Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ministry Fair Madness and then some

This weekend was one of the most difficult and stressful weekends I’ve had in a very long time, but it was also one of the most amazing weekends that I’ve had in my life. It’s kind of funny how God sends you period of time where you’re basically just worn down until you seriously have nothing left. That is exactly what has been taking place over the past month (as you can read from the previous posts). All of that kind of came to a climax this past weekend and more specifically with it all coming to a head with our Ministry Fair that was held on Sunday.

The Ministry Fair, is a fairly new thing for this church as we’ve only done it one other time. This project is a challenge because it’s kind of like my “baby” for the month(s) leading up to it after it’s been decided when it will actually take place. Designing and producing the various materials used for the event, gathering the supplies, set-up, and all the other aspects that go into an event like this are definitely interesting when: 1) you’re flying solo and 2) you’re in Africa.

To say that God is good would be an understatement in my mind especially in the ways he shined through this whole event. As I previously stated I was seriously running on empty yesterday morning and as I woke up at 5, I seriously didn’t know how I was going to pull of this event that was going to take place in a mere few hours from then. After getting ready for the day I set out to begin set up while the sun was just about to rise and it was so amazing how God showed himself in two awesome ways at that exact time – the sunrise was spectacular and Ryan, instead of going through his usual Sunday morning routine, put that aside and came out to help me and just started setting up tables without me saying a word. If only I knew what a picture that would be the whole rest of the morning.

It pretty much sprinkled the entire morning and I won’t lie, I had to fight getting disappointed by the weather and I had to constantly remind myself that all of these details were placed in God’s hands and I needed to be content in what He had the outcome be. Ryan continued to be an AMAZING help the whole rest of the morning. Set up was finished at about 9:35 and JB finished teaching at 9:37, and it was one of those things where I just knew that if God had not laid it on Ryan’s heart to “help a sister out”, there would have been no way I could have done it.

The banner and balloons were hung, the tents were up, tablecloths pinned down, signs posted, flyers distributed, and tables decorated…it was show time. It was neat seeing people interacting with one another about ministry and it was even cooler the fact that God had brought it about where JB had reached the first part of Romans 12 for the teaching this week. So fresh in their mind was the fact that we are to give ourselves as living sacrifices and that we all have different gifts. Oh it was just too cool!

Following the fair, I was able to see the “body” work together in a capacity that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before. Maybe it’s just because it affected me, I don’t know… But I just have to say that my “brothers”: Ryan, Richard, JB, Martin, Morris, Joel, Johnson, and Happy amazed me how they just helped out. I seriously didn’t even have to ask them to do a single thing they just did it. And by one o’clock, you couldn’t even tell that there was a church wide even that had taken place. Words cannot express how God used these guys to bless and minister to me. And what a picture it was of a healthy body working properly.

Following the Fair, Ryan and I had been invited to lunch at Francis and his wife’s house and let me just say smoked meat and g-nut sauce…AMAZING! We had a great time just hanging out with them and kind of getting to breathe before the afternoon’s ministry.

I had the thought to potentially cancelling my afternoon Bible studies with the kids and the girls, but I’m so glad that I didn’t! Because I was spent, I decided to approach the study a little differently. Instead of teaching it in the usual format of intro, proposition, points, conclusion, etc… I had the kids do the work themselves. As we looked at the verses of Genesis 18, I asked them what they noticed in the passage, what it meant for Abraham to move about quickly, to give a fat cow, and all that and it was cool how engaged the kids were! It was seriously one of the best times I’ve had teaching them and I pray that they will remember what God was showing us through the afternoon. Then with the girls, it was pretty much the same thing. We were in the end of Acts 2 and we just discussed what the various things meant that the early church was dedicated to. It was a challenge to think of how far short we all fell with those things. Afterwards, I just was able to hang out with them and we laughed, and looked at pictures.

