The Sun Is Rising

The Light of Sunrise

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  II Corinthians 4:6

For the past three weeks, I have watched the equatorial sun rise over Lake Victoria each morning in Uganda.  I love the sunrise.  I love morning.  I love light that is natural and life and health-giving.  And though I am grateful to be home, I missed the sunrise this morning, and the monkeys who follow shortly thereafter for a banana breakfast.  It’s no wonder that pagans worship the sun rather than the God who made it.  James, the Lord’s brother, calls God the “Father of lights,” and John simply says, “God is light.”

So I am captured this morning by the comparison in II Corinthians 4:6—God creating light on the very first day of creation, and the light that shines in our hearts to give us knowledge of God.   Paul demonstrates to the Corinthians and to us that God has this creative process that He has been using since the beginning of time.  It begins with complete darkness—no way to move around, no way to be safe, no way for life to exist.  Then God gives the command, and suddenly the world is full of light.  Wild banana trees grow along the red dirt roads.  Bright fuchsia flowers adorn the hillside drinking in God’s light.  A lizard darts across the balcony and jumps to the green fig leaves where he will wait for breakfast.  The shimmering water of Lake Victoria stretches to the horizon, and testifies that light is greater than mere human comprehension. Light has changed literally everything.

Paul says that same Light has quite another function.  Though one cannot imagine greater magnificence than the light that shines into the world’s darkness, my wonder increases when that light that bursts all walls of blackness shines into my heart.  That light opened my eyes to see the love of God, the protection of the Father, the provision of a Husband, the longsuffering and forgiveness of a Savior.  It was all in the face of Jesus Christ.  That light revealed to me that death is merely a pause in the path to eternal life.  That light provided a way of significance where God instructs me daily to walk.

And just as the light in Uganda changed the entire world from black nothingness to incomprehensible life, so the light of the knowledge of the glory of God has shined into my heart to change who I am and where I am going.  It is the same light, shining into the world, and simultaneously shining into me.  Every day, the sunrise is a call to open your eyes to the glory of God.  But if you really want that knowledge, it cannot be found by experiencing a captivating sunrise at the equator, as magnificent as that is.  The fullness of light is experienced best when my heart is open to the Inner Voice of revelation—the love of God that is beyond knowledge.  I want to walk in the fullness of God today—the sunrise not so captivating; but the light that shines in my heart is bigger, and louder, and more comforting than it has ever been.

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Needs of the Orphanage

We had a busy day yesterday meeting with the water engineers who will be collecting rain water, and connecting the bore hole well to the kitchen building where the water purifier will be located.  Then we met with the artisans who will be building the tables and benches for the cafeteria area for the children.  We were able to place an order for ten tables and 20 benches, and we are so grateful the Lord let us to this place.  There are huge variations in quality in both wood and workmanship, and we met the Orphanage director, David Matovu to join in all these details!  We also settled on the stoves and kitchen supplies.

We went to dinner with David and his wife, and dreamed together about what God is doing at Life Mercy Orphanage.  The traffic was horrendous coming home, and we got in a tight spot in a red mud cow path.  Sometimes you can avoid the traffic jams, and sometimes, I just need to be patient and content to sit and wait!  We had to back down the hill, and didn’t gain much time, but got home about 8:00 and were thankful for a very productive day.

We are meeting Grivas at noon today, and hope to gather the Antioch pastors together for one last blessing tonight before leaving tomorrow!  I look back overthe last three weeks, and it seems like a blur, so many times of blessing, God’s close presence in every circumstance.  I know God better and I love Him more for these days in Uganda.  Please pray that customs will let us through, and the flights are on time.  The travel and connections can be unbelievable chaos.  I am ready to hug my children and grandchildren!

