Thursday, December 29, 2011


December 29, 2011   3:35 pm SC    11:35 pm Uganda
We had a good but bumpy flight from Turkey to Uganda – my favorite!  But, we FINALLY made it to Uganda around 2:00 a.m. local time.  It was dark, foggy, and humid.  Our ride & reservations for the night weren’t expecting us until the next day so the only thing waiting for us were the mosquitoes!!! 

But God took care of us like only He can!  Pastor Samuel, a local pastor at Return Ministries, received a desperate call at 1 a.m. and came to our rescue. Two vans & one taxi later, we were on our way to find a place to stay.
At 4:30 a.m., we ended up at the Namirembe Guest House “a day early” where they graciously gave us 4 rooms. Shawn & I actually ended up with our own room.  But 17 ladies had to share 1 room with 6 or 7 beds.

Most of us slept for a few hours and then it was off to our first ministry – Return Ministries led by Pastor Samuel.  This ministry feeds/works with nearly 200 children in Kampala and focuses on loving them and providing a strong family atmosphere to help them understand the love of Christ. 
When we arrived, the children cheered!  And cheered!  And cheered!  Then, some of them performed a dance for us.  WOW!  It was fantastic.  As I sat there watching the children dance, I asked God to show me at least one child He wanted me to speak to.  That’s when a young girl in a yellow dress with a beautiful smile caught my eye.  Her name was Catherine.

After the performance, we sang a couple of songs and then started playing while lunch was being prepared.  Kids were everywhere!  I was looking for one of the older girls who had dropped her sash while dancing when someone grabbed my hand.  It was CATHERINE!  She approached me first which just confirmed that God indeed wanted me to share His Truth with her.

Catherine & I talked and danced.  Then it was time for lunch.  The children were so orderly and well behaved.  It was quite impressive. We served each of them a plate full of beans & rice – the only meal for most of them for the day.

After lunch Catherine spent some time talking with Shawn.  Then I saw her run to the front of the house and put her shoes on.  When I asked her where she was going, she said with a big smile on her face, “I’m going to clean the toilets.” 

It was at that moment that God had me share some things with her.  I told her how much God loves her and how He sent Jesus to die for her.  And how important she is to Him.  And that He has very special plans for her and her life (Jeremiah 29:11.)  And how her willingness to serve others by cleaning toilets made Him so proud of her because she was acting just like Jesus.  I encouraged her to trust the Lord. To love Him with all her heart.  To follow Him, no matter what.  And to grow closer to Him by praying and reading the Bible.

She was beaming from ear to ear!  The presence of the Lord was so overwhelming!  Then with an extra spring in her step, she went to clean the toilets.  Humbling.  Today, she is the reason I’m in Uganda.

Pastor Samuel’s wife prepared a fantastic lunch for us.  Then it was back to more playing & loving on the children.

Trampolines in Africa??!!!  Absolutely!  Kids are kids no matter what part of the world they live in.  I’ll probably be sore tomorrow!

Saying goodbye was not easy, even after only a few hours with the kids.  We had a great time hanging out with them and being the hands & laps of Jesus. 

After a little shopping at Return Ministries to help support their program, we returned to the Namirembe Guest House for the evening to help recuperate from jet lag.  Our rooms were straightened out, and everyone had their own bed tonight.

Please pray for us on Friday as we work with a ministry called Sixty Feet.  We will be reaching out to children in captivity/prison.  Please check out their website for more information.

GOD IS SOVEREIGN!  He is in complete control of every single detail!  His ways are not our ways.  Thankfully, His ways are best!

P.S.  We will be traveling to Jinja, Uganda after we leave Sixty Feet on Friday so I’m not sure when I’ll have internet access again.  KEEP PRAYING! 

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,


Heading to Africa - FINALLY!

12/28/11      1:01 p.m. SC     8:02 p.m. Turkey 

We are currently on the plane flying from Istanbul Turkey to Entebbe Uganda – our 3rd flight since leaving home.  I can’t believe when we step off this plane, we will be on African soil!  It seems surreal to me!

Things were quite crazy at our house before Shawn & I left, as you can imagine.  But the hardest part of all was leaving my children!!!  I have NEVER been away from them for 2 weeks before.  It’s difficult – very difficult.  So please pray for all of us while we are separated.

Remember Emily – the young lady making pillowcase dresses for the girls in Kenya & Uganda?

Well, 2 weeks ago, she gave me this box.

Guess how many dresses were in it…..

SORRY BUT THE PICTURE WOULDN'T UPLOAD - will try again later :( 
Are you ready?  106!!!  WOW!!! But they are not just dresses.  They are expressions of love, God’s love, that 106 girls will get to experience!  And Shawn & I were able to pack all of them in our bags with 1.5 lbs to spare!  I can’t wait to see how God uses them. 

Our team of 26 finally met up together in Turkey, with the exception of Nate who is already in Africa and will be meeting us in Uganda. 

We are going to have a great time together.  Here’s Kim (from Baltimore) and Sarah (from TN but now living in Savannah.)  We have shared lots of laughs together already.

