consistent with my posts, although I still have no idea of who all read this :). It's honestly fairly cathartic being able to process the days/weeks events so thank you for being "there" and I hope to not let you down. If you ever have any questions about life, or you feel like I left you hanging, never hesitate to write me on here and I'll definitely try to get back to you.


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