Thursday, October 2, 2014

Stumbling Up

Sometimes, I just stumble upon answered prayers. It takes me a while to realize that this is it: this is what I have been praying for! Let me explain.

During my time in Uganda, and after my return, I was struggling through the idea of worship. What does it mean to worship God? I don't think there is a right answer, but I do know that people in Uganda do it much differently than we do it here! Their songs, prayers, sermons and relationship with God is all about..GOD. They are constantly praising Him, adoring Him and sharing about just how GREAT our God is.

I was convicted. They seemed to have it right, so that must mean we were doing it wrong. Luckily, I didn't stay in this place of comparison for long. I quickly realized that our faiths were different, and that was largely due to our experiences and stories. I found that while we served the same God, He provided for us in different ways. Jesus to them is often a physical provider: His work in their life is visible and tangile. He provides work, money, food, shelter, a helping hand. Therefore, the Ugandans couldn't help but worship just how great and powerful our God has been to them. In America, at least in my experience in California, God provides emotionally. Jesus has impacted me personally: He has redeemed me, healed me and is transforming ME into a more full version of myself. This leads me to worshipping God with songs that revolve around His desire to change me from the "inside out."

It was amazing to see how the same Jesus provides so differently across the world. And it was impactful to see how this changes the way we follow and worship Jesus. While neither approach is all-encompassing, each has its positives and negatives. I too often make my faith about ME and what I want and need. The Ugandans can forget that Jesus also longs to restore their souls, not just their homes.

So with the full awareness that neither way of worship was best, I still knew there was something for me to learn. How do I praise God like the Ugandan people?

This is when I stumbled upon the answer. At the same time, God was also encouraging me to learn how to repent, to live life with a more repentful heart. One way to create this habit was to practice as Jesus did: Praise, Repent, Ask, Thank. In the beginning, I was confused about the difference between praise and thankfulness. Aren't I doing the same thing?

Oh no. Praise is worship. That is a time when I can remember how God is WONDERFUL and MIGHTY and FORGIVING. Thankfulness is remembering how God has blessed me. In the beginning of my journal time each day, I spent time repeating back God's promises, basking in the glory of His greatness. I let God lead me through as I recall the truths of His Word. I write out His love song, reminding myself just how much He loves me, that He is worthy of my whole life, and that His will is ultimate.

While God was teaching me how to repent, He also taught me how to praise. It has been incredible to spend time remembering all of God's promises. Consequently, I find it easier to recall them in times of darkness and doubt. I do not as easily forget when I am regularly reminding myself of the great God that I serve.

Over and over, I see that God answers my prayers. He always answers. Sometimes, he just uses the backdoor.

You are loved.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mission Team Report

Hello there!

I have been back three weeks now and I can still hardly believe all the experiences I had while in Uganda. Most of our team got together last saturday to catch up and have dinner together. We shared some brief reflections, as well as heard from Alex Wori about his experience on the trip (since his was much different than ours as a Ugandan). Since some of our team have yet to return home, we have yet to discuss in detail next steps.

Our team leader Greg was kind enough to put together a report summarizing our trip. Here is the majority of that letter:

We left Davis the morning of June 17, arriving in Kampala the evening of June 18.  We ate a late dinner at Milly’s Aunt Irene’s guest house, and were ready the next morning to drive the 5 hours to Bukigai.  Unfortunately, a tire on one of our vehicles had other ideas, so we were delayed until noon leaving for Eastern Uganda.  After a couple other stops we found ourselves in Jinga, about half way there, late in the day, so we stopped for the evening.  The next morning we met with a representative of the Amazima Foundation, founded by the young American woman, Katie Davis, whose story is chronicled in the book “Kisses from Katie.”  This was an opportunity to learn more about the Ugandan culture and her approach to addressing the needs of orphaned children.

We continued the trek to Bukigai after our meeting, and gradually made our way allowing for roadside stops for mangoes, bananas, papayas, watermelons, live chickens, and even a couple turkeys.  But once again, a flat tire slowed one of our vehicles.  As the other van continued on, even the spare on the first vehicle went flat.  So after two flat tires another 1 am dinner ensued – but we were in Bukigai at last.