Yesterday was a day that I can almost guarantee will go down in the books as one of the most awesome ministry days of my life. I’m so thankful that in our weakness, He is made strong, and that His grace truly is sufficient! To HIM be ALL the honor, ALL the glory, and ALL the praise.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A little R and R

This past week...well really even this past month has been one for the books. I don't know if I've ever really been busier in my life - ok, that's maybe a lie, but it's at least one of the top five busiest months that I can remember. When I get busy and have things kind of mounting up, I'm really good at getting overloaded and on the verge of breaking, but yesterday I was able to hopefully be able to prevent myself from crumbling into a mess on the floor by being able to get away for the day.

It was a long day, but just what I needed! My friend Emily was such a trooper and went with me to Kampala (about 2 hours away) and we had ourselves our own little adventure. We began by taking public transportation there which is an adventure in and of itself. Just getting on the minibus was funny because everyone's shouting prices and locations. The bus doesn't leave until it's filled and so we left by about 9. Finally reaching Kampala at around 11:15 we got off and found ourselves a piki driver and I won't even begin to tell you the various traffic violations he did even before getting on the main road. We road up to where the salon was that we had our hair appointments at, and I actually found it without getting lost...I have to admit that's pretty huge for me. The hair cut was a glorious experience where the shampooing was followed by a nice little shoulder massage and while you're getting the fastest haircut of your life, you are offered a cup of tea or coffee. Now I'm a sucker for good customer service, so this was just awesome! After getting our hair "did" it was time for the next part of the adventure of going and having lunch at a coffee shop, perusing around two of the somewhat western stores (think a step down from wal-mart or our usual grocery store) and then getting on public again. After some close encounters, we finally got back home.

After getting back, it was Emily's son's birthday so while I wrapped some presents she frosted the cake and we headed out again this time for Chinese to celebrate the little man's 5th birthday. It was a lot of fun, although I feel horrible because I misplaced the bag that had the candles and the masks and party blowers. I had gotten him this baseball bat that also worked as a water gun and so in the grass at the restaurant we played a good game of baseball. While I was pitching, I threw the ball to Emily and when she swung, the foam part of the bat came flying and smacked me right in the face, I won't lie it was pretty painful, but also fling flangin hilarious. After eating the food we just partook in some amazing birthday cake (think borderline molten chocolate cake from Chile's) and we just dove in and ate from the pan with our spoons. After riding in the bed of the truck with the birthday boy across the bridge we dropped off the kid's and Phil (Emily's husband) and we went to game night where we played one of the funnest games of spoons of my life - that statement may or not be aided by the fact that I totally dominated and was the winner, but that's besides the point. It was really fun though because it was all people I knew who were playing against each other and the final show down was between Ryan and I and you could almost audibly hear the theme song from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I have battle wounds today, but it really was good times!

Well, that's the super long lowdown of a perfect day away and now I'm ready to take on the crazy weekend ahead of me. I'm so thankful God gives us these times of rest - He really does know just how much we can handle.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A new opportunity

As I'm writing this, I'm pretty much in awe about what God has done in these past couple of weeks as far as ministry opportunities. As you can see from previous posts, Jinja SS is up and running and I have now gone there four times and although they are now on holiday, it looks like next term will be a go as well. Getting to "make disciples" in such a crazy environment as that school is an opportunity I pray I never will take for granted.

Today I was able to have another awesome new experience of sharing His word at the YMCA vocational school we have here. In case you didn't know, there is this little coffee shop called Flavours that is one of my favorite hang outs and it's been neat getting to develop relationships with the staff there. I had been talking with one of the waitresses there about how I get to go to schools and teach, and she asked if I could come to hers to teach as well. So last week I went and met with the director and he approved for me to come and do a brief teaching at their weekly meeting where they have all the students get together. It's kind of a challenge because not only do I get just 10 minutes to teach, but I'm also given the verses I'm to teach. This morning I found out that my verses to cover were Ephesians 2:1-10...great passage...not so easy to cover in ten minutes. It went well though and afterwards the director asked me to come back and teach again to the students who come for the afternoon classes.

