Saturday, November 21, 2015

I don't want you to go to Congo

I had a sad and frustrating conversation with my Congolese friend who lives here in Kasese. She had just returned from a trip to her hometown called Butembo which is about 1-2 hours further in than Beni. She came back with awful stories of killings and just kept saying, "I do not want you to go. I do not want you to die." I left feeling so down. Were we really making the right choice? If my friend, "on the ground" in Congo is saying it's not safe...

So I asked Scott. He told me all the research he had done. How he has been following the different rebel groups for years, and how he is in contact with others, Africans and Americans, about the situation. I responded with, "why then does she not want me to go?" And Scott reminded me that she is my friend and wants me to be here with her.  She wants me to be safe. He then told me a bunch of questions to ask her to clarify her information. I had not thought of many of those questions. Like, "are there attacks in the town or only out in the bush?" I was still a little shaky if I am being honest. The idea of going to a place where people are killing others is scary.

That was three weeks ago. I saw her again this week. We chatted for a few minutes about how our families were doing and how her business was going. Then she said, "Meg I need to tell you since we talked last time. If God is telling you to go, you need to go. I am scared for you but I know that God will take care of you if He is the one sending you." In that moment you could have knocked me over with a feather. Everything was turned upside down. Nothing changed in her report of what is going on. Just the perspective. It's not about the danger, it's about a God who is bigger.

Not by coincidence I am sure. The bible lesson for Josiah this week is Jesus calming the storm. As I was preparing it God continued to speak to my heart. "It's not about the storm. It's about trusting me. Sure the storm is big, sure the storm could kill you, but I am with you."

WOW! We have a God who sees and a God who cares. Do I still get scared sometimes, sure. Will I again in the future, probably. But I know who is with me. Jesus is with us and if I keep my eyes on Him and keep trusting Him, the storm loses a lot of power. Jesus becomes the focus and it frees me to do what He is asking of me. And right now He is asking us to go to Congo. We will keep taking steps through all the open doors we can. And we will trust Him a long the way.  

Would you pray with us that we keep our eyes on Jesus? Pray that we move forward with wisdom and that God would open doors and show us where and when. Would you also pray for relationships that we are building, both in Kasese and in Beni? Pray that we would encourage others to grow in Christ and keep point people back to Him whether we live in Uganda or Congo.

Today we are praising Jesus that He is bigger than all our storms!
Just another picture of the beauty of God's creation

Friday, October 30, 2015

"I lift my eyes up..."

This week has been hard. We have felt more under spiritual attack this week than we have so far this term. Scott was told his visa for Congo was ready to pick up, only to be told again, "it is missing one more thing." We had some trouble with one of our staff. And we found out that Scott's grandmother passed away this week. Just to name a few.

As I was crying out to Jesus asking "why?" I was reminded that we are in a battle, and Jesus quickly put into perspective all that is happening for His kingdom. Bible studies have taken off and are going really well. A group of pastors in town are asking Scott for training. We have hosted a handful of visitors and all have gone well. Our language and cultural understanding have made big leaps in the past few weeks.

We were feeling encouraged, then it felt like we were being hit on every side. As I was driving home from leading a wonderful women's bible study, I knew that I had a hard conversation I needed  to have when I got back. I was asking Jesus to help me when I looked up and saw THIS!

Immediately I thought of the verse:

Ps 121:1-2
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

My help comes from the Lord. He can and will help me with all that comes. And He has. This week has been hard. I don't know that it will be easier next week. But I know that my help comes from Him who is over all, and who will be with me to the end.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Birthday Cake and a Bible Story

Last week I was meeting with my friend, Juliann. We were sharing life and what was going on with our families. I told her that Ben was turning five and she told me her daughter was turning three the same week. But then she said, "every day I come home from work and my girl asks if I have ordered her cake yet. And I tell her no, the money is not there." My heart sank. I asked a few questions about where she would order the cake from, and how much does it cost. I knew right away I wanted to help, but throwing money at them didn't seem right. Going and paying for a cake at the bakery didn't feel right either. So as we kept talking I asked Jesus and He told me to invite them into my life. So I did.

On Friday Juliann, her daughter and husband came to our house and I got to make a cake with them. It was a blessing all around. For them it was a treat to learn how to make a cake and fun for the girl to dump the ingredients. There was much laughter and fun while we worked.

I didn't want them leaving my house saying, "wow, Meg made us a cake" or even "Meg is a nice person." I wanted them to leave saying, "Meg brought us God's Word." So while the cake was baking I asked, "Can we look at a Bible story together?" My boys went and played with the little girl and Juliann, her husband Milton and I did the story of Zacchaeus together. Scott joined us when he was able and it was a beautiful time of opening the Bible together.

I am so glad that I stepped out and made it about Jesus and not about me or what I can do. I know that I will get more chances to do more Bible stories together now that the relationship is built on that. All of us have moments through the day as we interact with people. We have relationships. Are we using them to invite our friends into God's Kingdom? Are we being intentional to have an eternal perspective? Not every conversation should be about Jesus and His Word. However, are we missing chances to invite Jesus into our lives? I know that I have missed many and want to refocus. How can we take the ordinary and make it about something more?

