Thursday, June 16, 2011

the red soil of Africa

Two years ago I stepped onto African soil for the first time and since that moment my life has been turned, flipped, broken, crushed, thrown, and soaked in Glory. 
Africa didn’t change me, God did.  But He used that beautiful continent in a way that I could have never believed when I signed the paper to go on the first trip to Uganda.  On that trip I saw poverty and evil for the first time in my life and have never been the same.  It’s almost as if once you not only see injustice, but step into injustice, you have the single choice of whether to start living or to start dying.  By the grace of God, I chose to live.  Although the last two years I have literally been haunted by those images and realities, I have been learning to walk with Christ, by His grace, with a mangled and beautiful heart. 
Last summer I went back to Ethiopia and was introduced to a whole new culture and God once again opened my ignorant American eyes up to the world and how in Africa, yes even in Africa, there are diverse and different cultures (I was so stinking oblivious.  Every country in Africa is the same, right?!).  I was given the gift of seeing others live with Christ as their life, not just a part, but their entire lives.  I saw love in the arms of barbershop employees and hope in the eyes of AIDS orphans, and overall Jesus let me choose to live, a little more.
Tomorrow I am returning to Uganda, Africa. 
This past year God has given me the chance to live in a way that is unexplainable and this past year I have at last realized that my heart for the world is only as real as my heart for the people around me, so even as I rant and rave about Africa, please understand that I am not so wrapped up in over there, that I am missing out on here. 
But finally, God is giving me the gift of going and I wait with eager longing for the first African sunrise and the last sunset.
Many of you know and have heard about our trip, but I want to give you all a brief run down so that you all can pray fervently.
In a stupidly brief explanation, here it is: There is a huge problem in Uganda with witchdoctors, and these witchdoctors will abduct children and mutilate them and sell their body parts to business owners who bury the parts under their businesses for good luck.  Its sounds like a bad dream, and truthfully like a poorly put together horror movie, but my brothers and sisters, what is going on is just as real as the hands I type this with.  We were made aware of this terrible tradition last summer.  Soon after the situation had been addressed, it was discovered that the witchdoctors would only abduct “pure” children, with no deformities.  Well, a deformity can be something as small and as insignificant as a pierced ear.  Some children’s parents will put sticks in their ears in order to protect them.  So we started working with some pastors we know in Uganda and before we knew it, God had opened a way to fight injustice, to charge the gates of Hell, to be the Church, the hands and feet of Christ.
Next week we will be doing five ear piercing clinics in five different slums in Kampala, Uganda.  We are working with local pastors and Ugandan Gov’t and will be sharing the Gospel while we have the clinics. 
As you can imagine, there are many concerns with all of that and believe me, whatever concern is filling your mind right now has most likely been confronted.  Safety procedures and cleanliness and all of the obvious issues have been addressed by countless people coming together and every health problem and so on and so forth has not only been tackled head on, but prayed about for hours upon end.  
But I not only ask you to pray, but urge you to pray, beg you to pray.  Jesus has commissioned each one of us on the team to go, He handpicked us since the beginning of time to go on this trip and each one is ready.  To say we are confident in the Lord’s leading and provision for our team is an understatement.  The same hand that molding the Universe is holding us.  Who shall we fear?  Surely not the witchdoctors or any evil for, our King, He has already overcome. 
Please be on your knees with us next week and be continually interceding for us in Jesus name.  Pray for God to be glorified, for justice to be done in the midst of untold evil and for countless lives to not only be literally saved from the witchdoctors but for many many many more lives to be saved for Eternity through the redeeming love of Christ.  Pray for protection for our team but much more for our Ugandan brothers and sisters who will be on the frontlines with us, for their safety is much more at risk. 
In 15 hours I will be on my way back to Africa.  Hallelujah.
I went to Passion this last April and God absolutely blew my mind, but one thing He did was bless my life in an untold way by a small sheet of paper.  I wont go into details because frankly, many people who will read this would call me a lunatic, but in short, I received a beautiful and unforgettable note from a true saint the last night of the conference.  The note ended with the words, “the red soil of Africa will beautify your feet”…
Next week, my feet will be beautified once again. 

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with the Lord your God?”
-Micah 6:8

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