June 30, 2010
Later on in the van ride out to Sibanga, Mike shared with us what he had been reading out of Micah 6:1-8 where God asks us to act justly, love mercy and to humble ourselves. This struck me as I had just been praying about having mercy and here he was asking questions and holding a discussion about it. I pondered it all day and came to realize that it was easy for us to act justly, to do what is right and not wrong. However, it is often times hard, especially for me to not judge others and want them to pay for the consequences they deserve. God wants us to love others with mercy (not getting what you do deserve) and to live our whole life in a humble way. So God let me rest in this for two days without totally revealing what he had in mind for me.
Once we got to Sibanga I was matched with my translator, Pastor Ben, whom I had on Monday. He is such a passionate pastor with a pastor’s heart and lives what he preaches. He brought along Abel who is a young man in his church and discipled him as we went along. We had several neat experiences. Pastor Ben was a little discouraged at first since the first few huts we went to the people were already believers. However, that does not ever stop me from praying words of encouragement to other believers and so we did. Then we came to a hut where two women said we could share with them. As we were sharing two more men came up and wanted to hear as well. When I was almost done sharing, two more men came up and wanted to hear as well. After everyone had heard the gospel message, the oldest gentleman shared he was so thankful for this news. Then they all wanted to pray to receive Christ. The oldest gentleman told us afterwards that he was a pastor at a nearby church (that is typically not known for believing in the "protestant" gospel). While, I cannot judge and say that this pastor had not been teaching the bible correctly, I pray that the truth of the Bible will now be preached in a way that it could not before as the Holy Spirit is now in this man. May his congregation hear the truth of the gospel from their new believing pastor.
Pastor Ben with new believers
The first two men who joined us
Everyone together who prayed
The last two men who joined us. The one on the right is the older gentleman who is the pastor.
Another time a young boy that was just passing between huts prayed to receive Christ. He said he was in the area visiting his relatives, but his home is near pastor Ben’s church. What was cool about this is that Pastor Ben had told me earlier that he did not care whether or not the people he shared the gospel with could actually make it all the way to his church. If there was a bible believing church that was closer to their home, he encouraged them to go to it. Oh how so many churches here in America care about their numbers more than the discipleship of their members. I believe God was blessing Pastor Ben's attitude and I was able to encourage Pastor Ben by sharing with him that God may have just given him a new young disciple for his church.
Our last visit was to a beer hut. Now I had heard many times about beer hut experiences, but had never experienced one myself. There was a group of about five men sitting around this pot of banana beer with long straws coming from the pot to their lips. They were gracious in letting us come and share with them, but they already had their ammunition ready for us. They knew the verses in the bible to use to rationalize their drinking, but that did not stop my translator Pastor Ben and Abel. They too had a ready defense for these men and I am so glad they did. They were much more prepared to handle it than I was and I could tell they had encountered this before. Pastor Ben would ask me to turn to various scripture passages. I would read them and then we would both share the truth of the bible. I was utterly amazed at Pastor Ben's knowledge of the location of various verses and was reminded again how much more I need to be hiding God’s word in my heart so that I can give a ready defense when called upon. (2 Timothy 4:2)
When I thought we were through and had returned to the van to head back to the church, Mike had just completed sharing the gospel with a group of children and a couple of adults. He asked me to lead the children in the prayer of salvation while he answered some questions from another man. After I prayed with them, two boys on bicycles came up and I was able to share the gospel with them and they prayed to receive Christ. God is never through working!!!
We all went to lunch and before the crusade started around 3:30 we all gathered to pray. Don and Mike led out in prayer. They covered everything so thoroughly that as I was praying in agreement with them, the Lord burdened my heart to lift Dee Dee up in prayer. She had not been feeling well that morning, but went out to give her testimony at the schools with Scott anyway. Later we would find out that at the exact time we were lifting her up in prayer, Dee Dee needed it and was empowered to give her last testimony of the day. While God did not need us to pray for him to empower Dee Dee, he allowed us the opportunity to participate in his work. Another awesome way God worked is that after Dee Dee gave her devotional this morning, we listened to Dawson's prayer and verses. Dawson read about Saul seeing a vision and becoming a believer. Don shared with us later in the day that the first person he came to told him that he had had a dream that a Muzungu was going to come to him and share with him. God’s timing is always perfect and God allowed our children to minister to the team while we were there.
The crusade was wonderful and it was all God. Melissa and Mike were to be giving their testimonies, Don would be preaching, and Stephen and I would be leading the Children's ministry. As it was getting closer to the time for the crusade to begin, I began to have doubts as to whether or not God was going to show up. Don, Melissa, and Mike had prepared and prayed so much for this time and there were hardly any people there. But after it was all said and done I had to kick myself for even doubting whether or not God was going to show up and do his amazing work. Not only were there a ton of people listening and hearing the gospel message, but He spoke to all the members on the team who were being God's vessels. Melissa had been struggling with the cracks in her life that God was using to share his message with the Ugandan people (see my husband's blog for more about how God uses our broken pots to further his kingdom at http://thatnonemayboast.blogspot.com/2010/07/power-of-gospel.html) and yet God gave her not one word more and not one word less than what she needed to share. Mike too did a great job in sharing his testimony and Don shared powerfully the gospel message. What happened in the children's ministry was nothing less than God loving the little children.
Mike and Stephen entertaining the children before the crusade
Mike praying for Don before the sermon
The night before as I was preparing to do the children’s ministry, I was in Melissa's room gathering the materials together and she mentioned something about possibly sharing the good news bad news message with the children. I can only describe it as a total whack to the head as God revealed to me that here I was trying to prepare a bible story lesson that the kids would like and I was never even considering the story of actually presenting the gospel to them. I let loose (Scott, Mike, and Melissa said I yelled at her) as I could have kicked myself for being in such a Sunday school/bible story mindset. Why couldn't we share the gospel with the children and call them to respond!?! So Stephen and I planned to share with them. The children sat so attentively and listened and learned the songs that went with the story of Jesus calming the storm and the wise and foolish man building the house. Then we shared with them the message of the gospel and several prayed to receive Christ. Those who prayed received a cut-out foam fish to remind them of the decision that they had made and to share the good news with others. When we were done, Mike asked “How did it go? I didn’t hear a sound.” (This was unusual because with so many kids, it had been crazy good all week in the children's ministry department). All I could say was that it was all God and the prayers of his people in Uganda as well as everyone who was praying in the states. It was a wonderful day in the Lord.
"Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning...
Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth
and girded me with gladness,
That my soul may sing praise to
You and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever."
Psalm 30: 4-5, 10-12
Thank you Lord for bringing dancing and shouts of joy to the people of Uganda. Amiina