Monday, November 9, 2015

I used to think... #OutofSortsBook

I used to think I could live this life on my own, but now I think I can do nothing without the grace and power of Jesus. 

My story is unique yet similar to some many other people. I became a Christian at 18 when I realized, like all Christians must do at some point, that I needed Jesus. I had been doing it on my own for so long, and I was so tired. Each day I would seek fulfillment in the world around me, just to find that the next day I needed to be filled all over again. It was temporary, and left me wanting more, feeling dirty and unlovable.

I joke with my friends about this old life, and call it BC: before Christ. I was a totally different person before I allowed God to take over my heart, will, and life. There is a lot of things I used to think, but now my world has changed...
I used to think that I couldn't be loved (if only you really knew me), but now I must choose to love myself every day.
I used to think that I wasn't beautiful but now I think that my beauty is an undeniable part of the woman God is transforming me to be.
I used to think that I loved well but now I see love is a commitment to choose God and choose the other over myself.
I used to think that I had to see, touch, feel to believe but now I know that believing is obeying, and requires faith.
I used to think that my worth came from my abilities but I am learning that I am worthy even when I am unable.
The love of God is a wave, crashing down on you, overwhelming you with its power. Each down the wave of his grace and mercy fall upon you, you change. The waters of his love transform you: carving you, building you, and shaping you from the brokenness you are and have experienced. There is no denying it or fighting it.

It changes everything. Your heart, your friends, your desires, your will, your direction, your life. There is no way you can encounter Jesus and not be transformed.

I used to think that I could do this on my own, but now I think I wouldn't want to live any other way.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Uganda Celebration 2015

This past weekend, my team gathered to celebrate the wonderful things God has done through us, our supporters and the people of the Revival Mission Church in Eastern Uganda. It was a great success! There was delicious food, preachimonies and lots of pictures! We began our presentation with this short video that provided an overview of our time in Uganda this past summer:

We then used this slideshow, found HERE, as a starting point for our time of sharing and discussion. Following the formal presentation, many people stuck around to eat the bounty that was shared by our Ugandan friends. It was very exciting to share what we have done, and look forward to what is to come! Thoughts and prayers are already being had about summer 2016!

Stay tuned for more information!

You are loved.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Bukigai: Church Construction

Most of what we give and get in Uganda is intangible: love, stories, relationships, encouragement, joy, praise, worship, prayer. We leave with fuller hearts, overflowing with testimony to the greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Countless "God moments" throughout our short time in Uganda.

The biggest tangible contribution we have made to the community in Bukigai is the financial provision for their new church. Three years ago, Alex and Milly Wori were sent with the beginning funds to start the foundation of a new church.
You can see the original papyrus structure on the left, and the men building the foundation.

Two summers ago, our large team of thirteen people were able to raise enough money to bring up the walls. It was awesome to watch as our local brothers literally and figurative brought up the walls the re-ignited the light of this church body.

This last year we watched the building transform as a roof was constructed and completed. Leading up to our trip, and even while we were in country, we received an abundance of support so that we could also put in doors and windows. It was truly magical leaving the village knowing our brothers and sisters would have their first sunday worship in their new, fully enclosed building very soon

We left the village at this stage in the construction.

Very soon after, it was totally enclosed! 

The people in Bukigai are very excited about this new building! It is the biggest structure for miles, and people are already inquiring on how to rent it out! It speaks volumes of the BIG God that wishes to do BIG things in the people of Eastern Uganda. On our first day in the village this past summer, the choir of the church, called Bukigai Revival Mission Church (BRMC) sang us the original song!

Bye bye the church of papyrus
We are now in a concrete one
We congratulate you our friends from UCC
And the partners who supported us

We were ignorant people in papyrus
(something) with nothing to do
We appreciate you for the love that you showed us
Because now we shine shine shine

Praise God! It is honor to spread His provision and blessings to our brothers and sisters across the globe. Thank you for partnering with us! 

You are loved.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Sometimes, I just don't feel like worshipping. I am tired or disconnected or distracted. I don't have the warm, tingling sensation as a I sing out to our great Lord. I lack the reverence, the joy and the heart-felt connection that I am used too. That I long for.

