Thursday, August 25, 2016

Food Distrabution

I could not begin to share with you all God is doing!  Last year we felt we were enduring a pruning process and held onto the hope of greater fruit to come.  We have been excited to see God's Spirit at work in Obulle.  People are coming to Christ each week,including a neighbor we have prayed for; lives are  being transformed; marriage conference; growth in the Freedom in Christ course; testimonies of the course and God's Word bringing peace to lives; food distribution... Last week one of our church leaders shared that if Josh and I were a tree our branches would break with fruit.  I sitting back praising God for all He, and He alone, is doing when I realized this is the fruit!  God has been faithful and brought fruit from the pruning.
I am sharing a video on the food distribution that took place this week in Obulle.  It was another one of those days that was pure joy!  This year because of lack of rain most people got little or no harvest.  People are hungry.  On average people were eating one meal a day.  A bad harvest means a year or more of hunger, no money (because they couldn't sell goods), lack of school fees...  Josh and I have been praying for months if God wanted us to do anything to help and how we could help.  It is so overwhelming when everyone, not just in our area, is suffering.  But God has given us people we know and love.  After months of prayer, Josh, Collin Rosser (another missionary we work with in Obulle), and the church leaders came together to discuss what could be done.  We are so thankful for the partnership with have with people here.  They had so much wisdom, helped incredibly, have God's heart, work hard, and are trustworthy.  Following several meetings everything was in place.

Thanks to the generous giving of Rosser's supporters we were able to give a 200 pound bag of corn flour to 567 families (plus!) in 4 wards.  (That is about 60 tons of flour!)  This was a God-size job and He did it all!  Lots could go wrong with this and yet nothing did.  It is amazing.
People came early since there was free food to be given out.  About 7:30am Tuesday morning Josh began the time by letting everyone know it is because of God's love and the love of Christians in the USA that food was available.  He then shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- how awesome to share with some who would otherwise never listen.  Josh ended by mentioning the common Ateso practice of telling each other,  "Greet him for me" instead of going yourself.  Don't send someone to greet God for you - greet God yourself by putting your faith in Jesus!  Everyone understood the truth in it and laughed in response.

Then the distribution began.  Each door on the church was one of the four ward areas.  Workers carried out the heavy bags of flour as names were called.  (The local government people helped us gather the family names of people in each area.)  I was amazed at the organization and how smoothly it all went.  Everyone knew what to do.  People waited patiently for their name to be called, boda-bodas (motorcycle and bicycle taxis) were busy transporting bags, young men carried the heavy bags out the door to the families, leaders called out and checked off names...  I had so much fun watching it all!  People were enjoying the fellowship, they were thankful, everyone was working together, and helping others.  I had never seen anything like it or been apart of something so big. 

By 10:30 almost everyone got their food.  Then families who's names did not get on the list - teaches who aren't from Obulle, people in need who recently moved to Obulle (like the Karamojang), and those just missed - got the extra bags of food.  I went home about 11am knowing I had just seen the hand of God at work.

Our church leaders had been working on the food distribution details since Sunday and even slept at church to make sure the food was safe, and if all that wasn't enough they decided to have a worship service Tuesday night to thank God for what He has done.  At the service each person thanked God.  One shared what when food was given out when they were children you would stand in line all day for three cups of flour.  They had never seen so much food freely given.  Penna said now we know what it was like for Jesus to feed 5,000.  Dan shared that this will change how people pray.  Instead of pleading with God they will now thank Him.  Another thanked God for the unity and seeing the church be the church here and in America.

So enjoy the video with a visual of all God did.

One last note, please remember and be thankful.  I know we don't like to say or admit it, but we are truly rich.  We do not know what it is like to be hunger, to be without, and to not know where our next meal will come from.  I am the first to admit I had wrestled with the injustice in this world and I have mourned over my own sin.  I can't not begin to understand.  I have to exercise because I have too much food and others don't have enough food!  God forgive us.  I pray we all learn to not take forgrated the blessings God has given us each day. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

God's design for Marriage

Today was one of those days that make you smile.  I feel great joy.  Since March I have had a desire to do another marriage conference not just for church leaders but all married people in our church.  I could see all the new, young marriages struggling and in need of encouragement and guidance.  The desire in my heart would not go away and I shared it with Josh and a couple of our pastors.  Today we had a marriage conference at our house!

