Friday, February 17, 2017

Amazing Time

So...if it is 100 degrees on my porch by 3pm what is the temperature in the sun?!  I try to stay positive this time of year but my whole body is dried out.  My walls that have sun on them outside are hot to the touch inside the house on these hot day.  The village can seem like a ghost town the middle of the day when the sun is even too intense for them.  Dad wanted to get out of the cold and looked forward to the warm weather - I don't think he meant this heat!

And amazingly, this is where I want to be!!!

We had a week filled with seeing God at work.  It was a pleasure to share our home,lives and ministry with Dad and Mom Beute.  Two highlights were the Freedom in Christ graduation in Pingere where we celebrated God's work in lives that are now going out and sharing with others.  And Josh's Freedom in Christ Bible study in Soroti prison where God is setting free those behind bars!  I was personally challenged and encouraged by their worship, joy, peace and hope.  I saw more of it in them than most "free" Christians.  My parents also got to experience youth worship (from 10-11pm! under the stars).  Dad and Mom loved meeting Achia and having time with her.  Our kids enjoyed having Grandpa and Grandma around.  Three of the four kids had sleepovers in G&G's guestroom almost every night.  We were invited to friends and neighbors almost every day so we got our fill of local food too.  I felt blessed to share our friends and loved by them too. Many times over the week we thought about what people miss out on by not coming.  I want you to know if God is calling you to come you are also welcome - experience God and His work here.  

Dad and Mom's first weekend was spent with all of us (Shaarda's and Sliedrechts - my sister's family) on the Nile River camping.  It was beautiful!

Together again

Fun camping with cousins

Luka and Josh on the Nile

Meeting Achia

Regina Achia's Mom

Opio, Achia's dad

Market in Atira

With Lusi and here family

Just sights from our home

The kids caught termites one day - a fun African adventure!

And eating the little treasures...
Graduation in Pingere was a real celebration of all God did and is doing.

Testimonies of truth taught, lives changed, and freedom through forgiveness.

Praying over the graduates.
It was wonderful to see wives pray over their husbands.

Josh had many of us crying after speaking about his love and trust in those trained here.  These are God's servants.


Our partners in the Gospel.  Several of these FIC graduates are now going out to teach in other churches and villages!

Dad even got a rooster as a gift.  So generous!

Special to share this with G&G

Oh my!

We also got invited to a "family reunion" at our pastor's house.  Big pot of atop to feed everyone.

The family came together to make sure all the cousins know who are cousins and don't inter marry.  We even had a meeting with a message on not bringing curses on your family by inter marrying.

Our church and school

And it rained!
I was glad D&M don't think we live in a desert but after a few days of cooler tempts the heat came back with vengeance!

Lunch at Tata Rhoda's 

Lots of football (American and Ugandan)

One last picture...Luka has become quite a clown and loves to entertain a crowd.  He scares kids, chases, does magic tricks...and this day he swam in a mud puddle.  It went from playing by the water, to wading, to junking his head under the water.  Yuck!

This was his crowd that laughed, thought he was a crazy white boy and needed  a beating!

It gave G&G a good laugh and all of us memories.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Together in Akisim

Phil. 1:3-6 describe my heart.  I thank God every time I remember you in prayer.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  

I am so thankful to be a part of the body of Christ here.  I love my church (that includes all 5 that we work with).  I am encouraged and challenged by the faith of our leaders.  This week Ugandan Christian Fellowship Mission (UCFM), the church we are a part of, had an outreach in Akisim (a village less than a half hour from our home).  I was once again learned that there is no greater joy than to share Jesus with others.

The outreach was a family event for us.  We all joined groups that went out to do evangelism.  I think most people in the States are scared of "door to door" evangelism.  We don't know how to do it and we don't do it.  I have seen in my own life that "practice makes perfect" (ok not perfect but you get the point).  You have to do it and each time it gets easier and better.  People in the US may hide or run the other way when they see a stranger coming to talk to them about Jesus or some false religion.  But here people like when we come and visit them.  They come and join our group talking or take us then to their house to share.

I watched Peter, one of the leaders from Pingere in my group, do a beautiful job of talking with people, seeing people and sharing the Good News with them.  Peter was a natural - because he puts it into practice in his life.  This was not the first time he has shared Jesus with people.  Peter knows God's Word and would go to all different verses on Jesus, salvation, being a child of God, love of God...  I was so impressed and challenged.

I love knowing God's Word and sharing it with others.  I know that it is not my words or my work, but that it is God's.  He is there with us and at work.  It was so exciting to see two young boys give their lives to Christ.  It was blessing to encourage believers.  A grandmother returned to the Lord as she heard about the freedom there is in Christ.  And to plants seeds that God will water. The first day we went house to house.  The second day we went to a center and stopped and talked with anyone hanging around (or who God led us to).  I really felt God at work in the center.  People were listening and bringing others to listen.  They asked questions and we shared God's truth.  I love being a part of what God is doing.  I love being where God is at work.

I was very glad our kids were with us and also experienced God at work.  It was very hot, long, and not always easy with crowds of kids wanting to see them at times.  But I was proud of them for having good attitudes and even wanting to be there.

Both evenings we all went into the local trading center to have an open air crusade.  They love crusades here and they work here.  It isn't anything fancy just some loud speakers set up so everyone can gather and hear the Good News.  Josh, Job, Charles, and Peter all shared a Gospel message and invited people to know Jesus.  Other Christians were moving among the people talking to them and asking them if they want to receive Christ.  Many of the women sang with great enthusiasm.  Several times the singing led to dancing, jumping and pure praise.  The joy of the Christians was contagious!  It was beautiful and awesome.  By the end of the second night it was a Jesus party!  I know satan was defeated and Jesus got the victory as they sang at the top of their lungs, "Down, down satan.  Up, up Jesus!"  

More and more I love being together with our church here.  I love being a part of them, being partners in the Gospel, the joy I have seeing the Lord in them and serving the Lord together... It took a very long time on the mission field to feel such joy, togetherness, contentment, love and to feel more at home here than anywhere else.  As we sat under the moonlight with the leaders of the church eating atop, posho and chicken, I thanked God that I am a part of His family here.  What joy.

Josh's group doing evangelism.
They used a lot of practical ways to share the Gospel.  One boy was building so they told him about the place Jesus is preparing for us.  They met a few women at the well and told them the story of Jesus at the well.

They gathered a real crowd when Josh shared a visual story of entering heaven through Jesus.

My group was invited to this restaurant in the center.  We sat and shared with them for almost an hour.  More people joined, many had questions, and we prayed together.

One question was on forgiveness so I shared how when we don't forgive it is like carrying heavy burdens that really keep us bound.  Forgiveness sets us free.

People listened!

Lots of prayers shared with people.  This women asked for prayer for healing.

Peter sharing with two grandmothers who were bound by fear and could not sleep at night.  We shared the freedom they could have in Christ.  One accepted, one did not.

Returning to the Lord!
The kitchen at the church in Akisim.  It is a lot of work (and hot work) feeding everyone!

There was a beautiful pine forest we rested in after lunch (at 3pm).

One draw back to going to new places can be all the curious kids.  This is our "family" picture :)

Teaching from in the church.

The day after the first crusade several people came to the church and gave their lives to Christ!  It was great to see them join groups that day and go out with them to do evangelism (they listened intently).

Two nights of crusade in the center.

Josh and others shared the Gospel and invited people to accept Jesus.

The worship was the highlight!  I love African praise!

By the second night we had a Jesus party!

A lot of jumping, a lot of dust, and a lot of JOY!