Before reading this, know this is what the Lord is doing in my heart. I have been so blessed in my upbringing. I am just seeing how much more there is to this life and living for Jesus than I knew before. I hope I can accurately relay what the Lord is revealing to me.
How do I put into words what the Lord is teaching me? He is pretty much tearing apart most (if not all) of what I have ever believed about what it means to live for Jesus. (I say that in the sense of He’s tearing it apart because I thought that’s all there was and I am learning there is so much more). For those that know me well, you just let out a huge gasp. I have grown up in the church. I have heard about Jesus and what He did for me from before I could walk and talk. So why would I just be learning what it means to really live for Jesus? Good question.
Since being in Uganda and finally putting into practice the three weeks of training we received this summer, I am realizing just how narrow my view of God was (and still is at times). I was narrow minded even in how I thought He worked and how I am to live for Him. I have fit God into my own little box without even realizing it. For the first time, I am at a place where all I can do to survive is rely fully on the Holy Spirit. This concept is foreign to me. Sure, I have talked about it for years. However, I have never done it on a consistent basis.
I thought I knew what faith was, but my faith was based on the natural, not the supernatural. Bill Johnson puts it this way in his book, When Heaven Invades Earth, “Faith is the mirror of the heart that reflects the realities of His world into ours. It is the substance of the unseen realm.” I want to live this way, but I never thought I could.
Here’s another way of looking at it. Jesus said of Himself in John 5:19, “The Son can do nothing.” He means He can literally do nothing apart from the Father. Yet, He performed so many miracles. He experienced intimacy with the Father that some of us only ever dream of. He was human. I think sometimes we forget this. I have read this verse a thousand times. I see Jesus’ life and have thought for so long that was only for Him. It’s not for me too. If this is truth, then why does He say in John 14:12, that as a believer I will do even greater things than He did because He is going to the Father. Jesus showed me what it meant to fully rely on the Spirit of God and to let God move and work through me. The same Sprit that raised Him from the dead lives inside of me! I have the ability because of God’s Spirit in me.
Needless to say, I am being challenged to not just read the Bible but to live it and see it lived out before me. I have faith that the supernatural is the reality, not the natural. For the first time in my life, I am in a place where that kind of mindset is normal. It is so refreshing. It terrifies me at the same time because it goes against a lot of what I was taught in the church growing up. The Lord provides an abundance of grace through the process and I’m forever grateful for His love, mercy and grace in the process.
I am so thankful for the way the Lord has pursued me for over 17 years now and the patience He has had with me during that time. It has brought me to where I am today. I guess, I thought for so long that I was really living for Jesus when really I was living for Him for what I got out of it. Not in every single moment, but in more moments than I thought. I was more bound by religion than I knew. It is a freeing thing to realize, yet at the same time scary because I had no idea.
This is just the beginning of a crazy journey with Jesus. I don’t know why He picked me. I feel the least qualified and inadequate, but I’m so thankful and humbled that He is allowing me to walk this road with Him. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jesus came to bring life abundantly (John 10:10). Let’s live that life!
Today has been a day where I have been constantly warring my flesh it feels like. I am not complaining with what I am about to say, simply showing where the Lord has convicted me.
It all started last night when it took 3 hrs to fall asleep because of loud dance music playing on our street. I woke up not feeling well at all. Every Friday we have D-Group, which is such a blessing. For some reason this morning, nothing in me wanted to open up and talk about how I am doing or what the Lord is doing in my life. Battle number one of the day. We met for a couple of hours and it was a sweet time.
Then we met as a team. As people meet Ugandan’s that they can’t follow up with (opposite genders is usually the reason) they offer to the team to introduce them so they can follow up with them. Jay, our team leader, offered to introduce any girl to a girl he had met. I wanted to so badly, but I am on grocery team and we had grocery shopping to do. Battle number two.
Rachel and I go to the open-air market. By the way, so thankful for her. She kept me sane today. The market trip was great! We saw a lady healed, at least she said she was but with little emotion. Ugandan’s do not show a lot of emotion. They can have an encounter with Jesus and say with little emotion, “This is good.” We go home excited to drop off groceries and then head to lunch since we have missed lunch at this point. We were told, so nicely, by Eunice and Agnes that we got the wrong beans. The list said fresh beans (this means green beans) and we thought fresh beans, like with beans and rice.
Eunice is so sweet. She said, I’ll go back with you and we’ll switch it out now. I love her wiling heart to help us and her patience as we learn but that was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to eat. I was hungry and didn’t feel good and wanted to get done what I needed done. Battle number three.
On our walk there. Yeah, we walked the whole way. Usually we take boda’s if it is up to us. Battle number four.
We are about to walk into the market and it starts pouring rain. I mean, the biggest raindrops I have ever seen. So we rush to find cover and wait for about ten to fifteen minutes. It let up some so we decide to keep shopping in the rain. Battle number five.
