Uganda

Today was our first full day in Uganda, and it was an excellent time. We woke this morning and had breakfast with some of the team here and just talked about what God was doing in our lives.

We then had the good fortune of being able to visit the bulrushes the ministry to rescued babies by Watoto church. One of the most unique ministries I’ve seen in the world.

A ministry that truly rescues babies from trash heaps, public toilets, some who’ve been buried alive and others who were picked out for sacrifice to whatever god would demand such a thing.

Babies who were unloved and unwanted, for whatever reason. There is hope for such children in Uganda because of a special place called Watoto. Watoto this year is celebrating some significant landmarks. 40 year marriage anniversary of the senior Pastors Gary and Marylin Skinner, there 30th year as a church, and the 20th year committed to child care ministries.

Watoto is one of the great churches in the world! We are so excited as a church and as Global reach for Justice to be partnering with such an amazing church and vision.

The team of this great church are compelled and compelling people. I am stirred with passion every time I get around them. Their culture of compassion exudes from their very pours. They love God and love people, and I believe they are one of the great innovators of our day.

I could go on and on with stories of at risk women who’ve been helped and orphans who’ve been taken in and lifted to places and opportunities unavailable to them otherwise, or churches that have been planted and lives changed. The truth is Watoto church is an incredible extension of the hand of God in a beautiful nation, and what’s more they are a huge inspiration to the church at large. If you think your facing an impossible task read the history and bio of Watoto church and realize if God says to do it NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!

I’m inspired to reach my community, region, nation for Jesus. I’m inspired to love people, beyond their problems and weaknesses. I’m inspired to give people and hand up and not insult their dignity by giving them a hand out. I am inspired to do what we can to effect positive change.

Tonight I go to bed happy to have held and fed little Ruth, who will live a fruitful life, fed, clothed, educated, cared for and most importantly loved. It was my honor and privilege to pray for her and declare the word of God over her life and I have no doubt God rescued her for great purpose. Now lets go about the business of rescuing all those around us who desperately need it.

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Home Sweet Home

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I absolutely love traveling. Especially for mission efforts. Global reach is a real passion for me.

This latest trip was fantastic. Our plans were accomplished, and God showed up in so many ways.

Africa is a beautiful continent and Rwanda and Uganda have a special place in my heart.

As I sit here in the JFK airport I feel like Dorothy, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home. As a matter of fact I could use some red shoes right now if clicking them together would get me home quicker.

Once I get in the states I’m ready to be with my girls so this last few ours are a real bother to me. Patience, I need it bad.

One thought I share with all short term missionaries on our teams is the idea of coming home with a mission. I think it’s worthy to share with you here.

The thing that makes a global reach effort so powerful for those on the team is that every day has a mission. You are not distracted by all the “stuff” of the day and every day has a specific purpose. I always ask the teams, how would this play out in our every day lives if we took that home.

I want to encourage you and myself, let’s begin to live every day like a mission. Living life for a purpose. What if we didn’t let the busyness distract us and decided each morning that we will have a mission for the day.

If we were to really do that, we could reach so many people, and change so many lives, and make the name of Jesus famous. So it’s good to be home but I’m home on a mission.

What will your mission be this week?

Enjoy Life

I think when you’ve worked hard as a team you should play hard as a team. Having fun at the end of a trip like this really finishes things off well.

As Christians it’s important we enjoy life and let others see the joy we have in life. Let’s not be so busy doing that we do that we forget how to enjoy God, His creation, and our families and friends.

The bible says men will know we follow Jesus if we love each other. When you love each other you enjoy each other.

So, work hard and play hard. In the last two days we’ve had a soccer game that drew a crowd and was so much fun. We road four wheelers through the African countryside and we had lunch at a nice resteraunt overlooking the Nile river.

While working hard together builds character and community, playing hard together does so equally.

It’s been a great trip. Good rest tonight, some light shopping in markets in the morning, church tomorrow night then homeward bound.