I was filled with joy to see new believers come, our neighbors who are older and have been married long yet willing to learn and grow, newly married couples -- some not doing well right now -- still came to participate, and many women who's husbands are not believes came to be learn.  

I don't know yet how God will use this time together, but I do know He was here and at work.  His truth on marriage was taught, we laughed together, did new things, and a testimony of a marriage changed by God was shared.  And God was glorified as marriage was honored.

Josh and Pastor Martin did most of the teaching but I was able to add a couple extras.
We really focused on that God makes us one in marriage.  No one should be able to separate and when one thing is separated it breaks -- you are torn apart.  It can be hard to understand 1+1=1 so I took play dough and had a couple come up.  The pink play dough was the women before marriage and the green play dough was the man before marriage.  When they united in marriage their play dough came together and mixed.  The couple mixed the play dough until it became a new color.  There were traces of the pink and green so I told them to now separate and take your color back.  They got the point -- they could no longer separate because they were now one new color.  They could tear apart but they would both carry a part of each other.    

I used David and Betty because they have been one the longest.
David just came to Christ which I am thrilled to see God at work in him, in them and their home!
(More on that in another blog!)

We also did an illustration on Ecc. 3:12 a cord of  three is not easily broken.  God is the one who makes us one.  One strand is like a person before marriage it can be weak.  In marriage two strands come together and I could still break the strands.  But in God's design for marriage He is our center.  He is the third strand that makes us strong.  It can not be broken.  God is the one who makes marriage beautiful, makes it work, makes it a blessing, and strong.

Before lunch we moved outside for Josh to again illustrate oneness and that you either both win or you both loss.  There is no such thing as one winning and one loosing because you are one.  Josh has six couples volunteer to race then he told them it was a three legged race.   They are one and they need to be united and work together if you want to win.  You either both win or both loose.  I LOVED seeing everyone laugh and couple play together, hold each other, and cheer each other on.  You may think this is no big deal but most of what the couples did to day were VERY uncultural but in a good way because it is God's culture to love and honor in marriage.  The couples did a great job racing and even got a prize of soda with their lunch.  And now we all have a great mental picture of winning - as one!

Then for lunch each couple had to have a "date" in American lingo.  The women were to take a blanket and find a place in the yard to eat while the men had to get the food and serve their wives.  This is HUGE!  Women serve their husbands not the other way around.  It was a beautiful sight watch men serve their wives - some for the first time ever.  There were giggles around but it was a laughter of joy.  I loved looking around the yard and seeing couples together.  They also had to ask two questions; and we one and is there anything/anyone separating us?  Then they were to say to one another, "You are mine forever" from Song of Songs.  (Real fear here of being left for a new partner because it happens.  There is no trust.)

I continue to be excited to be apart of what God is doing here.  And I feel empowered and encouraged.  I was so blessed by everyone thanking us for today - appreciation isn't normal here.

Sometimes I miss America when I think about what is happening - camping, swimming at the beach, picnics, vacations with family...  But the joy that I felt today as I was able to welcome my friends into our home, serve them, bless them with a meal and treats, and share God's Word with them is better than anything else I may desire in this world.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Praying for Achia

Thank you everyone for praying with us for Achia.  I couldn't get the image of her out of my heard when I went to bed last night.  I wanted to ignore it all because it hurts too much and I was afraid.  Then God reminded me of the verse I read and prayed about in the morning.

Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
Do not fear, I will help you.
Is. 41:10 &13

I found such comfort in claiming this promise from God.  He wants me to trust Him not fear.  I don't have to fear because He is with me.  He is my strength and my help.  He holds my hand!  And I know the same is true for Achia.

Then this morning as I read God's Word I read 1 Cor. 1:26-2:5 where God chooses the weak and not smart of this world so that God's wisdom and power are displayed.  He gets the glory.  And Is. 42:6-7 God says He called us, He takes hold of our hand, He keeps us and makes us a light to all people -- so that we can open eyes that are blind, free captives and release those in darkness.  

God was speaking to me.  I feel very weak and helpless yet God wants to show His power and strength through me and through this situation.  God has called me (all of us) and He holds my hand as I am His light to set people free!  This is all about God not me.  He will bring sight physically and spiritually to Achia (she is blind) and her family.  She will be set free from all that binds her.  This is God's desire.