I will be journaling daily and will post my entries on my blog as often as we have internet access.  Please continue to pray for our team and the ministry opportunities God has for us.  Pray for us to have pure, focused hearts, a supernatural boldness to share the Gospel and a willingness to be the tangible hands, feet & mouth of Christ – even when it’s out of our comfort zone. 

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Cost of Obedience

I am so proud of my husband!  He was between a rock and a hard place, and he chose THE ROCK -
"I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. 
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold."  Psalm 18:1-2

Our journey to Africa started about 13 months ago. And while we still do not know exactly what God wants us to do there, we do know that He wants us going to Uganda and Kenya with Visiting Orphans this month. 

About 7 or 8 months ago when God laid on my heart that we were to go in December, I laughed.  Out loud.  Then I told God that December would not work.  It was the worst possible time for us to go - for lots of reasons.  I told Him there was no way.  But He persisted. 

God had already laid Uganda and Kenya on our hearts, and I knew He wanted us to go there first.  After He told me we were to go in December, I sensed He wanted me to check the Visiting Orphans website for their upcoming trips.  Wouldn't you know it, they had a trip going to Uganda and Kenya in December!  I was really convinced then.

Now it was time to tell my husband.  Several weeks went by before I shared all of this with him.  He of course responded much like I had - there was NO WAY we could go in December.  I told him God and I had already had that conversation, and God wasn't changing His mind.  So, I removed myself from the equation and left it up to God and my husband to figure out. 

It didn't take long before God gave my husband clarity and peace about December - as crazy as it seemed.

Not wanting to deal with some of our obstacles though kept me from signing up with Visiting Orphans (VO) right away.  On several occasions, I knew the Holy Spirit was prompting me to sign us up, but I procrastinated.  I even searched for other trips with other organizations at different times.  But, God kept bringing me back to the December trip with VO. 

When I finally decided to be obedient, the trip was FULL!!!  I was so distraught!  I knew I had been disobedient.  But I also knew we were supposed to be on that trip!  So, we put ourselves on the waiting list.  And we waited.

While I was on mission in Jamaica this past August, we did not have easy access to the internet.  I was only able to check my e-mail once while we were there.  But once was all I needed to receive the good news that Shawn & I had been added to the Uganda/Kenya December mission team!!!

Soon after that, we started facing lots of opposition.  So, one night we began praying VERY SPECIFICALLY about whether or not we should go to Africa in December.  The next morning, I read my daily devotion from Henry Blackaby's "Experiencing God Day by Day" and it said........

"For am I now trying to win the favor of people or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ." Galatians 1:10

"At times, you will have to make a choice between pleasing God and pleasing those around you, for God's ways are not man's ways. As important as it is to strive for good relations with others, it is even more important to maintain a steadfast and obedient relationship with Christ. Disobeying God to keep peace with other people is never wise. Peace with God is always paramount.

Jesus warned that obeying Him might cause division in your relationships. If Paul's primary goal had been to please others, he would never have become an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul went completely against the wishes of his colleagues in order to obey Christ. At times, obedience to God sets family members at odds with each other. When you follow Jesus' lordship, your family may misunderstand or even oppose you, yet your obedience to God reflects your identity as His child. Jesus said that those who obey His will are His brothers and sisters. God does not intend to divide the home, but He places obedience before domestic harmony.

It is important to get alone in quietness with God so that you understand what pleases Him. The world's thinking will mislead you more easily when you are not clear about what God desires. It broke Peter's heart to know that the opinion of a servant girl had mattered more to him than the approval of his Lord! If the desire to appease others tempts you to compromise what you know God wants you to do, learn from Peter's mistake. Determine that you will please your Lord regardless of the opinions of others." 

OH. MY.  God could not have made it more clear!!!  There was our answer - spelled out for us in black and white!  Clear as day!  It left NO room for any more questions or doubts!  I nearly passed out!!!  I couldn't believe my eyes!  God had spoken - issue resolved!  It was time to move forward.

Right after that is when God also made it clear to me that He would take care of every financial need we had for this trip.  It wasn't going to cost us financially, but it was going to cost us in other ways. 

I talked a lot about this in my Garage Sale Chronicles posts so I won't go into detail again except to say that God had me read 2 Samuel 24:18-25.  These verses are about David building an altar to God on Araunah's threshing floor, and Araunah wanting to give David the animals for his sacrifice.  Here is David's response ..... But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

You see, if we offer something to God that cost us nothing, where is the sacrifice in that?!!!  Saying yes to God means we have to say no to something or someone else.  Obedience has a price tag.  It can be expensive.  But, no matter the cost, it is ALWAYS worth it!  God is ALWAYS worth it!

So why am I so proud of my husband, and what does it have to do with sacrifice?  Well, my husband has chosen to obey God and follow His call to go to Africa in December.  The cost - his job. 

God in all of His tender mercy even gave my husband a sign of reassurance yesterday in the midst of his difficult circumstances.

God is so amazing and faithful!!!  He continues to blow my mind!  He is so worthy of our praise and our surrender!

God is ushering us into a new adventure with Him.  Our first step is going to Uganda and Kenya in December.  Our second step is completely trusting Him to lead us from there.  Our hearts and our lives are wide open now! 

Please pray for us as we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:25-34 

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,