Saturday, January 28, 2012

Prayer Requests

really appreciate everyone's support and encouragement over
the past few months! It is only my second week at Remnant Uganda but I am
already, absolutely LOVING it!!!! I feel so blessed to be working with our
ladies!!! They are honestly some of the most amazing women I have ever met and
they bring so much joy to my life! My job requirements def. change from day to
day but my favorite part is just getting to spend time with each of them! I am
so excited to see what the Lord has in store for Remnant Uganda this year and my
personal life as well.


I have already learned so much and know that this year will def. be one of
refinement and growth! That being said, I would really covet your prayers! If
you could be praying for more wisdom and discernment for my job. It is a big
responsibility running this organization and I have to make some tough
decisions...so I REALLY want to be led by the Spirit in everything I say and
do...and really want to be as intentional as possible while I am here for the
next 11 months. I just want to experience more of Him and to really be taken
into a deeper level. Please also pray for preseverence and strength, especially
during the refining periods. I know God is lovingly weaning me off my other
dependencies, so please pray that I would continue to learn all that He wants me
to. Please pray for protection and health. And lastly please pray that I would
continue to experience this peace and joy while I am living and working here in
Gulu.


Also if you could be praying for our ladies...most of them are leaders in the
church and have experienced so much freedom...and as a result, the enemy has
really been attacking them recently. So please pray for protection! Also, pray
that Remnant would become sustainable and have a really successful year in 2012!
Finally please pray for unity and that sweet relationships would be formed
amongst the staff and beneficiaries!


Seriously, thank you all for your friendship, love, encouragement, support, and
prayers!!!! I appreciate it more than words can say!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Remnant Uganda: First Week

This past week I officially started my job at Remnant Uganda! And I can't even begin to tell you...how much I LOVE it already! I am SO blessed and humbled to be working with some of the most amazing women I have ever met! Each morning around 9am, I find myself standing on the front porch, with pure excitement and anticipation...because I know that our ladies will soon be arriving! They already bring so much joy to my life!

I had so many highs from this past week, but one moment in particular, really impacted me. Seeing as it is the new year, all of our ladies needed to renew their contracts. Now unlike many places, work contracts in Uganda are not taken lately and it isn't just seen as a piece of paper. Rather, for many people here, signing this piece of paper is a huge defining moment because it is seen as something that tangibly represents one's employment. However, this time was even more special for our ladies because they were able to receive their own translated copy of their contract in KiSwahili. Which meant, that for the first time they were able to take it and read it by themselves!!! No words can describe the joy that filled that hut! As soon as we passed out the contracts all of the ladies quickly began to individually read it out loud, with huge smiles on their faces, and Mama Joy just kept repeatedly thanking Jesus!

These ladies are absolutely incredible and I still can't believe that I get to work each day alongside of them! Thank you Jesus for choosing this life for me!






*Huge thanks to Mary Sick and her Swahili Professor for helping make that possible!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dream Come True!!





So ever since I first heard about Acholi Wedding traditions...it has been a dream of mine to attend one! And today that dream came true! Mama Hope's Uncle got married and she invited Khara and I to the reception at the Acholi Inn. To say that it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life would most definitely be an understatement! It has only been a few days since we officially moved to Gulu and I am already LOVING LIFE HERE!!! I am so humbled and grateful that the Lord has chosen this life for me!!


video

Thursday, January 12, 2012

And so it begins....


We had the most amazing 2 weeks with the team from Rockharbor! But now that they have left...everything seems to be becoming more real! Here is to the next 11 months!

January 8th

The team lead worship at Gaba Community Church and the whole congregation sang happy birthday to Sophie who turned 16 today. After shopping, the team hit Entebbe airport and be on their way back home! Then its game on!

January 6th-7th

The team woke up at the crack of dawn and headed out to safari for the day. It is always a treat to see the beauty of God's creation and today was especially good as the team got to see no less than 7 lions. The team is staying at Paara Lodge tonight which is another treat as they have great salad, which is rare in northern Uganda. Another highlight was when Stephanie Bammer got thrown into the lodge pool by Jeff Joseph. Good times. Tomorrow the team leave early for Gaba. Sunday morning the Shambrook family singers (with a couple others) will lead worship at Gaba Community Church.

January 5th

Day 2 of the conference: Pastor Martin kicked off the day with some worship, time for tea and then the breakout groups to follow.

