Thursday, August 6, 2009

Two Different Worlds Worshiping the Same Lord

Hey Everyone, This is Holly. When we first landed in Uganda, I knew something was completely different, I could just feel it. The initial meeting with Peter and Pheobe Sozi led me to know that we were going to be treated with the upmost hospitality. In the city of Kampala, even though there was millions of people there, we were treated with so much respect. The dirt roads in Uganda would have to be the worst roads I have ever been on in my life. Of course, out in the bush life was totally different. Instead of many buildings, cars, buda buda's, and homes... we found just about nothing except a few huts every now and then. The people that lived out there have absolutely nothing. They live off of their land and that's about it. Even still when we would go to visit some of the homes they would greet us with so much thanksgiving. Almost always saying "Mukama Yebazibwe" which means Praise the Lord. Most would go in there homes and bring out rugs for us to sit on instead of having to sit in the dirt as well as others would invite us inside. The school that we served at for a few days was almost like an oasis in the bush. We found that some of the children had to walk 8 miles + (one way) every day just to come to school and then would have to leave by 4:00 in order to get home by dark. Even though, these children live such hard lives they still praise our Lord and Savior. At this school, these children are taught the love of our Father and His presence is evident among them. This is only the beginning of what an organization called Divine Care Ministries does. While we were in Uganda we were able to see of course the primary school but also the secondary school. At this school, 34 of the Divine Care Sponsored Students are boarding there. This was so great to see because it just helped to show how the money we give to sponsor children really helps them to get an education. We also were able to meet with a group to the College age that were Divine Students. We met one afternoon and had a time where we shared with each other what God was doing in our lives and prayer request. This meant so much to me because it let me know that even though we are on totally opposite ends of the world we still have the same hopes and dreams, we still go through the same hardships.. even though they may be different circumstances, they are still struggles of the heart and most importantly we worship the same Lord and Savior!! Another thing that really sticks out to me is Sunday morning worship services. One imparticular sticks out to me the most. It was the 2nd Sunday we were there. We had Worship undernieth a giant tree at the Divine Care Farm. I could feel God's presence there all around me. Some would say, it could have been because their weren't 4 walls around me.. and well, I can't say that I wouldn't agree to some extent because God's presence was everywhere. In the people,the singing, the shouts of praises, the trees, the breeze, and even the animals. Even though a lot of the time I couldn't understand what they were saying because it was in Lugandan, it translated just fine to my heart which went to the Lord. Sometimes in America we like to put up a mask and won't give everything we have to our Lord.. not in Uganda!! There is no such thing is a "mask". When Autumn and I were leading worship that morning, there was NOTHING there to hold me back from my Lord. I could have stayed right there in that exact place with God forever and would have been happy. All of this to say is that it is such an encouragement knowing that there are other people on the other side of the world praising the same God we do over here. We should take note to not only praise God in the Church, but to praise Him in our schools, in the office, on the streets, in our homes.. EVERYWHERE!! Because God is at work all around us. We just have to join Him!! "Mukama Yebazibwe" Praise the Lord!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 4 back home

Hey everyone this is Adam. We were asked to write an entry if we wanted to so I had a few minutes and thought I would give this a go. First of all having signed up late for this trip I was so unaware of the talent this group had. It seemed while we were in Uganda there was no task to big or too small for the group. Kelly helping with web design, Michael fixing computers, fixing the accounting part of Divine Care at one point I seriously thought the dude was going to take over the entire office!!! But it was awesome to see, Matthew holding Q and A sessions, and in one of those sessions Autumn showed she had serious talent when she did something no one else could getting stuck in the desk and causing a scene. Drew and Kelly being stretched to their limits in the clinic but able to do everything asked of them. The list goes on and on and it does that for every member of the team, kids being drawn to Autumn, Holly, Brittney and Lacey, Holly and Autumn rocking our socks off during worship and at one point there was confusion during the soccer game when what looked like pele and David Beckham turned out to be Matthew and me teaming up for a goal, who would have thought it out of two American Football players? I say all that because God brought each of us together to bring glory to his name in Uganda, each person brought so many talents to the table and those talents were turned over to God so he could use them.
You always wonder what it will be like once you get there, you always wonder how God will change your heart once you seperate yourself from the world you know, but I tell you I dont think anyone could have envisioned the reception we received at the school, 760 kids clapping and singing to you, some orphans, some being cared for by an elderly grandmother, they sang their hearts out for us, they had been standing there waiting for hours on us to arrive so at that point I thanked God for the heart of a child and I also thanked him for the man who invinted sunglasses to cover the overwhelming amount of emotion pouring out of all our eyes. I dont think even the most callused heart would stand a chance. Over the course of that week it didnt matter that we were missing our flat screen televisions or favorite shows, or that we werent sleeping in air conditioned rooms, that we couldnt ride to Outback Steakhouse in five minutes whatever your creature comfort was it didnt matter, what mattered is that we were surrounded by God, we were surrounded by smiling faces that just wanted to touch our hand, that just wanted to feel the slightest bit of love, and most for the first time ever. No amount of pictures or videos or sob stories can express the raw emotion from each child we experienced. Watching one kid on the last day be speechless with tears rolling down his cheek because we were leaving most of us not knowing what to do J.T. picks him up in his big arms and holds him tight. Later to find out that the child was beaten by his parents and left in the bush of Africa and found his way to the school.
As we walked on the dirt roads of Uganda I couldnt help but think about those people that challange the bible has no relevance to "the modern world" I would like for them to step out from behind the things they fill their lives with and walk these roads with me. See if they cant feel the parables that Jesus taught in come alive. One that comes to mind is the parable of the sower found 3 times in the new testament matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15, as we walked you saw each kind of soil mentioned, and then you also saw where one field was yielding a huge crop of potatoes, or was overflowing with Bananna Trees, and others suffered because of where the seed fell. The bible became alive in a completely new and real way!!! It made me daydream back to days when Jesus would walk on roads just like this with followers around him just teaching away and how I would love to soak up that wisdom. I know I am blabbing on and on here so I will cut myself off here but this is really just a short mention of what happened on this trip, God revealed himself to us in so many different way that I could probably write for hours and hours on end, but I will spare everyone that for sake of your sanity and I probably have a sleeping audience by this time anyway. I will finish by saying Peter and Phoebe have an amazing ministry at work in Uganda and it is because of their endless pursuit of God and I just want to ask for everyone to continue to pray for how God is using them, pray that their hearts remain strong with the challanges they will face. I also want to say I am in constant prayer for our team because they mean the world to me and I know because of this trip God will use them in mighty ways wherever they are or wherever they will go. May God continue to shine on all of us and may we bring ourselves as an offering to him. Thanks.