I wrestled with the Holy Spirit…. and He won.

The last few weeks have been pretty difficult. It started with a busy schedule. Then I found myself running on empty. I couldn’t quiet myself long enough to spend meaningful time with the Lord. I started to break. Then we had a round of sicknesses, stitches, and more busy schedules. I was encountered with some of my own failures, the failures of my children and failures in the ministry. All of these felt insurmountable at the time of awareness. I went into a downward spiral of self pity, anger, depression and hopelessness.

I know we have all been there. I’m happy to say that I’m not there now. I am in a much better place. I wish I could say that I read some book, listened to some sermon or followed some plan that worked me out of my funk. That’s not exactly how it happened.

I went to bed one night feeling sorry for myself and I had a little wrestle with the Holy Spirit. It was if I heard God’s audible voice say, “No, you can’t keep it all together. In fact, you can’t do anything.  You need me for absolutely everything.”

The fighting stopped. The crying stopped. The self- pity stopped. I surrendered.

Instead of self pity, I woke up with a renewed reminder of my need for God and a repentant heart for walking in my own strength. I woke up with HOPE…. because God is the one holding the world together. That’s not my job.

I need God to sustain us in ministry, in our marriage and in our family. I need God to grow me, change me, give me wisdom and strength. I need him for every breath I take. If things don’t work out they way I hope, it’s ok. GOD IS STILL IN CHARGE. He is the one holding things together, not me.

I’m ok with that. I’m resting in that. I have a renewed sense of joy and peace because of that. I fail. Praise God! Everything doesn’t depend on me.

A Typical Day of A Bible School Teacher

It was the wee hour of the morning when I woke up. Without light in the room and power on both my devices, it was left for nature to wake the son of my father up.

The light rays beaming through the window cracks and an uncovered section of the accidental vent sent me rushing out of my bed like a man whose long awaited appointment with the president had been approved. Of course in my case, I talk with the King of kings and LORD of lords on a daily basis. To satisfy your curiosity, am a servant in His vineyard.
Getting back to the point, I rushed out of my bed and headed for the bathroom, only to find a queue of people waiting for their turn to try and beautify this earthly tabernacle by washing off some dirt. 

Patient like an expecting woman I waited for my turn, and although it felt longer than 9 months my turn came and I couldn’t wait to get out fresh and clean.

Dressing like an old boy preacher I hurried to grab a boda/motocycle to take me to meet my eager class, this is when the real adventure began. I grabbed a two wheel cab (motorcycle) and told the rider to hurry, and my hired chauffeur for the moment decided to take a detour with the claim that it is shorter to my destination, and there is less traffic. To this I reluctantly obliged although there was an internal hesitation.
When we had had a ride for over thirty minutes passing behind the backyards of uncountable huts through the supposed shortcut, my chauffeur stopped turned to the back to look at me and said, “this road is impassable, we need to go back.” To this I asked, “are we lost?” In fear he responded, “yes sir, we are lost.” We again spent another thirty minutes plus in riding back to the centre, and when we arrived, he put me on another Boda, and took off by the wind. I was back to where my journey had begun over an hour before.


As a known teacher of the Word in this Moslem dominated territory, I was doing my best to maintain my witness by putting a smile on my face and staying calm but truth be told, I was grumbling from inside over the wasted time and the stress I went through on roads similar to ridding on a sweet potato garden. 
Without hesitation, my newly appointed chauffeur kick started the motorcycle and off we went. Just when we had gone about five minutes into our journey we were met by several riders of the same going at the speed of light in our direction; one of them slowed down and told us about the traffic police officers who were apprehending every motorcycle and their riders without a helmet.
This new development sent my chauffeur on another “path of safety”, we branched off to the jungle and followed a small path that had no print except for man and animals. Its almost like I was gone hunting, except the fact that i did not have a bow and arrow, or a riffle. We were on this foot track for over thirty minutes before hitting the main road. When we did, I realized we were on our way to Moyo. Although we were far off from my destination, it felt nice being back on the main road without leaves slapping my face or the thorn bushes scratching my leg.
Unfortunately, though, this sweet but dusty road was short-lived, because just after a few kilometres’ ride towards Yumbe town, another cyclist stopped to tell us that the traffic police were a head of us. On hearing this, my immediate thought was, “not again”, and yes, again we took off to the jungle.
My desire by this time was to just get to my destination. I had ceased making glances at the watch on my wrist. After what seemed like ages passing through the jungle, we made it to the main road again only to land in the hands of the offices we had tried to dodge for hours. It is my position as a servant in the vineyard of the KING that gave us favour before the officers. They just laughed at us and allowed us to proceed.
We finally made it to the Bidibidi Transit center, and I took the third boda to ride me to zone one, block one where our training facilities are based. I arrived too exhausted, looking like I showered with brown soil and very late. A glance at the eager students looking helpless like Sheep without a shepherd made me forget my tiredness and how i was looking, and i jumped straight to teaching. God was glorified even in the midst of these struggles of getting to where He had sent me to feed His flock.

