Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mundane...or Extraordinary??

Walking into the office today, I just knew the day would not be so great. It started with finding out that around half of our staff members have the flu. Apparently, it started with some of the kids last week, and now it’s getting passed around the adults. That meant that even the ones that did make it into work weren’t their usual bright and shining selves. Then add to that the fact that my work for today was not that inspiring: hole punching. Yes, that’s right. Hole punching. We have a whole bunch of new material that we are looking to implement at Genesis, but it all came in loose leaf pages, so all of those needed to be punched and stored in binders. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to familiarize myself with the curriculum before we send our teachers to be trained in how to use it.

But back to the hole punching. Growing up as I dreamed about my future ministry in Africa, I can’t say my dreams included hole punching.
Praying over sick children? YES!
    Preaching to droves of little black faces? YES!
        Leading a child to Christ? Definitely.
But bending over stacks and stacks of paper, drilling little holes out of them, and building up an army of paper cuts? Not so much. But there I was. And the truth is, it was needed. Just as much as teaching, preaching, or praying.

Now I won’t lie to you. At first my reaction was, ‘Seriously? Wouldn’t my skills be better used elsewhere???’ And then that gentle voice reminded me of the truth: that each and every task done for Him is important. That my willingness to finish the menial must come before my eagerness to accomplish the significant. Because when my heart is truly that of a servant, the menial does actually become significant. And while I definitely won’t go down in history as the girl who punched 1,000 pages in one day, I know that my Lord saw my work. And if that work was done well for His approval and glory, then I know He was pleased!

Being a missionary isn’t all excitement and adventure. Most of being a missionary is just being available: Available to tackle the mundane, as well as the extraordinary. And you never know how the Lord is going to use our faithfulness in the little things. Not that I need to know how He is using it….it’s enough to know that He is pleased.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Of Blood Tests and Roses

Of Blood Tests

Trips into Kampala, the capitol city are always exciting for me. They promise wonderful food, fun shopping, and the satisfaction of finding things that are not available anywhere in Mbale.

This past weekend's trip had one additional goal for me: have my A1C blood test done...for the first time in way too long due to my nervous procrastination. The A1C is a test used for diagnosing diabetes, and I had my first bad results while I was still in college. I still remember the shock of that initial phone call from the doctor telling me a I had diabetes. For over 4 years, I struggled to fix myself, but failed in every attempt. Then, without medical explanation, Jesus healed me. That was just over 2 years ago, right before I moved to Uganda.

This time as I went for testing, I was super nervous. For one thing, I didn't know what to expect from the Ugandan lab, and for two I was desperately trying to keep myself from imagining what a bad result would mean. I should know by now not to doubt the goodness of God in all circumstances, but apparently I'm still learning!

After waiting just a few short hours fro the results, I nervously took them from the receptionist. They were the best I've had since I was first diagnosed!! I am just so excited right now, I can't even express the joy and relief! I am so very grateful for my initial healing, and how the Lord has kept me well these past 2 years!

Of Roses

Some years back, I began seeing how the Lord used beautiful things to speak to me and show me His love. A beautiful sunset, a soaring bird, a creamy frangipani on the rust red ground. So many little things in the everyday that made you stop for just a moment and marvel at the beauty of life, and the wonder of this world the Lord has given us to live in. I can't even count how many times the Lord has stopped me in my tracks to make me gaze at one of his beautiful creations. Each time is like a hug straight from His arms.

So when I found these gorgeous roses at a flower shop in Kampala, my weekend was made complete! I've never seen this color of roses in Uganda, but they are definitely my all time favorite! So many times I've stopped to admire them in the States in a King Soopers, Albertsons, or Safeway floral section, but I've never found them on this side of the world. Finding them here was the final stamp of joy on this past weekend!

For the past couple of months, I've been reflecting on the very great responsibility and privilege it is to teach and show these little ones how much the Lord loves and values each one of them. This past weekend was full of vivid reminders of just how much Jesus loves and values me too. From the very important things like healing from disease, to the small joys like fresh flowers, Jesus sees and cares about every single thing in my life. I am reminded time and time again, that without first receiving Jesus's love for me, I won't be able to pour love out on these little ones. Unless I have opened my eyes to the daily ways Jesus showers His care and pleasure on me, and opened my arms wide to receive those blessings, I won't be able to in turn shower those on my precious kiddos. But when my eyes are opened to see, and my heart is opened to rejoice, this life and ministry is full indeed!!!

This weekend it was the confirmation of supernatural healing, and the gift of exquisite beauty that brought me to my knees in gratitude. I can't wait to see what it will be today and tomorrow, and the next day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Drawing In

Bright eyes, shouting voices, and eager arms welcome me each day I go to the school. Peace and Edith are the most demonstrative with their affection. They know me well since they are 2 of the orphans living at Katherine’s place, and I get to see them all the time. They have lost all trace of pretense and eagerly, boldly demand for my love and attention. They of course receive it in abundance! 

But there are also those that stand back. They come to watch me, and look on as those bolder ones clamor for my attention. But I see their eyes. I know that look of longing. I know how much they too desire to be hugged, cuddled, tickled, told stories, and asked silly questions. Daphine is one of them. Her eyes captured me today with their longing, and I knew I had to draw this one in. Escaping the other small arms pulling and tugging at every appendage, I drew her aside, bent down and engaged her with questions.

What is your name? 
         My name is Daphine.
How many years do you have?
         I have 9 years.
What class are you in?

They’re simple questions, but as I show interest in her, slowly her chin lifts. She’s willing to make eye contact with me, and her voice grows strong.  Soon, she’s coming willingly when I call her over for a hug. When I poke her tummy and tease her during lunch, she smiles and giggles. It really is amazing how quickly these children respond to love. 

I see myself so much in these children. There are days when I’m just like Daphine with Jesus. Timid, and fearing to come to Him in prayer. Because sometimes I’m scared: afraid that He won’t want me, that I’m not good enough to capture His attention. That my constant sin has made me less desirable than those other giants of the faith, and I fear His disapproval. 

But my Jesus never fails to draw me in. Daily, He pulls me aside to reassure me of His compassion and acceptance. Though I see that my heart clothes are dirty, and my hair is unwashed, still He brings me close. He pays no mind to the filth under my finger nails, but tenderly grasps my hand. He offers what my heart cries day and night for: unconditional, never failing love. And I get daily to see the truth that John proclaims: ‘We love Him, because He first loved us.’ 1Jn 4:19

 It is because of this love that I can ‘come boldly before the throne of grace with confidence.’ Heb 4:16 Without timidity or fear, for His perfect love has ‘cast out all fear.’ 1Jn 4:18

So being confident in my Lord’s affection, I can rush eagerly into His arms each day. Like Peace and Edith, I can cling joyously to Him, being certain that He wants to hold me too.