Sometimes I feel disingenuous when I sing and do not feel these emotions or sensations. Am I really worshipping if my heart is not in it?

Yes. It is worship irregardless of how I feel about it. It is not about me, or my feelings, or my "place with God." It is about Him, His feelings and His place in my life. It is about praising His name, his works, His goodness, His work on the cross and the grace He has extended. We are to praise Him every morning and every night, in the good times but especially in the bad. Our feelings do not dictate Him, or His worthiness to be praise.

God designed us to be worshipful beings that sing out His praises all day long. But we don't live in that perfect world, and sometimes its okay to sing out when you don't feel like it. Actually, it is probably more meaningful when we worship in our yuckiness, in our despair, in our pain. Sometimes it's about obedience, and singing to Him because he deserves it, all the time, any time.

One time I asked Milly, our resident Ugandan, if she ever felt like not worshipping. Has she ever experienced the lack of desire to sing out praises? Her answer was an adamant no. "There is no place I would rather be than worshipping my Lord." She isn't kidding, and she is for real. This woman is the epitome of Holy Spirit filled and inspired.

Her intention was not to make me feel bad, or to compare. Her only responsibility is to our one true God. I am sure there are times when she does not feel the goodness and the greatness of our Lord. But ultimately she knows that is isn't about her, or me, or you. It is about Him, His son and His spirit. May we worship Him today, tomorrow and always. Because He deserves it, requires it and desires it.

You are loved.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Community. It is my favorite part about being a Christian. It is through the people around me that I experience a tangible expression of God's love. And in the times when I am not my best self, I experience God's grace through their unconditional support.

The African community takes this to another level. Their collective culture and the high value they place on togetherness and family intensify the effects of their community. If our van gets stuck in the mud, random farmers in the surrounding area congregate to help. The most often story we hear is one relatively poor family member giving to an even needier member. It doesn't matter that they are barely making ends meet, they will give what they have to their people. They give until it hurts.

During a lot of our waiting times in Uganda, I took the opportunity to talk to my Ugandan brother, teammate and resident agriculture specialist, Moses. His passion and desire for justice was inspiring. He could motivate you to support just about any cause. His biggest conviction is his love for his country and the longing to help his people out of poverty. One of our conversations led us to discuss the way that he supports his family. He provides a lot from them, mostly because he lives in the states and is able to make more money. One time he was sending a larger amount to his brother, in order to pay his university tuition. The clerk at the bank couldn't believe he was supporting his brother in this way. And Moses couldn't believe that someone wouldn't support their brother in this way.

The culture of Uganda raises its children with this value of family and community. It's not only family first, but others first. You give to others until its uncomfortable, until you can't give any more. You see that family reaches far beyond the context of mother, father, siblings. It is your fellow church members, your neighbors, that person across the street that just lost a loved one. Sounds similar to what Jesus means when He says "love your neighbor as yourself," right?

I was reading Mark 12 the other day. It talks about the widow who sacrificed all the little she had back to God at the temple offering. As I was reading the commentary on the website She Reads Truth, I realized that often our Ugandan friends live this way.
"The widow's everything was next to nothing. And yet she knew that all she has was from God, her protector and provider."
"She had the guts to give God everything... This woman with very little looked at absolutely everything she had- her poverty- as abundance."
The author of this particular devotional goes on to challenge the readers in this way:
"Are we digging deep, deep down into the next-to-nothing parts of our pockets and calendars and efforts to give to the Lord from a place of sacrifice what is already from Him?"
 Are you all in? Am I giving until it hurts? Not just your money, but your time, your priorities, your thoughts? Unfortunately, in America, we live in a culture that encourages comfort. It tells you that you have to be comfortable and if you're not, then you do whatever it takes to get there. Even in church, we are prompted to give, but do you give until it hurts, until you might have to give up some of your comforts in order to support someone else?

I admire my Ugandan friends that have come to live in America. They have left their comfort, their known world, to come to a vastly different place. They work really hard to live in average apartments so that they can send resources back to their family. But they always have enough, and they are always giving to others. It's almost as if the more open your hands, the more you have.

We have a lot to learn from one another, friends. And I am thankful for this example of community, of giving, and of sacrifice.

You are loved.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thoughts on time, relinquishment and faith.

