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Bibles and Water and Lights… Oh My!!!!

Family,

I am excited to write you again.  I know it’s been a week or so since my last letter, but this has been a challenge for Dad and me.  Not being together has been difficult and then add in a nine-hour time difference and completely different schedules… and you have recipe for aggravation!  But, God has shown His grace through this and… well, here we are now!

I just got off the phone with Dad and MY GOODNESS….  So many exciting things are happening in Pallisa.  I’ll try to just highlight a few because I don’t want to overload you.  (But, if you want to get an earful of ALL the amazing things our merciful God is doing, just let me know and we can talk about it over lunch!)

So, Dad and Godfrey have hit the ground running in Pallisa and have had the pleasure of seeing great things.  In June we passed out the tracks with thirty-two Bible verses on them in hopes of encouraging people to read their Bibles.  If they learned the verses and recited them for Pastor Geoffrey, they received a Bible.  Well, I am happy to announce that SOOOOOO many people have been reciting these verses to Dad and Godfrey.  There are over 12,000 of these tracks in circulation in this one county.  Dad said just driving down the road you’d see them in people’s back pockets!  Exciting!!!!

Well, they are having meetings with groups of people and playing Bible challenge.  At each gathering, Dad, Godfrey and Geoffrey give away about 100,000 shillings.  The money brings them in, but the hearing of God’s word encourages people.  The winner gets money and a MacArthur Study Bible.  THEN… they’ve taken solar powered lights and introduced them to the people.  If the people promise to read God’s Word for one hour each day, they get a light!  Dad said you wouldn’t believe how excited the Ugandans are to read the Bible!!!!!  Our goal is to eventually have 1,000 people in this county reading the Bible for one hour a day.  Can you imagine what that would do for this region?!?!?!?!!

We’ll start fundraising/brainstorming soon for this ministry.  The lights cost about $16 each.

Dad told me a story of meeting with a husband and wife.  When he asked her if she read her Bible, she replied, “Of course I do!  It’s my LIFE!”  Just a testament to why we are there.  People are hungry for God’s word!

He also met with a man who is the head of the water authority there and his name was Moses.  He told Dad that they had a 30% success rate of finding water.  Dad showed him how he finds water (which is 100% successful).  Can you imagine what this will do for the people????  AND… there is an American here in the states who is possibly thinking of donating a drilling rig!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am so excited!!!!!  I’m telling you…. In June we prayed things would come together and we knew we were just sowing seeds, but now we really are seeing things come together!!!!  How merciful is God that He allows us to witness these blessings?????

AND…  the children’s catechisms are printed and we are praying for the right person to head up this ministry and take them to the schools.  From what we have heard, the schools are willing to build this into the curriculum!!!!!  Goodness gracious… just gives you chills!

AND…  my dad and the guys were asked to preview the new Campus Crusade video Walking with Jesus and they are getting great responses from that with the projectors we sent over there to use for outreach!

I know I said I didn’t want to overload you, but I just got so excited!!!!   God is so good and faithful and merciful and… overwhelmingly amazing.  The fact that He thinks enough of us to use us… that should bring us to our knees in humility and thanksgiving.

I thank you for being a part of this ministry.  For caring what we are trying to accomplish in Pallisa.  For loving our Father and being a part of the Great Commission.  This is such an exciting time to be a follower of Jesus.  I am thankful to call you family.  I love you all and thank you for your continued love, prayers and support.  May God bless you richly.

His,

Michelle


Hello again, Uganda!!!

Family,

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to write you. (As I tried to plan out my outline on paper, my handwriting became unintelligible because my body was jerking with excitement.  So, I had to hurry up and jump on the computer!)

I just got off the phone with Dad.  It was a week ago that he left Knoxville, Tennessee to go spend a month with our amazing brothers and sisters in Uganda, Africa.  We’ve only had the chance to speak on the phone a few times and tonight I couldn’t wait to write you and tell you all about it!!!!  That is how these emails will work this month.  I’ll write you when I have no option.  I think I would have burst tonight had I not written you.

God has paved a phenomenal path for our brothers in Uganda.  In Dad’s first few days there, he’s met with government officials, with many pastors, with brothers on fire for Christ that want to help with our ministry.  His excitement and anticipation has grown each day.

