These orange roads have changed me.

This road leads me to 57 children that I love as my own. This road has brought me to a child that has sickle cell and will not live to be older than mid 20’s here yet she challenges me to live life laughing and joyful, even though sometimes the pain is more than she can bear. This road has led me to a 10 year old boy that has seen more tragedy than any of us will see and when he was brought to us his eyes were full of pain and tears. As this road leads me back home I look back at a smiling boy who’s eyes are full of Jesus. Orange road that lead me to a two year old boy the size of a 3 month old. We couldn’t get him to respond even to substantial pain. Tonight he lays beside me with a huge tummy and laughter that literally makes me shout HALLELUJAH every time I hear it. I have found “Gifts”. Two little girls that were brought to us with severe malnutrition, today I can count the fat rolls. Miracles…I have found along this road.

Roads that I walked with Pastors that show me abandonment to the Gospel. These men are what I believe a glimpse of what the 12 looked like walking along their roads. They had nothing, but what they did have they abandoned to answer the Call. The orange road led me to a pastor who lost his leg to cancer but stood on one leg, hopped on one leg for miles to preach. I met a pastor who was giving what little he earned to take care of the orphans and widowed, it was his joy. I met a community that was starving and we brought little food and their joy was more than I could take in…they gave all the glory to God. I met men who have been healed of their terminal sickness. I have seen repentance of a life rescued and there is no turning back. 

These roads have led me to life and to death but I have found saving Grace. A 7 year old little boy who was about the size of a 4 year old due to no food. But His presence is even there. 

These orange roads have led me to people I have never met face to face yet we are bonded together like we have walked these roads side by side. But because they have seen and walked we can share our understanding of this place.

“The hardest places to leave are the places God leads us to. Because those are the places you are shaped and molded into a new person. Those are the places your heart expands, your eyes are opened to new perspectives, and your eyes really begin to see. 

These orange roads have stained my feet and my heart. I wish I could bring all to walk these road with me, there is nothing in this world like it. Nothing as sustaining and fulfilling. 

But until you walk these roads yourself…you are welcome to walk with me. Although I am going home, my journey is really just beginning. Continue to check in…lots more to come. 

I have two more days. I am soaking up every minute. 

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First Timer’s Eyes

My first visit to Uganda has been amazing…the red Earth, the trees, mountains, lakes, Nile River, and most importantly, the people…are all incredible. What stands out the most to me is how happy everyone is, despite their very difficult circumstances. Most of these people barely have enough food and water to survive, yet they are all smiles, all the time. 🙂  They praise God for everything they have been given…which is almost nothing, and back in the states, people (including myself) are complaining that we don’t have enough money to buy a 15th pair of shoes, or a new dress because we don’t want to wear one of our 10 that we already own. We are blessed beyond belief, and although I thank God for the things I have, I don’t do it enough. 

One thing that is currently heavy on my heart is how I have come to the other side of the world to help feed the hungry, when there are so many hungry people right around the corner in Dallas. Why am I not serving at the food kitchen, or helping at the homeless shelter back home? One thing is for sure…I will be starting to soon. 

Life here is very laid back and slow paced. Whenever we are told to be ready at 8am, I know I have until around 9-ish to get my stuff together. There is normal time, and there is “Africa time.” 🙂 It is much like Europe in that respect. We have also learned the term “T.I.A.” – This is Africa. Cars break down, emergency visits to the hospital with the babies, cows in the middle of the road, bathrooms are holes in the ground…the list could go on and on, but it’s funny to me how much I’ve heard T.I.A. since I’ve only been one week so far.

I feel blessed to get to see what Dacia sees everyday, and be able to help out the little bit that we can in the short time we are here. Since arriving, we have been to a baby’s hospital and seen children that are so very sick and dying, that there is probably nothing that the hospital can do for them. I saw that on my first day and wept for the baby and the family. The little girl was so malnourished, she appeared to be about 2 years old, when she was really 7. It was heart-breaking and almost unbearable to see. Later that day, we (meaning Dacia and Austin) minstered to men in a prison. They sang for us and danced – I couldn’t believe my eyes. We handed out soap and toothpaste to them, and they were very grateful. We’ve spent multiple days at the baby’s home out in Bukaleba and that has been my favorite. The children out there are absolutely precious and have a joy in their eyes that I did not expect to see. We made them s’mores one evening, which was a first for all of them. It was so cute to see how excited they were! Some are in the process of adoption, but not nearly enough. My prayer for them is to be adopted quickly, and to be able to stay healthy while they are in the orphanage. 

Yesterday, we got to take a boat ride down the Nile, as well as see the source of the Nile – it was an incredible sight. While we were in the boat, it began to rain on us, which in turn, created a double rainbow – I think it might have been one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. How lucky and blessed am I to be here, and have a friend like Dacia to show it to me. Truly, a woman of God. She blows me away with her strength and love for life, these people, and her babies here.

-Devonee Kershner

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My blog looks different and I cannot figure out why?? It has changed to a ridiculously boring theme and it will not let me change it. A little frustrated. So if anyone knows what the deal is, please let me know.

In the meantime, I apologize for the boring read 🙂 I have visitors here and will post of all the crazy things that has happened on Monday evening. 

Worth it.

