Saturday, November 21, 2009

Father. Abbah. Yahweh. Lord. King. Love. You Are. You are my Everything.

surely can not begin to explain the humility and humbleness I am feeling right now. I do not have the hands to write but the hands to type as I could not possibly keep this to myself, and therefore have to write this on my blog. As I lay here thinking about my testimony of Africa tomorrow I come to God in utter humility allowing Him to prepare my heart. Before I can explain how humbled I am right now I have to include a letter from a beautiful friend name Joel, who lives in Uganda:
I am so happy as I write this email. You start with a blessing note. I am going to use that `` Answered prayer right here! `` I am really so excited. He will never leave us. Amen!!! He will never. Lauren thank you for being a good friend. Not only to me but also to the school. Surely I feel I have a diamond friend. Such friends are so rare if you get one¦..You have got a great treasure. I want to thank you so¦ very much for praying and standing with me.
Surely the Lord is good!!! I have seen His goodness through this all. Amen!
Well while I met trying moments with the school. God spoke to me personally. Now listen when the Lord speaks to you personally it changes everything¦.By the way Sometimes in our Human nature we feel like as if He has left us.
This is what he told me¦.Joel the moment you received me. you became my child.
And know one thing¦the devil can never stop a CHILD OF GOD did you get that¦.The devil can not stop a child of God, it can only delay him or her.
I felt so happy when these words dropped in my Spirit.
The devil can not stop ME!!! It can not stop you Either. We will win. Its our third name!!! Think about it Lauren Bond Winner!!! Amazing.No matter what may seem to be around, we will not give up.
We will still look at God as God, not only a helper¦He is GOD¦.Wow God cannot be fully and completely be defined¦His goodness is Infinite. His Power cannot be limited. Be encouraged that no matter what may be facing me here¦.I will stand for the LORD. He will never forsake me that I know.
I really missed talking to you Lauren. A while without reading encouragements from you needs real enduring surely!!
Be encouraged that your stand and life in the Lord will surely always pay off. READ 1 cor 15:58
Thanks Lauren for the efforts you are surely investing in trying to help us.
I am also praying that the LORD will bless these with His provision. And as you Bless us. MAY HE BLESS YOU TEN TIMES AND MORE!!!
I feel Happy.
Sister, I told you about this Kids function. We have invited a lot of people and I am believing God to make it a great ceremony as we celebrate…We will be graduating some kids from the nursery section to the primary section. the message is to tell the community that our God is one who will get nobodies from nowhere and take them to another level…We are going to make it more evangelical.
And for you my friend you are not forgotten. I am asking you to write and send me your message for the occasion. I am thinking of sending you coverage of the ceremony, like I had told you. I will see to that. I really included you part of the program. If you where here, you would be giving us your powerful message. So since you aint here, It will be read and translated to the people around.
Please thank you for encouraging me. That email was it!
I needed it.
Thank you.
My message to you
`` What God Has Done, He can still greatly and more powerfully do``
Be Blessed Sister
Pray with me as I pray With You
Joel

Okay, first of all, my friend FROM UGANDA, is writing me an email of ENCOURAGEMENT. I am not sure how confusing this is to other people but to me, I am astounded by your beauty God. That you could take a person that has the worst “luck” by the world’s terms and give him the ability to encourage me-who has everything I could ever want or ask for-I am ASTOUNDED. Although I should not be surprised that You would do something like this for Your children! This beautiful man, who is the owner of a Christian school called Rays of Hope, a school that is out of money and out of hope, a man who gives everything he makes to pay teachers who do not believe in You, a man who everything in this world and everyone of this world would tell to GIVE UP says: Be encouraged that no matter what may be facing me here¦.I will stand for the LORD. He will never forsake me that I know.
Surely this is You Father. Surely this man is You speaking straight to me. Father, ABBAH, YOU ARE. Be encouraged that no matter what may be facing me here, no matter whether I run out of money, no matter whether I have to hand this school over to the government, no matter whether all of these teachers leave me. I will stand for the LORD. But Lord, as I pray tonight, I come to you knowing I have a HUGE task. I have to ONLY BY YOUR POWER, tell a church of the amazing things You can do through anyone. I have to explain to them that this normal, man who has “nothing” has given up every satisfaction and comfort he could have in order to bring joy to the Angels in heaven, and more importantly to bring in more and more people to Your Kingdom. Father, If I do not bring Glory to Your name tomorrow, surely I have sinned for your power and Your name are the only to be spoken tomorrow. I yearn for the children at Rays of Hope to be so in love with You that their community can not help but see Your face!
Okay….now Father. To the humility part. You have placed me in a situation where I can not help but weep as I think about why me, why me oh God, why would you send me all the way around the world to meet this one amazing person. My heart weeps as I consider the burdens I would love to endure so that Joel’s life would be easier. Father you know, you know more than anybody that I do not deserve anything I own, you know that no one around me deserves anything they own, because Father it is all yours. And Father, you know Joel with far LESS “SUPPLIES” and opportunities, has Found You and Given YOU to others far more others than I could ever begin to give you to. AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM. THAT IS WHY I AM HUMILIFIED. Because all of these things we think we have to have in order to share with others the Love You have given us, all of these “things” are UNECESSARY. UNECESSARY. POINTLESS. A WASTE. Because Father, all we need is you and Your Word. And those are two things we were given the moment we accepted You as our Savior. And then I come to the most humbling part of all. This man this man of God that has EVERYTHING he needs in You God, he comes to me to ask: I am asking you to write and send me your message for the occasion. Father, why do you want me? Why are you calling ME to send this school half way around the world, a message? You are teaching me humility. You are teaching me to know that I am not worth anything unless You are my center, and once you are my center, THEN AND ONLY then can you work your power in a supernatural, unbelievable way. It will be read and translated to the people around The only way I got to this place, this place where YOU are my number 1 and YOU are going to speak to people half way around the world through me, is BY SURRENDERING MY LIFE. Surrendering my life to the One who surrender His for me. O Father how I long to SURRENDER and take on this world’s burdens. The people I love, the beautiful girls you have surrounded me with and the awesome men of God that love to love me with a love only You give. I want to take their burdens. I want You to take away any sin they have and Father if you have to sacrifice, may I sacrifice so that my friends, family, acquaintances, and the people that surround me every day so that they MAY KNOW YOU? Father. Abbah. Yahweh. Lord. King. Love. You Are. You are my Everything.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

AFRICA AFRICA AFRICA EVERYWHERE I LOOK!

Isaiah 65:24 Before they call, I will answer.

This beautiful story was written by a doctor who worked in Central Africa

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities..

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates).

'And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.'

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?'

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen'? I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home.
Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!
Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door.. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the porch was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly... Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.

From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.
Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the..... could it really be?

I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!

'Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?'

'Of course,' I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon'.

