Learning to Reflect Him – Retreat Update

Retreat Team

Thank you to the many who prayed for us as we traveled to Musana Camps for a Worship Team Retreat last weekend.

A group of 30 young people arrived at Musana Camps Thursday afternoon for a weekend of learning more about God’s glory and reflecting Him to those around them.

DSC01628

These 30 young people are involved with the local church-Kasana Community Church (KCC) worship teams – whether as a musician or a part of our tech team. A time of refreshment in His Word, encouragement from one another and teaching were all a part of the weekend.

DSC01648 DSC01644 DSC01643

Each morning, the campers dispersed throughout the hills to find a rock or a shady spot to have a quiet moment with the Lord. I absolutely loved watching each one go to spend time with their Creator and allow Him to speak gently to their hearts. DSC01624

The remainder of the days were filled with teaching during the Sessions, challenge activities, hiking, swimming and an afternoon of a Ropes Challenge Course. Bonfires each night with music filling the air and an evening of a Worship Night on the rocks completed our days.

Preparing to catch someone for a trust fall

Preparing to catch someone for a trust fall

DSC01772 DSC01782

DSC01680DSC01706 DSC01714

Hikes to the waterfall

Hikes to the waterfall

There was even time for a few water fights

There was even time for a few water fights

DSC01884 DSC01880 DSC01877 DSC01864 DSC01833 DSC01813 DSC01824 DSC01801

Challenge Course - A perfect setting for building a team's cooperation and unity

Challenge Course – A perfect setting for building a team’s cooperation and unity

My heart is full as I watched our young people grow in their love for the Living God, a desire to share and reflect Him to those around them, and to continue in the talent He has given them.

Advertisements

Carol of the bells

Today, we had the privilege of gathering together as we celebrated the life of a little gift God placed into our lives.

Today, we cried, held one another, remenised about our Beautiful Carol(e), and rejoiced that she is experiencing no more pain. And even how some little ones have put it, “I think she is up in heaven singing, dancing, playing the guitar…”

Our little treasure went to be with Jesus Sunday night as she lied in the arms of a woman who loved her well. And surrounded by hearts who beautifully loved their daughter.

As our Treasures choir sang “Bless the Lord…and whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing with the evening comes….Bless the Lord, oh My soul…”, bells rang out loud and true. Those bells kept a perfect beat for our weary hearts. Those bells are the sound of Carol. Beautiful, bright, small, but had the ability to call minds and hearts to attention. Through her life, she has shown us such pictures of God’s unconditional love.

What a beautiful, hard, messy, and sacred day it was.

If you think of our children and staff, please pray? Pray for His Peace to reign in the hearts and minds of those who are grieving.

Sing like never before, Carol. Sing like Never Before.

 

Blossoms

I enjoy some solitude, but I enjoy it much more to be with people. My “office” can be filled with lots of people – little people and not so little people – but my “office” also has many moments of just me working alone, preparing for this or that.

But now I have an assistant. An Investment Year student who was given the opportunity to be my intern, and then chose to say Yes to entering into my workplace, my not always 100% scheduled life.

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know this young lady over the past 5 years (has it been that long already!?!?) and it is now a joy to welcome her writing here.

She will be sharing a weekly focus on the kids that we have the gift to work with.

_____________________________________________________________________________

The noonday sun beats down on red dirt of New Hope Uganda, transforming it into dust that is swirled about by a dry wind. I feel like I’m back in the deserts of Colorado on a hot summer afternoon. It must have been about a hundred degrees Fahrenheit, not even kidding.

We walk to the school block where the pre-school classes are and peek into the door where our young students fidget on their wooden benches. Somehow, the heat must not be bothering their little bodies since they are as energetic as pre-schoolers can be. But once class begins, even I’m not paying attention to the temperature anymore. My attention is captured by their smiles and childish enthusiasm for what is being taught:

Okusaasila kwa Mukama,

(God’s mercies)

Tekukoma

(Shall endure, forever)

Okusaasila kwa Mukama,

(His mercies shall endure)

Emirembe ne mirembe

(Forever and ever)

Their sweet voices sing loudly, then softly as they follow the motions to the songs that we make. There’s no other joy quite like the joy that comes from seeing those bright smiles and their brown eyes light up when they began singing. Something I read just the other day out of a book Singing Through the Night by Anneke Companion sums it up beautifully:

Our spirits are like flowers, and song is the sun. Just as flowers open only when the sun shines, so our spirits blossom only when we sing.