Women: pastor Evelyn preached then the ladies began to dance to "shackles". Sophie had taught the ladies the choreography and it was incredible to look around and see many of the Congolese women freely dancing on the stage, other women dancing throughout the church and then spontaneously the youth and men had a sweet dance battle circle going off in the back. Love it.
Everyone took some lunch and met back in their groups. The women continued with Marlene teaching through the isaiah 60:1 passage, Whitney gave her testimony with a call to action in choosing the Lord. Then patti taught about the church being like different parts of the body as she wove pieces of her testimony throughout. Frankie ended the women's conference with a call and encouragement for
unity. Each held the hand of the next as they all took communion and spent time in prayer together.

Youth: the RH team were able to really spend some time praying for the youth and then Matt led them all in worship together. Jeff powerfully challenged them to step out of the darkness and into the light. It was a powerful time filled with boldness and authority. Stephen Hibu shared his Intense testimony and it was SO good. He challenged the youth to lead pure lives for Christ. Dakota shared her testimony and Khara taught the youth and pressed them with a call to purity, prayer and purpose.

Men: david miller, mark, Stephen Hibu all shared with the men about community, purpose and unity. Turns out that the ugandan men want to discuss the same topics as American men... Go figure ;).

This was the last day with the Gbcc volunteers so goodbye's had to be said. This is always a really difficult time for the team as it's surprising how close and attached you become with one another in such a short period of time. Bits and pieces of hearts are always left here in Gulu, for sure.

Towards the end of the day, the team was able to visit Krochet Kids international where they were able to see the facility, meet the staff, check out the operation and get some sweet hats. The team was able to pray over Sean x2 before they left as well.

The Lord has been so gracious this trip for the team, for Gbcc, for Gulu, for His kingdom. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

Packing up happened late and sleep was neede as they were headed out for safari super early. :)

January 4th

Today was the first day of the conference at GBCC. Everyone met all together for a sweet time of worship led by Sophie, Connor and Jeff. Pastor Martin gave some encouraging words with Pete leading everyone in a devotion afterwards. Everyone participated in a time of tea together and then broke out into their various groups; women, men or youth.
Women's: mamma molly opened up the conference sharing the theme for the next few days: Arise and Shine. She shared a bit and included a time for anyone that wanted to accept Jesus and/ or receive some prayer. Several women came forward and this was only beginning of the conference! Debbie and Haley spoke next about rejection and how this shaped parts of their lives as they wove their testimonies throughout the teaching. As they talked about how the Lord continues to bring freedom for them and that He is their hope inspite of what their circumstances brought them, Pastor Joy felt the need for an all out altar call for this same freedom for the women of GBCC. So many ladies could relate to this and came forward and woah... Did the Holy Spirit fall! Though some of the RH team was not accustomed to the sights of deliverance , they all jumped in with both feet with what the Lord was doing and prayed and prayed . So much healing, deliverance and freedom was had that day. Yes!!!!! More Lord! After this powerful time, they took a break for lunch and reconvened again after. Mamma rose picked up again for the second part with Katie following after that. She began with her testimony of how her life has been fully redeemed and how we are all a part of the bride of Christ. Next was Tracy who shared about the fear of man and how debilitating that is and through Christ she too has been redeemed and ls able to live an increasingly freer life. Katrina then began to speak on the guilt, fear and shame she experienced throughout her life and how the she walks in the daily realization of and process of His redemption. To end the women's conference for the day, I spoke and gave a summation of the conference, as I talked about fear and how the enemy uses this to thwart the plans of God. I shared a bit of my journey and even specifically about me dealing with these fears as I prepared to move to Uganda for the year. I continued to share how I found freedom from these fears in Christ and the joy that I am now experiencing. Many of the Ugandan ladies related to several if not all of those that shared today and was such a sweet example if the church ministering and building one another up.

Back to the youth conference that was happening a the same time as the women and men's ... Pete began the day by sharing about the authority of the scriptures and sanctification. Then Martin , as well as Stephen Hibu, pastor Ron and pastor James spoke and hosted a lively discussion amongst all the men.

The youth conference was kicked off by connor Where he differentiated various types of Christians and liked them to different types if lights - nice tie into the whole arise and shine theme there. It was very powerful. Sophie shared about the Lord's sweet love and jake opened it up for anyone that was struck by what Connor and/or Sophie spoke on and 10 different Ugandans came forward. Each of them began to share and it was like 10 different preachers sharing their hearts. Pretty cool. Pastor Richard then spoke on Isaiah 60:1. -the theme verse. Everyone was led in a sweet worship song of "Jesus, I adore you". Matt G. Then shared his testimony and led them in a few worship songs as they celebrated all that God was doing.