'Before they call, I will answer.' (Isaiah 65:24)


Heavenly Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this. I ask You to minister to their spirit. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence to work through them.. Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, guidance, and strength. Where there is fear, reveal Your love and release to them Your courage. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them. Give each of them discernment to recognize the evil forces around them and reveal to them the power they have in You to defeat it. I ask You to do these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, September 4, 2009

GOD TORE THE CHECKLIST UP WHEN JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS


So, I haven't written on my wall in a couple of months and now I have written on it 2 days in a row! As I sit here waiting to leave to go to the beach for the weekend on a retreat, I think about what has been going on in my life, in my mind, and in my heart. My life is nothing big, just another dot in this world and yet it could be something big. But every day I struggle with the question "how is God going to use ME today?" but, that to me is not what it is about. Wednesday night I went to a bible study called "faith alone." Faith has been a HUGE BIG GINORMOUS part of my life but it hasn't ever been the ONLY part of my life. Is that what God calls us to? To have our faith be the only part of our lives? Yes. If we walked by faith alone, everything else would fall into place, we would desire to obey the ten commandments, to love God, to not look at other people's sins and we would recognize that is doesn't matter whether we "live or die, [because] to me living means living for Christ and dying is even better." Philippians 1:21. Living by faith alone is probably the most difficult thing we could ever try and do. So why are we called to do it? Because God loves us, he wants to see us make the decision to live, walk, and breathe faith. We need to QUIT worrying about other peoples sins, we need to QUIT comparing ourselves, and we need to QUIT living out a checklist. "if our religion is based on whether we drink or not, have sex or not, or do drugs or not, I don't want to be a part of it." (drew smith) I completely agree with this statement. I CAN'T DESCRIBE how much it hurts me to see people left our or looked down upon because we think we are better then him or her because we don't drink, or don't have sex, or don't go to frat parties, or don't do drugs, etc. It is not about a CHECKLIST. GOD TORE THE CHECKLIST UP WHEN JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS. This very checklist is what has torn the church and Christianity up. People don't want to believe is something that is just another "to do" list. Is that really was Christianity is about? NO. NOT AT ALL. Why would Jesus have died on the cross if we still had to worry about doing this or that. Now, don't get me wrong. If we walk by faith alone God will change our heart, we will no longer to desire to do these things, yet that DOES NOT mean we are allowed to look down on those whose faith has not taken over their heart. WE ARE ALL THE SAME IN GOD'S EYES. No matter how hard of a concept that is to grasp, it is true. "Make it about God. Everything. God found us" (stew armstrong). Because he has found us, he has "called us to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus." (1Peter5:10). The reward for having faith in him "will be the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter1:9). Before we leave this earth we will fulfill his plans for us which "are too numerous to list." (Psalm 40:5). He has given us many gifts to fulfill these plans he has for us, but we may not be filled by using them unless we do it For God only, by faith alone. Faith alone can recreate our hearts, so that "he gets the glory. So that we can't boast, but boast in the Lord." (stew armstrong). So that we don't walk through the halls, offices, sidewalk, street, road, concourse, constantly looking at people thinking "at least I am not wearing what she is wearing" or walking into church and thinking "omg, they are coming to church even after being drunk last night?" CHRISTIANITY IS NOT ABOUT A CHECKLIST. IT IS NOT ABOUT JUDGEMENT. IT IS ABOUT FAITH. IT IS ABOUT BELIEVING IN A GOD THAT IS MUCH MUCH MUCH BIGGER THAN A CHECKLIST. A GOD THAT HAS LOOKED PAST THE CHECKLIST. Our God is worthy of so much more than the love we try and show him. He is worth handing our lives over to, bowing down to, and crying at his feet, as we use the tears that fall from eyes to clean his immaculate feet. BECAUSE WE CAN'T HELP BUT HAVE AN INDESCRIBABLE FAITH IN HIM THAT CONQUERS OUR SEEMINGLY HUMANLY IMPORTANT "CHECKLIST." So move past the judgements. our God is not about judgements. He is about FAITH. FAITH ALONE. And having faith in Him alone will take away the UNIMPORTANT things we are burdened and weighed down with. <<

No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love Him.
1 Corinthians 2:9

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Campus Unite

I don't know where I want to start, but I know where I want to go. So where do I start? I know I haven't written in a really long time...partially due to the fact I am not in Africa and not non-existent to the world lol. I am back in Auburn. The place where I began my new home last year at this time. But whether I am in Auburn or in Africa or even in Colorado my heart is still the same. And I still have a calling to bring the ministries on this campus and Christians in general together through God. My friend told me about this even called "Campus Unite" and I don't have any idea where to start but I know what it is about. And we need prayers for getting this started. Many people have no idea what that is. And if anybody reads this blog who doesn't know what Campus Unite is it is a night of worship where all of the ministries on campus come together for a 3 hour worship service that incorporates ALL TYPES OF WORSHIP MUSIC from rap music to general praise music ALL TYPEs so that every single person that God has created will enjoy it. THe worship is divided into 3 or so songs than a testimony/bible reading/prayer...then on to worship some more. Anyways, the reason this has become apparently a need to God at Auburn isn't because we are so divided (because we have so many different ministries on campus), I completely respect that every body has their own way of worshipping, BUT GOD HAS CALLED US TO UNITE. TO COME TOGETHER TO WORSHIP THE SAME GOD WE ALL LOVE AND ADORE. "be of ONE mind, UNITED in thought and purpose" (1 Corinthians 1:10), The WHOLE congregation of BELIEVERS was UNITED as one—one heart, one mind! (Acts 4:32), The people are UNITED, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! (Genesis 11:6).

God has placed a huge calling on my heart and I know I can't do it alone. I need help and prayer. Mostly prayer right now as I am not sure what is going to happen with this, whether it will happen this year this semester, or next year....that is all up to Him. So keep this event in your prayers please!!!!

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine, according to His power, which is at work within us, TO HIM BE THE GLORY in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout ALL GENERATIONS, for ever and ever! Amen!" Ephesians 3:20-21

Friday, June 5, 2009

humility shows love.

Quote for the day: “If you fear you can’t have faith, if you have faith you can’t fear.” -Joel

