Today started out tough. We are running from 8am -9:30pm with meetings for preparation each day, traveling, speaking, sitting, singing, dancing, talking, hugging, and the heat and humidity. The internet is off and on, and when it’s off, there’s not much to be done about it.
I thinking I’m just missing some alone time, some down time to really prepare for the next day. But all in all things are running really smoothly, just my own personal moment of feeling not rested, not hydrated and not worthy.
But the women are amazing. Let me tell you, they work like mad in the early morning in order to make it to church by mid morning. They are dressed up, and so full of life. They are so grateful we are here. I think they view us as some sort of dignitary. American women bringing them something. But let me tell you when it comes to the word of God, they know it, they can quote it, and they know exactly how it applies. When it comes to the work of God, they see it. They are far more concerned with what God has done or is doing or showing them than the circumstances they are in. Though they don’t deny anything that is going on, and are pretty open.
I taught second today on John 11, Jesus raises Lazarus. It was awesome to be able to create a picture for them of the scene of what was happening, Thomas’ willingness to go with Jesus to Bethany even though he was sure they would all be killed. Martha’s profession that she believed Jesus was the Christ, even though he did not heal her brother and did not yet know he was going to raise him from the dead. I still see myself as the pouting child, stomping my feet a little bit at Christ not coming earlier and saving them all that sorrow. But as the women heard today, we love him, follow him, serve him…that doesn’t mean he’s still not doing his thing, glorifying the Father even if it upsets our lives and causes some pain for us. The funeral gathering and all those that were travelling with Christ made for a pretty big crowd to witness some mighty power and “many put their trust in Christ”. Are we still in when we get a NO to our prayer, knowing that God has a greater YES?…and it may not be about benefitting us at all. Anyway, thank you for indulging me as I relive it.
We broke into small groups and each had about 12 women and an interpreter. We had questions to initiate discussion about the two lessons taught, but I opened with asking them if they had any questions for me and that was that. It was really like a counseling session instead and some difficult questions like “what do I do if my husband is a believer, but found another wife?” “People call me to pray for them and they are also believing in the witch doctor, how can I get them to stop?” “When I am praying, I begin praying in tongues. Is that from God or from the devil?” “My friend is really depressed and doesn’t want to do anything, what should she do?” “I get really emotional when I pray for people, what can I do about it, is it ok?” (Ugandan women don’t show that kind of emotion) “What can we do about the younger generation who doesn’t want to go to church and follow Jesus?” So you know…nothing too life heavy or difficult!!!!
My word between every session, they get us all up to dance and sing partly because worship is so important to them and partly to wake everyone up for the next segment of the day. I promise they got a kick out of us joining them and I gave them a good laugh trying to figure out the shaking of my back side in just the right way. They are so fun about that kind of stuff , probably about 10 women came up to hug us and thank us for dancing with them. You know, I never knew I could sweat like that and I knew they don’t wear deodorant, but I am now wondering if mine is working and if I am smelling them or me?
The highlight today for me was being able to share from my past about the power of forgiveness and an altar call for anyone who needs to let go and forgive someone else. So as transparent as they are, about 70 of the 150 came forward for prayer. They gathered in a crowd and all of our team and some of the leadership spent about 15 minutes laying our hands on each one and praying for them.
Each day at dinner we share about our day and what is working and what isn’t. Each day gets better, everyone was more comfortable with the interpreters and the women are becoming so personally attached to us. I took a small purse size photo album today to share with a few and man did they pour over the few pictures I had of our family.
Once again the kids swarmed the camera and the bus, as we left. We put our hands out the window and they grab as we drive away, and run to keep up all the while waving and yelling goodbye. It’s a great way to begin and end the day. Feeling so blessed tonight…so impressed with the women we are meeting and their genuine hearts. I’ll close this one out by saying when we first arrived, the smell of something was really strong everywhere. I have to say the newbies among us thought it was marijuana and in a poor country, wouldn’t be surprised about the people seeking an escape from their suffering and hard life. I was so glad to hear, it is the charcoal they use and have resumed inhaling ever since I got the clarification…really could have been a really long or short trip otherwise…internet is down again, so I’ll try to get this one up in the morning before we leave. Love you all…thanks for praying us through.
Wednesday I will be teaching on a compassionate God from Luke 4. The widow of an only son who has died...Jesus goes to her, face to face and tells her "woman do not cry".