It is moments like this one-in His presence- with no words, heart leaping and complete amazement that make it all worth it. I would leave everything I love, I would leave my friends and family, everything that is valuable to me to experience this more.

I will try to put into words and summarize because I don’t want to scare people with a long post and risk them not reading.

Worth not having my friends and family here. If you know me you know that I love my friends and I have many. I love my family and am beyond blessed to have such God fearing parents who have taught me ministry and to answer the call no matter the cost. Team after team has come here to Uganda and stayed at the Arise Africa Guesthouse. It is the home to people all over this world. And tonight I worshiped with strangers from Ireland. I love that He brings us together. That with the bond as brothers and sisters in Christ, you feel like you have family here. We sang the same songs we sing at home and I was reminded of this: He is the God of the Nations. Yes, I have known this for years. Tonight though, I was a part of a church, a people halfway across the world from America and we were both here loving on God’s people in Uganda. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess….I have tasted just a tiny tiny portion of what that day will be like. 

Worth leaving it all behind. Today we went to the children’s hospital and there I found a 7 year old girl who was the size of a 3 year old. She was bones. But her eyes lit up and her smile was contagious. We prayed for healing. I don’t know if she will make it but I know that today, I saw His kingdom here in they eyes of a child who was holding on for dear life. I also visited a prison today. They sleep on dirty infested concrete floors. They do not have soap, they do not have clean water, the smell could knock you out cold. As we walked in the prison doors we were greeted with singing and dancing. We were greeted by those hungry for the Word. Inside prison walls, I saw true freedom. For if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.

Worth giving up the American Dream for His. I cannot explain my love for this country. Sometimes I think it is only a love He gives to those who are called here but this is not true. America is a blessed country and I am beyond blessed and humbled by His grace to me to be born there, I could have been born anywhere. We have all been called…WE HAVE ALL BEEN CALLED. Through this journey He has brought people into my life that I have never even met, but they have changed me. We have exchanged our lives through facebook. I have sat down to write out how my heart feels about leaving here in a few weeks but I cannot do it. I know that it is hard to understand if you have not been able to experience a third world country. So I keep quiet and try to process on my own. But today….a friend I have never met wrote a blog about me and she put into words what I have not been able to! I ask you to give 10 more minutes of your day and read her blog… www.environmentsofgrace.com  The orange roads are worth it. 

“I am desperatly seeking, I am frantic believing that the sight of Your Face is all that I am needing and I will say to You- It’s gonna be worth it, it’s gonna be worth it all. You’re going to be worth it, all my joy. You’re going to be worth it, all my pain. You’re going to be worth it all.” Rita Springer

When I decided to come to Uganda, the Lord had called me to work with the pastors. I knew I would spend some time with the children, but little did I know of His plans.

I didn’t know my heart could love like this. I never knew that I could love 55 children and love them individually. There are times when I have to lock myself in my office for 5 minutes of sanity and no little hands touching me. But there isn’t one second that I am not going to miss have little ones attached to my legs as I walk, to hear “Aunti Dacia, I love you” through out the day, to worship and pray with these before I go to bed, to hear them sing their prayer.

Through these children He has shown His heart to me. He has reminded me that as these children crawl into my lap because they have no one where else to go, He reminds me that I do the same with Him. He has shown me grace. I am not equipped to do this…I am not married, I have no idea what to do when one of my children gets measles or malaria, but He has given me grace in the moment. I don’t know how to comfort a child who’s parent just left them for the second time but He knows how to through me.

I can’t even tell you how my heart hurts to leave these children. I don’t want them to feel like another person in their life has abandoned them. You cannot explain to a 3 year old that you have to go home to return to your job so you can pay the bills. I want them to remember how much I love them, how much I would give to stay here with them…

But He has challenged me: My they not remember my name but they only remember His. That is all that matters.  

I am 26. For every birthday I have had, I can remember going to eat at my favorite restaurant, having parties at different places and my favorite cake. Children at home see their first pizza when they are toddlers, they experience a restaurant before they are even able to sit up on their own. We wouldn’t even imagine someone not knowing what a pizza is.

Tonight, I took my family-Pastor Moses and Martha and their 1 biological daughter Patience, and their 3 children that they have taken in Derek, Peace, and Junior (parents died with AIDS) out for Pastor Moses’s 34th birthday. I took them to 2 Friends Resturaunt where they are known for their pizza. This was the first time in 34 years that he had ever seen a pizza. The children had never been to any place close to a resturaunt. I was sitting there as I was watching their faces thinking, “to be 34 years old and to have never been out for your birthday..Beyond my understanding”. I loved every minute of my night…watching them laugh, watching them experience it all for the first time. 

Next time you go out for a meal, order a pizza from home, celebrate your birthday…count it a blessing and God’s grace to you. I pray I never forget. One of the things I look forward to the most is going to eat at my favorite places when I get home, and I was somber last night as I thought…some will never know life outside of their village, never know anything besides chicken, matoke, posho and they are perfectly happy and content. They will eat that for the rest of their life and never be unthankful. I have a place called Furrs at home, more food than most of Uganda has ever seen in thier lifetime and we don’t eat there because it is not quality enough.

If you want to be ruined, come to Uganda. If you want to be humbled, come to live among these people. If you want to find the joy that is from Jesus Himself, sit down and have a conversation with just one hungry soul. We have no idea what we have….we truly don’t.