Once again I don’t know where to start, or where to begin, but with how awesome God is and how fast he answers some prayers! Yesterday was soo amazing. We went with the Canadians all day to help out with buy-a-net in some slums across town. We went from house to house taking names of people who needed mosquito nets (malaria is the number one killing disease in Uganda). Mosquito nets can save hundreds of thousands of lives and they only cost $5. The homes that we went to were so low on the ground that they were surrounded by water. When it rains the water always goes into their homes about 3 feet up the wall. They have to live with it though because they don’t have anywhere else to go. One girl I was talking to was 17 years old and she had a 6-month-old baby. She took me to her house and showed me the twin size bed that her, her husband, and the baby slept in every night. Then she pointed to the mold on the wall where the rain comes to. I didn’t know what to say or do. I didn’t know what to think. All I could think about was why was I so lucky to be born into the family I was born into? Why is it not me who is living with my husband and 6 month old baby in a home the size of my closet with water flooding it? I pray and pray and wish God could bless the people. And yet that is not what it is about. It is about knowing there is a better place. A place where we have no worries, where God’s glory illuminates and there is no need for light. It is about telling these beautiful God-breathed people about this better place and the hope it gives us. Yesterday on the way out to eat with the Canadians because they were leaving this morning Catherine, Shanna, and I were talking about the difficulty of sharing the gospel in the United States and how when we get home we hope we will be able to share the word of God just as we have been here. But that wasn’t it, Catherine said she had heard a quote from a wrestler who was not a Christian, “if you love Christ so much, then why wouldn’t you share Him with the people who you love so much or the people you are surrounded with?” Well then I said why haven’t we talked about it with the Canadians yet? And we were all quiet for quite some time. Then we decided we were going to make an effort to bring it up at dinner. Funny thing was, we prayed for the opportunity to talk about it and what do you know….He gave us the PERFECT opportunity! He pretty much spelt it out that we should talk about. So literally our whole dinner conversation was based around Christianity, religion, and Jesus. Alex was born in a family where religion really wasn’t talked about. Her parents did not raise her as a Christian and therefore she knew hardly anything about it. So she had many questions. We were wondering about Kate and Missy but soon found out they were fellow believers which made us very excited! Taroon was who I talked to the most about it. We found very many similarities, so it was easy for me to talk to hiM! He told me about being a Muslim and I told him what being a Christian means to me. It wasn’t just about whether or not they changed their hearts or softened their hearts, it was about planting a seed. That is what this whole trip has been about. We are planting seeds. Even if none of the people we have talked to changed their minds right then, it would still have been worth it to come over here and plant the seeds. The hardest part for me was to accept the fact that I could just be that person who only comes into somebody’s life for a few days and that be the last time I ever see them again. I am the type of person who wants to follow up with these beautiful children of God. But that might not be my job, and I have to accept that. The Canadians might be the only reason we worked in the medical center a couple of days, and I am okay with that, but I hope and pray that our lives cross again, because they are amazing people! Well then we got home Catherine and I talked to Amos and David for a good hour about the Canadians, and about why we are here. It opened my eyes so much. I had no idea that we had any effect on Amos and David until they told us. Well apparently last night lit a fire inside of me because today, I couldn’t stop talking to people about Jesus. The opportunities I have had to talk to people here have been many, but I have not taken every single one of them until today. This morning we got on the taxi bus to go to Kabalagala to do door-to-door evangelism in the slums. I sat by myself next to 3 Ugandan men, and I talked to them about their day and what they were doing. Then they asked me what I was doing and I told them, “going to share Christ with people!” I know the ONLY way I was able to say that was because God’s spirit was within me telling me to say it. They were all three Christians and I am so thankful for that beginning of the day, as it encouraged me even more to be stronger and more open to talking about God. I love Jesus. He is my savior. Why wouldn’t I be happy to tell these magnificent God-molded people about Him?!?! After it rained for a good 30 minutes we walked to meet Amos’ family friend Joel. He was currently a teacher at the school in the middle of the slums we were reaching out to. His mother started the school, but was currently teaching some where else. We went to the school to reach out to the children before we started reaching out to the community. While at the school we treated numerous children’s wounds. And Joel and I also went to each classroom  to encourage them on their walk with Jesus. It wasn’t until after we were done sharing that I found out that was most of the children’s first time to ever see a white person. As I walked out of the P7 classroom the teacher walked out with me and said, “thank you so much for coming to talk to them. You will never know how much that encouraged them.” Then after we signed the guest book and left I was talking to Joel and he told me, “ thank you so much for coming here and talking to them about Jesus. Some of them have never seen white people before and the fact that the first thing you told them was to know, love, and seek Jesus means so much.” And then he continued to talk to me about where we wanted to go to reach out to the community. So we decided to just walk down the street and wherever God calls us to go we will go. We spoke to many different people, many were saved and some hearts had been hardened by the devil. Particularly we stopped to talk to these 3 older men probably 22-24 years old, Shanna and I were talking to them and one man kept on asking questions over and over again which was good that he wanted to ask questions, but then there was this other man. He had malaria and he had been sick for a while. The whole time I was talking to Godfrey I would look at him to get him to join the conversation but he would just laugh and ignore me. I know that God has planted a seed in his heart but it still hurt me to think that he couldn’t hear the good news because the devil was standing in front of him. I know he heard it though, and I know God will work miracles in his life! While I was talking to them I mainly just encouraged them to seek the truth and not let anything sstand in the way of them hearing the truth. One guy, Muhamod told me that he used to be a Mormon because white people from Utah came and talk to him about Joseph Smith. He was discouraged because he saw that we had come to tell him about Jesus Christ and he said many people didn’t know which way to go. He said he had already made the decision to follow Christ not Joseph Smith and that he had turned from Mormonism, but he said it is hard for him to tell others about Jesus because there are so many different religions in their community and no really good church. He also told me that most of his friends that had been sitting there listening to me would tell me they accepted Christ but that most of them would be lying. He said the only reason they were listening is because I am white. At first this really discouraged me, but at that point in time I was blinded by being a minority, soon after Joel told me, “Lauren don’t be discouraged, it doesn’t matter if the only reason they were listening is because you are white. As long as they were listening, that is what matters. Plus, even if you didn’t make a difference in their lives you have already made a difference in mine.” He continued to tell me about how before we came to Kabalagala he had become very discouraged because he hasn’t had enough money to pay the teachers and therefore has had to be paying them out of his own pocket (mainly because the school is pretty much free for children). He said he hasn’t been brave enough to go out into his community and share the gospel. Then he said as soon as God spoke to the children through me, he knew his prayer had been answered. He had been praying for somebody to come and encourage him so that he may get back on the right track. Then he said, “how does it happen that 3 girls from America just happen to come to Kabalagala today to preach the word throughout this community? God ANSWERED MY PRAYER! So Lauren, don’t be discouraged because the whole purpose in you coming here could have been just to encourage me and get me to go out and preach in my own community and not be intimidated.” So, I pressed onward, knowing God was by my side. I would continue to fight the good fight even if that meant nobody was saved today. God was planting a seed in the hearts of these Ugandans!

Now, you can imagine the different types of people who would come and stand close enough to hear us preaching but not too close because they didn’t want us to notice they were interested. I could not have imagined I would have encountered 6 drunken men sitting on the side of the road. I could not have imagined God would have called me over there to talk to Prospel. But he did. So I went. As soon as prospel opened his mouth I knew he had been drinking and as I saw the way the other men reacted to me talking to him I knew they were drunk, but I also knew I was supposed to continue to talk to him. Something about him made me think there was hope. I ended up talking to him about Jesus as he continuously asked questions. Soon after we went around the corner and Joel and I prayed for him. I could tell God was performing miracles in his heart because as soon as we were done praying he said, “I am done with this crap. I am done with that. I  brought another flask of alcohol over there that I am not going to finish. I don’t care what my friends over there say about me. They are already laughing at me but I don’t care.” That was soo rewarding and uplifting and then soon after he said that, one of his friends came over and decided the same thing. Then another man came and Catherine prayed with him the same thing. It was like right after Prospel was strong enough to admit he didn’t want the alcohol, that was when God came in to the other’s hearts and said you need to go over there and hear my word. It was the most beautiful thing to personally witness the power of God. God literally slapped the devil in the face, and said not my child. As our day continued we had amazing experiences, and on top of all that Joel is the most amazing person I have met on this entire trip. I could see a fire in his eyes, a burning passion within his soul to continue to tell his community about Jesus. I truly believe Joel will make a HUGE difference in that community.

