Monday, November 25, 2013

Miracles in mayhem

These past few weeks months have been overly full! When I sit down to try and remember everything that has needed to be done in these weeks, I am just amazed. To start with, Genesis is approaching the end of its third full year of school! Which is wonderful! And hectic. Final exams needed to be typed and printed. Teacher evaluations needed to be created, printed, and administered.  We had a visiting team 2 weeks ago who spent several days at the school. And all those extras are in addition to the usual work load of supervising teachers, preparing and teaching Bible study for the teachers, planning for AWANA, putting together presentations for the AWANA clubs back in the States, taking sick children to the clinic, troubleshooting all manner of weird circumstances (like the time the school's pit toilet started caving in), etc. etc. etc. And all of that adds up to early mornings and long days.

Annnnd in the middle of it all, I'm needing to find a new place to live. So there's house hunting, and viewing houses, figuring out rent payments, negotiating with landlords, and so much more.

Oh, and there was the incident 2 weeks ago when my laptop completely died and had to be sent back to the States for repairs. That of course took up a couple of days of troubleshooting, trying to recover data, ect. Hopefully it'll be back again soon, having been repaired under warranty :)

Many times I have just been overwhelmed. Life has bowled me over like an overactive puppy. The needs before me are so great. The number of tasks: more than I can accomplish. But through it all, I have seen miracles.
  • Like the miracle of my tires staying intact this whole past month until I can get new ones.  
  • Like the miracle of God providing everything and more than what I needed for new tires!!! (new ones are just waiting for the money to arrive from the States!)  
  • Like the miracle of a team just happening to be here when my laptop died and being able to take it back to the States for repairs. 
  • Like the miracle of a wonderful friendship with Sarah blossoming in the midst of stress.  
  • Like the daily miracle of being greated by my gift-puppy. 
  • Like the miracle of being loved unreservedly by 65 beautiful kids.

Each miracle reminds me that God is at work. He is at work in me and for me!  I'm constantly reminded of the verse in Psalm 127 that says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain." My constant prayer is that with all of the work that lies ahead of me, that I would not labor in vain. That the tasks I give my time and energy to would be chosen by the Lord. And that in everything, I would not labor in my own strength, but in His.

Annd as my faithful friends are constantly reminding me, I know that I also must make time to rest. Please pray that I would rest well. That I would be intentional about my moments of rest, and that the Lord would multiply my strength.

And while you're praying, I would so appreciate your prayers for....

My housing situation to be worked out quickly and well.
The school year to end well with the kids and teachers being encouraged.
Finding new teachers, as we need to hire for next year in the next few weeks.

Thank you all for praying! I know that many of my miracles are direct answers to many of your prayers!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A request

I've grown up my whole life dreaming and expecting to be a missionary. In the beginning it was much more like a dream, full of dark jungles, strange people just waiting to be converted, me in a prairie dress with my arms full of orphaned children, etc. But as I grew, the dream took on more and more of reality. I researched high and low. I pestered other missionaries with many questions, and I began to form a more accurate picture of what life as a missionary really looks like. I remember many things people would say trying to scare some sense into me.....

But it's not safe. Aren't there terrorists over there? But you'll be so far from your family. But don't you actually want get married? Don't you know that missionaries are poor for the rest of their life? 

And to be honest, some of the things did scare me a bit. Being so far from the family I so adored was a really hard thought. But I was still determined. I knew God wanted me in Africa, and I just knew He would enable me and equip me in everything. So in the fashion of a true idealist, I waved away any thought of the difficulties and dove head into this wonderfully difficult life.

But one thing I never dreamed would be hard is the issue of money. I just knew completely that whatever financial needs I had, God would provide. No question. And so He has. In humbling ways. In unexpected ways. In miraculous ways. That's the fun part: watching God provide. The hard bit comes in the asking. Because as you all know, most of the time God uses His people to provide for His children, and asking for money from people is no easy thing. Well... at least if you're an American like I am. Ugandans have absolutely no qualms or hesitations about asking for money, but that's another topic for another day.... The point is that asking other people to finance my life is hard. It's one of the most humbling things I've ever had to do. And it's a bit scary. But I do believe it's something God has given me to do. 

