Monday, 31 January 2011

A Sunday Visit

Our friend Dan took us out to his parents’ village Nyenge across the Nile yesterday to show us where he’d grown up and introduce us to his family. We stopped for lunch at a GORGEOUS resort on Lake Victoria first, where I got to dip my toes in the mighty, and warm!, largest tropical lake in the world for the first time! My God’s world is so big and so wonderful… Gabs and I travelling on one boda, and Dan on another, we drove in caravan through the gorgeous hills surrounding Lake Victoria, the sun kissing our shoulders and the breeze from the moving boda keeping the heat down to only sweltering rather than scorching ;)

It truly felt such an honour to arrive in the village and be welcomed by Dan’s gorgeous elderly auntie. He said she is older than 86 years old (people often don’t know the years they were born here). I found her simply beautiful. Her wrinkles and laugh lines could tell so many stories. She spread out a little bit of cloth on a bench for Gabs and I, and sat next to us, speaking to us in her language with Dan translating, making us feel as honoured guests. It’s overwhelming, the hospitality here! Even her neighbours came over to shake our hands and make us feel welcome :)

From there, we walked up the dusty village road to Dan’s parents’ land where he grew up. He was once one of the little boys running to the edges of their gardens and shouting happily, “Mzungu! Mzungu! How are you?” :)

His parents and sister came out to greet us, the women giving hugs. They brought out chairs for us to sit in the shade of a tree in the garden and again, treated us as if we were royalty come to visit. So humbling and beautiful! His sister had her 3 children there and introduced them to us one by one. Her youngest was an absolutely gorgeous, chubby 4-month-old named Bethany who completely grabbed my heart. I have been missing loving on His littlest ones (bring on this next month at Acacia Tree, a baby home in Entebbe!) and the way He speaks to me of His heart in them. We chatted with Dan’s very wise-looking dad and anyone else who came to join us. His mother hugged us each about 3 times. Hehe :) And shortly before we got up to go, she came over and simply laid Bethany in my arms, as if God had whispered to her heart directly how much this random Mzungu would be encouraged by a cuddle. It was only the quickest bit of time, but they were moments that spoke to me of His heart which I can’t get enough of… Then Dan walked us back into the land to see genuine coffee beans growing on the trees! And to tell us of his and his fiance’s plans to build a good school here on this land and give the children of the village a real chance in the world. The Lord moves through people like these, so willing to be His hands and feet!
They wanted to make food for us but we’d just eaten and Dan had somewhere he had to be, so they insisted we come back again another time to eat :) And they sent us away with loads of peanuts and bananas they’d grown themselves!

This may have been one of my favourite Ugandan experiences yet, being welcomed in to a genuine village home where we hardly have to speak the same language to communicate grace and love and hospitality. My God blesses me through these kind people every day.  

May God bless Dan and his fiancĂ© and his family! The friendships He provides in His generosity warm my heart…

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Faith Like a Child

Walking through our village to catch a boda-boda to the nearby town, Gabs and I have always drawn a lot of attention, especially from the village children. From day 1, EVERY SINGLE TIME they see us, every child runs to the end of their gardens shouting “Mzungu! Mzungu! How are you?”, completely delighting us with the joy in their faces when we smile and wave and say hello and we’re fine and ask how they are.

3 of the neighbourhood children have befriended us particularly. They have begun to not just run to the end of their gardens, but right out into the dusty red road. Giggling, they take our hands so we are walking all 5 of us side-by-side. Every day, they drop whatever they are doing to run to us, laughing at their own boldness, and walk with us hand-in-hand until we have to turn towards the motorway. I have chatted to them as much as their grasp of English will allow, and I have giggled with them all the way down that road, just bursting with love for these precious children who have adopted us as their dear Mzungu friends :)

They are called Adam, Doreen, and Ayisa, and their bright smiles radiate the heart of God to me.

Yesterday morning, as Ayisa slipped her hand into mine, she shyly tucked a bit of paper stained with red dust into my palm… Opening it, I found pictures she’d drawn of butterflies and flowers and leaves and a mouse, and a long letter in strong, even penmanship. “Hello my best friend,” the first line said. She wrote of how her parents died in an accident on the way to their village and left her when she was 3 years old. She doesn’t know how old she is now. She wrote of how one day God showed us to her and how she hopes we can help her to go to school. She wrote, “I am a well-behaved child,” which I already knew from my weeks walking with her and observing her pleasant, quiet nature, “and a girl who fears God the Creator,” which I didn’t know until that moment. She finished the letter by leaving us “under God’s protection.”

