Almost two months have passed since our team boarded the plane to head to Uganda and arrived back in Texas two weeks later. Yet, I still feel like a part of me still never left. Almost daily I am taken back to a hut, a school, a prison, the hotel, the river, the van, or the street where God graciously met me in ways I never imagined. It is especially true when looking at the pictures. Like looking at your own children’s baby pictures and remembering all the sweet memories so are all the stories and memories that flood your soul when you look back at the pictures taken during God moments in Uganda. Wednesday, July 17th was no different.
After sharing God’s testimony on Monday and walking hut to hut on Tuesday to share the gospel with many who accepted God’s gift of eternal life, Tuesday night each of the team members received their assignment for the next day. Ann and I were chosen to give our testimonies at the crusade the following day and Marvin would be the preacher. So I went to bed Tuesday night thinking about the testimony God wanted me to share the next day. When I awoke praise was on my lips as I read Psalm 47.
“Clap your hands, all you peoples;
shout to God with a jubilant cry.
For Yahweh, the Most High,
a great King over all the earth.
He subdues peoples under us
and nations under our feet.
He chooses for us our inheritance—
the pride of Jacob, whom He loves.
God ascends among shouts of joy,
the LORD, among the sound of trumpets.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our King, sing praise!
Sing a song of wisdom,
For God is King of all the earth.”
Oh how I wish I could remember the song our team lifted high to God that morning during devotional, but I do remember worshipping with angels that morning. It was just a glimpse into the glory God would receive throughout the day.
Upon arriving at the new church, a word from the pastor, and then our commission to go forth we boarded the bus and van and headed to the land God designated for us to speak His gospel to for the day. My translator and I were among the first to leave the van and thus we were the first to find ourselves at the market street. A quick prayer was lifted up under my breath as the translator spoke to the two ladies and opened the door for me to share. Before I was through sharing there were at least eight adults under the awning and hearing the gospel. Two surrendered their lives to the Lord that day and were invited to the crusade. Please pray for Sarah Akello and Adoyilo Betty, new believers in the Lord.
Next, we were lead around through the back door of a medical clinic. There God allowed me to share with a young lady who ran the medical clinic. I sat on a wooden stool in the middle of an African CVS or Walgreens. I remember thinking how awesome it was to be in the presence of medicine that can heal the body, while sharing the medicine that can heal the soul. The young lady was a believer and we had a sweet time of prayer together.
Most of our team members had flooded the rest of the market street so we headed towards the homes. However, before reaching the path to the homes we approached a health clinic that was being held. They were handing out medicine, giving shots, etc. to the people of the community. My translator introduced me to several there and I shared the gospel. Five of the women there prayed and surrendered their hearts to the Lord. Acour Lucy, Acouyou Joyce, Asle Mageret, Apollot Salume, Auimo Robert
The Lord released us from that area and led us down the path to the huts. Our first hut housed a woman who was a believer. She told me she had been having some terrible dreams and wanted me to pray for her. The Holy Spirit brought to my memory Proverbs 3:24, a verse I used often with my own children when they had bad dreams.
“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be sweet.”
The next few huts we came to were also women who were believers and God allowed me the opportunity to encourage them through God’s word and pray over them. I remember sitting there under a tree with a woman peeling her kasava and thinking who am I that God would bring me all the way to Africa to minister to women? Who am I that God would choose me to “do women’s ministry” 10,000 miles away from home? Who am I but a humble servant taking one faith step at a time as I rely on His word to speak through me.
The last hut we were able to stop at had a lady out front working. Upon hearing the gospel message she said she could not surrender her life because she brewed beer. She was a grandmother and had many children and grandchildren. The Lord pleaded through my soul for her to not leave behind a legacy that does not last past the temporary satisfaction of alcohol. Never before has my soul ached to the point of tears as God’s compassion filled every pore of my body all the while being met with resistance. I prayed for her and left there with a heart broken for a soul unwilling to surrender the temporary to gain the eternal.
“If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?” Matthew 16:24-26
It was not until I would arrive back to my hotel room that evening to rest and meditate on the work God did that day would the Lord bring to my mind the young man, the woman’s grandson, that stood off to the side under a nearby tree. Never once did I offer him the gift that was being offered to his grandmother. I cried out to God that night for His forgiveness in not personally offering His gift of salvation to that young man. I pleaded with God to have mercy on that boy’s soul despite my closed eyes by allowing that grandson to take the paper with God’s word on it and speak to his heart.. Even in the midst of doing what God was calling me to do in that moment, part of my sinful nature was still in control and not totally yielded to the Holy Spirit. I still fell short of hearing His voice every minute and asked God for His forgiveness and restoration from my sin.
The time had come to head back to the vans so that we could have some lunch and prepare for the crusade. Today would be the day Ann and I would share our testimonies and Marvin would have his first opportunity to preach in Uganda.
During lunch I spent time in prayer and writing out my testimony. Ann too did the same. Marvin felt led by the Lord to soak up God’s word through osmosis while he rested his physical body to prepare for the workout he would be participating in in just a few short hours. While we were individually preparing and praying God was weaving our testimonies together to proclaim the one true message of His saving grace to be proclaimed.
As the time drew near and the stage was being prepared we came together and prayed. As we prayed I lifted up a prayer for a cool breeze and for Marvin especially to not be hot wearing his suit. Oh how God would delight in answering that prayer. As Ann shared her testimony I stood in amazement at how similar my own testimony was and how God would use both of our testimony to communicate the one message He wanted shared that day.
Marvin then took to the platform and God continued to demonstrate His unending love for the people of that land. The breeze came and a coolness swept over Marvin that could be felt among the crowd. Not necessarily the coolness of the day, but the refreshing Holy Spirit sweeping amongst the people in attendance drawing them to the Living Water that they never have to thirst for again.
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water spring up within him for eternal life.” John 4:13-14