The next day we had time to meet our hosts, including various members of the Revival Mission Church in Bukigai.  Milly’s brother Richard – one of our guides and drivers from Kampala – is actually not only the pastor, but the Bishop overseeing the church in Bukigai along with several other churches in the Mbale region.  We took a tour of the area, got settled into the rhythm of Bukigai and checked-out the construction of the church/community center which was one of the major initiatives of our mission trip.

As it turned out, Alex – who had preceded us by a week – had enlisted the assistance of his brothers and cousins (who are skilled construction workers) and church members in Bukigai, and the walls were already 6 feet tall by the time we arrived.  The hope was to get the walls to the point that a “ring-beam” could be installed to tie all the walls together.  But as a result of your generosity, enough funds were raised to not only get the ring-beam installed, but finish the walls to the height that the roof can now be installed.  This exceeded what we thought was possible.

In the meantime, on Sunday we went to the top of “Prayer Mountain” for our worship service.  Our vehicle got us half- way up, but after getting stuck in the muddy roads once (requiring the assistance of local farmers to help dig us out), the roads simply became too steep and muddy to proceed.  This meant hiking the rest of the way.  Two plus hours later, we arrived, finding several church members from Bukigai who had started hiking up the mountain at 6:00 am, and after a 4 hour hike had been waiting 2 hours for our arrival.  This became known to us as operating on “African Standard Time” – humorously accepted by our African hosts, and contrasted with “North American Standard Time.”  We all had our first taste of providing a “preachimony” – sharing about our faith and what had called us to come to Uganda.  This would be repeated on several occasions.

After our descent back to Bukigai, and a good night’s rest, Monday started a couple of our other activities – working with kids at both the primary and secondary schools on art projects, and doing some positive parenting “training of trainers” with a group of leaders from the community.  At the end of the week, both schools had murals on external walls that can be seen from the main road through Bukigai, and about 8-10 people were trained to help pilot three positive parenting family cooperatives.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights were part of evening outdoor crusades sponsored by the local church.  At each meeting our team shared favorite scriptures, testimony, encouragement, greetings from UCC as part of building a long-term relationship with the Bukigai church, and even some singing.  This pushed most of us out of our “comfort zones,” which occurred continuously and actually was one of the great blessings we received during our trip.  And we cannot forget Richard’s leading of “Morning Glory” every day at 5:00 a.m. during the week, a time of prayer, Bible study and getting ready for each day.  What jet lag?

We left on Saturday to go to Alex’s village, which normally would be about a 3-4 hour journey.  But the day before, a heavy downpour had resulted in a large petrol truck being stuck in the middle of the road.  In essence the road going into and out of Bukigai was blocked for about 36 hours.  But here we learned about “Kingdom Standard Time,” as when we arrived – not knowing if or how long it would take to get through – a tractor showed up and pulled out the truck.  We waited only about 30 minutes and then were the second vehicle through and on our way.

The greeting we received in Alex’s village – Muganja – was unbelievable.  Muganja is a more remote village and much smaller than the Bukigai area, and had last been visited by Mzungus (us white people) 15 years earlier.  Most of us felt like rock stars mobbed just for showing up, not doing anything.   But this reception was real and genuine, and represented their desire to show their appreciation for our coming to visit and provide a message of encouragement from UCC.

After a wonderful dinner with Alex’s brother Geofrey and other family members, we drove back to Mbale where we spent the night.  The next morning we worshiped in Richard’s now “home church.”  We should say something here about worshipping with African Pentecostals.  You have not worshipped until you have experienced the genuineness, joy, enthusiasm and sense of the Spirit found in the African Pentecostal church – at least in the services we attended.  Once again, we were provided an opportunity to share our stories and bring a word of encouragement from UCC.

The next day we returned to Kampala to prepare for our departure on Wednesday, July 2.  We did have the occasion to visit the source of the Nile on our way to Bukigai, and once back in Kampala, finding ourselves with an extra day due to travel conditions, we ventured to the wilds of Murchison Falls National Park north of Kampala to view wildlife and see the Nile squeezed through a ravine 10 feet wide with a 140 foot drop – hence considered the most powerful waterfall in the world.  This was an unexpected adventure which capped our trip.