We go to take the beans back and the lady will not accept them. Battle number six.
We keep them and get green beans and extra peas (by the way, so far I have liked the peas in Uganda. I don’t know what they do to make them taste different but I can actually eat them, Mom and Nicole). I am feeling worse by the moment. We walk back home. Battle number seven.
I was totally fleshing out today. I wish I could say I was joyful through it all, but all I could think was this is nearing the end of our rest period and I am not getting to rest. I am hungry. I need to get this done. This wasn’t my plan for the day. I don’t have time for this. I want to ride the boda, I don’t want to walk. Me. Me. Me.
I thought at one point, If I could get the rest I need, Lord, then I would love to meet people and pray for them and be your hands and feet but right now I don’t want to. Then I realized how much I was making this ministry thing about myself. I am reminded of the verse in 1 Timothy 4:12 where it says in and out of season we proclaim Him.
So what if I’m hungry? Most people here get one meal a day if they are lucky. So what if I’m tired, a lot of Ugandan’s work harder than I ever have in my life –some from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. (I about fell over when Sissy at the bread shop told me those were her hours every day) and most walk every where they go. So what if this wasn’t my plan for the day? What if the Lord had a totally different plan because I was supposed to spend extra time with Eunice or meet someone else I would not have normally met.
I felt even sicker when I realized how ridiculous I was being. I am here to be the Lord’s hands and feet. Not my own. I will waste eight months of my life if I am here to do my own thing, even if I am saying it is for the Lord. The Lord is gracious and I am so thankful for it. Grocery team is my ministry this next month. So I will choose to see it that way and ask the Lord for a passion for this ministry on days like today. He knows exactly what He’s doing and He’s far better at it than I am so I’m going to stick with letting Him call the shots. We both go a little further when that happens.
It was my first African church attendance. So wonderful. It started out by everyone coming up to meet us when we walked in. Then instead of the distant American church greeting we were told to find one person we did not know and talk to them for five minutes and really take time to know more about them.
I met Churchill. He is about to finish Form 6, which is like our senior year of high school. Then after that he will move on to University where he hopes to either become an accountant or a teacher. He loves history and entrepreneurship classes. He teaches the children at church and does a wonderful job interacting with them. He could actually pronounce my full name Kimberley. I said if it is easier you can call me Kim and he said, I like Kimberley. I got excited that at least one Ugandan will call me by my name.
Then we had a time of worship. It was fun, sweet, intimate and powerful all at the same time. Ugandan’s know how to worship their Creator and they do just that. It was as if they were before the throne of God and they were the only ones before Him.
Then we had a time of teaching. Kent, the long-term missionary here taught with Geoffrey, the translator, who also owns his own soap business and more importantly is crazy in love with Jesus!
After church on the first part of our walk to find some boda boda’s (because we didn’t know where we were), the African children from the church grabbed our hands and walked along with us. Gilda is 6 and asked if I would be her friend. That is about as far as our conversation got since I speak no Acholi and she speaks very little English. It didn’t matter though, her smile was beautiful and we just had fun smiling with each other.
It was my first time at Cedars restaurant. It is a Lebanese restaurant that had a western toilet and they brought out a fan for us. We pretty much felt like royalty! It’s crazy the smallest things that bring pleasure now. The people there were wonderful, super friendly and the food was amazing. So far, it’s number one on my list.
It was my first time getting caught in a rainstorm. We were on our way to dinner when all the sudden it started down pouring so we ran as fast as we could to the closest restaurant near our compound – Acholi Inn. The power went out twice during dinner. It took over an hour to get food. The bill was wrong. Yet it was still a sweet time of fellowship for some of the girls on the team.
It has been an amazing day, God is so good, and I’m excited for the many “firsts” that will follow.
I’m finally in Uganda. After two years of Uganda being on my heart, the Lord is bringing it to fruition. It still does not seem real, but I have eight months for it to sink in, so I have time.
Our team arrived Tuesday afternoon after two long days of traveling. We loaded onto a bus to have a six hour bus ride into Gulu, where we are living. Most of us slept the whole time but the few times I was awake I saw my life flash before my eyes about three times because I thought we were going to have a head on collision. I glanced at the driver and he seemed nothing but peaceful. There are no stoplights or stop signs here and they drive on opposite sides of the road. So people just keep going (and honk constantly) and don’t stop. I get nervous crossing the street at home so its amplified 100 times here. My teammate, Rachel, says I look like the ultimate tourist because I run as fast as I can across the street with my head down hoping I don’t get hit. So far, today, I have done better. So there is hope for me - at least I like to believe so.