One thing I’m SO excited to share with you is the update on Pastor James.  Remember that one of our sisters here in the states bought him a truck?  Well, I am honored to share that he’s used this investment so well.  He rents the truck to others when he isn’t using it and then invests the money into the Kingdom!  He has used the money earned to buy some land and plant a church!!!!!!  Many are meeting Christ because of this truck and the fruit just keeps coming!!

Dad has bought a vehicle (thanks to a brother here in the states); he’s waiting to get mud tires on it and then he’s off to Pallisa!  Anti-terrorism forces are alive and well, so Dad had to spend many hours at the bank proving he was not a terrorist.  But, he passed the test and now has his van!  Please pray that relationships are built so that in the future when we send money to our family in Uganda, the transactions will go smoothly and painlessly.

Dad, Pastor James and Pastor Jeffery are in the beginning stages of forming a council in Pallisa that will be the wisdom of our ministry of Uganda.  Prayers for discernment and direction would be appreciated.  It is apparent that God is working and wants to do great things in Pallisa!  The children’s catechism we decided to make in June is now printed and in students’ hands!  We printed 6,000 and can’t wait to see how God uses them.

The story that broke my heart tonight was the story of our brother’s son.  Simon Peter’s son, Daniel, fell off his bike two years ago and broke his leg.  (Daniel is seven)  Simon Peter took him to the doctor and the doctor tied both of his legs together.  (I guess to serve as a type of splint?)  Daniel begged and begged his father to break him loose, but Simon Peter refused saying the doctor knew best.  He tried for three days to find the doctor, but he was nowhere to be found.  When the doctor finally resurfaced, he (the doctor) admitted he had made a mistake.   Both of Daniel’s legs were now useless and in need of being amputated.  So, Daniel, 7 years old, no longer has his legs.  Simon Peter shared with my dad that he cannot find it in his heart to forgive the doctor.  My flesh is screaming, “Can you blame him?”  But, we must take comfort in the FACT that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Would you please pray with us that Simon Peter, through God’s grace and mercy, forgives this doctor?  That WHEN Simon Peter extends that forgiveness, mercy and grace that the doctor will see Jesus and be called to Him?  That Daniel will devour the Bible Dad is taking him this week and become a mighty man of God?  That someone will be moved to help this young boy walk again?

I love you all and thank you for your hearts.  Thank you for being on this journey with us.  Your prayers, hearts and love make a difference.  We are all the Church and it’s so exciting to be reminded of that!  YOU have beautiful brothers and sisters in Uganda.  YOU have many who are not a part of the family yet, but will hear of our Father because of your prayers through this ministry.  We are part of a work MUCH bigger than ourselves.

My goodness… just brings you chills, doesn’t it?????

Please visit the blog I put together of our trip in June.  https://witnessinguganda.wordpress.com/about/  Please give me your input.  What would you like to hear more about?  Dad is trying to upload videos and as soon as he does, they will be in your inbox.  I’m doing my best to convey what is happening there, but I’m here!  I’m still in school.  So, if you would give feedback, I’d appreciate it.

I love you all.  You are my family whom I love dearly.  Thank you for your continued prayers.  God is about to amaze us.  If we open our eyes, He does that every day.  I am excited to see what He wants to show us this month.  I love you.  Thank you.

His,

Michelle


Teach me to pray

Family,

So, here I am.. almost a month after my travels in Uganda with Dad… I’m at a Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship (PEF) conference here in Milligan, Tennessee and I am flooded with emotion…  I can’t quite figure it out.  I haven’t felt the need to write since I was in Uganda.  (and that…I don’t know what to do with)  What is it that makes me have to process so much when I’m with my dad?  Why do I not process when I’m away from him?  Is it him?  Is it the fact that when I’m with him I’m steeped in Jesus?  Am I flooded with the Spirit and that’s why I feel this way?  I have no idea!!!  I have no idea what is going on right now…

What I do know is that I was just downstairs enjoying the most beautiful sing along with some amazing people.  Our beautiful brother John Linville led us in worship tonight.  But, it wasn’t all serious (or at least the tone wasn’t)… it was straight-up sing-along, folk, fun singing to Jesus.  I just met John yesterday, but knew instantly that I loved him.  He and his wonderful wife were just SO lovely and calming.  But, there is something different about his calming… it doesn’t sedate you… it fills you up.  I’ve never quite felt this way around someone before.