I’ve felt a sort of heaviness of heart since. Her precious hand pressed this letter into mine with such hope…

We discussed immediately if she could be one of the girls God is sending to Racham, but as she seems very settled with relatives and taken care of along with the other 2, it seems unlikely. But it costs $300.00 a year for a child to attend school here. And not only being poor, but an orphan, the chances of Ayisa finishing school are slim without help…

Gabi says it’s very common for children here to write such letters, and to make all kinds of requests to a white person simply because they’re white so they must have money, and I see that… but Ayisa, in her quiet, shy nature, asking simply to be helped to go to school because she hasn’t anyone to help her… it settles heavy in my heart. Not feeling very well today, I spent part of the afternoon out of the heat, with curtains drawn, lying in bed and feeling the heaviness of the suffering of the precious children I see each day, the injustices, and desiring so deeply to be able to DO SOMETHING about it all! How come some of us are born on that side of the equator where we don’t have to spend our childhoods hauling the family water from the village pump in dirty jugs? How come some of us are born into countries where we have to go to school whether we like it or not and others just long for the chance to be educated that they might get somewhere in life but the possibility is dangled so high above them that they must long for it like a far-off dream? It seems so unfair that what some people spend in a week in one country could keep this precious child in this one in school for a whole year…

It all felt too big. Not having the money, I felt I had nothing to offer her. And it was heart-breaking.

But that night as I spread my bible study out before me in the coolness of the porch in the evening, He began to speak to my heart. Leah, you have everything to give her. You have Me. I pulled out my notepad and began to write her a reply. Unsure of how to reply except for with one thing. Him.

I told her that I, the one of her mzungu friends named Leah, am leaving in a few days, but that I have so loved getting to know her, that I can indeed see that she is a well-behaved girl, a very precious girl. That the best way I can help her is to pray for her, because that Creator God she fears is the same Father God I love, and He loves her more than words can say. I encouraged her to pray with me that He will provide the way for her to go to school. I encouraged her to call on Him all the days of her life, and that I would be praying for her even when I go home across the ocean, that I wouldn’t forget her, and that He would never lift His eyes from her sweet face. And that He is right there for her to talk to, day or night, because He loves her and sent His Son Jesus so that she could one day live with Him forever. This precious girl with no parents and such a beautiful, dimpled smile and a heart so wide open it would love the whole world…

When we woke up this morning, 2 of Gabi’s friends had responded to the call she put out on Facebook for sponsors to send Ayisa to school :) So even before I could hand her my reply to the letter on our morning walk encouraging her to trust Him, He’d answered our prayers. My Abba-Daddy will not forget the orphan…

And when she learns of how He’s provided, I pray she will not think, “Mzungus have the connections to help” but “God is so big and He loves me so!” and she will be drawn to love Him more than anything in her world all the days of her life...

And He speaks to me in this about having faith like a child.
I have a lot to learn from beautiful little depictions of His heart like Ayisa. I will cherish holding her hand for 3 more days before I leave for Entebbe. And I will pray for her for much longer…
Thank You, Abba! Your love is so big...

Thursday, 27 January 2011

A Quotation from Radical by David Platt

Pages 17-18--

“Jesus tells his disciples, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.’
I love this picture. Imagine walking in a field and stumbling upon a treasure that is more valuable than anything else you could work for or find in this life. It is more valuable than all you have now or will ever have in the future.
You look around and notice that no one else realizes that treasure is here, so you cover it up quickly and walk away, pretending you haven’t seen anything. You go into town and begin to sell off all your possessions to have enough money to buy that field. The world thinks you’re crazy. ‘What are you thinking?’ your friends and family ask you.
You tell them, “I’m buying that field over there.”
They look at you in disbelief. ‘That’s a ridiculous investment,’ they say. ‘Why are you giving away everything you have?”
You respond, ‘I have a hunch,’ and smile to yourself as you walk away.
You smile because you know. You know that in the end you are not really giving away anything at all. Instead you are gaining. Yes, you are abandoning everything you have, but you are also gaining more than you could have in any other way. So with joy—with joy!—you sell it all, you abandon it all. Why? Because you have found something worth losing everything else for.”