The power of God is so unfathomable that I cannot begin to understand how he works in people’s hearts. I know that his love can change the hardest heart into the softest heart, and that is my dream and desire for these people. When I am talking about the one who created me, the one who knows everything about me, I can’t help but smile and thank him. Anybody can do it. If anybody has Jesus in his or her heart, he or she can tell the world about Him. It just takes faith. It all comes back to faith. Faith is believing in what we can’t see in order to see the unperceivable. Faith is the confidence to believe and expect great things from God. “because of our faith God has brought us into this place of UNDESERVED PRIVILEGE where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory!” (Romans 5:2)

Our night continued to take us to Maureen’s house for dinner again. I believe  her family is one of the most beautiful family’s I have ever seen. Maureen has an older brother, two younger sisters, and one younger brother. Both of her parents are amazing Jesus-followers. They welcomed us into their home and told us how much of a blessing we were to them. Funny thing is they have no idea how much of a blessing it was to be at their home again and see how their family works. The thing that stood out to me the most was the love between her father and mother. It was not a love spoken but a love shown. You could tell by the way he looked at her that she was the only woman she cared so deeply about, and the same for her. There is much beauty shown when a man looks at his wife in the way God wants a man to look at his wife. I was astounded when her mom knelt down to her dad to give him some food. I wasn’t astounded because I couldn’t believe she would do that, I was astounded by how much love it showed. All I could think about was how God wants our relationships to be just like that. A man and woman so in love, even after having five children, that they would kneel down as a sign of affection, care, and adoration. I can only imagine the way God looks at that lovely family. I can just picture him looking down at me saying, “Lauren, this is how love should be.”

This is how we should love God. That just being in his presence alone would make us fall to our knees in adoration. I stand in awe at the perfect reverence of humility.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hope and Glory

Glory and Hope
Saturday was wonderful at Bethany Village! We spent time at the Glory house and we went through their day with them spending time with the. First we worked in the garden which is on a hill that overlooks Lake Victoria! It was beautiful! Then we brought the weeds we had picked to the pigs for them to eat. After that I went and fetched water with the kids! And then I helped the older girls and Mama Harriett wash potatoes and cassova, and cut the greens for lunch! The kids used the water from the lake to take a bath and wash their clothes. Then Catherine and I walked to the medical center where the one nurse works. It was really nice (comparatively). Then we played cards with the kids and played dodgeball! Then it was time for lunch which was crazy because it was 3:30 and they were just then eating lunch but none of the kids complained! They all did there work without complaining. They knew how to wash clothes. They knew hot to cook, and they knew proper manner at the table. Well they served us SO much food and it was DELICIOUS! I am going to miss this food a lot. Saturday was such a blessing with those wonderful children! They love God so dearly and they give him the glory through all of their work! Sunday we went back to Buloba to surprise everybody agaian! It was great to walk in and see their faces! They were SHOCKED! And my heart just melted when I saw Simon again! I didn’tw ant to leave him I just wanted to bring him home with me. I guess that is what it feels like to UNCONDITIONALLY love someone, It is the greatest feeling in the WORLD! Okay, so this word that has been on my heart and my mind…Glory. I have defined joy and peace and now it is time for glory. The first word I think of when I am defining glory is praise, but glory isn’t just about giving God glory when we are worshipping, but every single second of the day he deserves this glory for keeping us alive and healthy and being there for us. He deserves the glory for bringing me here. He receives the glory in all the work He is doing here. He deserves the Glory. When I was thinking about Glory and reading my bible I just happened to come upon this verse that I have to share with you all. “And the city has no need for sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in the light, and the kings fo the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of the day because there is no night there. And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city.” (Revelation 21:23-26) This scripture is so powerful. GOD ILLUMINATES with all of his glory and splendor.
June 3, 2009
I can not possibly describe what my eyes have seen today. So bare with me. Today we went back to Mulago (the hospital downtown). This time we went into the labour ward with Dr. Martin. This is probably the hardest thing I have ever done (go into that place). First of all there were lines of women waiting to give birth. We walked into the room where they examine the women and a woman just stood up as we walked in and she had just given birth on the bed right there. Then we went into the room where they were supposed to put the stage 3 women. THERE WERE AT LEAST 30 women in the hall, and 12 women in that room, most of them were 17, 18, 19, and 20. There were women crying, and screaming. I couldn’t hardly stand to be in the room because all I wanted to do was take the pain away from them. As much as I want to explain more I can’t. As Catherine and I walked down the stairs to go towards the medical school building, I couldn’t possibly imagine anything worse then seeing a coffin being rolled through the hall. In fact, I didn’t think I would see anything worse, o boy was I surprised. We went to the pediatric unit and the tears started coming. As we went through with Dr. Martin he told us about the kids and what diseases each of them had. Well then we came to this little girl sitting on a mat by herself. I failed to compose myself as Dr. Martin told us this little girl who was suffering from malnutrition (you could see her ribs) had been ABANDONED. Somebody had left her there at the hospital. I picked her up and held her so tight that I wasn’t even there completely. I was in another world, wishing, praying, hoping for this precious little girl. Hope. What could I do but hope that somebody would take care of her? There was a fire, deep within my soul for her to know there was hope, hope in Jesus, hope in God, hope in better days where she would be held by some one who would love her for the rest of her days. As I handed her over to Catherine to hold, she had already recognized this hope as she reached out for me to hold her again. As I thought once again that I could not see anything worse we walked into the cancer ward and the pediatric malnutrition ward. We came to a child who was very skinny and her mother was sitting with her. As Dr. Martin talked to her about her child Catherine and I played with her trying to make her smile. As I asked her if I could pray over her child I asked her if she spoke English and she said it doesn’t matter God knows every language. After encouraging her Dr. Martin informed me that the child had HIV and there was a very small chance she would live to see the next month. HOPE. What can I do but hope? What can I do but hope and pray that God blesses her, heals her, and enables her to become a strong faithful woman of Christ? Hope is the desire for God to step into a situation, take it into his hands and bring the best for that person. Hope is in the one we cannot see. Hope is the yearning for revival. Hope is believing in better days and believing God will save the day.
This is Hope.
“I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to my self, The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!...Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.”

Friday, May 29, 2009

This is peace!