Later that night, the team spent some time evangelizing in the area near the church named Kisubi. Haley, mark and Dakota shared their testimonies and then they showed the Jesus film. The gospel continues to bring many to salvation. So good. So good.

January 3rd

The team headed off to Lamintoo village which is a village church plant offshoot of GBCC. The team was super so they had a needed late start of 9 am and left for the acholi inn by 1pm. At the village they held vbs for the kids and shared the love of Christ with them. Several kids accepted Jesus into their hearts and lives for the first time .
The RH team also engaged in a the now bi-annual tradition of a raging, intense soccer game with the Lamintoo village team Vs. the RH/GBCC make shift team. Last summer we lost and pastor Martin has been talking about the rematch ever since. The non local team is
Making strides as it was a tie game this round. Jeff had a sweet header into the goal that helped the cause. Way to take one for the team, jeffe! With sport as a background the gospel was also able to be shared in that setting and between vbs and the soccer match over 40 people came to salvation. The kingdom of God advances.... Amen and amen!

Please continue to pray as the flu is working its way through the team. Big Dave and I were part of the casualties today. Let's keep the team covered. Our God is far greater than anything that is thrown their way.

The end of January 3rd ended with a semi-farewell dinner at Bohmah. I think it was more of a "let's celebrate all that God has done, and yet to do in Gulu dinner" betweent he RH team and all the volunteers of GBCC. Pastor Robert (associate pastor of GBCC), Hibu(pastor of Guru Guru), and Pastor Richard of Alero Cuku, shared thier thanks and encouragement to the team on behalf of GBCC/villag churches. Katie, Adam and Marlene shared with everyone on behalf of RockHarbor. Such an encouraging night... another love fest. So good.

And then on top of it all - for those that have been to Gulu and know how the jokes fly about Hibu being short ( good things come in small packages, right, Hibu??) and Richard still being single....Well, Richard surprised EVERYONE with an announcement of his engagement. Shouts were heard from all over as not even the pastors from GBCC knew of this.

Congratulations, Richard!!!!!!!!!!

January 2nd

Guru Guru village: the third village that was a plant out of GBCC. Stephen Hibu - from here on out... Hibu: but you have to say it like : eee booo!!!
It was another awesome day where there was medical and evangelistic outreach as well as a VBS for the kids. 642 patients were seen... (take THAT silly HMO's...sorry personal vendetta there...back to Uganda), over 30 sets of eyes were given sight via new eyeglasses - in fact every single person was seen by the doctors and given the prescriptions. While they were waiting to be seen Mark and Tracy were able to share their testimonies about all that God had done in their lives. Everyone was busy with filling meds, tending to wounds etc... Adam, sans translator at the time, began going down the line of awaiting patients where he met a man that gestured with his hands that his head was in great pain. Adam prayed for this and then brought him over to wound care to be seen and treated where he ended up hearing the gospel and coming to salvation!! Adam, in faith, continued to pray for the man and the pain in his head. Fingers began tingling so Adam continued to pray. and yes, the Lord healed the man. God is so like that. So faithful. So loving. Sophie and Marlene compassionately worked in wound care as well. Marlene was the rockstar of the day as she sweetly cared for a baby that needed the infected skin of her burnt body cleaned off to heal afresh. This is agonizing to watch, let alone do, but the loving, prayerful heart of Marlene was obedient in knowing this will give a clean, healthy start for healing.
VBS was also held that day and may children heard the story of Daniel through a puppet show as well Frankie sharing about salvation from our Lord. Many hands were quietly raised that day to receive Jesus in their hearts and lives. Whitney noticed a sweet girl that had her hand raised to acknowledge Jesus as her savior and went to go pray for her. As Whitney -the tall, blond foreigner that she is - approached, the young girl become frightened of her and began wailing hysterically. Whitney retreated and the girl calmed down and not wanting the sweet lil' one to go un prayed for, Whitney went in again only to be met with the same response. If you know Whitney, she is about the gentlest, kindest person so for this to happen with her was actually humorous. The little girl was prayed for.... just from afar. :)
Others that had the privilege of sharing the gospel out in the village were David Miller, Katrina and Connor in one group and Debbie, Matt, and Dakota in one and Patti, Frankie and Katie in another. Many people accepted the Lord this day, too. Praise be to God. Truly.

