Dear Partners of Prayer and Faith,
Musiibye mutyano (How are you?)
I pray this greeting finds you well and enjoying His best. Our time here in Jinja is quickly coming to a close. With such amazing experiences accompanying these past few weeks it's hard to believe it's been such a short time. The days have been so full that they have felt like weeks...So much to reflect upon, process through, apply and implement. Our lives have certainly been touched and marked in powerful ways.
Forgotten, Imprisoned Women
This past Tuesday we returned to Kirinya (the women's prison) where we were given another opportunity to share personal testimonies and teach on servant-hood, as well as to demonstrate Christ's servant heart through a special foot washing and bless each woman with her very own pair of sandals. Words cannot communicate appropriately the experience in full and how rewarding it was to serve these women in this way. Forgotten and dismissed among the Ugandan society, many of these women are imprisoned on account of false accusation. Some will serve a 1-2 year term before even being offered a trial. What a blessing it was to bring a little joy and hope to such a dejected and despondent community. A memory that remains precious to us was the gift we were given as we departed. With tears streaming down faces (theirs as well as ours) and with their beautiful Ugandan voices they sang: Tembeyana Yesu Tembeyana...(Go with Jesus) "...Go with Jesus and we'll see you one day again in heaven." What a gift it was to be able to affirm these women in their worth and value as we shared with them Christ's love knowing that one day we would see them again in glory.
Calvary Chapel Jinja and Orphanages
On Wednesday we had the privilege of sharing with the women serving on staff at Calvary Jinja. In anticipation of our trip this year, this event was again another one that we were excited about and looking forward to with hopes of continuing relationships with our African sisters that we had began in 2007. It was a real treat for us to be able to pour back into the ministry God is doing through their lives as we enjoyed a Ugandan meal together, encouraged them on the importance of abiding, and the challenge of ongoing dependence (a key principle being: God is more interested in what He is doing in our hearts, than what He can do through us)-a wonderful reminder, even for our team.
Today we will have an opportunity to be back at Amani baby cottage and New Hope orphanage and then Sunday we will worship one last time with the community at Calvary Jinja before the team heads home.
As we shared together (as a team) yesterday afternoon, the things the Lord had been speaking to our hearts, I was encouraged to hear all that God had been at work doing. Our prayer has been that this trip would be more than just a 2 week missions experience but that God would use it to bring about real change...not only in the hearts of those we minister to, but in our hearts as well; and that He has done. We've gained new perspective and a greater desire to live intentionally-lives that care deeply for others-a reality that has been modeled for us through our interactions with the African people.
Apart from ministry, some of the other highlights that were shared around the breakfast table this morning include: Enduring the 82° F humidity sleeping conditions, becoming well acquainted with our bathroom friend (a cockroach we've named Ralph), cold showers that can seem as effective as hot, when seeing red African dirt fill the tub (a good investment of soap and water). Ironing line dried underclothes (to avoid the eggs of mango flies embedding under our skin), enjoying African chai and chapatis (an African tortilla), and the amazing home cooked meals from our team hostess, Danielle (many from which the produce has been harvested right out of their backyard). It has been an exciting and enriching adventure!
Thanks again to the many of you who have supported us and covered us in prayer as we've continued in this journey. We are looking forward to being home with you soon and sharing personally all that God has done.
With deepest appreciation for your ongoing love and partnership,
Michelle (for the team)