Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Yes, as Emili just said, it is our last evening in Africa. It so, so hard to say good-bye to these beautiful people here. I have personally learned so much from them. First of all, how to trust God with EVERYTHING! The people of Africa are so strong in their faith. Even the little children trust Him completely. They just don't have anything else. I also learned that I can live with a WHOLE LOT LESS than I thought I ever could. We got by just fine with the few clothes we got to bring. Are ALL those clothes hanging in my closet back home really all that necessary? I don't know. I learned from the people of Namatala, how to be joyful, regardless of our circumstances. The joy of the Lord is always on their face, no matter what. That is something that can never be taken away from us. I learned how to truly live in community and how to practice hospitality. No one does it like the Africans do!!
We are so thrilled about the saved souls who will now spend eternity with us in Heaven. We are absolutely blown away at the ladies and their sewing! You go Darbs! You opened their eyes to a future and a hope! I am thrilled to have finally gotten to not only meet, but spend quality time with my I Choose You kid and her mother! What preciousness!! We are all so humbled that God chose us as His vessels, to do such great and mighty things!! Lives were forever changed this week.
I feel like mission accomplished! I am very ready to go home - I miss my family very much. But, I will be leaving my new family. I now have a whole new set of sisters, brothers and children here.
A very special thank you to all the team members and especially Mama Becky! None of this would have happened had it not been for her. And, of course, a very special thanks to Mama Aidah.....and AWESOME woman of God. The I Choose You kids and families are especially near and dear to her heart. It is just priceless to see how well taken care of they truly are!
I pray that we all will hang on to this new passion we have! I would like to encourage each and everyone who has kept up with this blog to consider sponsoring an I Choose You kid. You just have no idea what a difference it makes to a kid from Namatala! And, 100% of the funds go straight to the kids! Visit www.ichooseyou.net and think about and pray about it!
Please pray for safe travel for us, and safety while we are in London on the way home. See ya at home in Texas Saturday evening!
God is good all the time, All the time God is good!
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise."
Howdy! It's Emili. What an amazing trip so far. We thank God for Brandi and her wonderful "blogging" skills.. without her, all of the readers would be disappointed with a blank website.
I can't believe that the trip is almost over!! Saying our goodbyes today was a toughie. The team spent the morning loving on many precious babies at the orphanage down the street. There were roughly 36 kiddos, all without parents. What beautiful gifts they were though.. If Momma Adiah hadn't been there to tell us that we were "not allowed to take the babies home with us", all of the babies would have been hidden in our carry-ons, no doubt.
After the orphanage, we trucked over to the home village of our ICHOOSEYOU kids where we had the opportunity to eat at the "pig joint" for lunch. If there were only a "pig joint" in San Marcos. The food was amazing (although very different). We used the "forks that God gave us" to "pig" out.. it was awesome. The best part about this lovely restaurant was knowing that the pigs that are being raised on the land purchased by ICHOOSEYOU will one day be sold there. God continues to reveal the open doors that he is providing for ichooseyou and we have LOVED watching his works.
After the pig joint, the team visited the school where our ICHOOSEYOU kids attend for the last time.. The women that Darby had the opportunity to teach had all of the items that they had made throughout the week laid out for sale. After the team went on a shopping spree, the women had "officially" made their first sale, making over 230,000 shillings. BIG MONEY. Watching God use Darby as a tool this week has been mind boggling. God has used her to do such great things for these women. Words can not describe the hope that God has given these women through Darbs. They now shine with hope and joy, knowing that they have a skill that can provide for their family. These women went from straight faces and slumped shoulders to glowing smiles and endless hugs. We thank God for leading Darbs on this trip, and we are so thankful that Darbs surrendered herself to the Lord, listening to his plan and following it with a humble heart (Darb's kiddos, you would be so proud).
After buying our goodies, we loved on our kids for the last time. If I could put in words how amazing these kids were, you would have a plane ticket bought to Uganda in 5 minutes. The love that they radiate is like none that I have ever seen. It was SOOOO hard to say goodbye.
Although it was tough saying goodbye, it was so good to leave these kids knowing that they have hope.. Before, they were like other kids in the village, rummaging around with hopeless faces, dirty clothes, and hungry bellies. . Sponsors, you all are blessing these families with more than you could ever imagine.
When going hut to hut yesterday and the day before, we had the opportunity to see where all of the ICHOOSEYOU kids came from. The village was filled with mud huts, naked kids, dirty water, sick families, drunken fathers, etc. You name it, we saw it. This week, God has humbled my heart. I have realized how truly blessed I am. Our struggles do not even come close to comparing with theirs. And you know the crazy thing??? They still are joyful...