...Amen, amen, amen!

Monday, 24 January 2011

An Update on Registration

“You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our Saviour. You are the hope of everyone on earth…” – Psalm 65:5

It should not be surprising, His favour, since we are beloved children of His, and yet, still, I gaze at Him with eyes wide with wonder :)

Last week the Lord has brought us along the process of registering Racham Ministries in Uganda full speed ahead. Our awesome Ugandan friend Isaac, whom the Lord provided at just such a time as this, knows exactly who to see, and takes us right there, visiting one official after another, getting forms signed and stamped. He’s also helping to edit the ministry’s constitution. We’d be lost without him. What has taken other “mzungu” (white) ministries half a year to process, we have come through in 2 weeks. God’s hand is upon us! How exciting is that?

And His hand of provision is here too, just pouring out for each need as He moves people’s hearts to give—some people Gabi has never even met!

Again and again, He moves to teach me that “[He] is committed to providing abundant resources in support of those who are living according to His purpose” (David Platt). Whether its finance for a ministry, a kind, knowledgeable, trusted friend to gives us guidance in a confusing process (or 2 or 3, even! He has provided us with so much generous help!), or the emotional support of a phone call from a much-missed, wise, and loving boyfriend a million miles away.

This is my Father. He calls me His. And what can I do with such grace but share it to tell of His glorious hope to everyone on earth?

Serving in awe in Uganda…

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

This and That

Uganda continues to enthrall me with all the mysteries of stepping into a culture I don’t know. I feel like each day is welcoming me to come out and greet it with wonder, and so I do. But with a wonderful sense of peace walking through the unknowns, which is only Him teaching me to rest inside His faithful heart which knows this place with as much intimacy as I don’t. I live in wonder of Him, really.

Jinja Town
This week has found us wandering through the colourful, dusty market in Jinja, the nearest town, many a day in search of items as we set up Gabi’s house in preparation for the girls arriving. The market is an area the size of a city block or two, and packed out with makeshift stalls set up in something resembling rows in the dirt. The smells that greet you at the market range from mouth-watering to stomach-churning, and you must watch where you place your feet in the dirt. You can find almost anything you can imagine in the claustrophobia and chaos of the market—from rice, fruit, and veggies (some with names I’ve never even heard before) to toothpaste, pots and pans (with no lids), shoes, home-sewn sheets, and buckets full of grasshoppers… which they eat like a tasty little pop-in-your-mouth snack…  I always want to take photos of the market and the magic of all of its cramped and overflowing stalls but I already feel so conspicuous just being “mzungu”, and haven’t gotten quite bold enough yet :) If we show any interest in anything on the stands, we are swarmed by people trying to sell their wares. For some strange reason, they call us “Mama” when they address us.

The shop names in Jinja continue to delight me. Yesterday we saw two electrical shops and they were named “Care of Hope Electrical Centre” and “Faith Electrical Shop”. Hehe. They just seem such mismatched concepts :) I’ve seen another something along the lines of “Jesus is Lord Clothing” :) Uganda is full of such signs—the back of nearly every Coaster (mini-bus) says something about God’s goodness. I should think it would be really comforting,  but I don’t find it so. It feels a bit like empty words splashed across everything this way…

