Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Must See Videos

Hello everyone,

I usually don't do this but these videos are so good I just have to share them with you. I heard the song "Lead Me" by Matthew Hammitt (of Sanctus Real) for the first time the other day and was so excited I looked on Youtube for the video. What I found was so beautiful and challenging I want to share it with all of you. Hope you are able to use it in our families and churches. Here are the two vidoes I recommend:



And I have been trying for months now to get our home service DVDs uploaded but have only been success with one. So here is the link to our kids video about their lives as missionary kids. Enjoy!


Be Blessed!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Pictures!

Sharing Jesus in Michigan

August 8

I can’t tell you how many times I think about all I want to blog about, so it is good to finally sit down a moment and write. Funny how in Uganda I usually think about writing to fill in our family and friends in America but now from America I want to write to fill in my teammates and friends in Uganda. We have been in Michigan for about a month now. We are enjoying our time with family and visiting our supporting churches. Our weekends are a bit crazy fitting everything in and Josh has been more than gracious with me as I want to be with everyone and do as much as possible while we can.

Usually we leave our house on Thursday and come back Sunday night or Monday. We have been speaking in the Mc Bain area so far. It has been encouraging to share with our supporters what God is doing in Soroti. Although I have nothing sad to share I still end up crying. I still feel like I process so much of the year and all God has done when I am here away from Soroti. I also love being in God’s presence and worshipping Him brings me to tears. I love Him so much and just want everyone to know Him. Anyways, I pray every week that God will fill us, speak His words though us, and use us so whatever comes out I know is from Him -- tears and all. I usually share about my role as a wife and mother and how God has used it to witness to others. I talk about Tabitha, our Indian friends, the street kids parties, and Rebecca. I love sharing about Rebecca. I tell people how she came from a very broken home and lived a sinful life. How God put her in our family and she saw a Christian marriage and family for the first time. And then I tell them that Rebecca had to come from California to Uganda to learn who Jesus is. Then I challenge the church to be a missionary here. I met a guy on the airplane from Grand Rapids who acted like he had never seen a Bible. That should not be! In a city where there are literally churches on every corner no one should be without Jesus. I think you get the point sometimes by then the congregation is crying with me. Josh shares about his work and vision for training church leaders, Christian marriage and family, and missions. He share a lot of stories of lives changed by putting into practice God’s Word. We also show our DVDs on Josh’s work and our kids lives as missionaries. Josh has been preaching at almost every church too. He does a great job teaching us from the Word and challenging us. I know God is using him as he seeks and relies on God.

Our kids are doing well and enjoying their time here. We have been camping, staying at the cottage, lots of swimming, tubing, picnics, eating lots of ice cream, and spending a whole lot of time with family. And Lydia had her 8th birthday! With all that activity said, we do guard our time and make sure we rest in all of this. Every once and a while it comes out in one of the kids that it has all been too much and they are still adjusting. The other day Lydia said to Josh that all the kids know how to play the game and know all the rules and she doesn’t fit in. Then a few nights later she just cried and said she was sad but just didn’t know why. We can tell she is older this time and seeing that she is a bit different. She loves being here and her family but knows she doesn’t belong here but also doesn’t belong in Uganda where her home is. (Oh Lydia, I know exactly how you feel sometimes.) Grace cried when we left Mc Bain last night and wanted to stay. She is plain sick of moving around every couple days. Thankfully we have a home here that we are at most of the week and will be all week in September. Luka, he is just thrilled to have so many cars and his cousin Moses around.

I continue to be a bit of a yoyo. I love it here -- family, church, conveniences, beauty, orderly, nice, clean, so much to do, stores, good food…what blessings and I am so thankful for everything! But I also get discouraged. I have been trying to be careful with my words and only feel safe to share with some, but I really see the church is following the culture more than Christ. I know that is a braud statement and I know there are passionate Christians here doing God‘s work. We have assured victory and God loves His church. But I also see the mission field all around me here. The world has come to America, there are lost, hurting people everywhere seeking to fill their lives with anything other than Jesus, and even Christian have lost their first love. It is so easy to live for self here. I walk every week and every house seems to be closed. So many are hiding in their air conditioning, behind their televisions, or racing around filling our lives. And at the end of the day who did we live for -- ourselves. Christian are really good at complaining. We say we don’t have enough money but then we go out to eat, buy whatever we need, go on vacation… We complain that we don’t have enough so we work more to get more and end up being owned by our stuff and complain about that too. We complain about being so busy and then pack in every sport possible for our kids. We as Christian should be the happiest, most thankful, and content people on earth -- we have Jesus! He gives us new life, eternal life, hope, peace, He provides all we need, He is our peace, our joy… But we aren’t happy. You know why? Because Jesus isn’t first. We don’t make Him priority and fail to read His Word to us. We don’t love Him above everything else. We are in the sin of idolatry. And that keeps us separated from God.

I could go on and on but I am sure by now I have many of you mad at me. Sorry but the truth hurts. I feel like I am always fighting against the culture and the quiet and loud sin in it. Sad to say I am often fighting against a fellow brother or sister in the Lord. I have been away from my culture for over a year and have lived away for almost 10 years. I see the gradual change. The church is slowly allowing culture to tell them truth and have believed it because we don’t spend enough time in the Bible to know the real truth. We need God!!! I say all this because too many Christians are settling for way less than God intended for them. I know the great, indescribable life with God. When He is your center You know there is no greater joy and peace. Nothing can compare! How I wish I could put it into words. There is no life apart from Him. We race around trying to make life better when all we need to do is put Jesus in control. When He is in control of your marriage, family, home, decisions, finances, time, things…you can have peace. And once you experience true life with God you will never leave Him.

I love that there is always hope. With all my thoughts and all I see I could get down or upset but I just run to Jesus. He is my Rock. He is in control. He is always victorious. I will keep praying for the church. God is using it I know and have seen it. I will continue to daily pray that God fills me so He can use me. As I walk through the store, go to the beach, or worship in church I pray God can use me to be His witness.

I love you all and pray for you all the time!

July 2011 Mombasa (187 photos), by Mandy Shaarda

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July 2011 Colorado (198 photos), by Mandy Shaarda

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July 2011 Michigan (89 photos), by Mandy Shaarda

I'd like to share my Snapfish photos with you. Once you have checked out my photos you can order prints and upload your own photos to share.
Click here to view photos