Reaching those - who would be lost in His Name to be Priest of the Lord...Isaiah 6:16

Our main purpose is to Reconcile all people to knowledge of the gift of grace and power of God in todays world for their individual lives. We will have a discipleship teaching orientation for Pastors, leaders and believers of all ages with a special focus on areas that do not get many well-known speakers including widows and orphan. Today’s calling seems to be Africa, but the Lord recent spoke to our hearts to think bigger…His is a WORLD WIDE OPERATION- and He will not lose what He died for---His people- You

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A day in Yei, South Sudan

Although we returned to Alaska a couple weeks ago, the people of South Sudan and Uganda have not left our minds and hearts.  How do you express in words the love that God has put in your heart for these people.  How do you explain how much you miss the smile of a little boy named Oliver (Duku).  There are so many stories to share from our time and we hope that you are enjoying them even after our return because really our hearts are still there.

Todays blog is a short story from my wonderful husband and partner:

This story is not really about Denver & Stacey. We are not boasting here in what we did. If you read that in these lines you are mistaken in your interpretation of what I am saying. This story is about How God uses His people to show He is alive to others and How Good He is to us all.

Often our opportunity to be led by the Holy Spirit will be skirted with distractions that may have nothing to do with the upcoming opportunity other than to simply get us off course and leave us in a position where we do not listen to the Promptings of the Spirit because we are focused on the distractions, or our emotions occurring as a result of those distractions. 

One day toward the end of our time in Yei, we decided to take a walk into the village. It is a six mile round trip journey on foot on dry dusty paths and roads. As we walked, we were greeted by each person with some acknowledgement or smile or the more common children’s greeting of “quacha (white person), I am fine How are you?” Of course it is very easy to allow your reply to be reduce to the same “I am fine…How are you” in reply once you begin to realize that this is in all likelihood is the only English that person would understand.

A large numbers of older adults – both men and women had little stick built road side stands set up as they tried to earn a living by selling various items. After a while it became apparent to us that most people were selling the same items over and over…..tomatoes, onions, small bags of sugar or beans, some had a kind of dried fish or two. Occasionally some had a drink of some kind or an offering of sodas to sell. Most also had self-made charcoal in various sized bags. Some even had milled flour or rolls they had cooked ready to eat.

  The obvious question we began to ask each other was,” if everyone is selling the same things, who is buying these item?” There seemed to be more sellers than purchasers. There are almost no industrial jobs here in South Sudan. One can easily observe mostly older men and women, lots of children, and very few people in the 20 to 40 range. A few this age, have sewing machines and have become quite good at “tailoring” Many younger men find employment driving people around with their “Taxiing or Kubota motorcycles”.   Although most people work very hard at the daily routines of getting wood and water, food or making bricks, only a few have  jobs producing lumber from the beautiful Mahogany or Teak wood natural to their environment.  While we expected the shops to very unique and specialized perhaps for tourism and local crafts these were very rare if not non-existent.

In Africa, Time is not so important unless you are part of an orphanage that depends on the bell to maintain the day. It was in this relaxed setting that almost without sensing it, the Holy Spirit began to lead us each at different time to do little things we did not even recognize at first. Then little by little we became more alert to what was happening.

It started with a lady with a platter of bananas ask if we wanted to buy any as she walked by.  At first we dismissed her, but retracted our decision within a few steps calling to her that yes we would make a purchase.  Why did we do that? We get our bananas at the orphanage each day as part of our breakfast. What would we do with these?  Then I decided to purchase a bag of rolls- even though I personally had been Gluten free almost a year and a half. What would I do with these rolls and bananas?

This continued with Stacey saying lets go to that stand and buy tomatoes here or then another stand for onions; each time the small price was so little- Maybe a USD quarter or so.

