Tuesday, February 23, 2010

pursuit of the Father

A girl's heart always wants to be pursued. We were created that way. We are made in the image of the Father so somehow He must long to be pursued as well. He knows this desire all too well. That is why He has said seek me and you will find me when you search for me with all your heart (Jer 29:13). God wants to be pursued. However, I also believe He's in the business of pursuing. Love is not about receiving, but about giving. God is love (1 John 4), He is a giver. He's way more intereted in loving us than He is about being loved by us. Praise Him for that because I know we've all felt we've let Him down at one time or another. If we want to be more like Him, we will respond with the true meaning of love and want to give more than receive. But in order for us to love like that, we need to know love. We need to be immersed in His love. And that is what inspires me today. The inspiration of the immersion of His love and His passionate pursuit of us melts my heart so immensely that I'm caught in this drunken state of absolute bliss as a whirlwind of joy floods my soul. I'm loved so much by my creator that He would break the boundaries of dimensional realms, reaching from the spiritual into the natural, and tangibly touch or tangibly speak into my life changing my perspective and emotion and proving His love for me. I'm completely mesmerized and undone when He tangibly acts for me, or when He uses me in acting for someone else.
I want to start sharing these stories of pursuit and love. These will be stories of where God has spoken, touched or encountered me or other people i have seen to show us how real He really is and how real His love is for us. God is not waiting for us to die and come to heaven to be with us. He is waiting for us right now, as we live day to day, to walk in intimate relationship and passionate love with Him. He is always longing for us to listen because He is always wanting to talk to us. The reason God came as a man to earth, died and resurrected was so He could be with us now, manifesting His Kingdom in our lives. Its all about the walk, the journey with Him now....will you listen? will you position yourself to hear Him and then believe? Everything God tells us to do is all for the goal of bringing more love and abundance into our lives.I've given my life to Him and will do absolutely anything He tells me to simply because i know how much He loves me; and is passionately concerned about me,the details of my life and the intricacies of my heart.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Restoration and Release

I've been attending the Great Grace conference in Chevy Chase this week. Monday the worship leader stood at her piano playing a beautiful song and started prophesying over a woman that had taken hit after hit after hit. she was honored for taking these hits and not giving up. She knew the character and goodness of God and did not back down where any regular person would have. The Lord told her she would be compensated, she would receive repayment for whats happened to her. this repayment would consist of intense revelation, encounters and communion with Jesus. As she prophesied this justice for this woman, i took it as my own. The Lord had been showing up to me and telling me i would receive more revelation and start to have more encounters with Him as part of the justice i would receive for the wrongs that have happened this year. As the Lord started to minister to me while i was standing there, the worship leader called me out, saying "the girl in the yellow scarf, you carry a message, i see the trumpet blowing over you as you release this message. there is a swirl of color around you. Its creativity. your going to release this message in creative ways and i see a pen in your hand. whether its blogging or your writing, your creatively releasing the message you carry!"
This word inspired me to start blogging again. So here i am, ready to write what the Lord has been doing in me and talking to me about.
After this worship leader prophesied over me, the speaker (ray arnold) came and prayed for me. He prophesied a couple things including the anointing on my life and i ended up on the floor again being ministered to by the Holy Spirit. The anointing (presence and power of God) filled my body to where i couldnt stand any longer. As i laid on my back on the floor, I continued to receive from the Lord. I felt someone come and lay their hands on my leg, as if they were praying for me. Sometimes people will come and agree with what God is doing and pray for you when your receiving from the Lord. So i thought someone had come to pray for me and as i laid there receiving i was curious to know who it was. So i opened my eyes as the hands were still on my leg and looked around to find that noone was there. But i still felt two hands on my leg. i realized that noone was around me because they were trying to clear people out of the sanctuary to get ready for the evening meeting, when i heard a woman's voice right next to me. She said Daughter of God, you are released! and a soon as it was said, the hands were no longer on my leg. There was no woman near me and i realized i had just been commissioned and released to minister again by an angel.