This is just part of what we go through in the field as we minister to God’s people.
In His Vineyard

Kasule Jacob.

Servus Servorum Dei

Reaching the unreached world for Christ.

Teams and Newsletter

I constantly find it difficult to communicate to all the various channels. We have some people who follow the blog, some who follow facebook, some who get our Constant Contact Newsletter, and some who still prefer paper copy newsletter. In an attempt to streamline a bit. I am going to try to add a copy of our constant contact email newsletter here in the blog. There are so many exciting things happening, I would hate for you to miss it.

Latest Email Newsletter

Right now Brian is in Entebbee picking up a team. We are excited about the many ministry opportunities this team is bringing. Two of the team members will be teaching Doctrine conferences on the Holy Spirit. We are expecting over 150 in attendance. Some of the questions the pastors asked were: ” When do I receive the Holy Spirit? How many times do I receive the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to be Spirit filled? What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? ”  It is really going to be so good!

The organizers pray for an open and teachable spirit for all those in attendance. They ask us to pray that the students will respond in faith. Pray also for these teachers, that they would speak the truth in love, power and clarity.

We hope that these conferences will open doors for us to bring further training into these areas of Buikwe district with our Bible Training Centers.

They will also be hosting a Missionary Marriage retreat at Kingfisher Resort. Marriage is hard, but serving overseas adds it’s own challenges. We are excited to see what God is going to do  in these 13 couples in attendance.

During the marriage retreat, another team member will partner with another team to host a children’s camp for some of these missionary children.

We will also be doing some home visits for the sponsorship program of Hannah Moshi. We are scheduled to distribute trees in just a few weeks as the rainy season arrives. Each  family must be checked off that their holes are dug properly and they are ready to plant prior to the distribution.

Thank you for praying for us and for joining us in ministry here in East Africa.

 

Child Sponsorship Program Partners With UWEPO Tree Farm and Nursery

Last week I posted this video to our sponsorship partners. But I have to share it with you as well!

I am beyond excited to inform you that the child sponsorship program at Hannah Moshi is going to partner with UWEPO tree farm and nursery. In fact, I am so excited about it…. typing just wouldn’t do. Here’s to my first video blog.

 

If you are interested in contributing to your child, or another child’s trees give online at www.macedoniancall.com/#/give under child sponsorship.

 

Wednesday is the day that I amto pray for you: our supporters, our team, our cheerleaders, our prayer warriors, our friends and family!

As I open my prayer notebook to today’s section it starts with these two verses:

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 We always thank God for you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:3-5 I thank God everytime I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

Today I am overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness and your partnership. Thank you!

There are so many daily movements of God that occur because of your support that you never hear about. I wanted to share just a few of them with you this morning.

– Last year one of our friends accepted Christ. Now he is discipline another young boy on Saturday mornings. Both of them come and work in the yard to earn school fees. They are learning skills, earning fees, and growing in Christ.

– Monday through Wednesday there is a two year Bible Training Class meeting at the church. We have 18 students who are committed to learning the Scriptures. Mathias, our day guard is one of these students.

– For two years we have opened our compound to the neighborhood children who are mostly Muslim. They come and ride bikes, color and play. We have bandaged many wounds, fed many hungry stomachs, shared Bible stories, and invited them to church. For the last two weeks….. they have ALL COME TO CHURCH WITH US! Now they are the ones asking if we can read the Bible before they play.

– We have 51 children at Hannah Moshi who are getting regular meals, medical care, discipleship and Christian Education because of individual sponsorship. We are about to partner with an organization that will teach the caregivers to plant trees for future income to provide for these orphans.

– Meanwhile there are 7 Biblical Training Schools happening in villages across the country taught by our Ugandan teachers.

– Personally, we are seeing our children grow in their walks with the Lord. They are challenged by the stresses of living in a place they are not used to. But I see them turning to Jesus with their needs.

– Cadance, our oldest is going to begin going to a missionary school in September. She is extremely excited. It has given her hope and something to look forward to. Her class is small and she will be able to receive some individual help from a licensed teacher. We are hoping this will help meet some of the education gaps we have been facing. We are praising God for this school and the opportunity for her to attend.

