Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Missions Council

This last Saturday at our church's Missions Council meeting Bill & I had the opportunity to quickly share about our trip. There is no way to summarize the trip in just 15 minutes. We decided to talk about what has been on our hearts since we visited: the children's "remand homes" in Uganda and the ministry of Sixty Feet. We were short on time and I hadn't done any form of public speaking in a while so I was a little nervous, but managed to get it out.

Here is what we shared:
"This summer Bill & I were able to visit Uganda & Ethiopia for two weeks with Visiting Orphans. We fell in love with both countries but particularly the children's remand homes in Uganda & the ministry of Sixty Feet.

We saw extreme poverty everywhere & it was very humbling. We were continually served by those we came to serve. They were so happy we could come that they gave us their best.

One thing we didn't expect to see was they had JOY despite their desperate situations! All the children we met were being ministered to. They knew Christ and clung to His promises! They don't have all the stuff we have that gets in our way and each day is a blessing. I met Lori* at M2 and saw she had a Bible. I asked her what her favorite passage was and she told me Psalm 63:
1 You, God, are my God,
   earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
   my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
   where there is no water.
 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
   and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
   my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
   and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
   with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
 6 On my bed I remember you;
   I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
   I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
   your right hand upholds me.
 9 Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
   they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
   and become food for jackals.
 11 But the king will rejoice in God;
   all who swear by God will glory in him,
   while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Verse 1 catches my breath every time & tears well up. I can't read it without seeing her lying in bed too weak to get up from being ill for a few weeks from who knows what. "I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water." I hugged her and prayed for her healing. I assured her that even though we cannot understand this season of life, that the Lord has a beautiful plan for her life. There is very little hope for the children at M, but they have hope in Jesus!

So if they're already hearing about the love of Christ, you may ask what the point is of our short term visit. Since I came back I have discovered there is some controversy about whether short term missions are even worth it. I say YES! The Bible tells us in James 1:27 that "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world." There are many other verses that tell us to care for the fatherless. In Matthew 25:40 Jesus tells us "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." I go because the Bible tells me to!

These children are starving for physical touch; for someone to hold them.
They desperately want to know they are loved. A heartfelt "Nkwagala Nyo" (I love you) brings the biggest smile to their face.
They need to know they have worth in this world.
They need to be encouraged to achieve their dreams and dream big.
They need to be told they are loved no matter what and that above all God loves them.
Normally these assurances would come from a parent, but in their absence, we can deliver them.

We don't go to tour the slums, feel bad, take a few pics & check it off our bucket list. We go to pour out God's love on these children!

The general population of the M are children found on the street and taken there by police. Some are orphaned, some have families that sent them to beg, some left their abusive families, some just wandered away and got lost, while others are serving time for a crime. Moses, the in country director for Sixty Feet, is working tirelessly on behalf of these children to give them a second chance. He visits each center weekly. He cares for their well being while at M and tries to either reunite them with family or find somewhere else for them to live when they get out.

I am a very visual person so rather than talk about M, I'd rather just show you some video. These are videos from Sixty Feet's website."

to enlarge click the arrows to the right of HD

*name changed for security reasons

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