Now I won't lie, yesterday I thought I was exhausted, but that was nothing compared to today, and so going there this afternoon, it was really one of those prayers "God, it's got to be all you, because I have nothing left" - which I know should be my prayer all the time, but you hopefully know what I mean. It went fairly well, and hopefully as I get to teach there more and more (it's kind of an open invitation now) that I will be able to teach more and more effectively. Although it's only ten minutes at a time, it's cool because in the midst of all the false teaching that takes place, I'm humbled that God is giving me the opportunity to share His truth accurately to about 500 students. This was yet another opportunity that God just dropped in my lap - I did absolutely NOTHING to bring about this, and that's just way too cool, because it really is ALL to His glory.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The great enemy of James 1:19

Yesterday I woke up at about 4:30, I didn't do it on purpose by any means, but it happened and...well, what can you do about it... Anyways, I'm not griping about the early wake up "call" by any means because my morning was absolutely awesome filled with a sweet quiet time of God just really revealing some stuff to me and then I had an impromptu skype call with my momma. Well, I'm sharing this with you because due to that early hour of getting up, I was beat last night and went to bed with some assurances that I would not have any issues sleeping well through the night which may or may not have come in the form of a little pill. Well, this morning I slept until 7:30, but have you ever had those times when you've maybe slept so much that it's actually had the opposite affect and you're a less pleasant person than you would have been if you got less sleep? Well, that was me today.

For those of you who don't know. James 1:19, is the ultimate smack down verse for my life because I am such an utter failure at all three of those commands: quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. I really did realized that sleep, or the lack (or in my case today the surplus) of it is a great contributor to the ability to make that verse a reality in ones life - or at least in my life. I'm not trying to make excuses, I'm just throwing out a theory, that I do feel that when tested it will be proven true (using the scientific method you learned back in middle school). Well, for those of you I leave in my wake on days like today, I apologize, and now the real kicker is that I can't remember the last time I've actually had a good night's sleep, so that leaves me to wonder how much damage I've really been doing. And now looking at the clock and realizing it's almost midnight, I guess I should try and spare innocent bystanders tomorrow and get a little shuteye.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Oh Leviticus!

So two weeks ago, I had to do a teaching that covered the last 38 chapters of Genesis. Let's just say that was a piece of cake compared to preparing to teach through the whole book of Leviticus in one teaching. I don't even want to think about the amount of hours spent studying for this teaching. But I'll admit, I'm really glad that I had something "force" me to really look at that book. I had just finished reading it and was even looking for some good commentaries on the book and then this was put into my lap. Understanding a little bit more about God's holiness and how miserably short we fall is overwhelming, but then it is even more amazing when you look at books like 1 Peter and Hebrews and realize how Jesus fulfilled that all and just how much the "law was a shadow of the things to come". I'm so glad that our God is such an overwhelmingly holy God, and that His love is a holy love to the point where He would sacrifice his own Son so we could have unbroken fellowship with Him. I could go on and on, but I encourage you to try to embark upon at least reading that somewhat daunting little book with God's awesome holiness in mind, and I think you may enjoy it a whole lot more than you maybe thought you would.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Oh man, today was another awesome day with Jinja SS!!!! I kept expecting to get the call that we shouldn't come, but then when we got there to the school, the kids were all still around even though they were doing exams. It seemed like all 3,000 kids were outside and staring at us as we pulled in. We settled down in our spot by the bicycle rack and soon the students just started coming. When I started there were about 15 kids there and then slowly by slowly it just skyrocketed and by the end of the teaching there were over 50 kids there! God was totally in the teaching and so much I know wasn't my doing at all! Oh my...I just wish I could tell you all again what an awesome thing this is and how stoked I am about it. They still asked me to come back next Tuesday even though they will still be doing exams. It will be interesting to see the turnout. It was also cool, because we were able to hand out Bibles and a kind of devo sort of thing I made through the book of 1 John so they had something to study over the holiday. AGHHHHH!!!! It was just too cool!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A good day

