Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hurricane Season

Currently, it’s hurricane season in the States and funny enough I don’t think I can find any better example to what life’s been like than a hurricane. I have now written several posts consisting of the events of the past few months, the trials, struggles, etc… and how it’s just been a real time of breaking. It's seriously been like I've been tossing about in the waves for the past four months and as soon as I get a breath, another wave comes and engulfs me. To add to the list now, my grandma on my mom’s side passed away this morning. I wish I could say that I was ready for it, because she really has been sick for so long, but the pain is still there. It’s times like these when being 8,000 miles away is really a bummer. I wish so badly I could be there for my mom and the rest of my family through this time.

My Grandma Joyce, was one of the most independent women I knew. She could play the organ and piano better than anyone I’ve EVER met. As I grew up and was in high school, our once somewhat distant relationship got a whole lot closer. I remember I would just go to her house to randomly spend the night. I would have my own little routine of getting the pull out bed ready and just hanging out with her. We would play games like Skip-bo and make chocolate chip cake and eat macaroni and cheese. She’s the one who helped teach me how to drive and what the streets were. She even moved into my parent’s house after I moved out. Getting to make her laugh was seriously one of my most favorite things to do. She and I would get into awesome conversations/debates about the Bible and as she approached the end of her life, she I believe truly accepted Christ as her Savior. She has touched more people than she ever realized and will be greatly missed and I will always cherish the memories and the special relationship we were able to have.

Now, it's through these times of heartache and pain that I've got to cling to how he's with me through the calm and the storm and that he truly will never let me go. I've got to rejoice in the suffering and various trials knowing they produce endurance, but sometimes that's oh so hard to do! Praise God that just as Jesus was asleep on the boat during the storm and was able to calm the seas with a Word, He's more powerful than these waves that come crashing over and over again too.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Virrage...I mean Village

So every now and then I get to actually use my degree and one of those times was this past Thursday. We have a village church that was able to have a medical clinic. It used to be a fairly legit little clinic but there had been some problems with it lately, so bright and early Thursday morning (4:30am) Jess and I had coffee in hand ready to head out - although we didn't really leave until 5, it was still early! We (I mean Jess) drove for a couple hours only to incur a flat tire, but Jess was like a pit stop man and that tire was changed faster than I've ever seen it done before! Then we drove for a couple more hours and finally reached the village that was about an hour past Soroti. We first had to meet in the land's office where we had to start getting some things worked out. That in and of itself was an experience. Then we headed to the clinic to do a fun little audit. It was not nearly as long or painful as originally anticipated, but I got to spend some time doing inventory on the drugs and trying to figure out if they're really being honest about what they're doing with the meds. We then had a nice lunch at our village pastor's house and finally headed back to Jinja a little after 3. The drive back was quiet and just kind of a nice time to process things and lucky Jess was there to help me do that. Needless to say it was a total of 10 hours in the car and about 3 hours of "work", and when we finally got home after 8, we were exhausted, but it was still a nice time to just kind of get out of the "usual" and have a little adventure.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"But God..."

Throughout the Bible there is this beautiful little phrase, it consists of just six small letters, but they mean so much. The phrase "But God" has become one of my favorites throughout Scripture. After reading of some of the most difficult and impossible of circumstances, the most hopeless scenarios, and overwhelmingly pressing situations where it just seems like no good could come... you so often read these beautiful words, "But God". Throughout life, we face tough times, trying times, impossible times, "But God" is still the one in control, "But God" has His perfect plan, "But God" is bigger than any problem, enemy or situation, "But God" gives us the promise that nothing is impossible for Him. Even yesterday as I was dealing with the menagerie of trials that have comprised the past couple of weeks, God reminded me of this very thing. Yes, it may seem that at times my world is falling apart. Yes, I may feel totally out of control. Yes, I may not know how it will all work out... BUT GOD promises me that His ways are higher than my ways. BUT GOD says He will never leave me nor forsake me. BUT GOD says that He works all things out for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. These are simple things, but that does not make them any less true. And through the storms of this life, that's what I have to cling to with every bit of my being.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A trip to Karamoja

