Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's next?

Here is a picture of Priscillah-the girl we have sponsored for many years. We received some sad news that after we met her this day, she did go back to school, only to return back to Nairobi. When the HCI staff found her, they asked her what was going on. She then stated that she had a consentual relationship with another man in Dandora, a town by Nairobi, and is now pregnant. She stated that she did not want to tell us because we were talking so much about her furthering her education. HCI has had problems tracking her lately as she feels ashamed and does not want to talk to anyone at this time. The future looks bleak for Priscillah as she is not allowed to return to school and is more than likely going to be living the rest of her life in the slums of Nairobi. It absolutely breaks our hearts.

TJ and I have been processing a lot about "what's next" in our life. We cannot just go to Africa and say "oh, wow, great trip, it was so much fun . . . " and then come back to MN and just settle in our life here and go on as if we were never there. It has really rocked our world this time.
Sometimes we sit, in quietness and just be in the presence of God, and I ask, "what is it Lord that you have for our family". The verse in James 1 talking about caring for widows and orphans always comes to mind and it's like a flame ignites in our hearts to serve 'the least of these'. But, also in that verse it states "and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world". I have realized that I need to not only do what I feel called to do-by serving widows and orphans, but I need to be in check and accountable for my heart-that I am not boasting about things I aspire to do, that I am respecting an honoring my husband, that I am treasuring the Fruits of the Spirit. God cannot use myself or TJ unless our hearts, minds, and attitudes are pure.
I am content to let my Father chip away at me and break me until I am built up to stand up to what is ahead.

One thing that both TJ and I came back with was the desire to learn more about the Muslim community and the religion of Islam. The parallels to Christianity are amazing, particularly when it talks of the end times and the Anti Christ.

We also emailed the men we met in Uganda that were from Fargo. I am now on the Board of Directors of African Soul American Heart, which is a non profit in Fargo that is hoping to build an orphanage in Southern Sudan. I do not know what purpose God has for me on this Board, but I am excited for what is to come.
We'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

FALL is here!

I just love this time of year~apple cinnamon candles, the autumn air, the leaves changing color and watching my kiddos run through piles we JUST raked up! I love all of it. It makes again so thankful for who God is-that He has the creativity to give us seasons.

So, to celebrate, I just HAD to change our blog design thanks to reading the Stevenson's blog I couldn't resist!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Back in the States with a heavy heart.

Praise God! We have arrived safely back to the US without a glitch! I (Lindsay) am awake here at 3am jet lagged with my mind racing about all that we experience in Kenya and Uganda. I am thankful for high speed internet so I am able to write my thoughts here with ease and not worry about power shutting off or the computer locking up.

There were so many highlights on our trip, we don't know where to start. First of all, working along side of Bud and Kimberly Huffman was such an honor as we saw how they lived their lives serving Jesus by reaching out to precious children who have lost their parents and are living in horrific conditions. We also saw the many people in the community they have reached out to in the community and as a result have accepted Christ to be their Lord and Savior!

Some other highlights for us were:

  • spending time at a Baby House in Kitale and rock those precious babies
  • sharing a meal with a home of 8 teenage boys and their house mom, a widow, all rescued by Watoto
  • spending time on Bud and Kimberly's Watoto project, Mattaw Children's Village
  • traveling on the infamous Kenyan roads-chiropracter appointment now needed :)

Driving through the war torn areas of Kenya was pretty eye opening for me. Due to the number of rapes that happened almost 9 months ago during the political unrest, there have been many babies born prematurely and abandoned and they are predicting many, many more babies to be born and abandoned in the near future.

The Watoto Conference was a life-changing experience for us. We worshiped with 25 other nations from around the world-so it felt like a taste of heaven! We heard testimony after testimony after testimony of children who had been abducted by the rebel army, led by Joseph Kony and were forced to do horrific things to their family members and other children. If they refused, they were killed. I cannot imagine my 4 year old son having to experience what many of the children in Uganda have faced or are continuing to face right now. Here is an article I found that describes what the LRA is:

"I learned about the "Lord's Resistance Army" or the LRA, a rebel movement that has been terrorizing northern Uganda for almost two decades. Children are kidnapped by the rebels and forced to become child soldiers, porters and sex slaves. Adults are at risk, as well. Once kidnapped, the captives often are put through a spiritual ritual or blessing. They are told that once they are blessed they are protected against bullets and can never escape.
The abductees are forced to commit atrocities such as burning, rape, murder and torture - including dismemberment and forced cannibalization. Children by the thousands walk into town centers at dusk, to evade abductors. They are known simply as "night commuters." They sleep on the ground - in schools, hospitals, bus stations, verandas and doorways. Fearful of sleeping in their own huts at night, they are seeking safety in numbers.
Outside the town centers, the Ugandan government has forced nearly 1.6 million people into Internally Displaced Person's Camps, where there is insufficient clean water, inadequate food supplies, and little security, employment or medical treatment. The IDPs are stuck between two fires: leaving the camps to grow food, search for firewood, or seek medical treatment, they risk being attacked by both the Ugandan military and the LRA.

I think about the displaced people living in the camps - invisible to the outside world. Displaced within their own country, they live with fewer rights then international refugees. I think about the NGO workers that are on the ground working every day. Mostly I think of the woman I photographed who had been mutilated by a young rebel. He cut her ears and lips off.
I asked her if she had hope for peace. She told me she didn't know if peace was possible, but she did know one thing - when she leaves the hospital she would return to the IDP camps to care for her children, and live the rest of her life in poverty."

TJ and I desire to serve Africa. We are praying for God to cover the needs we have here in the States to make it possible for us to serve there long term. We have a responsibility now. The issues concerning the countries of Uganda and African CANNOT go on ignored. If you would like to know more about ways you can help, let us know or check out some of the links below:

Thank you all for your emails and posts while we were gone. God answered so many of our prayers both here in the States and in Kenya. We will post pictures as soon as we can!

In Him,