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Worship with the Antioch churches

Antioch Church at Kwerere Uganda

Antioch Church at Kwerere Uganda

Yesterday was long and glory filled, as we spent it in Kwerere at Gideon’s church.  It is an interesting building of mud and tin, and we are so proud of the people, some of the poorest in Uganda, who have worked and sacrificed to buy the land.  They have expanded the side walls a few feet, and the house was full yesterday with pastors from the surrounding area as well as the people from the five churches in the Antioch alliance.  Pastor Gordon was there from Jinja, and I was so grateful, because he is the best translator!  He is full of energy, and has a great anointing on his praying and preaching, though he doesn’t have a church.  He runs programs for teen mothers, the elderly, and home health projects, etc.  He has a tremendous presence in the north of Uganda, and is so inspiring to me.  His english is the best too–we often don’t realize what is missed when we talk to people, so I was so glad to see him there to translate for us.  I spoke in the morning on prayer, and in the afternoon on leadership.  Art spoke about being doers, and how God is calling us to action.  After the afternoon session, we prayed for the sick, for the group of pastors, and for a group of high school students who were there in uniform.  The sickness there is much more serious than at the organized clinics we held.  Our great God is able!  It was a wonderful session of prayer and healing.  Art organized distribution of eye glasses, and there were many smiles as people were able to read again.  We distributed 2,000 pairs of readers in all!  What an amazing gift we were able to give.  Breakfast is ready, and I have spent too much time with the monkeys this morning to tell you more.  I will have to buy more bananas, as I didn’t reserve any for people food.

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Our God Is Awesome!

We arrived late at Prayer Palace on Sunday morning.  One can never judge the 15 minute ride from our hotel to the church.  Sometimes it is a half hour, sometimes two hours, and the “jam” as they call it, the horrendous traffic, begins at 6:00 a.m. and lasts until mid-day.  The sides of the church are made of decorative brick that allows for lots of light and ventilation, so when you circle the round-about and head down the road towards the church, the shouts of joy and praise fill the air.  We are escorted to our seats by young ushers who carry our books and backpacks, then kneel at the table in front of us with bottled water.  The honor they give can be uncomfortably over the top at times, but it is precious too.  We stood and praised and worshipped for about an hour and a half.  (I wonder what time service started?) and the height of worship was from a youth choir who sang, “Our God is Awesome.”  I got a video on my tablet, but Grivas has promised a CD of the service, so I hope we can post a better one.  You just have to be there!  I felt weightless, and filled, and there were no words to express to give honor to the One who had taken over the service, and I felt His delight as we worshipped with all that was in us!

Judy gave a message about the glory of God, and she asked me to sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  I anticipated a true stretch to follow such worship with an acapella lone American voice.  I was wrong.  After a line, the instruments picked it up, and the people began singing with me.  Our God is marching on!  We were united as one body, called to be soldiers of the cross, and victorious as we march.  I just can’t put it into words!  Rebecca, one of Grivas’s right hand assistants, told me they sing that song in Primary school here.  Too bad such a thing would be illegal in the United States.  A patriotic song meant to inspire America’s troops, though forcibly buried by the history revisors in America, is alive and well in Uganda!

It was a glorious service, and a special day.  I must tell you soon about the National Prayer Breakfast here.  Out of time.  Love to my family.

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Showers of Blessing

I woke up early to the sound of heavy rain.  We are headed to the slum area today for an all day meeting of the Antioch Alliance churches.  I remember a few years ago when we were there and it rained like this.  The pastors met us a block away with rain boots so we could walk into the tin building through the slippery red mud!  It will be an adventure!

I am so full of joy today.  We spent an incredible day at the orphanage on Saturday, and while Art worked with the people who will install the rainwater collection systems and water purifier, as well as a vented 50 gallon cooking pots in the kitchen building, Judy and I and the pastors got to fit the kids with the Shoes that Grow.  They were awed by the sight of a table stacked with shoes, and we lined them up on a table with an attached bench so we could go down the rows and check their feet.  God has truly directed our steps at the orphanage this year.  As I examined their feet, I realized that the clean water and worm medicine is part of the shoe project.  A few of them reminded me of my work at the leprosy hospital many years ago.  Their toes were deformed and missing nails, and many needed a peroxide soak.  Giving shoes was the party part, but addressing their total health is the real life changer.  Thank God for Art’s business skills in organizing the contractors and finding the people who understand a Ugandan water system, so we can make this place a beacon to all of Uganda of God’s great blessing of health.  We have been invited to meet with an undersecretary to the minister of health, who saw our water purification system that Pastor Gordon got working for one of their celebrations.  The way God is connecting us to people who can do this work is absolutely supernatural.  Our kids are a witness to what God can do as he speaks to people around the world to give, and to pray, and to do all the things needed that are beyond my understanding.  Pastor Gordon is working with a guy at Grivas’ orphanage as well.  He has 400 kids and they will have a working water purification system in a couple of weeks.  He already has the water collection system in place, so it will be easier to set up there.