Anyway, John has cancer and tonight while he was singing and smiling and winking and bringing joy to the entire room, I felt this overwhelming urge to cry.  I wasn’t sad.  I wasn’t so lost in worship that I was crying.  I was grieved… and it wasn’t because he has cancer (well, not exactly).  I was moved to cry because I wanted (even needed) to pray for God to heal him.  But, I knew that I was inadequate.  (This isn’t a ploy for pity.. for my Christian friends to say “Oh Michelle… yadda yadda…”)

I feel God moving… I feel that He wants to teach me how to pray and on one hand I couldn’t be more excited about it… but, on the other, I’m afraid of that power.  I have a complex of being afraid of success… I know that sounds stupid… and eventually I’ll get over it, but that’s where I am.  But, think about it… Christ told us that we will do even greater things than He.  EVEN GREATER THINGS.  Greater things than Christ?  Yep.  That is truth, my friends.

So, that is what I’m processing.  I feel God is about to show me how to ask for His will.  How to pray in spirit and in truth.  How to know Him more.  How to be more like Jesus.  I am at that brink.  I’m at the place where I usually stop dead in my tracks and shutdown, but I can’t.  I have the overwhelming urge to throw myself at the feet of Jesus and BEG Him to teach me how to pray for my brother John.  BEG him to teach me how to pray for the healing of my dad.  BEG Him to teach me how to be His hands and feet.  BEG him for revival.

And then… accept that He will.

We serve the King of Kings.  The King of Kings has adopted me into His family and given me a new life that cries for others.  My tears tonight are not because John is so sick and I don’t want him to die, they are because he is so filled with the spirit and he overflows onto everyone else… and I want him to stick around to share that with as many people as possible.  I want to experience that as much as possible.  Maybe I’m just selfish…  Either way, I am certain that God wants me at the feet of Jesus begging Him to teach me to pray.

I’ve been reading a book titled, ­With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray.  I’m only on chapter thirteen and it is already rocking my world.

I’m just so blessed…


#9 June email “The Gift of Relationship”

Family,

Today was my second day in the school of evangelism.  It was great.  The first session was on Biblical church structure and the second was Dr. K showing his evangelism techniques.  I was blessed with spending time in class and some time with John Mark, a ten-month-old Ugandan boy who was content in my arms.  It made me miss my baby nephew, Gabe, so much.

After lunch, Dr. K, Pastor Joseph, Pastor James, Dr. K’s two grandsons and I went to the prison.  We were greeted by the prisoners with songs of praise.  The prison has 152 inmates.  Most are men.  I only met six women.  On our way in, they were asking if I would be allowed to go inside.  The guard said that it would be no problem and I could speak with the women separately.  I felt incredibly humbled, inadequate and not prepared.  Once we were inside, Dr. K presented the Gospel.  He spoke in English.  Pastor James translated it into Lugandan.  And one of the inmates translated the Lugandan to Swaheeli.  (I’m sure I butchered both of those spellings… forgive me)  About twenty minutes into his presentation, the women arrived.  There were six of them and one had a young daughter.  My heart sank.  I had a hard time not staring at the little girl for the hour we were there.  Toward the end of the presentation, Dr. K asked if anyone was ready to surrender to Jesus.  One raised his hand.  But, within about a minute, almost the entire place stood up and prayed.

Four of the women were receptive to the Gospel today.  My heart wanted to stay right there with them and spend time with them.  Get to know them.  Know their stories.  Know their struggles.  I asked the Pastor if I could come back tomorrow and spend time with them and he told me now was my time.  So, I went over and greeted them as I sat on the ground.  I asked how long they had been there.  It ranged from three weeks to a year.  I asked the woman with the little girl how long she had been there.  She said it had been three months.  I inquired about her daughter and found out she was a little over a year old and stays in the prison with her.  I could see the shame in her face as she looked away.  I tried to share that life is difficult.  It is so hard with Jesus, I couldn’t imagine without him.  Just about that time… the pastor came over and told me I had to leave.

It took everything I had to hold my tears until I was back in my room at the hotel.  How can we preach the Gospel without relationship????  How can we, in good conscience, share the good news of a personal relationship with our Savior WITHOUT walking alongside people.  Evangelism without discipleship is sad.  I wanted to convey to these women that this isn’t a magic prayer.  Jesus isn’t a band aid to what is wrong in your life.  This is the beginning (hopefully) of the most beautiful relationship they will ever have the honor and privilege of being a part of.  How do you grow that relationship???  You spend time with Jesus.  How do you do that???  You read the Bible.