I do have wonderful people who tell me how glad they are for the chance to partake in the ministry here by giving. And how it blesses them just as much as it blesses me. And they thank me for the opportunity to have an impact here. Their words are precious to me. I am so honored that they would feel that way, but the truth is that each time I need to ask for money, I still feel a bit of dread. I still wonder if I'm doing it the 'right' way. I still wonder what people will think.

But the truth is, I cannot do this work alone. Even if I fall into deceiving myself about my own abilities and skills, the truth is that I am not able. Practically speaking, I am truely not capable of living, working, or accomplishing any good thing here in Uganda without the wonderfully generous people that give sacraficially each month.

And at the moment, the truth is that I can not continue driving to work on my old tires for too much longer. The past few months I've been dealing with flat tires constantly, and have been driving without a spare for a week now since one tire blew out completely.

So I'm here with a request. Would you consider a special gift to help with my tires? Each tire will be about $175, for a total of $700. If you would be willing to provide a tire, or really any amount that could go towards tires, here's how you can give:

1. Write a check to Hines Ugandan Ministries and include a sticky note with the check that says 'Melanie's Tires' (please don't write it anywhere on the check, but include it on a separate note)
2. Follow the instructions at this link (here) to give online, and in the box for comments/special instructions, write 'Melanie's Tires'.

And thank you again to all the wonderful people who enable me to live out this dream God gave me. I am so blessed by your sacrifice! I love you all dearly!

Monday, November 4, 2013


Little Mary is 5 years old. She is the youngest member of Katherine’s household and has been at the orphanage for just less than a year. She’s also in our youngest class at Genesis. When she had first come to Katherine’s, she didn’t speak any English at all, and was so quiet and shy. For the longest time, the only answer she’d give to any question whether in English or Lugwere was ‘yes.’ We’ve watched her come so far in this year, and now although she’s still not a big talker, she can understand English, answer basic questions, and plays and runs and interacts with all the other kids. In Awana, she’s one of the first in her class to memorize the verses, and her sweet little voice reciting the Word of God has been one of the brightest things in my life each week.

Well, one day at the nightly devotions for the orphanage, the other kids jokingly told Mary that the next day would be her turn to share for devotion. They fully expected her to just laugh and refuse, but to their surprise she declared that she would do it. The next day came, and she announced that she was the one to share that evening. Once they all had gathered, Mary stood in front of them and said, “Tonight I am sharing from the book of Galahshuns chapta five, vahs twenty two. It says, Da Froot of da speereet ees... Love, joyi, peacy, longa suffaringi, kindness, goodaness, faithfoolness, gentulnessi, sellf control.” And she sat down.

The next day, I couldn’t even believe my ears when they told me the story. Our little Mary??? How did she get the courage to claim her turn for devotion? I just knew that this was one answer to all my prayers that the Word of God would enter deep into their hearts!  I am so thrilled and excited to see that these kids are really learning, and I know that the things they learn now will stay with them their whole lives.

There are times with AWANA I get discouraged. When not enough leaders come, or when rain wants to come ruin our game time. Or when finding someone able and willing to teach council time is a struggle. Or when I’m not really sure if the kids are really understanding the verses that they’re learning. But I am so thankful for a mighty God who is so much bigger than all my fears and doubts. I am so thankful for the promise of a faithful God who says that His Word will always have impact. And I’m so grateful that when I’m struggling, my compassionate Lord sends me precious reminders like this one that He is at work in these kids’ hearts. Please continue praying for these kids, that their hearts and minds would be constantly challenged and changed by the Word of God.

I wish I had a video of Mary saying her verse, but unfortunately I don’t. L However, I did manage to snag this clip of one of her classmates, Doreen reciting the same verses….