Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Divine encouragement

"you have searched me and know me..."

Our God is so huge, so powerful, so awesome and yet He knows us and knows what we need and the exact time we need it the most. Lately I've been experiencing the pain of being the subject matter or some rather gnarly gossip, with nearly all of it having fallacies as its base. People say, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me" yeah... that's a lie. Words hurt, and I've definitely learned from being on the receiving end that it's really bad juju to slander, gossip, etc... others. I continue to remind myself to "love my enemies", that Jesus and others in the Bible dealt with the same thing, and that I constantly just need to make sure I'm being blameless before God and not allowing others sin to be an excuse for sin in my own life. But I'll be honest, it's sometimes nearly unbearable as I just feel like there's sometimes no pleasing anyone, short of becoming a hermit, and even then I will probably still do/say something that will be fodder for some juicy story.

That being said, this afternoon I was feeling incredibly discouraged. After I got home from Jinja SS, I was just on my knees crying out to Him about how to deal with a lot of what is going on and during that time, I got a call from one of my girls who I've had a lot of history with. One time I had to go and basically rescue her from getting beat to a pulp by a woman in her community who was tired of how the girl was living. Since then she's gone to live in another part of the country to get her out of the environment and temptations that were around her before. She recently came back for a quick visit and I was able to see her and give her a big hug. Then tonight she called simply to say hi. It's funny how that helped make my day but it was an answer to the prayer of "God, what am I doing here?!" Before that, at Jinja SS I could tell another one of my girls (her father passed away just over a year ago and the only place she could think of to go was my veranda) was having a tough time and she finally told me that a boy was saying all sorts of mean things to her, I cried as I could definitely empathize with the sting that words can have. Being able to be there for her to confide in and help was another huge encouragement of the truth that God is at work in/through me. Then earlier today I got a card that was a part of a series of cards that one of my old students from the States arranged for me to get intermittently over the past couple of months. Those things combined really were exactly what God knew I needed to keep on, knowing that I am living right before Him, that I am doing what He wants me to be doing, and that I am exactly where He wants me to be. He is so good in how He cares for His children, it's just so important to look for the light He shines around you as you feel like you're engulfed by the darkness of discouragement that the enemy tries to send your way to try and distract and paralyze you.

Keeping you in the loop

I used to pride myself on how well I kept people up to date on the work and life here. And I've failed to do that these past couple of months, my apologies. The last post was about my birthday and in the past weeks life has been consumed with two key elements: preparing for and hosting a team of 42 who were here this past week, and enjoying life with the man God has blessed me with.

Let me begin with the team... can I just say that it's a blessing that 42 people were willing to pay thousands of dollars to come and serve in Uganda for two weeks. We had four teams: outreach, medical, and two orphanage teams. I was with the medical and outreach teams as I purposefully had them serving in the same villages so I could be around to do whatever was needed for either team. I've hosted this team before but never had then been this size, and this was my first time organizing a medical clinic. Needless to say I learned A LOT. Logistics for teams of that size are tough enough, but then bring them to Uganda, and well... yeah, you definitely learn flexibility and how to manage organized (and sometimes not so organized) chaos. We were in two villages - spending one day in Iguluibi and two in a village called Kikondo. The medical team saw several hundred people dealing with everything from malaria to jiggers to leprosy (yes, that's right leprosy). The outreach team did door to door evangelism, programs in a few schools, and also presentations in the middle of the village as well as ministering to the people who came for the medical clinic. We were busy, and I can't believe how tired I still am, but I praise God for Jess, Bev, our translators and one other key guy (see below) without whom this past week of ministry would not have been possible.

That brings me to the next subject... the latest development in my life is that I have been blessed with an amazing man who cares for me and treats me better than I could have ever imagined. His name is Davis, and can I just say that every single day, I'm blown away by the man he is. I want to tell all you girls out there who think you need to "settle"...DON'T. I used to think that I had too high of expectations of the man God had for me, but God has not only met those expectations, but has totally blown them out of the water. I just ask that you would lift us up in prayer that we walk according to His plan, keeping Him our focus never allowing one another to usurp His place in our lives, and that we would allow Him to direct every last element of our relationship.

So there you go, a little update on life. Now I get to be back in the swing of things as "normal life" was on hold for a little while as I dealt with this team. I'm teaching through the book of Amos to my guys at Jinja SS and continuing through the book of John at youth group. Those groups along with the people I get the privilege to meet with individually and discus His Word and how it impacts ever facet of our lives are what make every day a blessing and I continue to be in awe of all that God allows me to be a part of.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A blessed birthday

Eh eh! It's been a whole months since I've posted! Where on earth has the time gone?! I guess it's just because everything has been happening and yet nothing has happened all at the same time. It's been basically the normal routine of teaching at Jinja SS and leading the youth group while dealing with new and exciting adventures in life as well. One of which is that this past Saturday I turned the big 2-6. Last year, turning 25 kind of brought on what I would refer to a quarter life crisis just realizing that I'm now really truly an adult without excuses, I have to be responsible, and "act my age"... it was definitely a tough time. This year however, I definitely was able to ring in a new year with a much better attitude. On Friday night I was taken out for an amazing evening and it definitely started my birthday on a great note. Saturday morning began with opening presents from my family and care team (they blow my mind how with how awesome they are). Then it was time for the gym, and breakfast with some of the missionary girls. I had an amazingly rich chocolate cake with our staff and school of ministry students. Then went out to lunch with a great friend from Kampala. And then had youth group teaching from John 4 about the Samaritan woman and two of my girls totally drenched me in water to "bless" me for my birthday. Then I went to dinner with an awesome family where my friend made some of the best enchiladas I've EVER had (and coming from a New Mexico girl that's saying something). Then it was party time and some karaoke. It was such an awesome day getting to spend it with so so many awesome friends and friends who are more like family. I'm so blessed to have the people around me that I do both here and in the States, I don't deserve them but will continue to praise God for them. Twenty five really was a year of growth and I'm so thankful for all God taught me. Now as I embark on my 26th year, I can't help but wonder what new things He has coming my way. Many people say that 26 was their favorite year, I'm trying not to get my hopes up to high... but here's hoping that 26 is one for the books.


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