Maribwe

I now officially have an African name, it is Maribwe which means peace. And yesterday as we went through the hospital and today as we preached in the slums I was constantly aware of the word peace and what it means. Starting with yesterday, Mulago is the biggest hospital in Kampala. It serves around 900 patients a day, 95 patients die a day, there is 1 doctor for every 150 patients, and at least 2 people commit suicide a month at the hospital (just some heart wrenching statistics). I definitely had prepared myself to see the worst and the best in this hospital. The worst was that there were so many people there that had been there for hours and probably weren’t going to see a doctor that day. But what amazed  me the most about God and the glory he brings is the fact that with 900 patients there a day, NOT ONE could be healed without his power, and he cares for EACH patient. As we were walking through the hospital and around the grounds you could tell there was a sense of peace which the Holy Spirit was bringing to those people. There were children leaving the hospital after being healed, women carrying there healthy babies out, and women preaching the gospel to sick women and children on a lawn. It makes my heart break to see what breaks His heart, the women who had delivery problems, the innumerable amount of people with AIDS, and the children dying of malaria, and yet through it all he brought peace to my heart through reassurance that he is the Maker, and the Creator, the One who can fix all of these things. He has the power to cure, and the power to sacrifice. And then we went to the medical school into an anatomy class room. This was the most fascinating thing to me. We walked into an anatomy lab and on the tables all over the room were cadavers. Now, I wasn’t too sure about making this adventure, but I decided to go in anyways. Walking around that room was hard as you can imagine, there were people ranging from 25 years old to 80 years old. And yet I missed it. All I could think about at the time was how many people had gone through that hospital and died. It wasn’t until I was out of the room that I realized how much of a blessing it is to think that those people are worshipping with Jesus in heaven! And then Catherine took it to the next level and opened up my eyes even more. She said, “ isn’t that great? That we walked in there and all of those bodies are trash. They are nothing. It just goes to show how our bodies do not matter on earth and that they are worthless.” I felt like somebody had hit me on the head and told me some big news. THAT IS UNBELIEVEABLE. We really don’t matter. We don’t matter at all. It doesn’t matter if we are white, black, big, small, what color eyes we have, how big our nose is, how tall or how short. OUR BODIES ARE NOTHING. They are purely temporary skeletons we use while we are here on this earth. We will have NEW BODIES when we go to heaven, Pure, matchless, beautiful, perfect, bodies! “But WE ARE CITIZENS OF HEAVEN, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Saviour! He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into GLORIOUS BODIES LIKE HIS OWN, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his command.” (Philippians 3:21) I sit in silence as I read this verse. It gives me peace and understanding. It allows me to stop and look at the world and the bodies and the people we see, the people we judge, the people we encounter and all we see is that. We see there BODIES. I can’t even imagine what it is like for God. He doesn’t just see our BODIES, he sees our SOULS, he sees who we REALLY ARE, not the outer “temporary” covering. And o, how I long to see this as he does, to see the real side to these people I am surrounded by. And that is exactly what he did. He opened my eyes to allow me to see the beauty of people’s hearts, what really matters. As we prepared to go to the slums I spoke to God about opening my eyes as we went to speak to people about him. BOY did he open my eyes. As we started out treating the little kids wounds, more and more children came to see what was going on and then received care too. As we spoke to two ladies about Jesus my heart just cried out. I just wanted to share my heart with them, I wanted them to see Jesus, and to know that he would take care OF EVERYTHING. And, I know that is how God feels with us. He YEARNS for us to love him and to care for him just as much as he cares for us. As I kept on talking to them about Jesus I noticed that every time I smiled because I was thinking about how great it was to be there speaking to these beautiful women, the women smiled too. I will not allow myself to become discouraged if the conversation didn’t mean anything to them, because the smile on their faces was enough encouragement to talk about Jesus everyday, 24/7/365. God’s COMPLETELY and humbly allowed me to see what it is like to YEARN for somebody to love you back. Seeing through God’s eyes is the most humbling and remarkable thing to ever do. And at the end of the day, after all of these astonishing experiences it comes down to the peace God gives. He gives peace to know he will take care of these people, he gives peace in seeing somebody smile, and he gives peace in sitting in silence and thinking about his mind-blowing ability to see the exquisiteness of everyone’s soul.

This is peace.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

my one prayer.

My one prayer, the thing I seek most is for you, my best friends to understand the difficulty of life and the strength God gives us to move forward. I have NEVER seen God work in more mysterious ways as he has on this trip. In particular this little girl named Rebecca was talking to me yesterday at Bunga Hill Primary School, and she read me a poem about the difficulties of the disease they have here, how they kill their families, they make the strong weak, and they prevent this country from moving forward with their lives. I have not been put in such a place of humility ever. The difficulties I have been through have and will never compare to the difficulties of the Ugandans. And yet God gives them strength, he allows them to sing praise songs such as, “Jesus, Jesus my savior, I love Jesus, of course I do do do!”
This is Paul’s prayer for Spiritual Growth (and my prayer to you guys to remember for the rest of your lives.)
“When I think of all of this I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, UNLIMITED resources he will EMPOWER YOU with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is ABLE, through his MIGHTY POWER at work WITHIN US, to accomplish INFINITELY MORE than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”
God gives this strength to each and every one of you, and I know for a fact that each of you is on your own mission, called by God. I just pray that you have seen and recognize that every day we should bow down to him and recognize that we are nothing without him. He is our shining light. He is the one people see FIRST when they look at you. I know that times are hard right now, we are all probably missing our friends now from college, getting sick of our parents, missing home, and being bored, etc. We all have different struggles but be reminded that THESE STRUGGLES are what make us stronger. We can’t understand VIRTOUS faith until we have been through trials and hardship.
This life is such a blessing. Today is a blessing. Realize God is moving and changing hearts all over the world, the angels are rejoicing, and heaven is longing for US to see the light! God is beautiful, all--powerful, and omniscient. He lives in you. He makes his home in your heart!
I have never wanted so many people to be here with me to see these things as I have seen them. But I know that God has a special place for each one of you! I love you all so dearly and I pray that God continues to open your eyes to things he sees. To be aware of the struggles of everyday life, and to recognize it as an opportunity to make his praise known!
P.S. Today and tomorrow are going to be really hard for us. We are going to the biggest hospital in Kampala and we have heard that it is quite a sight to see. I know that God is protecting our hearts, but we definitely need all of the prayers we can get. While I realize that God has placed me in this place of humility for a reason, that does not mean that the effects of today will be something I can handle. I FIRMLY believe God has given me the strength to carry through this trial with hope for these beautiful people. And I thank you for all that you guys have done for me! You are wonderful people!
As I humbly accept the trials he has presented and will present to me today I pray that you do the same!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

This is joy!

May 23, 2009

Well I was going to write on my blog tonight but it looks like I might just be able to type it out and post it tomorrow. It is 10:37 P.M. here and I am just laying in bed about to go to sleep. I just tried to talk to my mom on skype but the internet here comes and goes, which made me homesick. (TIA). THIS IS AFRICA: 1. When you are on “African timing” 2. When your birthday present is wrapped in a trash bag and a balloon left overs 3. When it is normal to ride a boda boda to school or work 4. When you don’t go to the doctor until you HAVE to :--( 5. When you get used to the delay on the phone when talking to someone who is 8 hours behind you 6. When  you pay $1 for a pineapple and 50 cents for 10 potatoes! 7. THIS IS AFRICA when you see children happily playing right next to the road. 8 when you get over into the next lane which isn’t marked, when there is a car next to you. 9 when you don’t care about materialistic things 10. When you do a 120 foot bungee jump on the Nile river, not once but 3 times! 11. WHEN YOU KNOW YOU ARE IN AFRICA BECAUSE OF GOD.

I have to admit. Today was good but it made me a little homesick. Catherine and I have met some great friends here: David, Amos, Penny, Alfred, and Eddy, but it just doesn’t mean the same when you can’t speak there language. Even though they speak English it is hard to understand and therefore makes it harder to hold a conversation.