It reminds me of the Casting Crowns song Here I Go Again. Take a moment to listen and ask Jesus where He wants to use you.

I know He has big plans for each of us, we just need to listen and obey!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Too Comfortable

I made friends! We had a full schedule of ministry! My boys had a rhythm of play group on Tuesdays and library on Wednesdays. I was building relationships with our watchmen. I was starting to understand the layout of the grocery store. I had learned where to get the better produce. I finally knew which switch went to which light. I was comfortable living in Kampala.

I looked at Scott and said, "Can't we stay? We have ministry here. I have friends. I can do this city life thing." 

He responded with, "Where God has called you? We need to go where He tells us."

"Oh yeah." 

"Don't choose the good over the best. God's plan is best. We have to follow even if it's uncomfortable." 

I realized I had become too comfortable. I wanted to stay in the "known" instead of the unknown. Right then I made the decision to embrace the move. So I started packing. I made a calendar showing how many days we have left. I made lists of things to do, who I needed to call. Scott and I are getting to visit Kasese Sunday - Tuesday, and then we will move as a family on the 29th of July. 

It is exciting and an adventure when you choose the right attitude. It could be scary and overwhelming, but I am learning that when I trust Jesus, life is an adventure that He is with me on. What a better way to live!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

We are "Fine"

We are fine. In Uganda that means “we are good. things are good.” In the states when I say I am fine, I mean I am ok. Not good, not bad, just fine. Right now, we are fine, in the Ugandan way and in the American way.

We are doing great in some ways:

  • we adjusted to the time change and the change in diet
  • we are settled into the house we are staying in while we are in the capital city
  • we are driving again, no small thing in a third world country
  • we are connecting with old friends and the church

We are still struggling with:

  • the taste of some food, cheese and peanut butter specifically
  • getting used to being warm and sticky without the option of air conditioning 
  • some of the Ugandan phrases and remembering cultural customs

To be honest, the first week we were NOT fine. It was hard. I (Meg) found that I just wanted to go home. I missed all that I knew. I missed the people that I had deep relationships with. I missed my bed. I missed target. I missed my church. I felt trapped in a house that was not my own. Our missionary teammates were great, they checked on us and made us meals, but they were not enough to make me feel at home. They offered to help with anything we needed, but I really just needed to trust Jesus and lean on Him. And He was enough. He was enough help us with each of the things that we are now doing great with. He is enough to help us with the places we are still struggling with. And He will be enough for all that tomorrow will bring. Jesus is enough for each day.

So NOW,  I can say we are fine. We are making it, and most days thriving. I hope to write more about some of the above changes and adjustments. Stay tuned, and watch for an email with an update on our move to Kasese and Scott’s trip last week. (If you don’t get our newsletters, feel free to sign up in the column on the right!)

Thanks for walking this road with us. Your prayers make the difference! Keep praying for our full transition as a family and that we are able to be in, and begin ministry in Congo by Christmas!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Waiting Vs. Go Time

We have 4-5 weeks left. We are in "go mode." We have churches we want to get to "one more time." We are sorting and packing, packing and sorting. Scott and Josiah got their Yellow fever shots and updated passports are in our hands. Our travel agent is looking into flights for us. We are making plans with friends to enjoy these last days. And we are still working on our funding and support team. Life is busy.

Because we are so busy, and feeling the urgency of 4-5 weeks, I finally felt like we were out of the waiting season. We were waiting for Elijah to come, then we were waiting for funding, now we are going.

As I was talking to Scott's grandmother, Grandmom Rambo, she asked me about the plans for when we get to Africa. I shared with her the plan of living in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, while we find a house in Western Uganda. She asked, "When will you move into Congo." I told her we would go as soon as it was safe; we would WAIT on the Uganda side until then. I told her our ministry plan to work with the Africa Gospel Church (AGC), the church we worked with last term. We were in the northwestern part of Uganda and this time we will work with the churches in the western part. AGC does not have as many churches in the west and we look forward to helping there. I shared that we will build relationships that show Jesus' love wherever we are, Uganda or Congo or the States.

As I left, I realized we are not done waiting. Even though we have already done A LOT of waiting, there are still things we are waiting for. It got me thinking about what God must be wanting to teach me through these seasons of waiting. I opened my book for the women's bible study I have been blessed to be a part of and saw that this week we were studying Hannah: Surrendering in the Waiting. God is so good! Here is the link to watch it.

God is showing me that I need to learn to live in the here and now. Fully live and fully serve and fully give and be fully present, wherever I happen to be. It brought me right back to my phrase for our first term, "wherever you are, be all there" said by Jim Elliot. I don't want to miss the opportunities that come each day just because I'm waiting for what is coming.

Where does God have you? How does He want to use you where you are today?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Opportunity of a Lifetime: Thoughts on Joshua, Caleb, Trust, and Congo

Two weeks ago Scott had the opportunity to preach at Zion UMC in Egg Harbor Twp, NJ. He did a great sermon on moving into the promised land. If you have 25 minutes to hear a sermon it is worth it. This message shares our heart and lets you know what we are learning right now. Let us know what God is saying to you through this message!

Below is a link to an mp3 recording (taken on Scott's phone, apologies for the quality).

Click this link to listen. (Approximately 23 minutes)