Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Village Outreach #1: Iguluibi

Last August it became time to be a part of something God has been laying on my heart for a while to travel around Uganda doing outreaches/youth conferences with the youth in different villages to encourage the students in their walks and share the Gospel with those who don’t know him yet. This school holiday we are planning on going to 3 different villages and doing two day long conferences with the theme based around 1 Timothy 4:12 and encouraging them to be examples and not be afraid to be different in living a life that pleases God.

Today we finished at our first location in the village of Iguluibi. And I must say it was an awesome success! God seriously answered every last prayer for this event and I’m still in shock as to just how much his hand was on this event.

We took around 20 students each day and we packed a coaster bus to get us all there. I loved being able to be on that bus hearing the conversations and laughter, and today was even better because we rocked some serious dance party action both going there and coming back.

The conference consisted of five teachings, activities and games to drive home the message of the conference, and food. Over all we had around 50ish youth come who were in our “target age”. But we had a lot of kids coming in and out who seemed to understand what was being taught as well so that was cool. Honestly, the biggest thing I loved was how the older boys actually 1) came to the conference and 2) engaged in it and really participated in the activities and small group times. That in and of itself made it all worth it.

One of my most favorite things about serving with my youth is watching them mature and gain a passion for serving Him. Many of my students amazed me through this event with their servant’s heart and desire to pour into others. And I can honestly say that the love I have for the students who comprise my worship/student leadership team (and of course all my students, but hopefully you know what I mean) can overwhelm me. They all have such maturity in their walks and serve with such humility and wisdom that blow my mind pretty much every time I’m around them.

Along with being blown away by my students, I just have to say that I had the privilege to serve alongside two of the best guys I know throughout this event. Ricky and Davis are amazing guys with such a passion to see youth know God that I’m humbled to serve with them as they both work so hard but also play hard and do an exceptional job at helping me maintain my sanity in the midst of sometimes chaotic situations. These are true brothers and I’m just so excited that we still have a couple more events to go where I can continue laughing and serving with them in the capacity we have been for the past two days.

I praise God for this opportunity and for all of the answered prayers. He really did blow my mind at how He worked! To Him be all the glory, all the honor, and all the praise.

Paint+20 youth group students = one wild and crazy event

About two months ago I met with some of my students to come up with ideas of how to serve in the community. We talked about wanting to do something at the children's hospital here in Jinja. Luckily enough we have an awesome lady named Janet who goes to our church who who works in the pharmacy there. She told us one big way we could serve them was by re-painting some of the areas making it look brighter and more kid friendly. I thought that was going to be an easy enough task... it actually turned out to be a lot bigger ordeal than originally planned.

A friend of mine, Davis who's an artist and actually knows what he's doing when it comes to painting kind of took the lead on this event as we got all the supplies together and made the plan of how we would pull this task off. On Saturday morning about 20 of my students came, we piled in vehicles and headed to the hospital. The first major task was to clean and sand everything to get it ready to paint.

Then we got started re-painting both the check in area and one of the wards the kids stay in. The check in area went fairly smoothly, the ward was another story as we had to figure out how to best deal with the kids who were there. We had some awesome help though because along with our students we had Jim and Joye helping out and they did an amazing job and were a huge blessing.

We finally wrapped things up for the day by around 3 and then it was time to do youth group. By then, I was honestly running on fumes (energy, not paint).

Sunday, we got together at 2 and headed back to paint pictures and get the entry area painting. The kids did a great job in their various creative displays and it was a lot of fun just getting to see them work. We also painted the walls in the check in area with different pictures, it was really a lot of fun!

In the midst of all that madness I ran over to see my friend, Kenna, as she was all dressed up for a formal event for some of the missionary kids. I couldn't help but share this picture because really it couldn't be a bigger contrast between the two of us. I think you can tell just how crazy things got for us in painting.

It really was such a privilege to serve along my students in this capacity. It was chaotic and stressful at times but really amazing to see them take time to do something for someone else. Some of them really amazed me with their work ethic and desire to serve. It was just more confirmation that I just really love what I get to be a part of here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Storm clouds

That saying "the calm before the storm", has been my life for the last couple of weeks. After the work at "Works" was finished, I had a lot more down time than I'm used to. I have streamlined my teachings so my study time needed is a lot less than it used to be. At first I wanted to start looking for new projects but knew that soon the calm would give way, and now I'm seeing that happen.

Starting this past Saturday we thought we would have a killer time for the Easter weekend. We began with watching the Passion and having communion. Our church had almost the whole youth group watching with tears in their eyes as they recognized what Christ did for them and His love for them. After the movie, we had a time of communion and one kid came back to give his life to Christ, it was pretty awesome! Then we headed out to the area of Works to do a youth outreach. It was a beautiful evening and it was definitely a time where it was all God. I had a great team helping me out, including some of my student leaders, and a lot of people heard about how God loved them and calls them to follow Him with all they have.

Yesterday, we celebrated Easter with over 200 people coming to celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive!

Then today we set out for an outreach to another local "slummish" area. At 7:30 a friend came and helped me make 45 PB&J sandwiches for our students. After a flat tire and literally our whole youth group of 45 students coming to serve with a visiting youth team, we headed out to the area. It was crazy as we had over 300 kids at our first location and trying to help the kids stay organized while they took part in all the different activities possibly took years off my life. One of which was face painting, and I learned the hard way what happens when you allow your students and your friends to get a hold of paintbrushes and some paint. We took our que from Jesus in His feeding of the 5,000 and got the students in circles of about 10-15 students as we handed out juice and cookies. Afterwards the sugar I think got to them and they were getting a little on the rowdy side, to try and get them away from the vehicles, some of my guys started running to the other side of the field. I will honestly never forget that scene as Richard and Davis (both rather tall) were sprinting and acting crazy with seriously 300 kids following them. We came back to the church for lunch and get ready for the next location. Our next location was smaller and so it went a lot more smoothly. By the end of the day over 500 people heard the Gospel, and I am yet again in awe of both my students and the team of leaders I get to serve alongside and even more in awe of the God we serve answering a whole lot of prayers and allowing us to be a part of what He's wanting to do in the lives of those students.

This is just the beginning. Next Saturday, we're going to have a huge sport's day in the same area for the older kids. So that's going to be another doozy but awesome opportunity. Then the next week the school holiday begins and with that comes more outreaches, but this time to other villages. We will begin with the closer village of Iguluibi for the first two days, then to another area called Bugiri where we'll actually stay the night, and then the next week to an area near Pallisa where again we'll get some nice village accommodations :) And then that will be followed by a youth conference here in Jinja. It will be a rather intense time but I'm so stoked for all that God seems to be bringing about already and doors that have been opening.

Needless to say, the storm that's beginning to rear it's head is a doozy, but it's super exciting and we are in serious need of prayers in these next few weeks as these outreaches take place. First and foremost we ask that He would be our focus and our goal, and that in ALL things we would be walking in His Spirit and glorifying Him.


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