Once as we bought tomatoes, I said I would also take a bag of g-nut sauce the locals make. The grandmother aged lady running the stand spoke out loud. I know she said, ‘We have been blessed by the Lord Today”.  I heard it but then again I did not really quite hear it either. SO, I asked her to please repeat what she said…of course she did not understand what I had spoken, but eventually we agreed she had in Fact said, ” that she and her man had been blessed by the Lord, God because Stacey & I had bought 3 Sudanese pounds of product from them. Not being able to resist, I replied in agreement…”Yes, You have been Blessed by the Lord today….as we handed her a small but generous tip to go with that Blessing in Hasus name (Jesus Name).”

By the time we turned the corner past the Taxi park on the edge of town our bags were heavy with little food items.

Soon we passed a tukul that had an empty platter sitting on a box out front. Two ladies sat in the shade not noticing us as we past. That is when I heard the Holy Spirit say in my spirit turn back and give them the tomatoes………It was so faint I almost did not recognize it at first, yet as I obeyed unquestioningly I knew it was His voice.  Stacey had stopped and turned to watch as I retraced the 20 feet to the platter.  She told me as I turned from the platter to walk back to her side the two women ran to recover the tomatoes and dances with obvious joy in delight of the provision.

Yet one more stand stood beside the path before we turned from the road to walk down the small path to the orphanage in the ½ mile distance. Why would we stop? Stacey had hoped for a soda. As she located and purchased it from the man behind the stand, I sensed an unusually strong desire to buy some beans and dried fish from the lady remaining outside. I could not imagine what I was doing at the time. Why would we want these local delicacies?

Yet it was so much like the rest of the day. So much like the rest of the trip really….very much like the day in Fairbanks before we left home when we were looking for 64 pair of shoes for the Orphans At ABBA House in Entebbe…like when we felt we should buy this pair of shoes “extra” that were not on any of our lists……you just grow accustom to knowing there is a reason you do not understand so you follow those promptings and trust the Holy Spirit is speaking something you do not understand at the moment….something you will shortly realize had a precise target and reason just a little way done the path.

Having completed 51/2 hours of this 6 hour walk in 100+ degree sunlight with dust from head to foot- Our hearts very warm with God’s refreshing love from the days adventure in giving- we turned down the final trail toward awaiting cold water, soap, and a nice cold shower at our dorm just ½ mile away carrying two bags of food that grew heavy in our arms; food that we did not knowingly need.

Half way down the trail, it was there again. That faint voice. Almost not a voice at all, but a growing sense or desire to do something for no apparent reason or preplanned knowledge. Stacey wanted to go visit Egba. For some reason I did also so we ventured toward the tukul; the home of this older lady.

We would never have met Egba except for our friends Bruce and Joanne Carter. Several years earlier they had visited this orphanage and during their visit our dear friends had taken the time to think of us by returning with a special gift basket made by this precious little lady. Now my wife Stacey & I were standing in the very same African home of Egba.

Just two weeks earlier, Bruce, Stacey & I had stopped to visit her family. We found Egba was not in good health during our prior visit, but she had still managed the strength to sit and talk to us and take pictures together. Today, at the Holy Spirits leading we were lead to the same family without any prior plan to check on this dear lady, who was now bedridden from sickness.

We were able to pray with her and encourage her with the offering the Lord had supplied along the way. God knew His widow lady had a need and directed our very steps along the way to bring supply refreshing her and her family. What a loving special family they are. Like all Africans were met along the way.

The thrill of this experience was seeing God walk by our side and Bless many people yet at the same time weave together a masterpiece of our daily bread while it is called today.  Our prayer is that Jesus, our Great High Priest, can move His whole body to hear His voice each day and be His hands and Feet to care for those in need and give them the desires of their heart.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Let Them Fly