As I start to process my trip and all that I experienced while in Uganda, my thoughts have been sporadic. It will take time and lots of conversation to bring them together into a coherent message leading to long term effects. In the past week, as I have been journaling, I have had short moments of inspiration, where thoughts flowed and I was able to come up with a brief glimpse of God. They are messy, full of dead-end logic and incomprehensible questions. Each stream of consciousness are totally separate, but I have hope that in time they will come together to reveal more of Him, His movement in Uganda, and His will in my life. Until then, we wait.


I can't believe my time in Uganda has come and gone. Time is not linear. It's almost as if there are moments or long series of moments when we can almost experience another dimension of time. Like there are gaps in the time-space continuum when it doesn't make earthly sense. I know God is outside of time, and does not see the world as we do. I wonder if there are moments when we can see beyond our humanly understanding of time.

Why do we even have time? I guess it helps our finite minds attempt to organize an infinite universe. And when we try to understand beyond this present moment, we end up going in circles. We start to believe that something came out of nothing, and that life might be possible outside of this place we know as home. We struggle to understand a god that is outside of time, outside of this known world. It is hard to see beyond ourselves, beyond our understanding of time and space. But I believe there are moments, moments that can't even be defined by seconds or minutes, that we experience a different kind of time. How is it that I am already here, three weeks after I started my Ugandan adventure? It is almost as if it never happened, and I have been doing my normal routine this whole time.

Again I say this, time is a strange phenomenon.


To relinquish: to surrender what you have and what you want. To leave your convoluted human desires and dreams behind, to give up and give in to God's love. It sounds painful and it is. It sounds hard and frustrating and impossible, and well, it kind of is. To let go of letting go is confusing, and unknown and unexplainable. Releasing your grips and allowing life to be willed through you is terrifying. It is like a zip line, and those first few seconds (or minutes or days) after you jump before your lifeline (or Jesus) catches you. The free fall is what we all live to avoid. But without the jump and fall, you will never know the feeling of true reliance on God. Or the freedom of flying down the line with the wind of His grace and love that both propels you and holds you.


God, you are a paradox. The more You reveal, the more You expect (Luke 12:47-48). The more I know, the more I want. The closer I get to You, I want less and less of this world. As I drink more of Your living water, the thirstier I am for You. I want You to reveal Your plans to me, but what that comes more responsibility and higher expectations and closer obedience. I am saved by faith, but without works, am I really saved? It is not about what I do, but if I do not obey am I really in relationship with you? You love me just as much today as yesterday, so why am I working so hard to earn your love?

We are just finite minds attempting to define an infinite God.


You are loved.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

[2015] Home (?) and Happy (!)

Home is a relative term. I am currently in my bedroom, close to my friends and all that I consider normal. But part of me will always remain in Uganda. I find that as I get older, the more my heart grows and is spread out across the country and world. And home is where the heart is, right?

Baby Jaden is one of those that stole my heart!

One thing I love about the Ugandan people is their ability to make me feel at home. I don't feel intrusive or out of place (mostly). I feel welcomed and included, wanted and part of something bigger. We were at home there, amongst our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is always hard leaving them, but I rest in the hope of the future. Not only my return, but also our eternal heavenly home!

Saying goodbye in Bukigai

I also know that our accomplishments and future projects wouldn't be possible if we didn't live here. Living in America allows us to finically support our friends over there, and to make connections to others who can also join the mission. I am thankful for the life God has provided me here, and the heart He has given me to continue investing in His work in Uganda.

Still, over and over people asked us to stay. From marriage proposals to job offers, our friends did not want us to leave! Our Pastor Richard was insistent on it! Upon my return last year, I wondered and prayed if that was what God wanted for me. A few months ago, I was getting ready for my internship, and I felt confident that God wanted me here. He has gifted me with skills, filled me with compassion (and now provided a dream job) here in America. I have a peace that this is what God has for me right now. I do not know what the future has, but I feel certain that I am exactly where I need to be.

So I am home. And definitely happy. Leaving is bittersweet, but today I choose to be joyful in all that God has done the last two weeks.

Reunited with Baby Faith and her whole family!

I have lots more to share! Check back soon :)

You are loved.

For more pictures, check out my Facebook or the UCC blog.