Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Long Overdue: A Ugandan Thank You [Afoyo]

Friends and Family,

With the semester over and summer here along with time for me to process and pray through my experience in Uganda, I've finally been able to write a letter of thanks: 

It was a six-hour drive from the city of Kampala to the village of Gulu. As we traveled across the unpaved roads of Uganda, I found myself staring out the window of our 16-seater bus for 5 of those hours with my mouth wide open in sheer amazement or with eyes full of tears—overwhelmed by our Creator. The experience of deep worship for those hours returns to me now as I reflect and share about my sweet time there. Looking at the endless skies and vast expanse of land that seemed to go on forever covered in the most stunning splashes of color, I couldn’t help but marvel at the work of God’s hands—thanking Him for filling this earth with His art that we might partake of His beauty. As I thanked Him for all I was seeing, He spoke to me in a most loving voice: Do you see how amazed you are at all that you see—the nature, the clouds, and the trees? All these things I have made are beautiful, but YOU [all of my children] are my favorite. You are the most beautiful and most precious of all of my creation; I’m amazed by you. For the remainder of the trip, He wanted me to see the depth and breadth of those words He had spoken. He also wanted others to experience the power of those words, and for reasons all stemming from His indescribable love, chose me to share them. I’m forever changed.

Though there are countless stories I could share about how God showed His love, grace, mercy and power and how His Spirit moved, I will limit myself (and spare you the novel) by sharing one that will forever be in my heart. Each team member was given the opportunity to give his/her testimony. My day came on the third day of our medical outreaches—in the village of Alero Cuku. The Passion of the Christ was showing when the generator shut down. In the dead stillness of night and by the light of a few flashlights, I was led up in front of 200 something gorgeous faces, staring intently at me. I had asked the Lord to make my story relevant in so many different contexts on this trip because His story is always relevant. As I opened my mouth to speak, He removed all nerves and inundated me with His confidence. It was as though the Lord gave me a script to read. The picture He gave me was of all of the children and young people (those whom I was sharing with) as gifts during Christmas time and how He couldn’t wait to open them because He knew exactly what (who) was inside. Through that, I was just able to share with them how beautiful they are, how much God delights in them and can’t get enough of them, and how they don’t have to do a single thing to earn the love of Christ. Again, the words He spoke to me on the bus became a driving force of His love. His children are His favorite and he chooses us over and over again. That night, God gave my heart the biggest gift: As Pastor Martin finished translating for me, he asked the crowd if anyone wanted to receive Jesus. Knowing that He chooses them, countless hands shot up into the air as they chose Him. The joy of the Lord saturated that village, and witnessing that number of children come to know the Lord was the realization of one of my heart’s songs. Praise the Lord.

I can’t thank you enough for all of your support; words are failing me. They can’t do what the Lord did and is doing in Gulu, in our team or in me justice (shoot—in all of us!). Through this trip, God showed me another layer of the calling He has placed on my life. I’m currently at Biola University getting my MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). While I was in Gulu, I learned as much Acholi as I could in a short time. In that, God showed me an ease and great joy in acquiring language—a glimpse of His provision for me to learn whatever I need to learn in the future. I ask that you would join me in prayer. I’ll be in school for another year and a half and am open to God calling me to any part of the world. Pray for clarity and discernment. Also, I ask that you would pray that my all of my schooling would be worship unto Him. I’m so thankful for the opportunity of such a rich education with professors who desire both professional and spiritual development for their students. Lastly and most importantly, I ask that you continue to intercede on behalf of the people of Uganda. God is moving mightily as He raises up outstanding men and women over there to be powerful leaders of His kingdom. Pray for continued restoration of the villages, of the people, and for greater vision of what the Lord is doing there. We trust that God has shown favor on Uganda for the purposes of advancing the Gospel to the rest of Africa and unto the world.
Again, thank you for partnering with me in the work of His Kingdom. Uganda holds a special place in my heart and I wanted to be able to give you a glimpse of that. We were there for about two weeks and 8 of those days were spent in Gulu. I’ve prepared a slideshow of some of our trip. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such beauty in my life as I have over there. With that in mind, I know that the Lord is calling that type of vision for all of us—to His beauty—in any and all of our surroundings. I pray that the eyes of our hearts are further opened. Holy Spirit, come; we want more of what You want.

With so much love and gratitude,


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