That evening i laid on the ground in worship in the meeting. I began to vibrate again from the power of God going through my body. I've been vibrating since Friday when God touched me with his power restoring so many things in my heart, transforming my mind and once again making me a new creation. My heart was healed after forgiving and laying down the burden of wrong that thursday evening and now God had touched me to impregnate me with His power and His river of life again. it felt like electric shocks in my body, i was doing crunches and yelling for 5 hours that night. People that yelled when they were in the spirit always offended me. I would always look at them and say "is that seriously necessary, i mean come on." and there i was yelling out of my stomach because that kinda power had to be released somehow. So this monday evening im vibrating on the floor during worship and the Lord said as the yelling was for releasing my power that you carry inside you, the vibrations are the vibrations of my heart for my people, and you carry them inside of you. And then i saw a clock and a calendar. and the calendar flipped backwards over the past months of this year and when it got back far enough, it started to fast forward and i saw the hands of the clock spin forward rapidly. and the Lord said im accelerating you to the place you would have been had none of these things ever happened to you. Im making up for the time that was stolen from you. The following afternoon, Georgian Banov said He had this vision about God restoring time that had been stolen from people, and went on to describe the exact vision that i saw.
Today, I went to the dentist. i got a root canal done about a month ago still needing a crown, and started to feel a bit more pain on the other side of my mouth now since ive been chewing on that side. I had a dream about 3 weeks ago that i was battling witch craft and my teeth were all messed up (crooked, broken, mushy, wiggly). So when i started to feel a bit more pain i thought i should go to the dentist again. At the voice of the apostles conference the pain left after being prayed for. However, when i got the xrays today and the dentist diagnosed me, she looked in my mouth, went on her computer and printed out a sheet showing every tooth and marking red wherever work needed to be done. Looking at this sheet of paper, i could not believe what i saw and what she was telling me. It looked like my geometry midterm from freshman year, red was everywhere on this paper. 9 teeth had cavities or broken fillings and needed to be restored. the tenth tooth that was red was the one needing a crown because it has no life or blood flow in it from the root canal. The second sheet of paper told me a breakdown of the cost..over 7,000 dollars of dental work in my mouth.
Well, i got this news and clearly, thats not something i wanted to hear! so my natural reaction, much like my reaction to my failed geometry midterm, was tears. but the Lord spoke to me through all of this and said, We're in a season of Restoration in order to be Released again. What has victimized us and what has been stolen from us cannot hinder us any longer. Restoration has to happen..and it can be a time consuming, painful process, but it has to take place in order to function again. Teeth dont work when theyre broken, and its really painful to drill to the roots! REally painful! But once its drilled and restored,shaba, the brokenness is gone! the pain from the brokenness is gone! Its no longer broken and can be released to function the way that it was created to function! Its no longer a victim, its no longer broken..its healthy, it gets the job done and it no longer causes more pain or more problems. God is drilling roots, and restoring, and coming with His glory to manifest Himself in the places that we have been wounded and have been stolen from. He's shining in the places where we are broken. I know that i cant even imagine paying $7000 to fix my mouth, but i know that I have a message i carry, and my mouth is valuable in the kingdom, And God wants to manifest His glory in it! He wants to restore it all! So cmon Jesus! My heart's been healed, my minds been transformed, and I've been released again. The Father is touching His people in tangible ways because He wants the core of us! The vibration of His heart is getting to the core of ours. He wants it all, He's relentless for it And He will pursue you until your ready to let Him have it..to let Him drill!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day in the Life in Uganda