I think that is enough reading for now!

You are loved,

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dream big.

There was a lot about the Ugandan people that I admired. I mentioned in an early post that their heart and willingness to serve was unlike anything I had encountered. They were also full of hope. God provided them a hope that was far beyond what would be expected. They also looked to heaven more than most Christians I know.

But what struck me the most was their courage to dream big. They saw their papyrus structure and were bold enough to pray for something bigger and better.

Our team and all our supporters were part of God's plan to answer those prayers!! 

To save money, the workers made a lot of the materials by hand!

One of the two offices

This is Pastor Richard. The two offices are on either side of him, and behind him is the main sanctuary area where the old structure will be until their is a roof on the new building.

This is an outside view of the new church, all made of brick. There was more added to the structure throughout the week we were there. The roof in the background is the old papyrus structure. 

The church currently runs a nursery school in the old structure, but they have dreams of a larger building with more kids. Pastor Richard and his congregation see their run-down city of Mbale and dream of a radical transformation. 

They are doing what I desire to do, what God calls us to do. Ask and you shall receive! Dream big and allow God to fulfill those fantasies in ways we never imagined. I am so thankful for their dreams and the courage to proclaim them. It is inspiring to witness their desire to see a little bit more of heaven here on Earth. I pray that they will continue to imagine an earthly realm much better than the one in front of them.

Our trip was just a small part of a much larger picture. And there is still more to be done. As a team, we are praying and thinking about how we can continue to support this village, these churches and the amazing people that we encountered. One of the ways is to continue to give financially to the building of the church in Bukigai. But we cannot do that on our own! While the "how to" is still in the works, it is our hope to see this project to completion! 

My hope is to have dreams as big as the Christians in Eastern Uganda. We so often underestimate our God and what he can do. There is so much need, how can we ever do it all? Luckily, God is bigger than all of it. And He will use us as long as we are open to it. I cannot wait to see what He does with me and the churches in Uganda!

You are loved. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Abounding joy.

Our team was incredibly blessed by abounding joy. The people, the landscape, our gracious God-- all of it left us reeling with joy.

On Wednesday, mid way through our week in Bukigai, I wrote this in my journal:

"I just can't stop smiling whenever I go out, especially around the kids. I smile the whole time because these people bring me so much joy. I love their bright white smiles against their beautiful black, smooth skin. Their giggles fill my heart. Their fascination with us and our strange ways and appearance is now normal and enjoyable."

Not only were the surrounding hills and expansive skies beautiful, the people were even more stunning. Their bright eyes and warm handshakes welcomed us. Their hearts to serve was unlike anything I have encountered. And when we complimented them on their hospitality, we discovered they didn't know any different. It was the Ugandan way.

The main goal of this trip was to build relationships and start a long-term partnership with the local churches in Eastern Uganda, especially in the town of Bukigai. Normally, something as intangible as "building relationships" would be hard for me because it's not easily measured. However, the relationships we started were so real and authentic and tangible, you could almost touch it.

Each one of my team members set out to love those around them. And that is exactly what we did. We went into the experience with open hearts, expecting our lives and souls to be transformed. Of course, when you are willing, God shows up. We were all forever altered by our short time in Bukigai, mostly because of the people we met, loved and encouraged.

Some of the most memorable people for me was Pastor Fred and his family. Fred was incredibly kind with a compassionate heart. He was constantly serving us behind the scenes without any recognition or complaint. He is one of the lead pastors in Bukigai and has an amazing family. His wife Sarah is a quiet spirit with a loving heart. She helped me and others clean our laundry, gently showing us the way. They also have three, precious daughters who were an unexpected blessing.

The middle daughter was four years old. Her name was joy and boy did she live up to her name. I didn't even know how it started but every time she would see me, she would run up to me with her radiant smile and hug me. All she knew how to say in English was "I'm fine" (which is common), but that didn't stop me from loving her to pieces. My heart aches just thinking about her!