Like Brandi said, many people were saved on our journey through the village. His kingdom grew.. what great news right???? God has used this team in amazing ways. We all thank God that he has used us to share his amazing word. God has given us the opportunity to watch him mold hearts and break strongholds. His presence this week is without-a-doubt the most amazing thing that I have yet to experience.
We all can't believe that we have to leave tomorrow. Although we miss our family and friends, it is non-the-less hard to say goodbye to our ichooseyou family. I ask that you all keep our journey home tomorrow in your prayers. I thank you all for following us and supporting us on this wonderful trip.
Ted- I cannot wait to show you this picture that I captured. I KNOW without a doubt 100% that you will love it. Thank you, by the way, for being the backbone of this team (along with Becksters). We couldn't have done it without you. We miss you A LOT and I can not wait for you to come and see the glowing faces of these kiddos that miss "Papa Ted" next year.
Everyone else- we love you and thank you.
Our plane leaves Entebe tomorrow night and we arive in London in the morning.. We leave London the day after we land.. and then we will be home to see all of your lovely faces. We miss you all.
God is Good
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Today, we spent the day going hut to hut, in the village of Namatala, sharing the gospel. We went out in pairs, with a translator. There were 5 different teams today. Emili and I were together and Paul was our translator. Paul was awesome!! So thankful for him!
Each team shared with many and many people accepted Christ as their savior today. We encountered many already believers in the village. We definitely planted seeds. The spiritual warfare going on there was very evident. Alcohol is a huge factor in this village. The women make the alcohol, to make money for their families and then the men simply sit around all day and drink it. It just blows my mind. It is amazing how hospitable these people are. They sit on the ground, in front of their huts and give you the only chair they have. The morning was great!
Later, in the afternoon, after being so totally moved and motivated by hearing Aidah's testimony, we hit the trail again. This time Rachel joined us and Sarah was our translator. On the road to Namatala, we bumped into none other than my little Mudua's entire family, on their way to pick her up from school. I got to meet all 7 of her siblings, and both of her grandparents. This was not an accident. Her mother was beaming.
This afternoon, I finally had the opportunity to lead two women to Christ. As we sat in front of a hut and explained the truth to her it began to rain. It was beautiful! After I lead her in the prayer of salvation, I will never forget the way she looked at me. Her eyes just locked in on mine and she did not take her eyes off of me. They were the deepest, most beautiful brown eyes. I wonder what she was thinking. God knows!
As a first timer in Africa - this is so completely overwhelming to me! They are so desperate for what we have to offer them- Jesus!
Later, we came to another hut and a woman stated she wanted to hear about Jesus. It was just such a beautiful thing to lead an African woman in that prayer. She was so humble. It will change her life forever. During this time, it was particularly moving to see some of the I Choose You moms come up, and support us, while we witnessed to others there. It was like we were their sisters and they were backing us up. As soon as they spot us, they come running with smiles and hugs. It makes a huge difference that we have been building relationship all week with these women. They know we are the real deal and you can tell they want others to know that!
Rachel had the opportunity to lead the father of Stanley, the I Choose You kid whom she sponsors, to Christ. This was so amazing because we were told that every time his wife, or anyone else would try to talk to him about Jesus, he would literally run away. We all rejoiced, with him and his wife! His wife was totally overjoyed. God set up that divine appointment for Rachel. Awesome!! I got great pictures of that!
We also encountered a woman who wanted us to pray for her sick child. This was the most horrible sight I had seen yet. I just can't find the words to describe the condition this child was in. It was such a dark place there. Disease and terribly unsanitary conditions and he was hurting and crying so hard. After leading the child's mother to Christ, Emili and Rachel prayed for this child and they also had the mother pray for her own child. We do not want them to think that only Mzungus can pray, like we are somehow on a different "level" from them.
Jesus moved there today, in a major way. I only wish we could see in the Heavenly realms to see what was truly going on. There is so much oppression there, especially due to the alcohol there.
Once again, my heart was broken today for these people. Today was a VERY emotional day for all of us. Jesus loves them so much and He lead us to each person we encountered.
There are so many other stories to be shared from the other team members. Everyone had a good day!
Darby had another good day sewing with the ladies. There are about 8 of them that are seriously focused on the sewing. So awesome! They finished up pretty pillowcases today.
Tomorrow, we are visiting a baby home in desperate need. We are taking sugar to them. This should be a very moving experience as well. It will also be our last day at Covenant School. It will be so, so hard to leave these kiddos. We love them so much. My heart smiles just thinking about their little faces!
Blessings to all and to all a good night! I'm pooped!!