Saturday, November 21, 2009

And the tears flow

I've been looking at pictures of Uganda. I know that probably doesn't surprise you, but what might is that I don't really look at them too often. While I was at school, I didn't reminisce too much since I was way too busy. Now, I'm so busy talking about Uganda, it is rare that I get a moment to really remember my time there. This time, I've been going through my pictures choosing ones to use in my presentations at churches and for my display board. Wow, those were some incredible trips!!! So many faces with so many stories stared at me as I clicked through those pictures again and again. Rose, my translator of several years and African Sister. Justine, my school team partner and singing buddy. Joseph, another favorite translator and fellow keyboardist. All of my muzungu team members through the years. Face after face of people who professed faith in Jesus for the first time with me. It's overwhelming. The Lord has poured His blessing out on me year after year through each of those trips. Remembering all the incredible moments definitely makes me long to go back... tonight. But I have to remind myself, it won't be just like that everyday once I'm there fulltime. I will have my share of difficulties, conflict, and challenges. I can't even begin to imagine what it will really be like actually living there. But I do have a wealth of memories. And I pray that one day when I'm discouraged and frustrated with the ministry, or with the people, I will remember. I will remember what a privilege it is that the Lord chose me, Melanie, of all people, to be His servant to the people of Uganda. Those precious, beautiful people whose faces now bring me to tears.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Here we go!!

My budget's a go!!! This is a big piece that is finally in place so now I can start contacting pastors and mission boards to set up meetings. I've finished designing my prayer cards and trifolds, and I'm working on finishing up my introductory letter that I'll send out by email and snail-mail. Basically I can throw myself full-time into deputation now! I'm a little bit nervous, but a LOT bit excited! :) I can't wait to see what the Lord will do with me and through me!

Right now, I'm at the missions conference at Frontier School of the Bible, and was blessed to lead a workshop on single woman missionaries. Least to say, I've been stretched a bit beyond my comfort zone, but it has also been a tremendous blessing. The girls here have been so encouraging, and the Spirit has been working! I've had some wonderful conversations about deep and at times difficult subjects. I have been reminded over and over again how hard this life can be, but at the same time how much greater the grace of our God is. Please pray that I will stay sensitive to the Spirit and speak only what would please Him.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Finally...part 2.

Ok, here's the personal post :)

After my ministry trips, my family and I took our annual trip to Vail, CO for a family vacation. Our family has gone up to Vail every year for as long as I can remember, and I was finally able to join them for the first time in 4 years. Mom did end up getting sick near the beginning of the trip, and was sick for most of it. Partially because of that, we ended up mostly just staying around the condo and resting. It was wonderful. :) I got a whole week just hanging out with my family and recovering from the travel the previous weeks. On the trip back, I started feeling bad myself and ended up with a full blown sickness. I think I must have caught something else on top of my original cold, because I ended up in bed for 7 days. I haven't been that sick since last fall semester, but it didn't seem nearly as bad with my wonderful mother close by to take care of me. There is absolutely no comparison between being sick at school and being sick at home! I almost didn't mind it...ok, well maybe I did a little :)

Just as soon as I was starting to feel better and get up and around, my mom started feeling worse again. She was in so much pain, she actually went to the doctor! He told her she needed to have her gall bladder out, and a couple hours later, she was in surgery. The surgery went very well, but it was a good thing she had her gall bladder removed, because the doctor said it was mostly narcotic and very infected. It was a great surprise and relief to us all that they released Mom to come home that night. Since then, she's been healing. She is recovering quite well, and while she doesn't have 100% of her energy back yet, she's coming along nicely. While she was in bed recovering, it was left to me to play mommy to the rest of the family. After cooking, shopping, and cleaning for them, I was more than ready to give Mom back her job when she was ready!! I have a new appreciation for my amazing mother! I've always known she was super-woman, but after trying to fill in for her for just a week, I think she's even better than super-woman! :)

Now life is starting to get back to normal...well, as normal as life can be on deputation :). We'll just have to see what's around the next bend....

Finally... part 1.

My friends, I am so sorry I have been so negligent in keeping you updated! These past several weeks have been absolutely crazy! I'll try to recap a couple things, but I think I'll divide it into 2 posts: personal and ministry.

So here's the ministry part:

I was so blessed to take several trips throughout the month of October, including ones to Utah and Grand Junction, CO. Tentmakers had their annual field conference in Utah in which all their missionaries in the area come and share what the Lord has been doing in their ministry. We also had several missionary guests from other ministries come and share what they are involved with as well. What a blessing it was to fellowship with other missionaries of like mind and vision! It was also a privilege to get to meet some of the board members of TBM in person for the first time! I've spent so much time on the phone with some of them, it was a relief to finally have a face to put with the voice :) I was also blessed to share my vision and calling to Uganda with everyone and received no end of encouragement and affirmation. I am so thankful for these times of encouragement along the deputation road. I have found it is easy to become discouraged with the pace when I am eager to be in Uganda, but I am so grateful for the extra push these past trips have given me.

My trip to Grand Junction was for the regional IFCA (Independent Fundamental Churches of America) conference. As you may remember, I attended the national convention in June, and this was for the Rocky Mountain region. This one was especially key for me to meet pastors around Colorado where I will be doing the majority of my deputation. It was with no small trepidation I went to the conference, but I met so many welcoming and kind people, I was greatly encouraged yet again!

After living at Moody for 4 years and seeing the same people day in and day out, my life now is quite a change! From the very first weeks of moving back home, I have been meeting and developing friendships with new people. Even at my home church, after being away for so long, there are so many new people to get to know. It definitely has kept me thinking and evaluating myself constantly. Whenever we meet new people, I believe the natural feeling is to want to make the best first impression. So when I walk into a convention and am expected to make a good impression with everyone I talk to, it is very easy to slip into a performance driven mentality. This is when I find it so easy to worry not about how I am pleasing the Lord, but how I am impressing the people around me. I recognize that this is a pride issue, and I would ask for your prayers, as it is my true desire to act from a desire to please God and not man.

More good news is that I have submitted my proposed budget!! It took a great deal of work to put together, but it's done and just waiting approval. As soon as I have the go ahead on that, I can finish my printed materials and start sending out letters. The Tentmakers Board meeting is in less than 2 weeks, and I'll be presenting my final budget and ministry plans then.

I will be speaking at the Frontier missions conference on single women in missions. What a topic! It is one that I have thought and researched for several years now (for obvious reasons ;) ) but putting together a presentation on it will be quite the task! I would appreciate your prayers for clear thinking and a spirit sensitive to what the Lord wants me to say.

I think that gives you at least a basic understanding of what's been happening ministry wise and what's to come in the immediate future. Thank you for all your prayers and support! I couldn't do this without the people of God standing alongside me. Blessings!!!