Judy spoke at Prayer Palace on Sunday.  I am going to report further in a separate post, because I am afraid the electricity is going to go out, and I am going to lose what I have written.

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Friday Night Worship

We have been busy with the conference, and have come home early tonight from the all night service.  I can’t believe I am saying 11:00 p.m. is early, but the service will go on until 6:00 a.m., as it is Prayer Palace tradition to have an all night service every Friday.  We are going to have a full day at the orphanage tomorrow, so we couldn’t stay up all night.  I got a little sick yesterday, but it passed quickly.  I was thankful for the oils and capsules my daughter-in-law sent with me.  I took some thieves oil and oregano oil and prayed myself to sleep, and am well today.

We had an abrupt awakening before 6:00 this morning.  I think it was a swarm of termites in our bathroom.  Judy screamed at 5:45, and I thought she had fallen.  It was horrible.  We were talking to Lewis about it this afternoon, and I laughed until I cried.  He is the accountant at the hotel, and a street pastor.  He had a church until the Muslims bulldozed it down, and now he preaches on the street on saturday, and on the land where his church was on Sunday.  His prayers are powerful, and he is so delightful.  When we told him about the giant flying ants, he said you just take them by the wings and eat them quickly.  They taste better when they wiggle.  He was only half kidding.  I knew people ate them, but I thought they cooked them first.  African sushi.

The service tonight was wonderful.  Grivas is an extraordinary worshipper.  Judy is a natural at connecting with the people, and they love her so much.  We had a harrowing ride to the church.  There were hundreds of motor cycles cutting in and out of traffic.  At one point, one of them hit our car, and the other cars are just inches away creating lanes where they are definitely no lanes.  This was a new level of traffic jam.  I am glad we are not out at night often.

We are praying for sunshine and looking forward to a day with the orphans and teachers.  God has provided abundantly.  One more piece of good news.  The hotel has reimbursed us for the stolen computers and cameras.  We can probably bless the pastors more now than before.  What satan meant for evil, God has redeemed.

Missing you all in Kentucky and beyond.  We will be on a plane a week from today.  God has answered so many prayers.

p.s.  The monkeys were out this morning, and I have a bunch of bananas for them tomorrow.  I am mad at the thieves for stealing my monkey pictures!

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The Work of Ministry

God is teaching me about the work of the ministry here.  I want to go to Prayer Palace and enjoy the worship, and receive the blessing, but in addition to the supernatural blessings we are enjoying, there is much “mundane” that must be done.  We are trying to update a Ugandan kitchen at the orphanage, and locating the equipment has been a challenge.  They have been cooking in a closed room, which is really toxic, and they make woodburning clay barrels that a 50 gallon pot fits in, and it vents the smoke through a chimney.  They cook rice, corn, and beans for 190 people a day, so these “ventilated stoves” are badly needed.  We are also locating a rainwater collection system to use with the water purifiers we brought that will give the orphanages and communities surrounding 10,000 gallons of clean water daily.  Pastor Gordon has located the collection tanks and boat batteries that process the water, and has helped us in the set up.  This is what so many government officials are interested in.  They have not seen this set up before, and it runs on a small amount of salt.  They are made by a mission organization in Louisville!  On Saturday, we will be fitting the orphans with the shoes that grow.  The Minister of Health (who reports to the President’s wife!) made a call on our behalf, and we were able to get the last bag of shoes out of customs.  With the roads and the red tape, sometimes we don’t realize that God’s work is moving according to His time and plan, even though we would be rushing ahead.

The services yesterday at Prayer Palace were a pure and holy delight.  I love to hear Grivas worship, and his many choirs and talented speakers have made the conference a huge national event.  More bus loads of pastors arrived yesterday afternoon.  We got back to the hotel at 7:30 to meet with the Antioch alliance pastors, and to finalize plans for meetings at their church next week, and sort out how we can help the work of their ministry.  It was a great meeting, that lasted until almost 11:00, and I was asleep in 10 seconds.  I am NO night owl.  I will be speaking at the all night service at Prayer Palace Friday night.  Hoping for  a miracle power nap squeezed in somewhere on Friday!

We are leaving the hotel now.  Special love to all who are praying and supporting us as we work.  It is a great joy to be here.

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