January 1st

The team left GBCC at 2:30 am and headed back for Sunday services at 9am. Troopers.
With all that happened yesterday, it's not shocking that there was much to celebrate with the whole congregation. Worship and praising the Lord lasted over 1 1/2 hours with the first service lasting a good 4 hours. And they weren't checking their watches to hightail it outta there either. (I'd like to see that happen in the OC. hee hee). Marlene and Matt shared their testimonies at church and were followed up by Pastor Martin and Ron listing all the ways in which the LOrd had moved in and through GBCC over the year as well as what to expect over the coming year. The team also stayed for the Swahili service led by Pastor Ron and they LOVED it. To worship, praise and pray with these people is beyond words. Jake and Khara shared their testimonies. To say that each of those that simply "shared" today is an understatement. Each one was completely unplanned and completely anointed by the Lord. so good. so blessed.

After leaving church and getting some grub, the team was off again. This time it was off to the prison to hand out more mercy bags to both the men and women prisoners. The RH ladies met under the open walled structure for their church service with the majority of the women prisoners. Immediately after the worship began, everyone was intermingling as all were dancing, singing and praising Jesus. Afterwards, Katrina gave her testimony and man, was it anointed. The way she shared about her life struggles, the guilt, the striving...it was perfectly phrased and couldn't have been more fitting and understood. Then to follow that up was Katie who shared about her life and how through various circumstances she had come to know the unfaltering love of her heavenly Father. She described how she is recognizing how precious she is to Him; a jewel, and this couldn't have been more amazing for everyone to hear - especially those locked in prison. The hearts of all the women that heard these words were pierced in the way that only the Lord can do. Katie sat down only to be encouraged to go back and have an "altar call" where many women forward for salvation and prayer. What an amazingly sweet time this was. There is something breathtakingly special about this place. You get to see Jesus. His Church. Again, its beyond words. It just makes you wanna stop and praise His name. And they did. The women prisoners said goodbye in their sweet hand rub, clap, clap, clap, whoosh send off.
On the men's prison side, they were also enjoying the presence of the Lord. Mark shared his testimony that ended up with a powerful presentation of the gospel. From there Matt also shared and the Lord's presence continued to fall as he ended up giving an altar call where over 40 men turned lives over to the Jesus. Pete prayed over the group and it was yet another glorious day as the Kingdom of God was expanded.

There are many more stories that haven't been shared here. When your loved ones come home, please ask them about specific days/events so that we don't forget all that God has done through the team - not to mention what He is doing IN them as well. The team is exhausted. Good exhausted, but tired nonetheless. They have four busy, long days ahead of them, so pray for rest and protection. They bid you goodnight and are anxious for what the Lord holds for tomorrow.

December 31st

Breakfast and off to GBCC for the morning devotion led by Pastor Ron (one of the pastors of GBCC and who leads the Congolese 3rd service). They spent some time in prayer and worship and were off to Gulu hospital where the teams were split into different groups to hand out "mercy bags" (soap, sugar, toothpaste, toothbrush) to the patients and their families. Most of the women spent time in the maternity ward where Naomi (now Gulu resident originally from Indiana), Sophie, and Stefanie were able to pray for many. One in particular was a defeated, broken woman, Nancy, that has had 6 previous miscarriages and was currently bleeding and in severe pain while in her 1st month of her 7th pregnancy. To add insult to injury, she was just told that she was now HIV+. The team prayed for her; that she'd be free of the physical pain she was currently having as well as joy and rest - not to mention salvation. She began to feel a break in the pain at which the team prayed all the more earnestly for the Lord to touch her. All glory to God as her pain had ceased but even more notable was the fact that she began to feel hope as well. Recognizing the work of the Hoy Spirit, she gave her life to Jesus and subsequently experienced the joy of the Lord with a beaming face to prove it.
Another team comprised of Patti, Tracy, Frankie, Marlene and Hope (Pastor Martin's wife) were at the right place and right time as two different babies were born. Connor shared his testimony with power and authority as well.
Debbie, Katie, Dakota and Haley moved with Holy Spirit as they ministered in the hospital as well. It was incredible as they walked in boldness and faith such as when praying for a woman that was paralyzed on her entire right side that she regain feeling and movement. God heals, we just ask for it, right? Before this group left over 17 people accepted Jesus as their savior and many more were encouraged and blessed. One of the 17 was a boy named Daniel that Dakota had been chatting with. Upon finding out his name, she shared about the story of Daniel in the LIon's den - his name sake. She simply shared how God cares and loves and that he could know this very same God that loved this Daniel of the bible. And he most certainly did, so Dakota was able to introduce this boy to Jesus.

