My Sermon Today

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Church in the village. It is always a different experience. Some weeks if I am honest it is hard for me to truly get fed because of different reasons. I can’t really understand the interpreter, I am so tired that being in a hot confined area I begin to fight sleeping instead of engaging in the service, or just plain and simple different cultures. Other times my soul is fed and I am taught so much by sitting either under a tree, in an open church with iron sheets as their roof, or a mud room, and I love worshipping with believers that worship so freely.

Today I was headed out to church with a team and it had been raining. I am now driving and I must say I have been owning the roads ūüôā I have even gotten stuck in mud and have successfully gotten myself out. I have been pretty impressed with my “mudding” skills. Today it had been raining and we were headed to Buwenda Church which is pretty deep down a so-called road. I made it to the turn off and after 10 attempts the car I was driving was refusing to let me maneuver without 4 wheel drive. I was just about to say, ” I don’t think we are going to be able to make it” when a guy from the village came up to my car and said, “you let me help”. What the heck? Let’s try…

We arrived at the church and I knew that there was a reason for us to make it through the impossible roads to be gathering with these people today. As we are worshipping I look outside and see a very old woman bent over trying to get the mud that was caked on her feet off with a piece of grass. She had a walking stick and she caught my eye because of how old she was, which is very rare here, and the fact that she couldn’t walk due to what seemed to be the mud that had weighed down her feet.

At this time I see some of the young children come into the church with a mat and place it in the corner of the church. I didn’t really think anything of it at that time. Then I look back over to the woman and she has finished cleaning her feet and was walking, but I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Her back was bent completely over still and I realized that she never was bending down, this was the way her back was. My heart broke into pieces as I watched her struggle into the church.

When she entered the church she found the mat. She got down on all fours and prayed. And prayed. And prayed some more. Then she sat back against the wall and worshiped.

As we moved into prayer time I captured a picture of a young girl praying with the sweet elderly women on the floor. From one generation to another-I felt the sermon spoken over me.

I had come into church walked in with no health issues, clean clothes, a full stomach, clean shoes because I had a car to travel in, and I didn’t fall to my knees and pray like the elderly woman who couldn’t stand up straight. I was humbled from a generation younger than me to a generation older than me.

It reminded me of one of the first blogs I wrote last summer and it took me back to the place of surrender.https://thisismyjoy.org/2011/06/14/learning-to-bend-low/

My sermon for the day- Humbled and convicted. I need to find myself bent low.

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I do not take for granted

I do not take for granted the friendships the Lord has given me. Some go back as far as I can remember and others have just come within the last few months, all of them have shaped me in some form or another.

I have met so many incredible people and made great friends since I have been living in Jinja. It is not very often that people who live here go home. All have different reasons but one I have heard more than once is this, ” I really have no reason to go back. Friendships have changed and my life is now here”. To be honest this always scares me. It goes back to the core of my biggest fear when I said a simple, “yes” to come…I didn’t want to leave behind my friendships. I knew that everyone’s life would continue on at home and I fully expected it to and desired for it to. At the same time, I desire to go back home and pick up where I left off in some way. I want to find my friends doing what they do daily and join them in that because I love where He has placed each of them and I want to encourage them in where He has placed them.

Community looks the same no matter what culture you are in. Community that is found in Jesus Christ is one that encourages, protects, loves no matter the costs, forgives the unforgivable, celebrates, mourns and when one leaves the welcome home is so sweet. I think about my community at home from my family, to those who are a wiser generation who pour into me, to those who have been walking this journey with me since I was a child, to those who He has brought into my life recently, and I am overwhelmed with His goodness to me. I know that when I return home things will be different, even His word says “there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven” and I am thankful for the different seasons. It is what sanctification is all about…we are forever changing. I do know though that I have been blessed with a community that will embrace me and love me no matter how long I have been gone and no matter if the Dacia they knew when she left is not the Dacia that returns.

Every single person I have met along my journey of life has played a part in this story. Before He created the World He foreknew¬†every detail of my life and He knew who I would sit next to in class, who would walk up in my teller line, who would be in my life for a brief time, be my neighbor, my teacher, my best friend, every encounter, every friendship has an eternal weight. It has purpose in something bigger than myself…if I let it.

Here I sit in Uganda. A new community is being formed, one with those who face the same trials I face daily, ones who have stained feet like myself, and those who know the highs and lows of saying “Yes” to something greater than yourself. It is sweet. I am so thankful.

Still, deep in my heart I cannot wait to sit over coffee, with home around me, Texas stars, cowboy boots, familiar faces, familiar laughs and share what He has done in all of us over this past year.

Dear brothers and sisters, I love you and long to see you, for you are my Joy and the reward of my work. So please stay true to the Lord, my dear friends. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Jesus Christ. I pray that your love for one another will overflow more and more, and you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding.

I love each and every one of you.

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Elijah: The Lord is God

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Elijah, he was a great prophet who allowed the Lord to speak through him. He “zealously served the Lord and he was the only one standing and the people of Israel were trying to kill him as well”. The Lord used him mightily to turn His people back to him. Elijah’s name means: “Jehovah is God”. Elijah was courageous and committed completely to God. He knew that he served the all-powerful God. Elijah’s extraordinary faith and powerful prayer life distinguished him as a prophet among prophets, a man’s man, and a champion who loved God more than his own life. Elijah knew the provision and the power of God, the life-giving mercy and the fiery wrath of God. He lived up to his name: The Lord is God.

Today I have an Elijah that I believe will live the same life.¬†¬†He will be used and will serve Jesus zealously. But first he must survive. He is 3 months old and was given to us 3 weeks ago by his grandmother.His mother died after her c-section and it is believed that his father is also dead. His grandmother had been giving him dry tea. He is severely malnourished and is suffering from a very difficult strand of pneumonia. He needs prayers to pull through. He is currently with my sweet friend Renee Bach and her ministry “Serving His Children”. She is taking care of him medically.

He continues to fight. I believe truly that our God speaks to children and holds them in a way we will never know until we see Him face to face. I believe that God has whispered to this little boy, “I am the Lord your God”. He continues to fight for each breath. We pray that God’s breath fills up his lungs. I believe that through Elijah pulling through I will be able to say, “I have seen the provision, the power and the life-giving mercy of my God.”

Please pray that Elijah will pull through this critical time. At this point it truly depends on the Lord because his body is so weak and still fighting the pneumonia that has become resistant to most medications we have here. This strand of pneumonia is also seen a lot in those who have HIV, which we cannot tell if he has or not because of his young age but we have reasons to suspect that he does indeed have HIV. But the Lord is above all things.  Pray for Renee, Danielle, and the doctors that are caring for him around the clock. I am so thankful to be surrounded by Arise Africa International who is the hands and feet of Jesus to so many at all times and for other people who are committed to lifting high the name of Jesus.

We live by His mercy and grace.