I wake up in the bottom bed of my bunk bed, pick out my clothes and head to the bath tub. the bath tub is a normal size bathtub without a shower, but with a shower head attached to a cord used for washing my hair. We live in one of the nicest houses ive seen in the area, with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths upstairs, 1 bath and 2 bedrooms downstairs including a garage. my bedroom is about 15 by 15 and the entire house is floored with tile. This means, when the housekeeper has mopped (they mop with a bucket and a rag on their hands and knees) the floor i usually end up slipping everytime. The house keeper has seen me do this several times as she looks over and says "Sorry mummy" in the typical Ugandan way. Whenever u hurt yourself or theres an accident, any Ugandan in the room that sees it will automatically say "Sorry"! The Jones family has 3 african dogs living here at their house at the moment. Sally, Sara, and Sophie. Serena is at the UJV now but used to live here as well. They are the guard dogs who usually bark all night. Between the dogs and the disco/party music of neighbors, i am forced to wear earplugs every night in order to sleep. We had 3 kittens and brought 2 to the ujv, so now we are left with one. Every time i come out of my room in the morning, he is right by my door waiting for me, ready to pounce on my ankles as i walk barefooted down the hallway. Usually i kick him aside and he follows me anyway. After getting ready for the day, i usually have breakfast with the girls. I have tea with either toast, muffins, french toast, or eggs. The eggs are usually white because they dont have all the hormones america puts in the chickens. They dont taste as good as American eggs either. We are then off to the UJV. Suzanne and Marike are only going to the UJV twice a week now, so sometimes i get a ride with them down the dirt bumpy potholed roads of lungujja or i get a boda in the kitunzi market. Our part of town is called kitunzi which simply means trading center. The market is a 3 minute walk from the house, and the bodas are there usually waiting for customers. If i take a boda, i like to go with someone that has taken me before and that i trust. Most of them know me in the market now. Usually I'm wearing a skirt so i sit sideways on the bike, holding on to the seat itself. The bodas drive on the side of road bw the curb and the cars. But people are also walking in that area, so its a constant dodging of people, cars, potholes, bicycles carrying God knows what (such as long poles, huge bags of charcoal, wooden boxes, couches, matoke, fish or chickens, or sacks of vegetables), animals (such as cows, goats, or dogs), and the curb. So far, ive been twice on a boda that has hit someone as we were driving, once that ran out of gas, once that tried to squeez between a car and the curb and didnt make it hit so we fell over, once that got ran into head on with a bicycle carrying a huge wooden box of stuff, and once that slightly rearended another car. In spite of all this, I still ride bodas almost everyday, praying for my life as i get on. If i don't take a boda to work, i walk. Its about a 20 minute walk to the ujv from my house. Its a dirt road that i walk on, going straight up hill for half of it, and straight down hill for the other half. I pass many children on the way all shouting "bye mizungu, bye mizungu" until I am out of site. I will also pass the occasional man carrying bags, clothes, shoes or a huge board of jewelry and toys they are selling. Uganda has the highest rate of businesses out of every country in the world because everyone creates their own. There are so many little shops and random people walking all over town selling their items.
Once i get to the UJV, the children greet me. In Ugandan culture, the children kneel down and shake your hand out of respect gretting their elders. The first time a child did this, i made them stand up and give me a hug. I was not used to having anyone kneel down to me, but it is their way of showing honor. I still prefer hugs and will more often than not ignore their extended hand and pull them in for an embrace. The children often greet me in Acholi now. They say "Maria Cho", and i respond "Cho Mabe" which means good morning. In the afternoon they say "Erie" and i respond "Arie mabe". It is also culturally correct to ask "how are you" to greet someone before you ask them anything. The correct response to this, is "I am fine how are you?" So after greeting everyone, i get my things settled in the office and head off to start my work, whatever that day looks like. The office is set up in 3 office rooms. the administration office includes homes, volunteers, and social work. The Accounting office includes accounting, finances, church plants, and Jewelry. The Management office includes Suzanne the overseer, Marike the accounting and admin manager, and Pastor Robert. i generally take my spot in the admin office with liz in the homes department. My day is usually spent making schedules, planning events, preparing for fellowship, leading fellowship, emails, or praying with staff. In between all of this i usually sneak away to talk and play with the children whenever i get a chance. The girls of compound A have two rooms in the back of the compound next to the prayer room and the medical room. On the other side of the medical room are the two rooms for the boys of Compound A. The office is opposite the rooms with a cement courtyard in between. So i usually come out of the office, sneak into the girls room and chat with them for a while. Otherwise ill take the boys for futbol at the field up the street as well. the field is about a 10 minute walk from the ujv.