On Sunday we went to our first church service. The first Sunday we were here, Gabi was a bit under-the-weather so we stayed home to rest. This Sunday we went along with a missionary friend of Gabi’s, Katie Davis, an awesome American girl no older than I am who has adopted 13 awesome Ugandan girls (who wrap our hearts around their pinky fingers! On Sunday morning, Katie’s 4-year-old Grace plopped herself in my lap, leaned against my chest, and started singing, “This is my friend, this is my friend, this is my friend” :) Oh!!), to a mainly mzungu church run by American missionaries, so Gabi could see some friends there. The chairs were set up in the garden, under tall, shady trees, and out in the beautiful open Ugandan air and I thought, “Mmm, I could get used to this!” until I discovered that the MASSIVE palace-like structure we were sat in the yard of was the pastor’s house…. I could hardly concentrate on worship then, and I chided myself for being judgmental, but it disturbs me so much that, anyone, let alone Christian missionaries representing Jesus, could live in such a place in the midst of such poverty, when just down the road the very people they’ve been sent to serve are living in disheveled shacks of every description. Even living in an ordinary house in Uganda you’re better off than most of the homes I’ve seen. It just upset me so much. I realize that I don’t actually know the situation—I’m just a visitor one Sunday and the pastor and family weren’t even there, but back in America on furlough, and when Katie and I were discussing it afterwards (and she finds it equally frustrating, but appreciates that it’s an English-speaking church) she said that they explain that they need it in order to host mission teams once a year and I obviously don’t know all that that entails. But without knowing the full details, I just felt sickened by the disparity between this gated palace of the missionaries’ and the reality of the people outside those gates…

Nonetheless, the pastor speaking, another American, gave a great sermon and afterwards the whole church was introduced to a young Ugandan man whom had just come to give his life to Christ. I am so thankful for the way He works through us in spite of us!

Last night we found our way to a Muslim hospital in town where a group of missionaries were having a Bible Study, strangely enough. Most of these people Gabi knew from previous times in Uganda, and I’d met a few from church or around town and been drawn to them immediately. I love missionaries! It was a beautiful thing to sit in the middle of that run-down hospital courtyard with all of these strangers from all these far distances, drawn to this country for a common purpose—to serve Him. As we sang some worship before having a teaching from The Word, patients and staff were drawn out by the music and sat with us on nearby benches.  You could hear sick people being violently violently violently ill in a room off the courtyard, and nurses and doctors rushed by at various times, and yet there was such a beautiful sense of peace, sense of community, sense of fellowship with this group of strangers (most of them American). Such an honest and genuine desiring after this God Whom has so captivated each of our hearts. If you don’t already know and support a (genuine, humbly seeking Christ) missionary, I encourage you to get out there and find one. He teaches me so much through such recklessly abandoned souls.

Racham Business
Yesterday we found ourselves back in the presence of The Chairman, seeking his good favour over Racham Ministries, and his stamp and signature on the forms to be registered as a Community-based Organisation in Uganda. Knowing his importance in the region, and having heard from other missionaries the difficulties the officials give Westerners coming in to Uganda to start ministries, it was a bit nerve-wracking to sit in his “office” (a dingy, dusty stationery store on a crazy market street) and wait as he looked over the constitution and contemplated signing and stamping the form before him. To our surprise (though, why should we be surprised with such a God as ours?), not only did he stamp and sign it with a smile and no questions asked, but he waived our offer of payment—as they normally require 2,000 to 10,000 shillings for this service (about $1 to $5), something similar to what we would call a bribe, I guess, but so ingrained in the culture that it’s just like an accompanying fee. Isaac, the Ugandan social worker friend of ours, couldn’t believe he didn’t require any money. He’s never seen him do that before :) Thank You for Your favour, Lord :)

Isaac took us around to another “LC”, local council member, in our own little village to get another signature (it pays to know someone who knows everyone :)) and it was surreal to me the way this business works. We went to the home of the LC, a dirt enclosure with chickens wandering in and out through the open door. They brought out 3 plastic chairs for us to sit on in the red dust and all the family members around came out to shake our hands and make us welcome, their clothing ripped and caked with dirt and dust. I find Ugandans so friendly and kind, so welcoming. What a different world, what a different world…

On the house front, God is coming through with needed funds just as quickly as we run out in preparing the place for the girls (the kitchen is nearly finished so the immediate construction needs will be out of the way, but we need to get beds for the girls, pay the salaries of various staff, pay the administration fees to get the paperwork done, plus all the little extras which pop up!…). The other day it was a random donation from Gabi’s friend, whose fiancĂ©e is on the Ugandan board of directors. And, one couple in America Gabi knows whom have been unemployed for a long while have just found a job and are giving their whole first month’s salary to God and supporting various ministries with it—Racham will be one of them! Keep praying for this practical need, friends! And praising for how He comes through too.