The other RH guys were also ministering in other areas of the hospital. David Miller, Big Dave, Jake, Adam and Pete shared, also handed out mercy bags and prayed for the sick and injured. Big Dave commented on how it was so encouraging to see the development and transformation the Lord was doing in Jake even from the last time the two were ministering at the same hospital. To see the tenderness and boldness with which he was walking in was such a blessing to Dave. "He is totally ready to be here," Dave commented with pride. In a similar way he was moved with the way that Pete tenderly loved and truly cared for each person he encountered - loving each one of those he met with his whole heart.
While there, the boys met a momma that came there all the time to just love on the people in the different wards. They all, including the momma met a lady and her two children from Kampala whose 3rd baby had just died. Being heartbroken and dealing with the death of her baby, she was unable to afford to properly bury her child or to pay for transportation back home with her kids. Everyone left with a heavy heart and all separately felt that they needed to do something for this family. Little did they know that the leaders had decided to give a love offering to this woman and it was reported from the ministering momma that the joy upon her face was so bright and that she was utterly convinced that the Lord loved her to take care of her in this way. Again, say it with me. God is so good!!! And that's only what happened during the daytime!!!

New Year's Eve : After the hospital , the team ate and headed back to GBCC to celebrate the New Year Ugandan style. Words fall desperately short in trying to describe this. This is literally THE. BEST. WAY. to bring in the new year. The night was spent singing, dancing, praising Jesus, dancing, worshiping, dancing, praying, testifying, dancing, and also....umm....dancing. The team, drenched in sweat, were blessed as Whitney and Adam powerfully shared their testimonies. Also on behalf of RockHarbor, Pete and Patti gave words of encouragement to GBCC and Debbie read a blessing over the church as well.

December 30th

The day began with the drum set being given to GbCc (so much joy was felt), a devotion by david miller and worship at GBCC before heading off to Alero Cuku for a medical outreach and vbs day. With the largest RH team yet, the day could have gone one of two ways. But God is good and it went seamlessly. Everyone was fully occupied with loads of ministry opportunities such as wound care, prescriptions, vbs, eye exams, evangelism, playing with kids or sharing testimonies. Over 800 people were able to receive free medical care and medications, while nearly 100 plus had wounds tended to as well as being prayed for by team members. Marlene and Frankie worked with those who needed glasses and overheard one man exclaim that he was so moved that after not being able to see to read for so long, how overjoyed he was that when he put his new glasses on that scriptures were the first thing he read. Such joy!
Meanwhile, jake held a mini soccer training for both the boys and girls and later the RH male shad a nice soccer match. It wasn't reported who the winners were so I am guessing it was the Ugandans. ;)
The body of Christ was evident so sweetly today as evidenced by the deep compassion the patti felt as she tended the wounds of those that were physically hurting. In one case, a young girl was in such need as she was sweetly tended to and unable to walk so Pete carried her from wound care, to medical, to retrieve her prescriptions. Oh to be the hand sand feet of Jesus.... Nothing better I tell you. Vbs was also happening during all of this so no soul, or age group, was left untouched. A few groups went hut to hut to share the gospel. David, Adam and Sophie were sharing with a man, Joseph, who had heard the gospel several times, but Witt the holy spirits prompting, today made the decision to follow Christ. Such a day.
Towards the end of the day, with all hands on deck to fill the prescriptions , Jeff and Haley shared their testimonies. A sweet 7 year old girl came right up after Haley shared so she too could know and follow this Jesus that haley spoke. So good.

The day was fabulous, the team is doing well and God is being glorified. I'd say that amounts to a pretty good day.

Rest should come easy to most tonight.

December 29th - Rockharbor's December Uganda Team

The team made it to Gulu and spent time at GBCC packing Mercy bags of soap and sugar to give out at the local hospital and prison later in the trip. They got to visit the Christ the Center school which will open in January to help the Kiswahili speaking community, many who are refugees from the DR Congo. Dinner at Pastor Ron and Joy's house ended with a sweet time of prayer with Pastor Martin and Hope and Pastor Robert and Judith. David Miller is feeling better, but Khara and Tracy now have the flu as well. Keep praying.