But I will go on. God has brought me here, no doubt, for a very special reason. And even if Africa gets nothing out of me you can be sure I have gained the world from it. This morning I happened to wake up right as the sun was rising so I decided to go out on our front porch and check it out. Low and behold…Lake Victoria in all its glory and splendor, and of course accompanied by a beautiful painting made by the one and only BiG MAN capable of painting such a magnificent picture. That is what absolutely stuns me. How every single day I have been here the sunrises and sunsets have been different and each one has been better then the last! God. God. God. How does he do it? Does he just take his hand and swipe around some beautiful colors? Does he point and say this star goes here and this star goes here? Or does he allow his children sitting by his side to each do there own masterpiece so that humans can see many different works of art in many different ways? However he does it, I know he has a special one for me each morning and each evening. A new breath of life. A reminder of the everlasting joy that is in my heart. A forgiveness of the selfishness I have tried to receive from this trip, an acceptance that God has indeed placed me here for a reason. And yet it isn’t about me. It is not about me at all. It is about the one who plans for me to take a month long trip to Africa with Catherine. It is about God telling Catherine to tell me the reason she is staying is so that she will realize we are on a mission trip longer than 10 days and that there is much work to be done before we leave. It is about God, Jesus, Lord, Father, Holy Spirit, Everlasting Joy, the kind of joy no man or thing could ever provide. The joy I receive when I see Simon waiting for me to get out of the bus in Buloba. The kind of joy I see when Justine cries as I leave Buloba. The joy I see in Sandra’s eyes when with God’s help I attempt to heal her wound that is so deeply infected, and the joy in her eyes as she tries on a Tiger Splashers t-shirt. It is the joy I see when Leslie tells me how excited she is her t-shirts will be given directly to the children in Africa! It is the joy I see as Courtney and I look at eachother, knowing we are thinking the same thing, that the tiger splasher t-shirts will be given directly to these kids. It is the joy I see in my father’s eyes as he does not want to let me go as I hug him goodbye in the airport. It is the joy in my mother’s eyes as she helps her daughter pack knowning she will not see me for a month. It is the joy in Jamel’s eyes as she turns her life over to Jesus and recognizes it is not about life on earth but life in eternity with an everlasting joyful God who presents people with opportunities to get a glimpse into the joy He receives as he watches the angels rejoice when another person turns to Christ. This is the joy I have seen. This is the joy I have received. This is the joy which makes my heart jump up and down. This is the joy that God gives. This is the joy Christ-followers have been given. THIS IS JOY.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

TIA (THIS IS AFRICA!)

May 19, 2009

Well today was my birthday and I woke up this morning thinking it was going to be a “lonely” day because none of my friends and family were here, but it turned out to be one of my favorite days! When I walked into the family area I was so surprised to find decorations for my birthday! There were balloons and and a sign that said (happy birthday muzungu!) and they hung up the parachute to decorate the ceiling! It was great! Then we went to Buloba and gave out eyeglasses to the people who could not read and then I sat and read the bible with Simon! He read a whole chapter in John and I was so proud of him! Then I read the same chapter out of the Luganda bible! Simon had to help me a little bit but I helped him with English so it worked out nicely! We make a good team J then I sat outside of the school and talked to the Buloban women and they taught me many phrases and words in Luganda nkwalagonyo (I love you so much!) that one was my favorite! And because Simon can’t speak English a lot I was able to speak to him more today with the Lugandan words I had learned! Then tonight we went to Pastor Eva’s house to eat dinner and she had her ENTIRE family there to eat with us. Also the ladies from Buloba came into town to help her cook and eat with us! It was BEAUTIFUL all of the food they made was amazing! And then to top the night off Pastor Eva bought me a beautiful coconut cake! It was delicious! And everybody sang happy birthday to me! It was soo cool to have my birthday in Uganda! And quite the cherry on top of the trip! And then one thing I noticed when we were leaving, the ladies that live in Buloba are not very wealthy (comparatively) and so they were taking home all of the leftovers but they just threw it all into a plastic bag, not even worrying about separating all the different foods. That was amazing to me. They truly treated us like we were celebrities they even cooked a goat for us (which was a big deal because they only cook goat on Christmas, and Easter! ) so apparently it was an honor to have goat at dinner! And the team bought me a sculpture for my birthday too and wrapped it in a trash bag with a balloon tied around it (TIA :--)) 

May 20, 2009

Today was pretty awesome! When we woke up this morning we went straight to Buloba and handed out eyeglasses! We ended up handing out over 200! It was amazing how thankful the Bulobans were! Then this afternoon we did door to door evangelism! I think today was one of my favorite days! The first group of people we came upon were muslims they were all family but there were probably 5 adults 1 really old person 2 kids that were teenagers and 7 kids (at least). Morgan, Catherine, and I were put on the spot by Pastor Isaac when he told them in Luganda, “these girls came here to talk to you about Jesus!”  So we talked to them about Jesus! They didn’t have any idea who Jesus was so we started from the beginning. Then in the end one of the teenagers asked a bunch of questions about prophesies that pastor Isaac responded to. Then we all prayed for them. Some of them accepted Christ into their life and some of them didn’t but after we prayed they all wanted to sing with us so we sang a Luganda song! Then we went to a house with two older (70 yr. old ) women. The woman Catherine and I spoke to was not affiliated with any religion but she had never heard about Jesus Christ. SHE WAS 70 YEARS OLD AND SHE HAD NEVER HEARD ABOUT JESUS. That was so humbling. I can’t even begin to describe how humbling it was. I mean I knew who Jesus was as soon as I could learn anything and she was 70 YEARS OLD and she had never heard about Jesus. So with God’s help Catherine and I explained to her that we were in Uganda to tell her about Jesus and that God told us to come over here and tell her about Him! She was very eager to learn but she kept on telling us she wanted to live longer so we had to explain to her that we don’t care about living longer on this earth but that we will live for eternity with our Father in heaven! Throughout this whole process Catherine and I could not keep smiles off of our faces because we knew God was standing right next to us and speaking through us! We were just so excited to be talking to her! And then after she asked us some questions she decided she wanted to be saved! So Catherine and I prayed with her right then! And then she told us her legs had been hurting her so we prayed for her and right when we got done praying she said they felt better! IT WAS AMAZING! And on top of that we asked her if she had a bible or if she could get a hold of a bible and she said she couldn’t read because she didn’t have glasses! HAHA God is so funny! So of course we told her we would bring her some glasses and a Luganda bible on Friday! Then the next house we went to was a Muslim man and two of the ladies from the Buloba church we were with talked to him about Jesus. He would not ask Christ into his life because all of his family is Muslim and so he thinks he would be ridiculed for becoming a Christian. While we didn’t get to talk to him because the ladies were talking to him we did get to pray with him at the end of their talk! A seed has been planted J. Then we went to a house with a family of 3 a mom dad and daughter who was probably 15 years old. They had never heard about Jesus either, so we started from the beginning and told them all about it! We once again told them why we were in Uganda….etc! God was truly speaking through us because at one point I didn’t know what else to say but I kept talking!!!! Then in the end after they asked us a couple of questions they ALL 3 wanted to accept Christ so we prayed for him! Today was such a blessing! I am so thankful for the opportunities we were presented with. OOOO YEA and I almost forgot! Before lunch today we took  5 gallon jerry cans down to the well .6 miles away and filled them up. Then we walked up hill .6 miles back to the church with 5 gallons of water. I couldn’t believe these little kids carried these jerry cans 1.2 miles every single day. It was next to impossible. I will now think about that every time I turn on the faucet. I have a new found appreciation for the luxury of turning on a faucet. God bless you all! love youuuu!

Monday, May 18, 2009

May 18, 2009 10:33 P.M.