Ugandan Wildlife… in our room
The last few nights I have woken in the darkness to the sound of scratching and scrambling by some little creature about our room. I didn’t feel too apprehensive about what African wildlife we may be dealing with, just curious, and the curiosity kept me from sleep. I wondered if it could be the shy little gecko who often visits our bathroom walls but I thought he would have to be getting mighty bold to come into the bedroom! This morning my curiosity was assuaged when I opened my suitcase to find clothes for the day and had the quickest little brown mouse I have ever seen jump out at me and scurry away! Needless to say, I will be zipping my suitcase closed from now on…

Far worse than that, last night I reached my hand into the toothbrush cup to get out my toothbrush and the toothpaste, and THE MOST GINORMOUS cockroach greeted me, and crawled up my hand!!!! Ugh…. It was massive, and with antennae as long as its entire body or longer, just to complete the hugeness. It was disgusting!! Goodness, it was huge. But I strangely feel as if I took it in stride more so than I would expect, and same with the mouse. It’s just part of the life here, so I just accept it and move on. But oh my goodness—moral of the story? Cockroaches in Africa are MASSIVE.

And She Rode Side-Saddle
I am SO thankful for “my” internet cafe in Jinja where I’m able to go a few times a week so far and send emails, touch base with Facebook, and upload photos! It’s run by the nicest Ugandan ladies and situated right off the main street. Because Gabi has a personal modem on her computer, I tend to need more time there than she does, so have managed a few afternoons there on my own—even getting some writing done and sent out to editors—and then making my way back out to our little village on my own after they close. Now, I LOVE the boda-boda, which are just ordinary, rather well-used motorbikes used as taxis (You wouldn’t believe all they fit on ordinary motorbikes here. Today we passed another boda-boda carrying a whole sofa and two chairs tied on behind the driver! Another day I’d seen a family of 5 crowded on the back of one boda!), but I have only ever ridden on them with Gabi, and taken the coaster—a mini-bus taxi—when I’m on my own. Since there have always been two of us riding behind one guy, I have only ever ridden astride, despite the fact that the Ugandan way is for ladies to ride only “side-saddle”. For some reason, the thought of riding with both legs to one side has frightened me from day one! Just… such an unstable way to ride on the back of a little, fast-moving motorbike and I was a bit nervous about it. But culturally, it’s not appropriate to ride astride without a reason for it. So… today, for the first time, I breathed a prayer, and politely perched myself on the back of a boda-boda… side-saddle!

It WAS precarious-feeling, as if you truly are perched, and you must use your whole body to maintain balance, especially around the roundabouts :) But the breeze on the back of the boda wiped away the burn of the blazing afternoon heat, and as the beautiful Ugandan landscape passed by with the goats and cows roaming freely about the ditches, I closed my eyes and smiled at the feeling of freedom and wonder at this strange world I find myself in and this huge God Who put me here.

He spoke to me of trust in the experience. Of taking a deep breath, hopping on behind Him, and letting Him carry me away. Letting go and trusting Him often feels precarious, whether it means following Him to a new culture and new country, or following Him into a whole new level of self-awareness or emotional healing or relational vulnerability—either way, it’s following Him into a whole new world where you must rely on Him and not yourself. It’s surrender. And it’s scary. But it’s beautiful and freeing… and I don’t want anything less.

Oh Uganda, the lessons you have to teach me of His heart :)

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The God Who Sees Me

“We are not an afterthought to God. We are the point of His involvement with this planet.” – B. Moore

I am eating up my bible study on Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob these days in Africa. It’s Saturday today and Gabs and I have been able spend a rare day at home doing all of our laundry by hand while the carpenters work away on the soon to be built kitchen and the heavy Ugandan rain breaks up the sky! Unreal.

The lesson on Genesis 16 has floored me today. It’s a familiar story. Abram and Sarai are getting on in years and still haven’t been able to bless their marriage with a child. Sarai, growing impatient, tells her husband to have a baby for them with her servant Hagar instead (…Seriously…) but after Hagar becomes pregnant with Abram’s child, Sarai changes her mind (yeah, anyone might have told her it would be a mistake!) and begins to treat her now despised servant harshly—so harshly that the young, overwhelmed, mistreated Hagar runs away, trying to get back to Egypt where she came from.