After our bus ride to Gulu our team finally arrived at our compound. (To see a video of where we are living you can click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv_TeRY8Yb8). We met the staff: Jimmy, the director, Sandi and Simon Peter, the security guards, and Agnes and Eunice, the cooks. Yes, we have cooks for some of ur meals and they are amazing and hilarious!
I, along with two other girls from the team, get the joy of working with Agnes and Eunice because we are on grocery duty until November. We are discovering how to buy things in Gulu, where to buy them, who to buy them from, etc. We shop daily since there is no way to keep your food in advance, especially meat. The open air market is a lot of fun to go in to and the boda bodas only add to the experience. They are the main mode of transportation in Gulu and they are like mopeds.
I have been told by many Ugandan’s that my name is difficult to pronounce. So one of my boda drivers decided to give me an Acholi name (the Acholi people are who we live with): Nin-Kim-Yaa is how it sounded. I doubt that is how it is spelled. My friend and I just started laughing because we don’t understand how that is easier to pronounce than my name.
The Ugandan people are very friendly and super helpful. We have already seen God at work from day one. A security guard walked up to one of our guys and said he wanted to know God more so they were meeting today for the first time to read the Bible and pray. Two lady’s encountered the Lord through being healed on the walk home yesterday. God has continued to work despite our weakness and tiredness. And it’s just the beginning!
so the Lord’s love never falls short of amazing me. reviving me. overwhelming me. fulfilling me. surprising me.
and yet one would think after 17 years of experiencing His love, i shouldn’t be so surprised. i know He’s faithful. i know His love is steadfast. i know it never ceases. but what about those times when i feel like i am the last one to deserve the Lord’s love. it’s those times that He really does take my breath away because He lavishes His love all over me. i don’t get it.
this summer has been a difficult one. i guess i should have expected that with preparing to go share the Gospel for nine months in another country. it’s the last thing the enemy wants for me or my team. i have fallen down. i have failed the Lord. i have felt so unworthy of Him or any blessing He would have for me.
there’s been times when I have messed up and the Lord has disciplined me. and rightly so. at the time the discipline is tough but in the end it is so needed and really just draws me closer to my one true love.
however, this summer, i got to experience God’s love in a totally new way. i experienced the mercy and grace that so freely comes with His love. see, instead of being disciplined (although there are always consequences), the Lord decided to bless me instead. in the most wonderful way.
i have to admit. i was weary at first because i felt so unworthy. i was driving down the road one day and just talking with Jesus. as i was basking in His love, i started to say, “God, I don’t deserve this” but I only got through, “God, I don’t…” and He cut me off. He said, “Stop. Don’t say that. You do deserve this. You more than deserve this because of what my Son has done for you. You have been made worthy and righteous. Let me bless you.”
i’ll never understand His love. but i know i can never ever get enough of it. its beautiful and reckless. it tears me apart. i wouldn’t have it any other way.
This seems like it should be such a simple question to answer, or at least we always know what we should answer. I mean, we serve the God of all creation (Genesis 1-2). The God who loved us enough to sacrifice His own Son so that we would have the choice of eternity with Him or not (John 3:16). The God that fights for us (Exodus 14:14). The God that protects us (Psalm 91:1-4). The God who works ALL things together for our good (Romans 8:28). The God who will never let anything come between us (Romans 8:31-39). The God who removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). The God who will always welcome us back into His arms after we are stubborn and prideful and try to go about things our own way (Luke 15:11-32). The God who is our rest (Matthew 11:28-30). The God who is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). The God who never ever leaves (Hebrews 13:5). I could go on and on and on. He’s given us every reason to trust Him and never given us one reason not to. So why then is it so hard to answer this question sometimes?
Honestly, there are times where my answer is no. Deep down, if I really answered truthfully. Whether others notice it or not, I do. I have my own way of how I think things should be; what I think is best. I don’t trust His plans - even though they are plans for a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11-14). Even though everything mentioned above about my God is and always will be true. Satan finds ways to creep into our thoughts and cause us to doubt our God. How crazy is that?! At times, it’s easy to look around at the circumstances and say, “God, there is no way that good could come out of this.” or “God, there’s just too much to be done; I can’t see how you’re going to bring it together.” See, that’s the thing. I serve an infinite, all powerful God who is never limited by me. I praise Him for that daily!
God never needs to prove to me anything about Himself. I know and I believe He is who He says He is. Yet, even when I say, “God, I’ll be honest. I don’t trust you right now.” He says, okay, here you go. He BLESSES me! He LOVES me! He starts fighting for my heart once more. He’ll never stop. He’ll never say, “Okay fine if you don’t trust me then I’m done with you.” He’ll never do that. He humbles me daily just by experiencing life with Him.
He’s worthy of all my trust. He’s worthy of all your trust. Cling to Him. Not because of what He gives, but because of who He is. Trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6) despite of the chaos around you.