– The most recent excitement has been the construction in BidiBidi Regifee camp.  The dorm, toilets, shower stall, kitchen are all complete. This week we received word that the Church building/classroom/ women’s dorm is also complete! Classes are scheduled to begin the first week of August!

 

Thank you for being our partner in ministry to Eadt Africa! We are humbled and blessed to be a part of all this.

 

 

2 Years in and God is still amazing us!

On the 4th of July, we celebrated two years in Uganda. It’s a time to look back at what God has done over the last year. His faithfulness and provision has been apparent. We also look forward to what God is going to do.

For the last few years we have had such a desire to take the Biblical Training Schools into South Sudan. We have had a few opportunities, but each one of them dissolved for one reason or another. If you received our last newsletter(if not, you can read it here) , you are aware that South Sudan has been in a terrible civil war. There are many refugees here in Uganda.  The Bidi Bidi camp alone has around 300,000 refugees.

We have been working with the refugee camp to build a structure there. We asked for your help to build a dormitory that will house 50 pastors and church leaders. We have built a kitchen, outside shower and pit latrine bathroom as well as a classroom. This will enable us to continually run a school at this camp.

The cost of feeding these students as well as sending our teachers this great distance is high. I am so excited to report to you that a great amount of this need has been supplied. The dormitory is completely paid for! 6 months of the feeding program is completely paid for! Thank you for praying and for faithfully giving.

 

Praise God! Not only are we going to have a consistent presence in the refugee camp, but these projects are generating some income for these refugees.

We have 70 pastors signed up with 16 already on the waiting list. These pastors have already planted 25 churches in the camp, with plans to plant more. God is moving!

Thank you for the part you play!

As much as we rejoice in what God has done, there is still considerable financial need to complete the buildings. If you feel led to contribute, you can do so online at www.macedoniancall.com/#/give or to Macedonian Call P.O. Box 573 Dryden, Va 24243. Please earmark gifts to South Sudan Refugees.

Over the river and through the woods….

Last night Cady and I got a full 7 hours of sleep, from midnight until 7 am. This is a huge victory! It was just what I needed to get my head on straight (well as straight as my head gets anyway!) The effects of jet lag are no joke. Between the emotions of leaving family and friends in the U.S., the timezone change, and the breakneck speed of life, it’s amazing what a good night of sleep (thanks Benadryl) will do.

The last time I wrote, I shared that my grandmother had passed away. We received the phone call late on Mother’s Day. I spent the next three days listening to counsel, battling with myself and seeking the Lord over whether or not to travel.

Brian was sick. Cadance was finally settled back into life in Uganda. There were so many questions… Would bringing Cady back to the U.S. with me cause an upheaval again? (the answer is yes, but God is good and we can see Him working in her through the grief) I wanted to be there for my mom, but would having to say goodbye to us after saying goodbye to her mom be more difficult for her? We heard there was a travel warning about driving the road leading to the airport. (Yikes!!!) The debate went on and on. I priced flights. I made lists. I prayed like crazy and I cried like I was seriously crazy. Finally, after we took Brian to the clinic on Tuesday (where we discovered that he had a nasty bacterial infection), I said, “You are just too sick. I can’t go.” But when I went to sleep I mentioned to him that I felt like I was making all of my decisions out of fear.

The next morning, after 12 hours of antibiotics in his system, Brian was feeling a little more like himself. He said, “I thought about what you said all night. We don’t live in fear. We live in faith. You’re going.”

I wish I could say the agonizing stopped there, but there was a lot of crying mixed with lots of excitement and frenzy. If we were going to go we had to leave our house by 2 pm. We had no power so we had to use a backup battery and mobile internet to try to get my plane tickets. I charged Brian with that task while I did the most necessary thing… dying my hair. Really. That’s what I felt like I needed to do at the moment. I guess because I couldn’t control anything else I figured I could at least tackle those grays!?

I really wish you could have seen us sitting in the bathroom. Brian was on his phone with all of our credit cards sitting out, trying to make one of them work. I was bent over the tub, washing out the dye in cold water while shouting out directions to Cadance for what she should pack. We just kept moving forward as if we were going, while waiting to see if we could even get tickets.

We kept hitting dead-ends with the tickets. So, at lunch time, I said, “If we don’t have tickets within one hour, we just can’t go. We won’t be able to make it to the airport on time.”

5 minutes later, the ticketing agent called and told us the credit card payment had gone through. We were going!

We were picked up at the airport by Brian’s parents and drove straight from D.C. to eastern North Carolina. We missed the visitation that night, but surprised my parents just an hour before the funeral started the next morning. We made it! God made the way for us.