So Regina came with Achia this morning and our neighbor and pastor's wife, Margaret, went with us too.  We went to Amecet, which is a shelter for children who are sick or abandon, run by YWAM.  I prayed all morning God would prepare the way and that the right people would be there to help us.  God answered and the director was there and willing to see Achia and talk to Regina.  Long story short, Amecet agreed to take Achia in for two months to begin with with hopes of  getting her healthy through nourishment.  I asked the director if there is hope for Achia.  She said it is really bad and if she gets any sickness she could die.

Achia was bathed, dressed and weighed.  She screamed the whole time!  I was amazed she has strength.  She is so angry and I suppose hurts.  I was horrified when they took her clothes off.  It was so very sad to see skin and bone on a five year old girl in a baby size body.  It is enough to make we feel ill.  No one should be starved to death.  Achia weighs 6.1kg (14.3 pound).  That is less 3kgs less than Margaret's 9 month old baby.  

I am sure Achia is scared too.  She is blind, in a new place, new people and not well.  She cries a lot.  I wanted to cry watching her and not being able to take her pain and fear away.  I just prayed God would meet her in her fear and pain and bring her comfort and peace.  I prayed that the workers at Amecet will love her and hold her not get upset with her for crying so much.  Regina did go to hold Achia again and comfort her.  Achia quieted in her mother's arms.

I learned Achia can still sit up (although her head is too heavy for her weak body).  She also does eat.  I was thrilled to see her eager to eat -- they even had to bring more food and milk.  We need to pray she keeps the food down because the mother says she throws up and has diarrhea.  If she can't keep food down they will put a feeding tube in.  I simply cannot understand not having food for your child and watching this happen.  

On our ride home Margaret thanked me for the love and kindness we have.  She said she sees Jesus working through us and knows God brought us here knowing Achia and family would need us.  She said that people here only look out for themselves and even when people get money or resources they don't see that it is from God to use to help others.  She shared Matt. 25:31-46 when Jesus said we do it to Him when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison.  We gave thanks to God together for allowing us to be His hands and His love. 

I thought back to my morning devotions and thanked God for using me in all my weakness and foolishness, that His power and wisdom is seen and He is glorified!  

Sometimes I hear Christians wrestle with God over the suffering and hardships they and others face over and over again.  It is true we don't understand it all and it is hard and painful, but I do know this - God is good and He is trustworthy.  I don't question Him.  I know He loves us, He is with us, He is all wise, all powerful, He feels, He hates sin and suffering and that is not His plan for us, He wants everyone to know Him and that is why He is willing to wait to make all things right - that none should perish.  It was never or will ever be God's desire for sin and suffering.  He sent a Rescuer to save us from all our sin and suffering.  May we long for His coming again as we wait and share Him with all those who don't know Him yet.

Keep praying!
Aug. 24
Thank you all for continuing to pray for Achia.

I went on Friday and on Tuesday to see her.  There is nothing easy about this situation and is a long haul.  Achia is a very difficult and unpleasant child.  I know that sounds terrible but it is true.  Achia has sever disablies, is very unhappy, can't communicate, cries, and looks awful as a starving 5 year old in a baby size body.  It is a choose to hold her, love her, and talk to her.  I do love her but it is so overwhelming.  My kids came with me but didn't know how to handle it and seemed afraid to touch her.  Tuesday Emalai just cried seeing Achia cry and be upset.  It is hard.  I feel so bad for Achia but there seems to be nothing I can do to comfort her and help her.  I did learn she likes to walk in the stroller and she was very peaceful riding.  I don't know if this is right or not, but while walking with her I decided the best thing for Achia is for her suffering to end and for her to be with Jesus in perfect peace.  I prayed God would take away her frustration and take her home to Him.

The good news is that I saw her mother, Regina, yesterday.  We honestly did not know if they would disappear while Achia was cared for.  Regina always seems happy to see me and hugs me tight.  She said she wants to see Achia -- Yeah!  I was so thankful and again saw she does love her child.  She is suppose to go tomorrow with Margaret.  

