"And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Ephesians 3:17b-18

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

REFLECTIONS.... Our final newsletters

Uganda Summer 2013
Newsletter #7 / June 9, 2013


Cole: At SOG one of the kindergarteners  during their g-nut break walked up to me and said “Thank you”, like I said in my post the other night. Mrs. Rieger said that I touched their family by giving them some of the drink powder packets and Amos and I played with their sons Henry and George and they haven’t had American interactions for a year and a half and that meant so much to their mom. Then while we were at Jinja we did a Bible school at Mr. Jerry’s school and it made me think about my life in America with so much and these children have almost nothing. Today I met Katie who wrote the book Kisses from Kate and she adopted 13 African girls who had almost nothing and now a loving mom and so much more. It just stuns me to see how much one person can do in a poor country, or village for that matter.

Susan:  Rachel, a nursing student who came on vacation and hasn’t left yet because she’s working with a paralyzed child;  Katie, the young woman who has adopted 13 Ugandan children and has many more staying with her;  Mary and Alyssa, young Ugandan women who are working with babies…countless names and faces, too many poor children, too many sick people who look and live as though there is no hope.  Lord, don’t let me forget as I get back in my comfort zone.  We know there is hope in You.  We hope we have shared some of that hope in these last few weeks.

Amos: My favorite part of being at the Nester’s place was hearing his sermon at his church, and seeing the church members sing and praise God the way everyone should praise. The most important thing about this trip was how welcoming everyone was the Nesters, G.S.F, the Riegers and Keith and Lisa Coggins. I praise God for letting me come to Africa again.     

Danielle:  On our way to Gulu, I sat in the front of the bus with Cole. I was waving to all the children we passed and they were waving back with smiles on their faces. Cole asked me, “why do you have to wave to everyone?” I remember telling him that if one wave or one smile could make someone’s day, then my job has been done well. Sometimes all someone needs to see is a smile or a warm greeting to make them feel special. That was just the beginning of the wonderful memories from this trip.

Rhonda: I had team devotion this AM before heading off to an awesome church service that was outside. With the sun warming my face & the cool breeze keeping the temperature down, I was totally Blessed by the praise & worship music & hearing God’s Word while standing on Holy ground in Jinja, Uganda. Anyway, my devotion message came straight out of my journal. I had written on the 5th of June (@ 1106), “Karuma Falls Bridge where you can’t take pics got more pics of monkeys before crossing the bridge. After crossing the bridge saw single blue flip flops on side of road (my side) on embankment & thought that it would have made a good pic & story/lesson about being alone & lost without the Love of Jesus. The flip flop itself doesn’t know it’s lost, but passer-byers do & it only takes 1 to stop long enough to pick it up.” Please excuse the misspelled words, but I was writing in a moving bus & thinking quickly. The message seems obvious to me & fits why we as missionaries feel led to take time off from work, spend so much time planning, leave our families, & travel half way across the world just to show & tell people how much Jesus loves them & how much we love them.  I praise God for every missionary that heads God’s calling & I truly thank every person who supports a missionary financially and through prayer. Will sadly be leaving tomorrow :<( Thank you Lord for the Blessing it brings to serve you wherever you call me to be.

Jennifer: There were a few things that really made an impact on me this trip to Uganda, one of which was when we visited the Nzigu Village School (~40 min from Jinja). Those children were hungry for the Word of God and just so happy to see and hear everything our group had to say about the Bible and maintaining their purity until marriage. While we were teaching them you could just see the wheels turning in their minds, then they would ask these phenomenal questions and after the day was over it was apparent that they had learned a few new things from the visit. The other aspect that encouraged me was meeting some new and familiar missionaries at the various locations we visited. Just to hear about their struggles after arriving in Uganda and how God has slowly led each of them to a place where they can help others through their ministry was so enlightening for me. We were able to ask questions and get some priceless advice from wonderful, Godly people that I feel privileged to have met. It was a wake-up call to the true lives that these missionaries live—the good times but also the struggles that daily living in a different culture presents. I think that as I live the majority of my time in a comfortable house with plenty of food and “luxuries” of life I tend to gradually forget these things and all the suffering and poverty we have just experienced here so I just pray that God would continue to convict me to not be complacent but a willing vessel for his work whatever that may be.  So at the end of the trip I walk away with another year under my belt and a better appreciation for all the work being done to glorify God’s name.

Justin: There were a few times during this trip where I faced dangers (green mamba hunting, a motorcycle crash, and class 5 rapids in a flipped raft come to mind). I didn’t really realize it until afterwards but things could have ended a lot worse than they did but praise God they didn’t. It made me remember how finite our time on Earth really is and how at any time our lives could be over. Some may not like to think about that but I choose to use it as a reminder to work until the end. We don't know how long our lives will be so we can't choose to wait until later to act. There is so much need in this world (which we were reminded over and over again this trip) and we are all called to help those in need one way or another. There is no better time than now because you are never promised a tomorrow. I was also so thankful to meet several different missionaries leading very different lives all for one purpose: Jesus Christ. They all had different stories, both of life before the mission field and where they are now, but one reoccurring theme was flexibility and obeying God’s will. We may think we know what is best but if that doesn't match up with what God has planned you will find out, many times the hard way. So we need to be proactive about helping those in need but at the same time be listening for God's guidance to ensure we are doing what He intends for us to do.

Deborah: It was my privilege to travel with 8 of the finest people I know for this mission trip (actually9 with Andrew our driver) this year.  I enjoyed meeting two new mission families and was touched by their comments on the praises and trials of their mission work in Uganda.  It makes one really think that the work they do in their ministries makes such an impact on the people they work with on a day to day basis.  The children in the schools where I taught make me want to go back and share the knowledge I have to them to bring new joy to their lives.  Sitting on a hot concrete slab with 28 children all attentive to the story of Christ even in the hot sunshine makes me feel stronger in my faith.  Sitting with the people from Jenga at an outdoor service listening to Pastor Terry and his message gave me renewal of what I am trying to do when I come on the mission trips.  I hope to come back for many years to come.  Thank you to all who helped the "old lady" on this trip.  Your help and support was a godsend to me.

Cindy: Where do you start when you are trying to share everything you have seen happen around you in the past 2 weeks??? The words are hard to find… Uganda children dressed in filthy rags-their best outfit, with the biggest smiles you have ever seen, laughing and playing, wanting to hold your hand…Ugandan adults, struggling daily to provide for their family, who are willing to totally give of themselves, their time, and their resources, to share the Good News of Christ with a dyeing world….Missionaries who have left home, family and friends to come to a foreign culture, where people don’t think or act like them, to struggle, love, hold, and cry with those they came to serve-the be the hands and feet of Christ to those in need of not only physical, but spiritual healing. We have had the privilege of serving alongside some phenomenal people while here in Uganda. It never ceases to amaze me what God can do – I am in total awe that although He doesn’t need our help, He invites us to be a part of His work….to be blessed & to bless.

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