But there in the desert, a loving God seeks her out. She is met by “an angel of God” (but when you read into the Hebrew wording, you realize it is God Himself in the form of a man appearing like an angel) and He speaks with her. Hagar was Egyptian. She didn’t know this God of the Hebrews, so didn’t believe in Him and seek Him out. He sought her. That thought moves me so much. And it did Hagar as well. Gen 16:13 says, “Thereafter, Hagar referred to the Lord, who had spoken to her, as ‘The God who Sees Me,’ for she said, ‘I have seen the One who sees me!’” Hagar had been used like a piece of property, “used” in every sense of the word. Her personhood completely overlooked. Except for by a God she didn’t even know, but Whom had always known her.

What I’d never realized before was that when Hagar gave God a name—“The God Who Sees Me”—she was the first and last person, male or female, to ever give Him a name in the whole of the Old Testament. He could have appeared to any of the 3 characters in this story—Abram and Sarai were Hebrews, at least!—but He chose to speak to the down-trodden Hagar. Hagar, the Egyptian maid-servant. The foreigner and the slave and the woman, the runaway, unmarried, pregnant woman at that. In such a culture and day in age, she was the lowest of low nobodies. To my God with His heart of love and compassion, she was of utmost value. And He saw her. (And gave her even scholarly significance as being the only recorded OT character to give Him a name!).

I am awash with wonder when I think of it in light of the majesty I know He is made of. This is what I love most about my Highest of High God; His attentiveness to the hearts of the nobodies like me—and the half-naked children hauling water home in dirty jugs from the water pump just outside our gate here; and the carpenter who only finished our bathroom door before he had to stop work to go to the hospital with a suspected case of AIDS, which strikes “nobodies” all across this continent like nowhere else; and the beautiful, old-as-time lady with the deepest lines in her face whom we saw on the street yesterday, carrying a massive load on her head wrapped in a dirty cloth and holding out her hand saying her well-practiced bit of English, “Give me money”— He sees each individual nobody; we are the point of His involvement with this planet in coming as Jesus Christ to die that we might know Him and live. He sees us when all is well, and He smiles with our smiling hearts. And He sees us when we are hiding behind a frail smile, and kisses at the wounds hiding there. He sees every single effort we make which goes unnoticed, every varied emotion which rolls through our souls and rocks us with it, every tear of frustration shed or left inside. He sees every kind of joy dancing in our spirits which we cannot put to adequate words. He sees it all. He always has. El Roi—The God Who Sees.

And I cannot respond with anything but love. And praise. And a grateful life of serving Him because of Who He is and a desperate desire for others to know Him too. This God who sees them and loves them, no matter the state their in.

This God who sees you and loves you, no matter the state you’re in.
The next time you find yourself run into your desert, notice Him there. He’s sought you out. You are the point of His involvement with this planet.

He sees you.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Onward we Press...

Yesterday, with the gracious help of a new friend, we went to the probation office (which is, apparently, the sort of head of social work here) to get the proper forms for establishing Racham Ministries as an official outreach project here in Uganda. This God-send of a friend, Isaac, drove us to and fro to collect various things and meet various people. Various Local Council members must read Racham’s constitution and sign off on the form, including a rather mysterious (to this westerner) man known as the village chairman. 

Visiting the village chairman was rather surreal. His “office” was in a stationery shop, unlit but the open doors at the front and back letting in natural light from the Ugandan sun—a dusty place with shelves along each wall, sparingly filled with stationery items the likes of which I’ve not properly seen before. All forms of paper were to be had there, apparently. Even toilet paper. Everything duly coated in a film of red dust. The Chairman was seated at a rather stark desk, and he and Isaac spoke together in a language Gabi and I can’t understand but seeing how long it was taking, I whispered to Gabs, “Just pray…” and at that very moment from some room at the back “Living on a prayer” began to play over the radio :) We tried desperately not to look silly giggling like the girls we are :)

It really is a matter of living on a prayer as every day holds a new unknown. We are so thankful for the kind men the Lord has put in our path who know the system and can help Gabi get everything going. We must visit the Chairman again, whose opinion of Racham Ministries will greatly effect the opinion of the other local council members, we are told, before meeting the other LC’s on Monday.