Please continue to pray.  Pray for Achia to have peace and healing.  She is eating but only time will tell.  Since I have known her she sucked on her hands but the people at Amecet put socks on her hands so she quit biting them they said.  I worry they took away her comfort.  Sometimes I wonder if the helpers understand how severally handicapped she is.  They said she cried A LOT.  I know that and I know it is hard, but she needs love.  Pray for the helpers at Amecet to be patient and loving with Achia.  Achia also had a fever when I was there.  Pray for me to have strength, time and love for Achia too.  I can feel a heavy burden when I think about all I should do and about the long term of this all.  I have to trust God and do what He asks of me.  Pray for Achia's family to have food and grow in Christ.

Thanks you again,


Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I am sending this out asking for prayer.

Many of you remember Achia.  Achia is little girl with many disablities, is blind, couldn't walk, and was sickly.  Her family is Karamojan and was living here for work (herding cattle for money).  Anyways, we were able to help Achia last year and see great improvements with love, help and food.  Achia's parents even accepted the Lord as their Savior through it all.

It is with great pain that I write about Achia today.  We have not seen Achia since last August before we left for the States.  They moved back to Karamoja while we were gone because everyone had to go back to there homes for elections.  Tonight Achia came with her mother, Regina.  I would not have recognized Achia she is skin and bones.  A five and a half years old and is as small as a baby.  She is literally starving to death (so PLEASE don't use that phrase because you are not and some people truly are!).  Regina said they are back in the area because there is totally no food in Karamoja.  Achia wont eat and has only water.  

 I feel sick.  I don't know what to do.  I hurt.  Poverty like this is horrifying.  I hate it.

We gave Regina milk for Achia and food for the family to eat tonight.  We plan to bring Achia to Amecet tomorrow to see if they can help.  We prayed over them.  I could hardly pray because I was crying - crying out to God.  Regina and Charles were crying with me.  

Grace was outside with us and also troubled by it all.  We talked about it that God can still heal Achia and if He takes her home then she will be healed too.  Grace right away said but she isn't saved.  I assured her that God is good and we can trust Him.  These are big thoughts for children.

Please pray with us for Achia and her family.  I know that her mother loves and hurts because of her tears but she has nothing.  Pray for God to be at work - provide, protect, heal, love, help...  Pray for Amecet to be able to help.  I don't know what or how to pray...just pray.  I wish we didn't have to face this or deal with it or feel it, but we do and we will with God's love, strength and help.

Sunday, August 7, 2016


That's right Lydia is a teenager!
13 years old on July 31.

Lydia is a blessing to all of us!  She is the most positive, thankful person I know.  I love her joy for life.  She makes people feel good.  She encourages, loves, is kind and brings peace.  Lydia is very mature.  I am so thankful for her faith in the Lord.  God has given her gifts in writing, dance, and expressing.  Others have seen Lydia's pure heart and that is what I pray for her as she now enters her teen years.  Lord may Lydia remain pure - physically, spiritually, in her reading, entertainment, relationships, language, thoughts and attitude.  Lydia, we love you!  You are God's Beloved!  Happy Birthday!

We had a girls birthday party for Lydia's 13th!
The girls made beautiful bracelets thanks to the help and generosity of my friend Rachel.

Thankful for good friends to celebrate with -
Avalien, Emilie, Ashley, Grace and Abbie.

Fun drinks and good food,

our own little beauty parlor,


and games.  Lots of fun!
The week before Lydia's birthday the ladies had a party.
Actually, a ladies day retreat.
What a blessing to be together, rest, be crafty, time with the Lord, share encouraging words, laugh and pray together.

I love that I get to use my gift of creativity to bless my friends.
 It is so fun for me to organize, decorate and host.

Our last party was our friend Denis's wedding.

Denis has been a friend since we moved to Uganda nine years ago.  He was our neighbor and is a partner in ministry to the street boys in Soroti.  We were very happy for Denis as he married Francis who also has a heart for street boys.

Wedding in Uganda (in town) are a big ordeal and in a muzungu's (white person's) perspective it can be a bit crazy.  The wedding was suppose to start at 9am - we got there at 1pm and the groomsmen had just walked in.  The bride walks VERY slowly so it takes about an hour to enter.  There isn't much emotion from the bride and groom.  There were about 20 to 50 people with smartphones in the bride and grooms face taking pictures - no one else could even see them because there were so many people taking pictures!  It is fun and festive with dancing, music and cheering but it is very loud and a hot, all day event.  When it is time to feed all 800 people (about 500 of them came after 4pm) it is a bit of chaos.  But all in all it is a cultural experience and I was glad I was there to celebrate with them.