Teaching, good food, and hanging out with friends are just a few of my favorite things and today was a day that encompassed all of them. I've been gearing up for today for a while now because I knew it was going to be crazy, and I won't lie, I'm pretty beat, but I'm also one content girl. The morning was spent preparing for the afternoon. Then I went to prison to teach the ladies on how to apply Scripture to their lives and as always, it was an awesome time! Then I got to hang out and chat with JB, Martin, Alice, and Mama Peace for a little bit, then it was on to Jinja SS where I was able to teach again! It was awesome!!!! I was thinking it was going to be cancelled because it was raining like crazy, but my boys cleared a classroom out and there ended up being 27 kids who came and there were even girls this time! I taught on Peter's denial of Jesus and how we deny Jesus in our own ways all the time. It was just so cool! Then I went on over the river to hang out with some friends. We had some vehicle fun in the mud and then it was dinner time of AMAZING pizza and then we settled down to watch a couple of episodes of Lost with cups of coffee and slices of pie. Because the power was gone at their house, it added a whole other cool dynamic. All in all, it was a pretty sweet day!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A birthday and a wedding

Today was quite possibly one of the most exhausting "off" days, it was all fun stuff, but boy am I exhausted but I just had to chronicle the day for fear of forgetting some of the highlights.

This morning began with Ryan and I rocking the gym and I think I've finally recovered from my knee going out and was able to run for about 20 minutes (which I haven't been able to do in a long time). After that, Ryan, Judy, Rochelle, Malia and I headed out to Jinja Nile Resort to swim for Malia's birthday where we met a friend of mine and her kids. We swam until about 2 and then we ran home, Ryan and I went to town to buy presents for the birthday girl as well as for the couple getting married and then it was time to get ready.

The wedding was absolutely awesome and really just a great "cultural" experience. It was super small because Irege and Monica have technically been married since 1979 when he paid bride price for her, but they still wanted to finally have a church wedding. It was just our staff who was invited and so it was about 30 people and because we all really knew each other we were able to really just have a good time. Monica made her entrance on time (which is a miracle no matter where you're at in the world) and it was just a really sweet ceremony. Then for the reception, we had samosas and cokes and of course cake and then we danced it up. It was a lot of fun!

Oh, and on an added note, I wore for the first time what is called a gomez (or gomesi - I'm still not so sure). This is a traditional Ugandan dress which is made of yards of fabric, pointy sleeves, two buttons on top and then a really big belt. Most women wear one for big occasions, although many women in the village only have a gomez to wear as their every day wear. It is very hot and you're always having to readjust things and make sure you're not stepping on the bottom or becoming unwound, but our staff got such a kick out of the fact that I finally wore one that I may have to cave in and get my own someday because the one I used was Judy's.

Friday, April 9, 2010


For the past few months my main prayer request and ministry goal was to get into this secondary school (high school) called Jinja SS. With over 3,000 students, Jinja SS is one of (if not the) biggest schools in East Africa and therefore with the size brings the false teachings to a staggering magnitude, and hence my excitement to potentially get a chance to teach there. I wish words could describe how long I've waited for this opportunity and today it finally happened! I drove onto the humungous campus honestly ready for the usual routine of Johnson (the school speaker and our church's sound guy) to come up to me to tell me something happened to keep me from teaching, but that didn't happen! He met up with me and we walked to this big grassy area by where they keep all the hundreds of bikes the kids ride to school. Little by little our guys who come to our youth group came, and then some of their friends and as the teaching progressed more sat down. By the end of the teaching, there were about 15 guys who were listening. It was really funny the fact that they were all guys, but it was cool because I just took it from the point of being a big sister. I taught on Ecclesiastes 2 and basically just tried to drive it into them about how pointless all the things in this world are without God. They then asked me to come back next week on Tuesday and then again next Friday even though they were taking exams, they still said they had time. I couldn't believe it! It went so much better than I ever thought it could and I cannot wait to see what God has in store with this ministry! I'm just glad he had the door closed until now, His timing is really so perfect!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A little medical anecdote