Cadance returned to Virginia the next day while I stayed with my mother and aunt in NC for the next week and a half working through the endless pile of things to do post-funeral.

We laughed.  We cried.  We got a little angry. We went from one office to another looking for direction.  We reminisced through piles of papers, pictures and cards revealing so much of our family history. We got tons of wisdom and love from cousins who had recently walked through similar experiences. It was a time of bonding for my mother, my Aunt and me.  God is so good!

I will never regret going home for this time.  Faith conquered fear and I’m so thankful!

Thank you for your prayers for us— your encouraging and sympathetic words. Thank you for your support which allows us to be here serving as the Lord has called, but also allows us the flexibility to be with our families during these challenging times.  Finally, a special thank you to the people of Seaford Baptist Church for paying for my plane ticket in full and then some, so that we could more easily afford to go.

We are blessed by a faithful God who comforts us in times of trouble and overcomes our fears!

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The pond behind my grandmother’s house

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

My Momma Mae

One of the hard things about being on the field is not experiencing life with your family at home. Yesterday as we watched through Facebook everyone’s Mothers’s Day celebration, we received news of my grandmother’s passing.

She was 97 years old! She lived a full, strong, faithful life. My mother has been their to care for her and was with her at the end. She said it was a sweet time at the end. She sang to her, read Scripture and prayed with her until her final breath. We rejoice that her life here in earth ended well.

Are we going home? I don’t know. Since we just returned, not all of us would be able to return. Possibly one or two of us could come home for a short time. Please pray for wisdom for us as we make that decision.

I ask for your prayers as the final things are taken care of as well as for comfort and peace for our extended family.

Determination

Today we met with one of our Bible School teachers. He told us of an incredible testimony that I had to share with you! 

One of the students finishing up at Kitgum is blind. He lost his sight in high school. He walks every day to class 6 miles. That’s 60 miles a week! He even arrives first for class! 

He works hard to come and study God’s Word. How often do I complain that I am too tired, too busy or it’s too hard to study God’s Word?

I asked how does he read the Bible? How does he prepare to preach? The teachers only response was that he has God’s Word memorized! Oh, that I would do the same! 

This blind man is one of the best students in this class. What a picture of determination to study, know and apply God’s Word despite obstacles. We too often spend our time seeking lesser things. He was a great inspiration to me today. I pray he will be a great inspiration to you as well.

Blogging

When we first started this blog, we were here in Uganda for three months. It was a time of exploration. We had been coming to Uganda for a few years bringing teams. We used those months to seek the Lord and He used that time to solidify His call for us to be here in Uganda.

Blogging became a way to communicate to you, our ministry partners in America. It was a way for me to process the events that were happening. It was an avenue for our family to give testimony to what the Lord has been doing as well as to share our hearts.

It has been a long time since I have written in this blog. As I sit here I am enjoying writing even this small letter. It’s like I am sitting down to coffee with you my friend. It really does help me to be still and think things through.

As we approach two years into our time here, I have realized that there just hasn’t been a whole lot of time to still myself enough to write. There is constantly a note in my to do list that says …. BLOG. To be honest I have about 7 that have been started, but I never seem to finish them. Please forgive me. Facebook has been a quick way for us to give you a glimpse into our lives.

There is another very important reason I have not been writing, something that paralyzed my writing. In the time that we have been here, we have learned a few things about our Ugandan friends.  Information is very important. They are very free to give generously of their things, but information about them and their life is very sacred.  We have heard stories about missionaries who share testimonies without permission and leave the person feeling very exposed. Instead of rejoicing together at what the Lord has done, it broke trust between them. Never do I want to share at testimony that causes pain or hurt to one of our Ugandan friends.

Another thing that I have learned is that sometimes as a Westerner, we like to discuss things that are different about the culture here. We laugh sometimes at things we see, or get frustrated about things that are different than our home culture. Sometimes through these “culture shock” experiences the Lord teaches us great things. However, sometimes as we share these things, our Ugandan friends read/hear them in a different light than we are meaning to share them. They can feel as if we are talking negatively about their people and home.

We are guests here. We love Uganda. The Lord has us here for a season and a purpose. As our supporters/followers expands, we now have many Ugandan friends who read what we are writing.  I never want my words to hinder any of the relationships that the Lord has so richly blessed us with.

Finally, that doesn’t mean that the blog is finished. I almost feel revived, just sharing this with you friends. I will do my best to ask permission before sharing testimonies and pictures. I will seek perspective before commenting on cultural differences. But know, there are so many incredible things that won’t get shared.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.IMG_8533