Their youngest daughter was named Faith. Similar to most Ugandan babies, she was unsure of me. She would allow me to hold her, but didn't express any emotion, which was very different from the older giggling, smiling children. She would simply stare at me with her big brown eyes. But every time I saw her, I would hold and cuddle her. By the end of the week, she smiled with me, and I even got her to repeat my name! 

The oldest daughter was Gift, and it was precious to watch her care for her sisters. She was also full of life and joy. It was an honor to love on this family for a week. I miss them dearly!!

This family is just one of the many that we encountered. The people of the village felt privileged that we would come to visit them. But over and over we told them how incredibly blessed we were by them and their faith. I think it is really cool how God created a loving relationship to be symbiotic. All of us, Ugandan and American alike, were fulfilled by our time together. 

More to come soon!

You are loved,

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Servant or Queen?

People keep asking me what it's like to return to America after experiencing a third world country. And I don't know how to respond. Most of the time we were there, we had running water, electricity and toilets. I slept in a bed every night and had plenty of food. Yes, sometimes I had to bucket shower or use dripping cold water, and there were a number of smelly pits I used for the bathroom but life wasn't vastly different. Plus I was only there for two weeks, which is not long enough to really miss the luxuries of the first world.

Part of me thinks that it should have been harder. Aren't you suppose to "rough it" on mission trips? While I went without some of my normal extravagances, I was also treated like a queen. All my food was made for me, my dishes were washed for me, even my hiking boots that were fully covered in mud were scrubbed clean for me. Where is the rough in that?

I guess that isn't what God had for me this time. In fact, it was incredibly humbling. It was hard to be served all the time.

Wait, really?

In a similar way that receiving money was hard for my pride, not being able to do things for myself for 14+ days was hard. I am suppose to be independent right?

But in fact, refusing help or insisting on doing it on my own can be disrespectful. It was a privilege for them to move my luggage, cook my food and help me do my laundry. You see someone carrying something, you offer to help them. This came in handy when we had a lot of paint supplies to carry to and from the secondary school. The kids loved carrying stuff and walking us home. It was just another opportunity to build relationships!

Apparently, roughing it wasn't the lesson that God had for me. He rarely does what I expect Him too! This entire process has been humbling. From the very beginning, God has been breaking down my pride and the idea that I can do it all on my own. Not only do I desperately need Him, I need other people. Without my generous supporters, I would not have been able to go on this trip. Without the large number of people who housed, served and fed us, our trip would have not been successful.

God desires for us to be servants and queens (or kings). He calls us to serve others but also to humbly receive the service of others. And the Ugandan people seem to understand this better than anyone! Their culture is based in community and values putting others before oneself. This is just another beautiful thing about these people and this country that I love!

You are loved.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Where do I even begin?

I have been trying to think of a short description to encapsulate my experience.

Full of life. 

And love upon love. 

Simply and extravagantly amazing. That is the love and life God desires for us. It is simple yet breathtaking. 

This is just the beginning of the pictures from our adventures. I cannot wait to share more with you, especially the stories of the beautiful people that I was blessed to meet. Over the next few weeks I will be posting about what I experienced in such a short amount of time. I did not spend a lot of time processing while I was there. Instead I focused on the what was in front of me and being present in the moment. Therefore, I have a lot to work through. My goal from here is to share with you all that I learned and how I (and we) can continue to support the people and the churches of Eastern Uganda. I hope you will join me!

As I return to normal life and my "home," I can't help but think of the saying: Home is where your heart is. I left a little bit of my heart in Uganda. And I cannot wait to see how God continues to grow and water that part of me!

Thanks for listening :)

You are loved.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ready, set, UGANDA.

We start our adventure tomorrow. And we are ready to go.

I have the privilege of embarking on this journey with my best friend and soul sister Jenny. I think this picture speaks volumes about her: she is hilarious, full of life and ready to face anything that comes her way! The fact that I have her with me eases a lot of anxieties. It will be so beneficial to be able to have her to process with along the way.

We spent yesterday packing and organizing and repacking. How do you prepare for a trip to a place that is completely unknown and foreign? Luckily, we have a large team and are traveling with resident experts (we have five Ugandans on our team!)