We appreciate all of your prayers and count the days til Gabi can bring home the little girls the Lord has in store for Racham!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Trust is The Same Across the World

“If any should read these lines who have come into positions of extreme difficulty, through following the simple path of obedience, let them not look at God through difficulties, as we see the sun shorn of splendor through a fog; but let them look at difficulties through God. Let them put God between themselves and the disasters which threaten them. Let them cast the whole responsibility upon Him. Has He not thus brought you into difficulties, that He may have an opportunity of strengthening your faith, by giving some unexampled proof of His power? Wait only on the Lord, trust also in Him… He will provide.” – F.B. Meyer

I was sitting in the sun doing my bible study yesterday when I read this quote, the birds roosting in the gorgeous tropical trees about the garden providing background music (I LOVE the sun here. It makes me go straight to golden, no sunburn necessary in between :)) in between meetings with various potential staff. I’ve just started a new Beth Moore workbook—The Patriarchs. The lesson was on Abraham and how they settled in Egypt for awhile during a famine. Scared for their lives, Abraham passed his wife Sarai off as his sister to the pharaoh, who quite fancied her, and let her be taken into his harem, as it gave their entire party favour and security. Of course, the Lord fought for Sarai, and made the pharaoh’s whole household ill on her behalf until the pharaoh was made known of the fact that he’d been deceived and rectified it (You can read this story for yourself in Genesis 12:10-20).

The lesson was about trust. Does it not look as if Abraham was just simply ‘freaked out’ and desperate and scrambling for any way he could avoid disaster (in this case, starving and letting his whole family starve in the famine)? He was a man of God; surely in his heart of hearts he knew that lying to save themselves wasn’t the best way forward. But surely too, trusting God and choosing obedience seemed the much harder way when this quick fix was in view, especially as acting with integrity held potentially fatal consequences.

As we work toward settling Racham Ministries in-- preparing the home to begin taking in Gabi’s little ones hopefully at the beginning of February, if not before—we are running in to so many unforeseen costs and stresses. I suppose it was to be expected, only working a budget on theory before, and never knowing what the actual experience would bring once in Uganda. Yesterday we were meeting with potential staff (indispensable people, like the security guard….) as well as getting an estimate for putting in the kitchen and spent time adjusting the budget to find that it simply won’t stretch. You can only imagine the disappointment of the realization that God has brought Gabs this far only to face the pressure of too small a budget. And it’s all pressing.
The first reaction is to fall into discouragement. Or attempt to cut corners however risky (like cutting medical expenses out of the budget to reassign the money elsewhere :() The first reaction is to find some way to humanly fix things, to find a way to stand on steady ground again.

But the deeper reaction we know we must choose… is to trust Him. To look at the problems THROUGH God, instead of looking at God through them, like “the sun shorn of its splendour through the fog”. We must take a stand to put God (knowing all that He is and all that we aren’t) between ourselves and the impossibilities before us, knowing that with God there is no such thing as impossible. Let them put God between themselves and the disasters which threaten them. ”Let them cast the whole responsibility upon Him. Has He not thus brought you into difficulties, that He may have an opportunity of strengthening your faith, by giving some unexampled proof of His power?” How little we would worry and stress if we truly took to heart the fact that “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37), as He has shown us again and again and again and again throughout history, and throughout our own personal walks with Him, whether they’ve taken place in America, England, Sweden, Romania, N.Ireland, or Uganda… to name a few places He’s asked me to trust Him just in my walk alone :)

Oh Lord, we are trusting You. Strengthen our feeble little threads of faith. Provide for Your kingdom work with Racham. You have our willing hands, You’ve walked our feet in obedience all the way to this beautiful plot of land in Your Africa from whatever corner of Your world. Now may You come through once again to the praise of Your great name. You know all the needs of the children you mean for Racham to reach out to. And your word says that you “will give [us] all [we] need from day to day if [we] live for [You] and make the Kingdom of God [our] primary concern” (Matt. 6:33).Thank You for Your extravagant love. Teach us to trust You in all that You are with all that we are… Amen.

Please pray for Racham with us, friends. We’re expecting a timely miracle of provision to continue this work!

May you move to know this incredible God, may you let yourself experience the love of this Lover. O, how you and your life will never be the same…!
Love from Uganda,

“…Freely we’ve received
Now freely we must give
We must go
Live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go…”
-- Tim Hughes, ‘God of Justice’
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