I’m ready to see my girls as I know the rest of the team is ready to see their families.

My favorite part of every trip is when I come down the escalator in the Okc airport and see my girls standing at the baggage claim. Reunited. 2 more days

The Fountain of Youth

We were wrapping up our project today so it was moving kind of slow. The pace gave us the chance to talk a little more.

I was conversing with the operations manager, my friend Isaac, about our ages. He told me he was 37. He said, “I’m and old man.” I said Isaac your a young man. I’m six years older than you.

He said, “pastor, you must understand the average life expectancy for a Ugandan man is 45 years old.” so in his nation among his people he is old. He is a healthy guy so I’m believing him to live far into his later years.

In talking to another worker he was noticing the grey in my hair. He said it is a blessing to have grey hair, it means God has blessed you with many years. He said some people don’t want to be as old as they are but should instead praise God for their age because some people die early.

After having these two conversations I thought about how much time and money we spend trying to avoid our age, not praising God for the longevity of our lives, and for the Benefit of all the wonderful experiences we’ve had.

We put so much emphasis on making this life a blessing for ourselves we forget this life is a mere dressing room for eternity.

It’s kind of like when I’ve taken my girls to a theme park. When they were little they would keep asking every few minutes, “its not time to leave yet is it?” I would have to tell them. You are worried so much about leaving you can’t enjoy our time here.

Sometimes we fight getting older so hard we can’t enjoy the moment.

Let’s give thanks that we’ve lived this long and that God has given us life, and let’s use it for His great cause!

There is a fountain of youth, it’s called eternity. So let’s live this brief life to the fullest using our vast experience to help those coming after us.

A Heart and Mind to work

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I’m sore today. We have worked 3 full days building for Watoto and it has been worth every minute.

So we built the wall, and all [of it] was joined together to half its height, for the people had a heart and mind to work. (Nehemiah 4:6 AMP)

When all we do is work it means very little, even if we accomplish a lot. What makes our work mean something and our lives have significance is the greater cause to which we are tied.

The children of Israel weren’t just building some walls, they were rebuilding the fallen city. It was a mandate of God establishing his kingdom here on earth. It had a physical component but a spiritual connection

This team has truly embraced that thinking. Therefore, this build has taken on true significance for all of us. All the soreness and weariness has been worth it knowing we are being used by God to prepare a future for widows and orphans.

I encourage you have a heart and a mind to work. Not for selfish ambition, but for the greater cause of Gods kingdom purpose. Then you will find fulfillment and satisfaction in this life.

Let’s build!

Thunder Up!

So sorry for the loss, and I know statistically what needs to be done has never been done, but I believe the Thunder will do it.

Our whole season people have counted us out, that’s fine. We’ve dug ourself a bit of a whole but now we will climb out of it. Please don’t be stupid and ridicule Westbrook for a mistake made that was easy to make. His game was unbelievable!

Just my thoughts from here in africa.

We are on the bus headed out to the work site, a little tired from getting up so early but worth it to support the team.

Kampala Uganda is like the city that never sleeps, hustle and bustle all Around. We love the people here, and believe that working with Watoto is really making a difference.

Team is doing well. We are in the end, should finish work today. Dedicate the building tomorrow. Will have pics. Then for lots of fun last few days. Looking forward to an ATV safari.

Have missed my girls last few days. Hug em for me if you see them.

Have a great day!

Chameleon

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While we were eating with some
Watoto families, and having the best time, one of the kids wanted to show me a chameleon he found. The lizard became a pet for the afternoon. He climbed all over everyone and changed colors.

A lot of the time we use chameleons in a negative sense. However if you think about it, if we are going to be effective in cross cultural ministry we must be able to blend to a degree. Not changing who we are or compromising on the important things but to be able to worship in any culture and feel comfortable.

So learn to be yourself but gel with those you are ministering to. It takes a big person and mature person to accomplish this.

Learn to love beyond yourself