Thursday, January 31, 2013

First day of School

The first day of school can be so exciting!

Or scary....

For some of our kids here at Genesis, it’s their first day of school ever.


 For others, they come to build on their knowledge from previous teaching.

I was struck with the difference between the kids coming in for the first time, and those retuning. 
One group is shabby, with dirt stained clothes and uncombed hair. 
The other is (mostly) neat with their uniforms from last year and (most) heads freshly shaved. 
One group sits quietly, not knowing what to do or expect. 
The other group chatters away, requiring frequent intervention from the teacher. 

It's a visual reminder of the huge impact we can have on these kids. Yes, we can teach them good hygiene. And to wash their clothes. And to sit well and listen quietly. And to write their letters and numbers. And to play well with each other.

But mostly importantly we must teach them to love. To love Jesus, and to love others. But first to love Jesus, because He has loved them more than they could ever imagine! How will they know He loves them? Because we demonstrate His love each and every day. Through tickles. Through smiles. Through laughs. Through cuddles. And kissing booboos. Through discipline. And words of instruction. So they know and understand what it means to be loved. And they'll come to see that's how the God of this universe feels about them!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Prayer for New Years

There’s a saying here in Uganda that what you are doing as you enter the new year is what you will continue to do throughout the year. New Years 2012 was my first here in Uganda and I took that to heart by entering the new year praying with my grandmother (we call her Gaga). And you know what? It came true! I entered the new year praying, and 2012 ended up being one of the most important and transformational years of my life prayer wise.  Jesus taught me so much about communing with Him in prayer, more than I could have imagined. My sweetest times of 2012 were during my prayer walks with Him, which I learned to love doing around dusk each day.

With that in mind, I knew the best way I could think of entering 2013 was the same as before. Spending time in the presence of my God with my Gaga. It was incredible. Gaga is one of the most godly people I have ever known, and conversing with her and listening to her pray over me is one of my greatest privileges in life. I long to be with her. To hear everything she says. To glean every precious drop of wisdom from her that I can. Because I love her.

Gaga and me this summer

And I know that love for her is just a tiny glimpse of how great a love my God has for me. Just as I weep with joy in hearing her prayers, so the Lord rejoices over mine. Just as I treasure every moment spent with her, Jesus longs for time with me. Just as I yearn to know everything she’s thinking and feeling, so the Lord delights in knowing me intimately. Wow. To think I could have an even closer, even richer relationship with Almighty God than I do even with my beloved grandmother is just. awesome.

It still brings me to tears each time I think of it:

 the GOD of the UNIVERSE wants to commune with ME!?!?!

 The SAVIOR of all mankind longs to spend time with ME?!?!?! 

That He would speak to me, hear my cries, comfort my spirit, and bestow on me His pleasure is MINDBLOWING.

I know that every single second spent in His presence in 2012 was a treasure, and my prayer for 2013 is that He would grow my need for Him until it is all-consuming. Until it completely overwhelms every other thought, motive, and desire. Until my needs for personal fulfillment in ministry, the approval of others, happiness, and even serving God well would be completely consumed by my one need of being with Him. In every second, with every breath, thought, and action. To be with my God.

And that is what would make 2013 the best year yet. Happy New Year everyone!