Flying into Yei, South Sudan meant that our luggage was limited to 15 kilograms or 33 pounds.  Considering that we were going for a month and that we had a strong desire to take some things to the children and widows there, this seemed at times like an impossible task.  One of the wonderful ladies at church donated about 400 little wooden airplanes to take.  This was a great option because they were very lightweight.  We distributed the first bunch of planes to the 150 orphans at Harvesters in Yei. Some of the planes were broken very quickly because with so many flying around, they were easily stepped on by some of the other children, others ended up on top of buildings or in trees. Some of the children quickly saw what was happening so they carefully took theirs apart and put it back in the little plastic bag that they came in.  For several days after you would see a plane come out here or there and a child carefully playing with it where not many other children were around to break it.  The older boys became very creative in putting together some of the broken parts and creating new planes which actually began to fly better.
Next we gave planes to the 47 children in Terekeka.  We cautioned them on how easily they could be broken.  With great joy, I watched them tossing their planes and chasing after them.  Then, I saw one boy step on another boy’s plane, but it was very interesting to watch what happened next.  The boy took his broken plane to the boy that had stepped on it, handed it to him, and then took the one that was still good.  Another boys plane was broken but he came up with a great idea:  he took the plane to a friend of ours and had him tie it with a string to a stick and then he flew the plane around that way. What creative children they are.
When our time was finished in Terekeka we took the seven hour taxi ride back across the rough roads of South Sudan.  At one point in the ride, Denver was turned around digging through our luggage and then he turned back with a bag of the planes.  What a fun idea this was: we put together airplanes and as we would pass children on the side of the road, we would toss them out the window to them.  I wish I could find the words to express just how much fun this was. The taxi driver was having so much fun with it that he would slow down and pull toward every person that we saw.  Sometimes the children would just stand there and look around with an expression that seemed to say “what just happened”.  Other children would run toward the plane with smiles and laughter, and sometimes even toward the car while we would quickly try to put more together. 

We were now back in Yei and we still have several airplanes left so one day we put them together and walked into town.  As we went we would hand them out to the children in the village. It was so much fun to see their joy and excitement.  I think we could have given away another 1000 airplanes if we would have had them. 

Denver came up with a great idea of taking these again in the future but having the words “Jesus loves you” printed on them in their native language.  Oh, that is going to be so much fun.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Humble or Blessed?

Are you humble?  Are you blessed? Can you be both?

The bible has many verses about being humble, but it has just as many (or more, I really didn’t count) about being blessed.  I use to think that being humble meant being poor and in fact some bibles are translated this way. But then being poor didn’t seem too much like being blessed to me so how could I be poor and be blessed?

Psalm 147:6 - The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.

Psalm 149:4 - For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.

Matthew 18:4 - Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Ephesians 4:2 - Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

James 4:6 - But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
James 4:10 - Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

1 Peter 3:8 - Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 5:6 - Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

I began to study the original Greek work for humble and humility and this is what I read: For the believer, tapeinophros├Żn─ô ("humility") means living in complete dependence on the Lord, i.e. with no reliance on self (the flesh).

Now if you go back and reread these verses changing humble to living in complete dependence on the Lord, does it put them in a different light?  It did for me.

Psalm 147:6 - The LORD sustains those who live in complete dependence on Him (the humble) but casts the wicked to the ground.

Psalm 149:4 - For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns those who live in complete dependence on Him (the humble) with salvation.
Matthew 18:4 - Therefore, whoever lives in complete dependence on the Lord (humbles himself) like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Ephesians 4:2 - Be completely living in dependence on the Lord (humble) and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

James 4:6 - But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to those who live in complete dependence on the Lord (the humble)."

James 4:10 – Live in complete dependence on the Lord (Humble yourselves) before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

1 Peter 3:8 - Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and live in complete dependence on the Lord (humble).

1 Peter 5:6 - live in complete dependence on the Lord (Humble yourselves), therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Many times the bible refers to humility verses pride because they are the opposite of each other.   Whereas humility is living in complete dependence of the Lord, pride is relying on one’s self and having no faith in the Lord.  When we walk in fear, then we are walking in pride because we are not being humble.   When we are humble (putting our faith in God) then God says that we are blessed

Jeremiah 17:7 - "But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.

Psalm 34:8 - O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Psalm 40:4 - Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.

Matthew 5:5 God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.

Live in completely dependence on the Lord and God promises that you will be blessed

Humble = Faith = Blessed
More updates about our time in Uganda and South Sudan will be coming soon