After work, i come home to the house with suzanne and marike, suzannes boys (theres 3 here at the moment, 1 in canada) and luke (altho hes now in canada for a month). Dinner is usually on the table as Prossy (the housekeeper) has cooked. Dinner usually includes some form of potatoes such as french fries, boiled, or mashed, with either beef or chicken. Sometimes we'll have lasagna or pizza, maybe even the african chapattis beans and cabbage. My personal favorite is the hamburgers. Prossy has been trained well. At the dinner table the Jones always go around the table and ask everybody how was their day and what is their favorite part. I love this family! We talk about the day and then i usually go back to room to wind down, spending time with the Lord, using the internet that works only half the time (the power can go off at anytime and often times the internet is down just because its africa) or watching a movie. Occasionally this down time gets cut short as i have long days at the ujv or am leading fellowship until 7 or 8pm. But it always feels amazing to hit the sheets on my foam mattress at the end of the day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Encountering Jesus in Ngongulo

On Friday, I took 12 children with mama cook and Harriet to sleep at the land we are currently building on. The village is called Ngongulo and is located in Entebbe. We crammed into a 12 passenger van with all of our food and clothing needed for the 2 days we were there. When we arrived i set up my bed and then went with some children to collect firewood. The land is mostly thick bush, with bugs everywhere. Everytime i go, i have to wear long pants with sneakers and sometimes a sweatshirt because theres prickers, thorns, ticks and jitters everywhere as well. Its truly village life. we cooked matoke, rice and gnut sauce for lunch and in the late afternoon evening started digging in the garden. The children ate their full of potatoes and casifa they dug up. The following day everyone got up early to dig. We used hoes to dig up the dirt so we could freshly plant new seeds and new casifa sticks. i got blisters all over my hands, but it was amazing to enjoy the village life with the kids. They grew up in Gulu digging and eating in the garden and it brings them joy to be able to do it again. We've been going to the land to dig since last April. In April there was no garden yet, it was all bush. So Amy Toyota and I would take the kids with Harriet and go thrash the bush and cut down trees with machetes. We hacked the bush up and cleared about an acre of land. This was all before they started building the houses that we have now. I had never had so many blisters in my life. So digging this past weekend was not so bad. The kids think mizungus don't know how to dig, but so they laughed at me with a hoe in my hands. They stopped laughing when i dug in 5 minutes what took them about 30 minutes. The land is so fruitful these days. There are 2 harvest seasons and acres of land producing vegetables and fruits for us. My favorite part about going is the tea. There is some tea leaves that grow a little up from the house and they have somewhat of a minty taste. We boil water, i pick my tea, and i enjoy while the kids drink their porridge. It's amazing to be able to walk outside and pick your food from the ground instead of having to go to the store. the simple life is so different. I started to dream about living out there and how amazing it is going to be.
After digging, the kids went to play futbol on the field in front. Its incredible having our own field for them to play on! they played the village kids 6 on 10, UJV being 6 and villagers being 10. I think our kids won by 5. They are really learning how to maneuver the ball and pass to each other. While they played futbol, i sat on the hill and watched them. A little village girl around the age of 4, dressed in a short jean skirt and pink tshirt with the cutest braides and beads in her hair stood staring at me as i sat there. She had a look of curiosity but was still hesitant to come close in her shyness. So i looked at her and said Jungu (come). She timidly walked over to me and turned her head away from me still fearing a little bit. So i asked her what her name was and she looked at me now and replied "Favor". At that moment, as she stared at me with those big beautiful brown eyes, i felt so much love bubble up inside of me. I saw Jesus in her eyes and i heard the Lord say I favor this one :). So i pulled her close and had her sit on my lap. Harriet helped me translate as I asked her if she knew who Jesus was. Favor replied, "yes but I've never seen him and i don't know where he lives." I laughed so hard at this simple childlike response. It brought so much reality to who Jesus is. Jesus is a person, visible with a dwelling place. We can see him as He is. I told Favor he was the son God, God as a man. and the He loved her very much and is with her all the time. That he lives in whoever believes in Him. I asked her if she believed in Him and she said yes. I asked her if i could pray for her infected sore ears. She said yes and she prayed with me. Afterwards she sat with me a while longer, and when i had to go back to the house to prepare lunch she didn't want me to leave. She followed me all the way back to the house. i gave her a snack, and her mother came to get her. She cried as her mother took her away, but I'm sure i will see her again. She reminded me how much the Father loves us and desires us and really wants us to have our desires...He really favors us. We are so beautiful to Him and things are so simple in His eyes. I can't wait to live in Ngongulo and to see our kids reaching out to the village kids in love and compassion. I'm excited to see our kids bring the heart of Jesus to that village.