I know I’ve talked a lot about my dad in these emails, but he’s a HUGE part of this journey.  This is the most time we’ve spent together since I was six years old.  During those twenty-four years or so… I wasn’t his biggest fan.  I didn’t know him that well.  We didn’t spend time together.  But, here in Uganda, we share meals, car rides, hotel rooms, prayers, stories, jokes and naps.  We are becoming intimately acquainted.  It is a beautiful thing.  I am so thankful for this time together.  The more time we spend together, the more I love him.  The more I love him, the more time I want to spend with him.

It is the same with God.  How will we ever love Him rightly if we don’t spend time with Him?  How will we ever want to spend time with Him if we don’t read our Bibles?  How can we tell others that He is THE God, if we aren’t intimately acquainted with Him?  I left that prison today yearning to tell the women, who were receptive to the Gospel, to read their Bibles.  That is their only hope. That is our only hope.

My eyes are continuing to be opened wider and wider.  My relationship with our Father is getting deeper and deeper.  My heart is getting bigger and bigger.

Thank you so incredibly much for coming along this journey with me.  Your words of encouragement are beautiful gifts.  Some of you have been sharing your spirit of generosity with the Ugandan people and I know you will be blessed.  I pray that our hearts will grow closer to Him and each other as we continue this work together.  God is good… all the time.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Philippians 3: 7-11

Thankfully His,

Michelle

 


#5 June email “Lovely… plain and simple”

Family,

Today was the biggest eye-opening experience yet.  We went to Namaseke where my dad built the school back in 1991 and visited there for a couple hours.  Moses is the pastor and he started a school there for the kids in village.  This village is high up in the mountains (amazingly beautiful drive), but it’s a difficult drive.  If it rains, you don’t get up or down.

Anyway, Moses showed us around the village (well, showed me, Dad had already seen everything).  He showed me the well Dad helped with in February, where they used to go to get water (WHEW!), and the school Dad built with Godfrey.  Since 1991, the government has taken over the building that Dad built.

After we ate our deliciously fresh pineapple, Moses took us to his present school building.  We met with the students and teachers.  They were all lovely, of course.  But, today was the first time the need of the people was so in my face.  They have dirt floors in these buildings and fleas are an issue.  The fleas are making the kids sick and because of the remoteness of the village and poverty, many people are dying.

Moses shared with us the needs of his people.  They need to finish the school building, which $4000 would totally do.  THEN, he shared that some of the parents can’t pay their student’s school fees.  School fees include EDUCATION, uniforms and TWO meals a day.  All of that for a whopping $50 a year!!!  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what I waste $50 on each month.  Man…

You know, I have watched the commercials since I was a little girl.  I’ve seen the pictures and videos of the kids in Africa that need food, water and education.  I’ve even changed the channel NUMEROUS times because it made me uncomfortable.  But now… I’ve held hands with those kids.  I’ve laughed with them.  I’ve played with them.  African poverty is no longer an abstract idea.  It is no longer something that does not touch my life.

I wish I could share with you the beauty of these kids.  You just look at them and your heart melts.  I plan on coming back in December with the focus of working closely with children’s ministry.  I was not prepared for the love of these kids.  They flock to me.  I know it is mostly because I’m white and mostly because I’m as fascinated with them as they are me, but there is something special there.  There is a kindred spirit that I absolutely cannot put into words.  The kids here are just lovely.  (I simply cannot stop saying that word… it is the best word to describe Uganda and its people)

Beauty is being shown to me in ways I never would have expected.  Ten years ago I would have told you you were crazy if you said I would fall in love with Africa.  This is a perfect example of God changing hearts.  This love does not come from me… there is no way.  Selfish me wants to spend my summer doing what I want to do, not being confronted with poverty and beautiful, undeserving people dying.  But, this is the journey God has given me and I am so grateful for His faithfulness and grace.  God is good… all the time.

I love you all.

His,

Michelle

 


Why are these old posts?

The first twenty or so posts will be the emails I sent while in Uganda.  This was my way of processing what I was experiencing and what God was doing.  I was extremely blessed to have a network of people who cared enough to go on this journey with me.

To them, I am forever grateful.  They are the reason I wrote and it was an incredible blessing.

Thank you.


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