As is usual for December in Uganda, as we approach Christmas, the weather gets hotter and drier, prices at the market and for public transportation skyrocket. Theft also increases as people attempt to get ahead a bit at Christmas time, taking advantage of selling the neighbor’s cow or chickens to take advantage of high meat prices. Money is needed to travel to be with family, and to eat well on Christmas day.
As Christmas music jangles my ears in the sunny 95 degree weather, I find myself again beginning to think back over the past year, as I contemplate composing my annual Christmas newsletter. So this week I began contemplating the 3 very distinct things God spoke to me during the past year, that have all come to pass:
With each of these revelations, God gave me a promise as well, each of which is in a varying stage of coming to pass as well:
Flood – The year 2007 started out with the shelter we used for New Life Centre Church and New Life Academy collapsing in a violent thunderstorm. So we were forced to use a makeshift shelter until July when we were able to rebuild. In spite of this and the loss of our pickup which provided transportation for the school children, our enrollment never decreased. In the process, certain divisive elements, both in the church and the school, were exposed and weeded out.
While I was gone from Uganda, there was a major division in our Samaritan Emergency Volunteer Organization (SEVO) ministry when certain newer members go their eyes off of the original goal of Good Samaritan ministry of volunteer first aid and rescue to the wounded, ill and dying victims in our communities, and onto control, money and greed. As a direct result of this, our ambulance was wrecked, which essentially stopped the main troublemakers. Since summer, SEVO has established a new board of directors, hired a lawyer, has applied for national registration as a Non-governmental Organization, and has expanded its training into 2 new districts, for a total of 12 districts in Uganda. Tentative steps are being taken at this time to attempt reconciliation with the opposing faction.
In the fall, after we prayed over the church/school land, came the mutiny of our teachers at New Life Academy and their attempt to destroy the school. God answered our cries for help, and helped us to reestablish the school, hire new teachers, replace the stolen school property. The whole situation served to give our school a boost in every possible way, and we have the promise of many new students next school year (February 2008). In addition, our very first 7th graders wrote their Primary Leaving Exams, which, when passed (results come in January), promote these children on to secondary school.
Famine – In February I had to make an unexpected trip home to Washington state because of the sudden death of my 15-year old handicapped granddaughter, Laura Bailey. I was in the USA for 2 months, mostly with family. I learned from this first death in my immediate family how grief can be multifaceted. I not only sorrowed for our loss of Laura (while knowing she was now healthy and whole, and in a much better place!), but also for my daughter and son-in- law, Julee and Bill Bailey, because of the depth of their loss. Laura took up a lot of physical room in their home as well as a lot of space in our hearts, so she left an extra big hole in all of our lives.
I have learned that famine is not just a lack of food. It is lack of any vital thing in our lives, which causes suffering and need. Due to the delicate nature of some of these things, I will not detail out certain areas of famine, but I can say how God has lead and guided, how He has provided in dramatic ways I’ve not experienced before, and how much seed has been planted. People have been healed, souls have been saved. Overall, there has been much growth in our ministries, a learning of valuable and sometimes painful lessons, that have tightened and matured those ministries.
Birth – In April, just before my return to Uganda, the birth God had shown me took place: a passage from one ministry into another, leaving behind my 8 years of ministry in Uganda with the Foursquare church, and began a new sending relationship with a long-time supporter, Calvary Chapel of San Jacinto, California. That in turn has led to my getting acquainted with the lively, 700-member Calvary Chapel here in Kampala, mentioned in my last newsletter. I am anticipating what God has in the continued relationship and growth in this new capacity, as I continue ministering in Uganda.
Please pray for us in 2008:
SEVO – for wisdom and strength for director Hannington Sseruga, and for healing of his high blood pressure. For increased unity among the ranks, and healing of the scars of division from this past year. For even greater numbers of souls and lives saved through SEVO trainings and rescues. For our national board to be willing to step out in faith, to trust God rather than Man and his ways for SEVO’s and their needs. For the funds to restore our ambulance to service.
New Life Academy – for unity among staff as we constantly strive for a high standard school. For God to open the eyes of staff to the self-defeat caused by corruption, and for wisdom as we attempt to curb it. For the needs to be met as we educate orphans at no cost to their families. For provision to buy a maize mill to create a solid income generation to support the school.
Margaret – for wisdom, health and provision in every area. For God to provide for her plane ticket and other expenses related to her upcoming 3 month furlough in May. For a badly needed 4-wheel-drive vehicle.
A BLESSED CHRISTMAS TO YOU!