The difficult thing for me about sleeping in Ngongulo at the moment is that there is no privacy and feels very unprotected. The builders sleep on our land, as well as a farmer or two. There is no fence built yet, and no doors for the guards squatty hole. So I end up using the bush for a toilet wondering if someone is going to walk by at any moment. There are men i dont know all around building or farming so it just feels unsafe to me. There are also bugs everywhere with huge mosquitos and I was even stung by a huge African bee that didn't die after it stung me. It was so painful, but it really just helped me understand more about some of the fears i have in Africa. It helped me realize that i do have fears that God is still working out in me. I just want to know more of His always protective, trustworthy, hopeful, and preserving love. It is love that overcomes, and i want to be fearless in ministry. I want the extreme impossible, but daring enough to go after it. i don't want anything to hold me back from loving wrecklessly. I want to be crazy and willing to face pain, hurt, endangerment, maybe even death to bring Christ's love to the ones that need it most. i want to look fear in the face and know im dripping with the love of the Father, protected, secure and victorious.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I walked into the restuarant with Mama Elizabeth, Mama Liz, and two of the older girls of the UJV-Concy and Gift. Not recognizing anyone since i had been there last, we sat at a table as we waited for the cook to come meet us. Mama Elizabeth usually comes on fridays to help out and since this was a Thursday, she did not recognize anyone either. The only person i know is Joanne, the owner, and one of the waitresses. So when the assistant cook came out, she greeted us in a timid manner not really saying a word but just wondering what we were doing there. I introduced all of us and she told us her name was Faith. It was a little awkward as she seemed to not have much confidence and a little unsure of the situation. I explained to her who we were and that we were there to work and help them out for the day. I told her we would wait for Joanne to show up before we started working. So the girls and i sat at a table, drank some African tea (somewhat like chai tea), and we prayed for the day. I asked the girls to hear from God and write down anything they received. Mama Liz said the Lord was telling her to be bold and courageous. The girls sat with their heads bowed the entire time, but said they didn't receive anything. i encouraged them alot about just believing that some of their thoughts was God and not them, but they said they have a hard time winding their mind down from the thoughts of the day. Even though they have done this exercise a couple times with me in the past, i realize its been a few months and im going to do some more prophetic with all the kids this tuesday. I heard the Lord saying that we were going to bring joy and life to the restaurant that day. To serve joyfull and be ourselves and we'll release the joy of the Lord in that place.
Joanne showed up and and the girls went to work on the dishes. Mama Liz went to peel potatoes (lumunde), and Mama Elizabeth and I taught Faith and Aisha (the runner girl) how to make Brownies. The kitchen was very small, with very little room so we made them behind the counter in the front area. The oven was on a cupboard that was uneven and slanted, so the first batch of brownies came out with all the batter cooked on one side of the pan. i made the first batch, explaining what i did, and i had Faith make the second, coaching her when she had questions. the oven was still slanted a bit, so we added more batter, which helped a little. Faith definitely came out of her shell and really started enjoying herself as she learned how to bake. It was almost as if she felt a sense of accomplishment and empowerment to be able to do something that most Africans couldn't do. The staff all tasted the brownies and they all had faces of delightment like they had just tasted something divine. joanne priced them, and they handed out samples for people to get enticed and buy one.
It felt so amazing to be able to empower someone, and to see them feel good about themselves and be confident in who they are. The girls washing the dishes made friends with the head cook and as we were baking i heard more than a couple laughs from the kitchen. the girls asked me afterwards "Auntie when can we come back?" Even the girls felt empowered to be able to serve and work and accomplish something meaningful. They received no compensation other than the reward of feeling they had helped someone. God created us to first live and then work. We should be living to work, rather than working to live. God created designed Adam to toil in the garden to give himself a sense of accomplishment and joy in doing something worthwhile. Work is simply another joy given by the Lord. To serve is rewarding and creates character establishing authority and influence in the lives of others. This is why I'm here in Uganda, to serve and empower, and to give people a sense of dignity and confidence in being able to accomplish greatness.