Well I know I haven’t updated my blog in a while but I decided since I talked to my mom tonight and she asked me to I decided I would! We have been having long days so I have been tired every time we come back to the house! But for now. I have a little boy that I have been hanging out with everyday! His name is Simon. He is nine years old and he has a sponsor named Julie that lives in Auburn, but Friday morning we went on a prayer walk where we walked around the community of Boloba and stopped at some houses to pray for the people in that house or we just prayed as we were walking! We ended up walking about 6 miles around the town and the entire time I held Simon and a girl named Justine’s hand! I ended up talking to Justine a lot and she was telling me that she is 15, an orphan, and is not in school because she can’t afford it. Then I proceeded to ask her what grade she was in when she went to school last and she said primary-2nd which means she was in 2nd grade. When she was 6 her parents both died of AIDS. She was very fun to talk to, full of God’s love, and very giving. She made me feel very welcome and wanted me to have everything I needed. She told me her favorite bible verse is John 3:16 and then we recited it together! She is not as strong in English as some of the adults, but she new enough to hold a conversation! She told me she wants to be a preacher one day and preach in the U.S. and Kenya! I also taught Lydia, Justine’s friend who is also 15 how to play Frisbee! She loved it so much we played for about 45 minutes! Saturday after vacation bible school we were on our way home and a guy on a bike stopped next to our van, holding on to the van and he told us he was so glad to have us in Uganda and that he loved us. He was known as “the champion bike rider of Uganda!” He said he hoped God blessed the rest of our trip and that we love Uganda so much that we want to come back! I was so humbled that this African would come up to a van with a bunch of muzungus in it and tell us those things! Saturday was great! In the morning the children were having devotion when we got there so we went and sat inside to watch them doing their devotion! Then all of the kids divided into their 3 different classes (which made 30-45 in each class). I stayed with pastor Isaac’s class which were the older kids. He began teaching them by reviewing some verses in  John. Olivia and Sandra were my buddies in class! They sat next to me and taught me some Luganda words! And Sandra led the little children in worship songs and dance! I was very inspired by Isaiah 61:1 throughout the day, which says, “He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted, and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” This verse encouraged me to continue to be strong even though I am very tired! I am so excited to be here that I do not even recognize I am tired! Please continue to pray for me as my trip has pretty much just begun! I am so blessed to be here and I pray that God continues to increase the joy I have found from being here with and through Him!  I love him so dearly and I truly have seen Jesus’ face in these people! We did vacation bible school for all the little children and while it was a little frustrating at times because the children would crowd around us that was the joy of it all! They just want to be near you and around you touching you and knowing you care about them! They are the sweetest little children! I was on the craft team so I helped them make bracelets with beads on them out of fishing swivels! Yesterday after we went to church in Gaba and Buloba we relaxed in Buloba all day with all of the people that go to Buloba Community Church! I went on an adventure with Simon, David, Trevor, and Justine, we went to find some jackfruit to bring back for everybody and we stopped at Esther’s house. She was just getting back from rinsing off so she was still in a towel lol but she introduced me to her entire family, brought a chair outside for me, and even gave me some of their jackfruit they had already cut! It was such a humbling experience of how well she treated me. They just wanted me to be COMFORTABLE. She even brought out pictures of her daughter Miriam and of her when she was a little girl! Then we took the jackfruit back to the church to share with everybody! Simon read to Morgan and I out of his coloring books he received from his sponsor Julie! He was so good at reading English I was sooo impressed (because most of the kids can’t speak English well, let alone read it!). Then Sunday evening we danced to African music (Simon was my dance partner!) then we watched a movie about Paul! While I was sitting there watching the movie I had a little girl laying on my left leg, Hillary was laying on my left knee, Sandra was sitting next to me on the left with her arm around me, I had a baby on my lap, and Simon was sitting on my right side with his arm around me! I was so blessed to have these beautiful children surrounding me….but I was a little warm! J Anyways, today was a good day too! This morning we did door-to-door evangelism and I was with Morgan and Andi. We walked a long way to visit these people’s homes and it was so rewarding. We visited a man who was Catholic but he did not believe in having a personal relationship with God. He believed in the rituals that the Ugandan Catholicism teaches. His son was 15 when he died two years ago and he was killed because some people thought he was a robber and they shot him to death. This man could not understand why this would happen why a God that is loving would do this. When we first got there he would not accept Jesus into his life because Jesus would not raise his son from the dead, and he thought only rich people believed in God because God had given them everything they needed. Then pastor Eva shared Luke 16 with him about the rich man and Lazarus. Although the man did not accept Jesus right then I firmly believe Jesus was there with us whispering to him. God planted a seed in his heart that hopefully will reap many joys and healings! Then this afternoon we gave out free eyeglasses for the African men and women so they could read their bibles! That is all for now I believe….I am soo tired it is 10.30 here so I need to go to bed! I love you all and pray and hope God is doing wonderful things in your life in the U.S. I can’t believe I am on the other side of the world right now! LOVE YOUUUUUUU!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day #1

BTW it is 10:43 P.M. here NOT 12:44!

Sorry it has taken me so long to tell you what has been going on! We made it to Africa fine! It was quite a long trip but thankfully we got here when it was night time so we went straight to bed! We slept wonderfully then woke up to a beautiful African sunrise (P.S. they are the best)! Wow, I don’t even know where to start. This has truly been one God-inspired day! First we went to Bethany Village across Victoria lake from Kampala. We rode across on a little boat and the water was very calm. Once we got to Bethany Village Francis gave us a tour of the village. When he showed us the medical clinic in the village he told us that they only had one nurse for 474 children, then not long after I met the one nurse. She was a very sweet lady and she told me that she is on call twenty four seven. I guess it really hit me then that that was exactly where I wanted to be. So we should be going back to Bethany village after the team leaves. Then once we left Bethany village we road the boat to Gaba church. When we got there Catherine and I stayed outside and played with the kids while the team went in. Three little girls sang for us and it was absolutely beautiful. Then I taught some of the little kids how to play down by the bank and Jordan and I played with them! After we played games with them I was talking to a little boy named Immanuel who was 14 and he was telling me about his siblings and mother and how his father died of AIDS. It made me quite sad because I couldn't help but think of what could have been done to save his father's life. That is my biggest problem....wanting to help people when it is totally not in my hands. After that we went to lunch at a pretty fancy restaurant and had AMERICAN food lol! Then we went to Buloba and as soon as we got out of the van the kids pretty much attacked us! They all wanted to hug us and welcome us to their church! They all held our hands and stood right next to us! They showed us their church, their new office, and the well they use for all of their water! After that we played with the kids and then came back to the house! Once we arrived back here at the house Patrick got David to take Catherine, Morgan, and I on a walk so that I could know where I was allowed to run. Then we decided we wanted to go see the slums so we walked to them. As we were walking through I was so desperately seeking to see if any person we could see looked absolutely heartbroken that they were living in the conditions they were. NOT A ONE. NOT ONE SINGLE person to me looked sad. They are all just so joyful and happy to see anybody! The little kids followed us through the walkways and begged us for money saying, “Muzungu, Muzungu, can I have some money?” It was so hard to say no to them, but I knew if I couldn’t give money to all of them I shouldn’t give it to some of them! Then we came back here and had a wonderful African meal! I hope all is well at home! I love you guys so much! 