In Eastern Uganda, there's an area called Karamoja, and this happens to be the place where some really good friends of mine are beginning to do work. Being that I had just had a few crazy months, I thought it would be cool to head out that way and hang out with them for a few days. I didn't go there necessarily expecting a vacation, which was a good thing because it was definitely very far from what I got, but honestly I'm not complaining because I know what God had planned for me there was a lot more important than just some R&R. It's funny because so many people think of ministry being to people you're not really connected to, that you have to meet somewhere to discuss sometime or make an appointment for, but a lot of times the most important ministry just happens in the midst of life. God had me in Karamoja to do such ministry. My trip grew from being a week to ten days as the need for me to stay up there also grew. I had to grow up in a lot of ways dealing with things that I've never had to before. It was definitely a tough trip spiritually, emotionally, and physically, but it was perfect all the same. In the midst of the tough stuff, I was surrounded by some of the most breathtaking beauty that my eyes have ever beheld and was able to meet some people that I hope I will continue to be friends with for years to come. My life verse is definitely Isaiah 55:8,9, where it says "His ways are not our ways...". Even going to Karamoja, I had a lot of stuff on my mind, things I was unsure of and honestly felt rather confused and very alone in dealing with all that was pouring through my thoughts and prayers. I was thinking that it was going to be a time to kind of pray over a lot of those things and get more clarity, but instead of it being some "me time" it was still yet another opportunity for God to redirect my focus back to where it should be as I was offering counsel and seeking for wisdom in all the situations that were coming my way, He was helping me to understand things and mull things over in a way that I would never have done if it weren't for the events of my time up there. It's just funny thinking of just how much He knows what He's doing.

The trip was tough but it really was awesome! Getting to spend time with Ryan and his team mates, learning what it means to live the "village life", being surrounded by so much culture, and just really getting to have God's beauty all around me was amazing! It was a trip that will definitely be a memorial mark in my life of what God did, taught, and revealed to me.

"Trust Me"

For the past three months, I have had the opportunity to be stretched, broken, humbled, amazed, taught, rebuked, matured and exhausted beyond every sense of the word. Having Jess and Bev be in the States brought in a season of turmoil (for lack of a better word) that I never expected. Back at the beginning of this insane time, a pastor friend of mine informed me that this was going to be a season that was going to shape the rest of my life...if only I knew just how much. It's amazing to look back on all that's happened over this time. I had to say goodbye to so many people, have a broken foot, deal with some incredibly heavy ministry issues, as well as some stuff going on back in the States. It was seriously non-stop, and after each time of thinking that "ok, now that's over, things will be ok again" and then WHAM! But honestly though even looking back through the previous posts I've made during this time, it's amazing all that God's brought me through. I've forgotten a lot of the pain and despair I felt during a lot of those situations, even reading some of the most recent posts I've made I have to kind of remind myself what was happening that was making me cry out in such desperation. Things that we think are the end of the world, things that seem to be making life impossible, things that seem like you just simply can't take anymore, are now just things in the distant past that I've even forgotten about even though they were maybe just a couple of months or weeks ago. Even as I'm writing this, I'm still recovering from even more "episodes" of breaking and maturing that are even separate from what I would consider the season without Jess and Bev. And to kind of put the icing on the cake, I just took my last dose of Malaria medication because for the first time since I've been here, I finally got that super fun little sickness. Like I said, it's really just one thing after the other.

The thing is thought that God just knows us way too well and what we're struggling with and what we need to hear. He tends to teach me the most through when I teach others, and he did just that today. I got back from my trip to Karamoja (see other blog posts) and found out I had malaria, and today was the first time I really was able to get back to ministry. At Jinja SS, I have been teaching through the book of Ecclesiastes and today's passage was 3:1-8, the famous "Time for everything" passage. He reminded me and helped to realize that in all the ins and outs of life, God is still in control...the good and the bad. There's a set time for all that's been happening in my life and He's just having me go through this time to make me into the person He desires for me to be. I just have to continue reminding myself of that as I go through all this. It's funny because there are certain times when it's just like God is almost audibly telling me, "Just trust me", then I give some excuse or another thing I'm struggling with or unsure of and He just reiterates that over and over, "Just trust me". It's far from easy and I definitely don't have it down yet, but I'm just glad that He sends me little reminders in the midst of all the hurt, and chaos, and pain that it's for but a season and as one of my favorite quotes says, "If you want to see the rainbow, be prepared to endure the storm."


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