I walked to the UJV from our house the morning I took the younger kids to the zoo. The distance is about 1 km and its all hill, so you walk up the hill and then you walk down. On the way down, there was a musei (what they call an old man) with a long white beard walking in front of me. I had never seen an African with a long white beard. He was carrying a huge sack on his back that seemed to be either beans or potatoes. It probably weighed around 52 kg. As we walked down the hill, there were 2 girls on the side of the road outside a shop. They saw the musei and chuckled to themself as they said, hey! Its Father Christmas! I was first surprised to hear them speaking English because normally people i walk by would be speaking Lugandan. but while i pondered the idea that maybe they were speaking English so i would understand, i laughed so hard at at the idea that this guy looked like an African santa clause.
I reached the UJV and the children were ecstatic about going to the zoo. They were drinking their porridge and looked so smart in their new clothes from Christmas. The only downside of the morning was that it was drizzling with gray clouds covering the blue sky beneath. We loaded up the bus and drove 45 minutes to Entebbe where we reached the zoo which is set on the lakefront of Lake Victoria. The rain had picked up so we spent 15 minutes waiting under a roof for the rain to become lighter. As soon as it died down to a drizzle, the kids started walking and we ended up in front of the oldest and laziest lion i had ever seen. His mane thick and his skin was all wrinkly. His face looked like that of a 70 year old man. David turned me and said "auntie, you call the bus, we bring the lion king and we go." For the second time that day my heart was stirred with joy as i laughed at yet another child making fun. We saw snakes such as pythons, cobras, and vipers. we saw otters, crocodiles, chimpanzees and zebras. The rhino wouldnt come near us, but supposedly if he does you are allowed to pet it. The zoo was very small, and definitely nothing that exciting for a westerner, but the children loved every moment of it. After looking at the animals, they played with the monkeys on the playground. They climbed, swung, jumped, crawled and hung from the playground while running around in a frenzy of joy. They had never experienced a playground like that, where they could jump and climb around like monkeys. The sound of children playing filled the air, so much so that i even had to give David, Cosmas, and bonifest a time out for spinning the girls way to fast, scaring them and making little Brenda fall on her back in the mud. The rain eventually stopped and the sun peaked from behind the gray clouds showing a little bit of blue for the afternoon. Its really incredible to be able to experience God in playtime and by just enjoying life. Eat drink and be merry, because God likes to party and play. He likes to have fun and enjoys us as we run around with him, experiencing His creation, making jokes and exploring life. Everyday is an adventure in Africa, and it reminds me that God has countless adventures for us, taking us places we've never been and doing things we thought we could never do. Never in my whole life did i think i would be taking 36 acholi children in Uganda to the Entebbe Zoo for a day. Never did i think i would enjoy swallowing a hundred white gnat like bugs, covering my face in order to breathe, while walking in the rain around a small little animal park so much. i loved every minute of it, because of the smiles and the energy that it brought the kids that day. God had assigned me to bring a little fun and enjoyment for his children who would probably have never experienced anything like that. JOY. Its part of my calling. Christ has put Heavenly joy in my heart, and i'm called to release it wherever i go. Haha, I want these kids to experience as much joy as possible! my heart is to teach them how to play with their Daddy. How to drink from the rivers of joy.