Last week we had our last meeting to come together and prepare. We briefly went over our itinerary while we are there..and it already feels like it is going so fast! We arrive in Uganda Wednesday night, travel to the village of Bukigai on Thursday and will hopefully start construction on Friday! Most of our time during the following week will be spent with construction, a childrens art program and parenting workshops.

I ran into a man from my church yesterday at Nugget and he took the time to check in with me. He asked what I was most looking forward too. I would have to say the people and the culture! I am excited to experience new things and see how God is working amidst His sons and daughters in Uganda. I cannot wait to encounter God in a whole new way, especially due to my greater need for strength and guidance.

He also asked me if I was nervous for anything. The only thing I am truly worried about is the bugs. I was at my roommate's wedding this weekend and I now have 25 bug bites on my legs. Mosquitos love me, and I would hate to spend the whole time itching. I am also afraid of bugs....big bugs. They make my skin crawl just thinking about it.

This will be my last post for a while. I do not anticipate being able to post while I am uganda, but if I can, I will definitely take that opportunity to check in! Here are some prayer requests:

-my fear of bugs! and protection from the mosquitos
-depending on God for my strength and courage
-the chance to speak! May I be willing to be used by God in any way.
-selflessness: seek to serve those around me, especially my team!
-team unity and communication: always so important!

Thank you all for your continued prayer and support!!!

You are loved,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I cannot believe that a week from now I will be on my way to AFRICA. I have limited context to understand what I will be experiencing there. I am slightly nervous, but mostly REALLY excited.

A couple weeks ago we had a group training with all the mission teams from University Covenant Church. It was a great time of connecting and growing, learning about biblical conflict resolution, spiritual warfare and sharing our story. We had time to pray as a team and talk about the "rights" we were giving up as we go out on God's mission. It was a great day!

At the end, we were challenged to share our story in 30 seconds. As I was thinking about the reasons I was going on this trip, I was struck by how ready I was. And how unready I would have been only a year ago. A few years ago, my fear and doubts prevented me from even considering Africa as a destination. In the last year, I have grown so much. I have become more rooted in prayer and God's word, being able to recall scripture in times of need. I am learning how to choose trust over fear, and not dwell in those places of worry. Moreover, I am ready to preach God's word!! It wasn't until the past six months that God has put it on my heart to get up in front of people and talk about Him. While in Mexico for spring break, I gave my very first "talk" on community, and I really enjoyed it! Now I find myself going to Uganda, where I most likely will be doing some teaching, as well as sharing my story. While my experience is lacking, I trust that God will use me and my passion in any way that He can.

Lastly, my faith in God is stronger than ever. I trust him with everything, or at least to the best of my ability. I know that no matter what happens to me, God's plan and goodness will prevail. That is what I call putting my hope in Him. God's promise of hope is written throughout the bible. Here it is in Psalm 62 5-8:

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

May you find your hope and refuge in Him!

You are loved.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Part of me is afraid God is going to call me to move to Africa.

This is probably because I have had more time to read the book Kisses from Katie, which is a story of a woman who gave up "everything" to move to Uganda. As I read her words and wrestle through God's commission to give Him everything, I come face-to-face with the number one enemy: FEAR. 

"Fear. It's part of human nature but its not something we got from God. Second Timothy 1:7 says: 'For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.'"

We all feel it, this burden of fear.

"We are afraid of change, of loss, of being hurt. We cling so tightly to what we have because we are afraid of what would happen if we didn't have these things anymore."

We fear what we do not know. We would rather stay in an hurtful situation that is known, than risk going into an unknown situation that would cause us to be uncomfortable. 

"But what if, just beyond that risk, just beyond the fear is a life better than anything we have ever imagined: life to the fullest."

I want that. I want life to its fullest. But to get there, I must move past the fear. My counselor once told me the only way to rid yourself of a fear is to feel it. You must experience it, tolerate it and learn how to live through it. Fears don't go away by avoiding them, but deciding to keep on going despite them. 

"We can let fear of something that really is small compared to the greatness of God cripple us...Life to the fullest exists. It's available. All we have to do is decide to get up and embrace it."

