Saturday, March 29, 2008
Anyway, I thought you would really like this post. We are having a conference dinner at our church tonight for 55 folks who are considering adoption, and this post outlines what Wes and Brandy will be sharing during their testimony.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The teaching was a lot of fun! If all goes as planned, I will be going back in September for a week or so, going to Burundi or Northern Uganda.
To really sum up the trip and its impact on my heart, I have pasted below an excerpt from an e-mail I sent my team this morning. It summarizes my feelings reflecting on the trip and a meeting I had with our ministry partners at ALARM yesterday.
Kyle, Todd and I spent two hours with our ALARM friends yesterday, and I want to bless you by sharing some of what we heard. Celestin and Bob shared feedback they received from Kabaru, Deo, and Alphonse about our work in Kenya, Burundi, and Rwanda (will send yall formal reports when I receive them in a couple weeks). They couldn’t stop talking about conference participant feedback, the transformation of participants coming out of the conferences, the favor gained with the church and government, the heart we have to go anywhere and do anything, and the overwhelming requests ALARM is receiving for more conferences like what we did. Celestin spoke of how the ALARM staff feels we are an extension of ALARM staff and fellow Africans and thus they feel comfortable bringing us to places they normally wouldn’t bring teams – cities, sleeping accommodations, local foods, etc. ALARM is asking us to come alongside some other church partners to help improve their relationship and approach with ALARM…literally trying to figure out how to have a conference of sorts with their church partners. I could go on and on. Guys, I am sitting here crying as I reflect on the heart with which they shared this information and God’s incredible grace. I am thinking ONLY JESUS. ONLY JESUS could take a bunch of folks like us (that I assume were whacked out as much as I was), reveal Himself to us, and then transform us in such a way that we can have this kind of impact. ONLY JESUS can take us Christ followers who are still full of flaws and use us to do His work and bring about impact, in spite of (and sometimes as a result of) our flaws. ONLY JESUS would be so selfless as to let us join in on this fun. ONLY JESUS would allow a church like Watermark that only has a brief history of “international missions” and allow us to be used so deeply and so quickly after only two years of pursuing Africa. What I want to give my life to is ONLY JESUS. Thanks guys for being a part of this and bringing favor to Watermark and ALARM so more people can hear about Jesus and His ways. I could go on and on…
Sunday, March 23, 2008
2. From my son...who had to wait until he was 6 to watch Star Wars. (We have purposely made our kids wait for things...some for good reasons (like maturity needed for certain movies or activities), sometimes just to learn how to wait and not satisfy every immediate desire.) Lesson learned from him...his joy was so sweet watching this movie, so much sweeter because of the wait!
3. Waiting was the easiest and most exciting during months 3-5...we had hope that it would be any day. That we were in some magic window of referrals. Waiting is not quite as easy or exciting at month 6. Now I'm sometimes thinking it will never happen??? So not quite as exciting..even the kids have lost their excitement...the wind is out of their sails. I have no doubt that the wind will be back with full excitement when we finally get some news:)
4. Being a faithful blog friend was easier at months 3-5...Now I am not as frequent or faithfully checking in...we have been sick and busy...but honestly it is sometimes hard to do so. I love all you the same....and am thankful for YOUR faithfulness!
5. Over the last few weeks I have thought a lot about waiting...as we approached celebrating Easter. I thought a lot about the Jewish nation waiting for the promise of a savior to be fulfilled. As they waited for the fulfillment of words they knew so well in Isaiah...I wondered...were they living life fully while they were waiting? As some faithful followers saw the fulfillment in the flesh of Jesus crucified, dead, buried...as they mourned the loss of their Friend and King...as they waited for what to do next...how did they deal with the pain in their hearts? I am encouraged by their stories and I am thankful that I am not waiting for Christ to come and rescue me... And I think about those still waiting for something or someone to rescue them...and I am thankful for the Lord's patience with us all...The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Pet 3:9
6. Fridays are the hardest days to wait...end of another week. I have learned to pray a lot heading into Fridays and to plan some fun things with the kids.7. I honestly did not think we would be waiting this long for news on our kids...but I do have a strange peace...Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8. I do still believe in Isaiah 40:31...Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
9. My wait is not the hardest....I do believe that the wait is sooooo much harder for the 143 million orphans in the world that are waiting for families. I have my family and soooo much more. I do believe that the wait is so much harder for our next 2 (or 3) children than it is for their Mommy...so I hold onto the truth of the above verse for them!
10. I am so thankful for the friends that have waited before me that I have learned from their stories and experiences. Too many to name....here are a few....Emily, Lori, Renee, Amanda...and sooo many more.....I am so encouraged by you all. If you feel lead...let us all know in a post of your own of some of your lessons in waiting....
Monday, March 17, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
As on past trips, I know God will grow me far more than He will use me to grow others. I am crazy grateful for that as I want to know my Maker more and more.
Please pray for faithfulness for all of us, that we would serve in a way that only the Spirit can allow.
Also, we will have a team heading to Northern Uganda in two weeks to continue serving in Gulu and Pader where our church is partnering a local ministry to care for orphans and widows. I have mentioned in the past that we are planning to build a vocational training school and dormitories to help train and disciple folks in Northern Uganda, particularly former child soldiers. Well, last Friday was an exciting day as we submitted initial funding to our partners in order to buy sixty acres for the future facilities. Very exciting! I can't wait to bring my family to Pader, Uganda in future years to teach, laugh and play with our friends.