Beauty of redemption

Last week i sat down with jimmy and Christopher on the steps to their room. We talked for approximately 30 minutes about life. My favorite part of being at the UJV is sitting down with my kids and chatting about their pasts, their future, and life as they see it now. I feel priviledged to get to hear their stories, and to be able to speak into their life. Discipleship has always been about doing life with one another, and I get to teach 62 beautiful acholi children how to deal with and handle real life issues in the likeness of Jesus. On more than one occasion, I have felt completely inadequate for this task, especially when the hard questions come. Christopher once asked me, if your leader falls into sin how can their be hope for the rest of us? i responded in the best way i knew how, in that everyone is responsible for their own decisions, and everyone has their own journey with God. Our hope is Jesus living in us, and influencing us to make the best possible decision for our own lives. Our leader's decisions and actions shouldn't take our eyes off of Jesus. This was a few months ago, but here i was sitting with Christopher and Jimmy once again chatting about life issues. For the first time since i've been here, i've noticed a change in their hearts. Something is different. Some of them have received major miraculous healing because they are now beginning to trust and to open up. They are beginning to share their stories without tears or trembling. It's been 2 1/2 years since they have been rescued and its taken that long for their stories to come out. The last time i heard Jimmy share his story was in front of the Fresh Fire team in 2007, and he was in tears as he told us how his parents died. It took him a while to get the story out and it was difficult to hear him with his quiet voice. But now, he tells that story from a healed heart, still sorry for his loss, but no longer a victim. So as i sat with Jimmy and Christopher on these steps, they started to tell me a little bit more about Gulu and what they had been through. Jimmy told me he was captured by the rebels and had to walk for many many days. He lost count of the days but was forced to carry a 52kg sack of beans with his friend the whole way. He said he was fortunate because the group that captured him was not as violent as some of the other groups and he personally escaped some of the beating because his friend was friends with one of the soldiers. Jimmy explained that the rebel groups around Awer Camp (where they are from in Amoru district) were not as violent as other areas. He also said that most of the rebels in the group were older. There were few children with weapons although there were some. He said he escaped when they were cooking. Some of the rebels were cooking when the government soldiers started coming up the road. Everyone scattered to get their weapons and fight so a group of captured acholis, including Jimmy, took off running. I was also informed that the soldiers in the camps that were fighting for Uganda would sometimes be just as bad as the rebels themselves. If there was no food in the camp, the soldiers would ravage the houses and gardens threatening lives, sometimes killing for food. jimmy said one of the worst things he saw was a soldier cut off a woman's breasts. He also witnessed someone's arms cut off. Sleeping in the bush was safer than sleeping in their houses in the camps lots of times. Stephen told us a story of one time sleeping in the bush and his friend woke up him because the rebels were near and stephen was snoring. He laughs about it now, but even Kenneth can testify of how scary it was to be the one making noise while hiding from the rebels in the bush. Kenneth's earliest memory was when he was maybe 3 or 4. His mother carried him into the bush as the rebels were close by. Kenneth was screaming and crying while his mother held her hand over his mouth to silence him in fear of being found and killed.
Sometimes its hard for me to believe that these kids have been through so much. They look and act so different than when they were in Gulu. They truly have been saved and transformed, so much that even their legal guardians and families don't recognize them. Everytime i get to hear their stories and talk about life, the power of redemption and justice rises up within me. I get excited as i get to peer into their hearts for a moment glimpsing the reality of an experience i will never understand, yet knowing that because they have gone through it, they will be and have already started transforming lives and carrying justice back to a hopeless generation. I caught a piece of revelation today as sought the heart of God. There will be war to enter every promiseland. but God fights for us, so how much more powerful is it when we defeat what looks like the impossible army and become victors to take hold of what God has said and ordained over our lives. When everything goes wrong, where there is a hopeless situation, and dieing surrounds us, we know that the power of redemption lies in the resurrection. God will not abandon us. He steps into the war, brings hope, changes the outcome, fulfills his promise and uses the victims and casualties for His glory. The promise land awaits us. I want to be wreckless enough to listen and obey, to fight the battle that keeps me from it. In as much as i feel honored to teach these kids about life issues, i feel they could teach me more than i could ever teach them. theyve been through the war, and they've been redeemed in it. The beauty of God is turning mourning into dancing, despair into hope, brokenness into gold, rags into robes, poverty into riches, sickness into health, darkness into light, and death into life. the beauty of God is transformation and these kids are gonna transform the world just as they've been. I see beauty in every single one of them, and i continue to love them and pray for them to receive the fullness of Christ in them. Christopher wants to be an evangelist and jimmy wants to be the future president of Uganda.