 

~ Kara Peterson

The Weekend With’s

This weekend was not my usual weekend. Weekends are usually spent with a lot of people, but this one was different. Lots of out-of-the-ordinary activities, lots of ordinary ones, but all With people – jam packed with treasures for my memory.

A Banana Pancake breakfast with some pretty fun kids.

Early morning coffee with this one – and a mug that brought on lots of Star Wars conversations at the breakfast table.

IMG_0029

Weekly prayer time with 2 Amazing Prayer Warriors.

An unexpected haircut with those fun kids. Now there is a kid running around without all of this hair.

IMG_0505

Preparing for a Worship Night (this Saturday the 28th. Please pray?) with a group of young people desiring to Celebrate the King!

Sharing the house with 3 additional young people as parents were away.

Facetime with a friend.

IMG_0508

I am thankful for my with‘s. And for the many more memory treasures that were created this weekend.

Not on the checklist

I started training in my Investment Year Intern last week.

We have talked about how each day is different, but most days do have a schedule. A flow, a rhythm.

But my oh my, then came Wednesday. The day started out as planned. Lessons were being completed, the checklists were becoming their name. Check!

Then came a classroom full of little hearts that were struggling. Struggling to obey, struggling to do a small task in front of them.

So the checklist was not so “checked” there.

The fun activity on finding a steady beat didn’t happen.

49 little pairs of eyes shut and some of them talked to Jesus about what was going on inside of them. The battle in their hearts – whether it was to find His Joy, or the battle to obey, or whatever that battle was – we prayed.

Some little ones slept, some uttered quiet words with their mouths, and some remained quiet as they prayed.

So my dear intern, this was not on the list. Not all of the checks happened.

Then came a piano lesson that turned into a hot chocolate date with 5 little ones.

IMG_0493An afternoon piano lesson ended and our long awaited rainstorm began. As the rain began to move from vertical to horizontal, we ran throughout the house closing shutters and moving papers and beds away from the windows.

IMG_0501

Just as we finished shutting out the rain, in came 5 little ones. Teeth were chattering from the cold shower they had just received.

Towels were handed out as we all giggled.

The 2:30 voice lesson didn’t happen. My student instead stayed and helped to care for these little ones. That check didn’t make it on the list.

IMG_0496

But we got an unexpected hot chocolate time with 5 unexpected visitors as we waited for the rain to end.

So, my dear intern, I guess you got trained in on the unexpected. You can add this to your little notebook of thoughts – each day will be different, each day will have its flow, its rhythm, even if that rhythm is full of interruptions. Or rather Special Appointments to share His love – and these Special Appointments might not be on that schedule I gave you earlier.

He has them

A time of Envisioning, followed by the arrival of our children and school beginning for a new school year has all been a part of the 2015 memory book so far.

IMG_0455

Plenty of “welcome home”‘s, “welcome back”‘s, and “how have you been?”‘s have been exchanged. Hugs, handshakes, tears of joy and sadly tears of not so much joy have been found as well.

Many children have come back – for some it truly has been “coming home.”

And with sadness, I write that some have not come “home.” Some have decided to leave. And for those remaining, we grieve.

I grieve losing children I love who make a choice of not wanting to be known.

She said it well –

It’s like getting punched in the stomach and stabbed in the back all at the same time, isn’t it?

All of the investment into that life, all of the prayers on their behalf. It can feel like a failure. It can feel like a waste.

DSC03911

But it is not a waste. Because these are His children. Not mine.

And now, I get to entrust them into His Strong Hands in a way I have never truly trusted His Hands before.

He has them, how ever far they are. He has them.

Back to Familiar

Thursday evening, the tires of that big bird hit the tarmac on Ugandan soil and I was back.

Immigration lines, temperature checks by white gowned professionals, a warm terminal of evening air, a long wait for luggage, scanning a group to find a stranger holding my name on a piece of A4 paper.

And then back to those familiar scents, the coolness yet heat of the evening, my red dusty feet, and the future sunshine.  2 Zzquill and 8 hours later, I woke to 2 recognizable voices and faces that I was eager to see, Nancy and her daughter Biru. We spent the day together rehashing the past 5 1/2 months apart and gathering some sun rays beside the pool – my skin was in need of some good vitamin D.

Tomorrow, the traveling will continue as I make my way back home.

Kasana, here I come!!