~ LB


P.S. thanks mom and dad for allowing me to come over here! This is definitely where God wants me to be! >>>so don't be surprised if I don't come home ;-)


O BTW if you want to see more updates more often check out Andi's (another teammate) blog:

www.andreacollette.com

Monday, May 4, 2009

I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world's finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood that they've shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify ALL that has happened. - Dostoevsky

Friday, May 1, 2009

check this out....

Check out this note by Travis - http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=77904593076&ref=nf

Then...this is my response....

I don’t even know where to start responding to this astonishing note. Where did you find the words to explain this? I know that God definitely spoke right through you and the funny thing is I have been thinking a lot lately about the facebook religious status or whatever –Christian, or there is Christian-Methodist, Christian-Baptist, etc. And it never ceases to amaze me how every time I add somebody new on facebook I go straight to their religious status to see if they are even okay with putting it on facebook that they are a “Christian.” And then the next thing I notice is the pictures they are tagged in and whether or not one would assume they are a Christian by their pictures. I have no idea why I do this, but I do know it is not right. That is why facebook for me is a failure. It is failure to see who people truly are, who they want to be, and who they want people to think they are. The decision is…will I make this my profile picture? Or is  it too “Christian” to put on here. Or will I even add my youth director as a friend because I am afraid my friends might post a picture of what I did last weekend and I am embarrassed by that? God knows everything ANYWAYS. If we are embarrassed to put a picture on facebook why aren’t we embarrassed knowing God is watching us screw up over and over again and watching us try to be happy by this world’s standards. It is crazy to me to see a person’s facebook, judge them by their religious status, and pictures and then meet them in person and they are a completely different person. Why is it so hard for us as “Christians” to put a “Godly” picture up or put a bible verse on our about me? Is it because we know certain people won’t talk to us on facebook if we have that as our status? So where does that put us in our walk with Christ? How could we be walking with Christ if we are afraid of how people will look at us? Are we embarrassingly walking with Christ? Terrified of who believers and non-believers will assume we are? If I were to say I am a Christian, would my life be a reflection of it? Absolutely not, because I am not perfect, I am nothing like Christ although I try to be. But Travis, that is DEFINITELY what it is about. It is about desiring to follow Christ, to selflessly and humbly attempt to reflect Christ’s perfect, marvelous life. That is the beauty of this life. That God desires for us to have a life just like Christ even though we don’t deserve it. And yet time and time again we choose to not have this life. We choose lies, cheating, gossip, alcohol, drugs, sex, opinions, judgment, etc all over the wonderful God-breathed life we could have. It is a constant battle between “Godly” choices and “worldly” choices. You said it perfectly, if God is the center of our lives, the dweller of our heart, the light in our darkness, his light will shine through us. “This attitude of Christ can’t be hidden, for as a candle lights a dark room, we are called to be lights in a dark world. This light is what truly defines a Christian.” Travis, there is NO DOUBT who you follow, and that is ABSOLUTELY remarkable! That note was very inspiring! Thanks!

i am a tiger splasher/i went to the doctor

well I just though I would inform whoever might happen to come on this blog at some point in time....I am not really sure if anybody has been reading it...but I guess that is the beauty of a blog....people who I don't even know could be stalking my life Lol! so God....wow...God. I just can't even begin to describe how divinely inspired i have seen my activities been lately. I am a tiger splasher...no idea why....it is a blast and I have met a ton of great people but I haven't really known why God has put me in my position of being a tiger splasher....but I am....and next year I am actually going to be t-shirt chair. Well Monday night we had our officer induction or whatever you want to call it..point being...i am officially on t-shirt chair and the girl who was on t-shirt chair before me gave me a HUGE box of t-shirts that were left-over from past years that people never came to pick up. And I brought them home....and COurtney and I looked at them and I said...why would I ever let these t-shirts sit in my closet for a whole year then give them to another girl for them to sit in her closet....and then at the same time Courtney and I looked at eachother and she knew exactly what I was thinking....take them to UGANDA! So I texted my tiger splasher president and she was soo excited! So now I am taking a bunch of tiger splasher t-shirts, sweatpants, and sweatshirts over to these kids who are going to be SOO excited to get them! That was God thing number 1 this week.....then Tuesday I went to the doctor....and I was standing there after I received a shot because I couldn't leave just yet because they had to make sure I didn't react wrong to it....and I asked them if they had any scrubs left over that I could take to wear when I work in the hospital while I am over there....and they GAVE ME A PAIR OF SCRUBS! I was soo thankful (especially because they are actually LONG ENOUGH!) and that was God thing number dos (2)! anyways....GOd is more apparent then he has ever been in my life and I pray that whoever is reading this blog that God makes himself apparent in your lives too!

P.S. this is my first May blog...and I have 12 days till I leave!!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

whoa...God!


I have a couple of prayer requests to mention:
1. My grandfather (Papa) had surgery yesterday on his foot and he will be in his bed for a long time. Please just pray for him to be okay with being in bed for a while (he tends to get ahead of himself)
2. My grandparents best friends' (Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker) son committed suicide on Friday and they found out on Sunday. They are having a really really rough time with this and need all of the prayers they can get (prayer, peace, comfort) EVERYTHING.
3. I went to the doctor today and found out I have bronchitis that is turning into pneumonia. I am soo thankful for the doctor today because I am afraid if I had not gone that I would have not been able to go to Uganda. There is still a chance that I will not be better in time for Uganda, but I am pretty sure God wants me there so...I guess I better get better!

Thanks for keeping them in your prayers!

P.S. God has been doing some amazing things in my life in the past 3 days! I just pray he continues to prepare my heart for Uganda!
This is our schedule for our entire trip while Catherine and I are over in Uganda and our activities are listed below too! Just thought y'all would want to have an idea of what we will be doing and what to pray for!

Tuesday May 12- Depart for EBB  KLM
Wednesday May 13- Arrive EBB KLM 561 815PM
Thursday May 14- Gabba Church, Bethany Village (Andi go to bank during Gabba Church visit), Lunch in Kampala, Visit to Buloba
Friday May 15  AM- prayer walk  PM- Play with kids at school
Saturday May 16 AM- visit with ARM project kids?/ door to door         PM- VBS with kids at school
Sunday May 17-Church Gabba, Buloba.  Lunch (take away) in Buloba  Evening- Evangelism Movie (Jesus Film?)
Monday May 18- door to door PM- eye glasses distribution
Tuesday May 19- Eye Glasses distribution
Wednesday May 20- AM- eye glasses distribution PM- door to door
Thursday May 21- Depart early to Jinja, Nile, falls, bungee, Downtown Market

May

23rd - 24th        May Bethany Village

25th – 29th Wentz Medical Center/ Maranatha School

30th  Sat Bethany Village

31th  Sun Gaba Church Service

 

June

1st  -  4th Wentz Medical center/ Bunga Hill School

5th  -  6th – 7th    Safari

8th     Mon Day off (shopping & chilling)

9th – 12th Wentz MC/ School

13 Sat Shopping Departure

  1. Schools:
    • Maranatha 
    • Bunga Hill primary school

Activities

·      Story telling

·      Marking books

·      Serving books

  1. Bethany orphanage:

 Activities

·      Making beds

·      Gardening

·      Playing with kids

·      Cooking

·      Washing clothes

·      Do home work kids

  1. Clinic:

Activities

·      Community visit

·      Immunization

·      Mosquito net distribution

·      Nursing care

·      Nursing processes

Time: 9am – 4pm