So today's productivity was rather hampered by a certain almost three year old. She had "cough" so while her mom was working, I was the lucky one who was able to hang out with her - needless to say I'll be slamming some Vitamin C later. Well...as the day progressed she continued to feel worse and she developed a pretty gnarly little fever, so after lunch I took her to the lab to get tested for Malaria. (This is where the story gets "fun" for those of you who have yet to experience Uganda). This facility is not bad by Ugandan standards, but if I were able to post a picture for you to gander at, I have a feeling some of you (especially those of you in the medical profession) would cringe. You ask if they are able to test for Malaria - it depends on if they have power or not - and if it's a go, then you plop yourself on the bench and wait for the inevitable finger prick. When Aryanna saw the needle, she freaked out, but the lady was quick and it wasn't too bad. She put the sample on the little microscope slide and took a swab of cotton off a bunch she had on the table and wrapped the finger. We waited there while the technician's kids were sitting next to us (one of them also with "cough") playing around. About ten minutes later, she writes on the paper the results and we find out "the Malaria is there". So off we go to the pharmacy to get the Malaria meds, an antibiotic for the cough, as well as just some cough syrup. Walking into the pharmacy, you just tell them what you want, it reminds me of a gas station in the States, it's really rather freeing. They pack it up, you pay and you're on your way. All in all the whole thing was about $10, even adding in there some post-testing ice cream.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Just curious...

So God amazes me pretty much on a consistent basis. And even that is a bit of an understatement. This post is nothing too deep or profound, but just really a pondering that has been in my heart for a while that I was discussing with some friends of mine, and I thought I would share it with all of you (whoever you may be). I look around at my life here, and even on a day like today where there were probably more downs than ups, I still can't imagine doing anything else. The interesting thing is that I'm not even 24 yet and I have truly found where I feel like God has called me for a good chunk of my life (of course He could always change that). I am not bragging by any means, I realize that some people live their whole life and never quite find what God has allowed me to experience here, and therefore I'm definitely not taking this for granted on arrogantly and I realize what an awesome blessing it is. My curiosity arises from thinking about what God will do with me that can top life right now. It's honestly a kind of scary yet exciting time for me as I look around the corner at all the possibilities and I can't help but wonder...what on earth He could possibly do that would be more of an adventure then what life has already been.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Weekend

This past weekend was really just too cool for words. I already wrote about Good Friday and that just kind of started everything off to be amazing. It's kind of funny how in the midst of really cool times of breaking and God just showing a lot of stuff to me, that there's always some sort of physical "struggle" that I get to go through as well. This weekend it was both my knee and a little 24 hour cold. But even through those things, this weekend still rocked my face off!

Saturday I was able to kind of sleep off the cold, and then at youth group that night, I taught a survey of Genesis 12-50. I won't lie it was quite possibly the most difficult teaching I've ever had to prepare for just because there's so much to be said but only 45 minutes to say it in. God was totally in it though and I think it ended up working out really well.

On Sunday, I woke up bright and early and was able to listen to the Sunrise Service broadcast from last year as the sun was rising here. I made blueberry pancakes from a blueberry muffin mix (we don't have real blueberries here). We had a packed service of about 200 people and then we all went out to decorate the cross that was put out on Good Friday. The cross was beautiful and it's even still standing out there two days later. After service, I went to lunch with some friends of mine and then watched a movie with the kids on the compound until it was time for missionary fellowship. We had a super small group for the fellowship, but it was really nice just getting to see all the conversations that were going on.

It really was an awesome weekend to just get to reflect on the work He did on the Cross and really one of the best "Easter Weekends" I've had. God just continually showed Himself in so many ways, it was really cool.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Good Friday

This Good Friday, I can honestly say will be one to go down in the books. The guys worked so hard to get the poles and tarp up so that we could have a service outside. The clouds looked like they could pose a problem and by the time service was "supposed" to start, we had maybe ten people, but then I went in to make more copies of song sheets and I went back out and there were about 100 people there! It was awesome! Jess taught a super convicting message about those who were with Jesus at the time of his crucifixion. And then Martin and JB carried our wooden cross that we traditionally put out on the side of the road outside of our compound. Everyone who came followed them and Zippy led the crowd in singing traditional worship songs. It was so cool! And what made it even more awesome was the fact that it was a little stormy and there was a RAINBOW! God's touch was everywhere and it was absolutely breathtaking to be able to have such a powerful reminder of God's love and faithfulness to the point of even coming here in the most beautiful display of His love by dying for us.


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