If only I could reach out and tangibly grab this full life. Too often I get stuck in this fear-ridden, comfort-seeking world, and all the expectations it has for me. Ultimately, I believe in a God who is more powerful than any of my fears. Sometimes, I start to think of Uganda and the big bugs, or the language barrier, or where I am going to go to the bathroom. Worry starts to build and I have learned to not dwell in that place of fear. I must quickly squash it with God's promises. God is with me, and goes before me. I will never leave his hands.

Maybe, just maybe, on the other side of my fears and hesitations is the life God has for me. Maybe, once I have the courage to tolerate and break through my fears, I will experience a joy unlike any other.  And maybe one day I will stumble across this full life, this life that God desires for me. 

You are loved.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

We are free!

This post has very little, if nothing directly, to do with Uganda. But I HAVE to share.

My best friend and soul sister Jenny is coming with me to Africa. I am so excited to have her by my side as we travel across the world on this Jesus adventure. Last weekend, she shared her testimony at our church.

It was one of the greatest moments of my life!

(sorry for the poor quality!)

As she mentions in the video, it is crazy that she is up there, sharing in front of hundreds of people. This is just a small part of the great adventure God has had her on these past years. I am incredibly blessed to have been a part of it!

Learning to love Jenny through her darkest hours has been one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done. Not only has God transformed her heart, but He has shown me what it means to love unconditionally, especially when I didn't want too.

God desires to set us free. I have been reading and re-reading Romans 8 lately. It talks all about the Holy Spirit and how with the Spirit, we are free.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.”

No longer are we slaves to this world- but we are free to live! I have seen how fear once entrapped Jenny, robbing her of joy and fulfillment. And I have seen how God can break every chain, peeling back each layer of hurt, pain and fear that was preventing her from giving and receiving love. I have witness spiritual healing in an unimaginable way- something you would have to see to believe!

Let us cry out to Him, our true Abba, as He desires to heal and free us!

Praise God.
You are loved!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

God Provides.

Over and over, God provides.

He provides for my little, insignificant needs. He provides the most important fundamental needs, like community and love and unconditional acceptance.

Recently, He has been providing financially. This morning I had the opportunity to share at my church about how He has provided in times of need recently, and how that has encouraged me to give more to Him and His church. Here is a little bit of what I said:

"Over the past two years, I have been giving more regularly. But whenever I was low on funds, I would skip a month or two of my tithe.  Recently, I again felt convicted to become a better steward with my money by starting a budget plan. My sister was visiting a few weeks ago and she helped me set it up. Due to all the traveling, weddings and car payments recently, we realized that I had 42 dollars for the next 10 days when I would get paid again. Than the asked me the dreadful question: did you give your tithe for this paycheck. “No….But can’t I just starting giving my tithe next month??” Luckily, my sister and my two good friends held me accountable. So that next day I gave half of the 42 dollars to the church and was left with 22 dollars for ten days. I was unsure and worried that it wasn’t going to be enough. However, I knew my sister was right when she said: “God can do more with your 90% than you can do with your 100%”

            And God provided. That same night, my friend Katie, who was visiting, felt compelled to give me $25 dollars, without knowing my financial situation at all. So in the matter of hours, my allowance had doubled. A few days later, one of my customers at the coffee shop came in, on a day I wasn’t even suppose to be working, and handed my coworker and I a 20 dollar bill. He stated nonchalantly- “I have been meaning to give this you, it’s a tip. Id rather just hand it to you than put it in the tip jar.” So now I was at 67 dollars, with a week left to go. That same night, my friend gave me 25 more dollars because she had owed me money, which I had forgotten to account for in my original budget. Within a week, God had tripled my original amount!"

 Not only that, but I am thrilled to report that I am FULLY FUNDED! God did another crazy thing- a couple for my church, who have been a huge part of my community and encouragement here in Davis, had waited a while before they decided the extent they wanted to support me. When they checked in with me on Wednesday, I had reached $3000 dollars out of my $3500 goal. In his typical fashion, this friend nonchalantly stated: do you want us to finish it off for you?

Uhh..what? You mean like give me $500 dollars?!? I was blown away, and I first I responded in pride and said no. That is too much. I can't take that. But eventually I said: I want as much as you two have decided in your hearts to give me. "That was the amount we decided upon." 

God had already prepared their hearts to give me the 500 dollars before they even knew I needed it. They planned to give me the exact amount that I needed. CRAZY, right?!?

God is so good. He provides. Over and over again.

You are loved,

PS- Thank you for each and every one of you who have donated to my trip. Thank you for participating in what God has for me in Uganda. I am so glad you get to be a part of it with me!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Africa: The Land of Juxtaposition

This weekend, our church had an a retreat in the mountains, in the town of Somerset. The land scape was stunning...and it even snowed the night that we got there!

We arrived in Placerville early so we decided to stop at Cozmic Cafe, which is a really awesome coffee shop that has an old mine in the back! We ordered an ice coffee with some homemade lavender simple syrup! It was simply delicious.

During our short adventure, my roommate Jenny and I started reading the book Kisses from Katie. We only had her copy, so we read it together. As we went along, you can hear the small gasps and heavy sighs. We were instantly engrossed in the life of this "normal" American teenager.  At the age of 19, Katie Davis decides to give up everything she has known to move to Uganda. Not only has God blessed her with the compassion and ability to love everyone around her, she is an incredible writer! In the introduction, she shares:

"It is not about God making my dreams come true but about God changing my dreams into His dreams for my life."

Amen, sister! She goes on to talk about the rich culture and potent faith of these Ugandan people. And my heart fills with longing: I cannot wait to go. I am so excited to encounter a country and a people that live so wholeheartedly. Later, Katie writes:

"They lived in houses of sticks or stones and mud; they slept on hard dirt floors. But they did not blame God for this or ask Him for more."

They did not ask for more. They believe in His greatness and goodness and unconditional love despite or maybe in spite of their circumstances. This blows my mind! They did not ask for more. They were satisfied and filled in ways many people living in the first world will never know. Over and over, her words plucked at my heart strings. But it was this line that made it sing:

"But I should not pity these children. In fact, I should envy them. At six years old, these children know what it is to be filled with the Holy Spirit."

I cannot explain the emotion that I felt. It was a mixture of excitement and love and desire and fulfillment. In less than two months (or 50 days!), I will embarking on an adventure that no doubt will change my life. For so long I resisted "the trend" of going to Africa, but there is just something about that continent, those people, their faith that is contagious and can rouse the hardest heart. You can't pinpoint it exactly, but I think Katie Davis is trying to say that it's the striking juxtaposition, the abounding faith despite the physical desolation, that propels you from your stagnancy. 

More thoughts and quotes from Katie Davis to come.

You are loved.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

To the land He has shown me.

Seeking Genesis. 

Seek Him and His kingdom & righteousness FIRST. These past six months, I have been trying to seek Him FIRST. If I pursue my relationship with God, all these great things will be given unto me. I believe that, logically and spiritually.

In Genesis, God commands Abram to leave his home and his country and go to the land that I will He will show him. In Davis, God has urged me to GO as well. At first, I hesitated. Is Uganda where God wants me to go? But after seeking Him in prayer and in scripture, it was clear that God isn't always clear. Go to the land I will show you. He doesn't always explicitly lay out His plans. Instead, He expects us to follow His lead.

So here I go. Following God to a country and a continent I never thought I would go. To a land that God is showing me, one that is full of passion, love and joy. Three of my favorite things! 

That is why I called my blog Seeking Genesis. To be honest, it took me a long time to think of a title. I wanted it to be creative, but more importantly to have meaning. I feel that this short title is full of significance. "Seeking" implies action. Our faith requires action, a constant pursuit of truth and relationship. "Genesis" also means origin, and I believe that this experience will be the root of a new branch of my faith. I anticipate my life being changed in unimaginable ways. And I hope my walk with Jesus will be strengthened, challenged and multiplied. 

Thank you for reading. I hesitate writing a blog because it's "what everyone does." But this doesn't have to be about me, or you. This blog is about God and the beautiful, life changing adventure He has me on. Its about the work He is doing in Uganda, and his beloved people there. God willing, this blog will be just one chapter of the magnificent story He is writing in my life and the lives of His creation. 

You are loved.