Monday, August 04, 2008

It is raining here in Uganda. I did not know how much I missed that fresh summer storm smell dripping from the banana leaves, bringing with it the promise of new life. I did not know that is, until I smelled it again, or smelled the chapatti Harriet was making in the kitchen. And I realized how much I belong to this place and how until I saw Lake Victoria’s mist rising up from the African dust, that the joy of all I am and all I long to be, rose up in me. I actually felt something shift in myself. And while the beauty of Mozambique’s beaches might beckon a weary traveler, for me, it is in the green of Uganda’s graceful arms where I find my joy. My resting place. I am home. I cannot explain how a place can actually make you who you are, but it does. When I ran off the plane, I felt underneath my footsteps, the authority I carry in this place because of my calling. Uganda, she revolves around me and I around her.

Three months in Mozambique it seems passed by in a flicker. I thought it would be longer or that I would be more ready or feel more grown up. But I know I am different from the girl who left Uganda with a burden, with something that would not let go. I know she is still in there somewhere wanting to do everything her own way, on her own. But she has changed too. There is a surrender here. A relenting. There is a reliance, but not on anything here on earth. It is different than giving up. It is a release into God’s hands. Nothing is forced here. I am most myself. I am most in my element. And the future is simply something to step into with gladness.

The things I felt, the things I experienced in Mozambique, the lives I saw transformed with a touch of tenderness—these things build on each other within me and make me who I am. The drunk man who wept at a hug and the simple words that God loves him. Gaining the understanding that it is worth it to stop for each individual person and love them the way they need to be loved. But mostly coming into the sweet reality that despite all our efforts, despite all our do-gooding and our missions projects, despite all our tramping around the globe and giving up hot showers, in the end, it is about resting in the secret place with God; the place where He speaks to us and we listen, the place where we love Him not with our works but with our whole bodies, with our whole souls. When I first started Zion Project, I had such a burden, such an intensity, that I worked long hours and stressed about the details, and got consumed with the dream and consumed with making it happen. If I learned nothing else in Pemba, its that God does not give us dreams so that we labor without resting or labor without being filled up with love again so we have something to give. God gives us dreams and then lets us come to the end of ourselves. Because some of us are stubborn and learn the hard way. :)

But there is no glory in helping people without love. And without God, everyone becomes a cynic. Because people are not here to bend to our will. And we have to love them anyway. In spite of. Without love, our best intentions are simply the road to a place we never wanted to go.

So I am home. And as usual, I do not have big plans or big strategies. I am just a follower of God and often that means the way to get to the place promised, is unknown. I was supposed to go to Sudan with IRIS, but God had other plans, so I’ll be up in Gulu by the first week of September meeting up with Todd Bentley’s team there.
I’ve had the privilege the last week of moving with Stacey Campbell’s team to mobilize for The CALL to prayer which will happen in Kenya this year on December 6th. I am amazed how God is bringing together the body of Christ across all walks of life to prepare for revival. He is speaking the same words only to different people. It is so funny how as people from the West we think we have great ideas, only to discover that Africans have been doing those same things for a long time. We met with an Intercessors for Uganda team and the words God has given them for this country are the same words we have had for her future and they have been praying for years--even through the Idia Amin regime and it was their prayers that moved him out of power.

God is raising up leaders in Uganda who have integrity and He is going to make Africa into a giving continent. Not one that is dependent on receiving aid, but a continent that gives not only in resources, but in spiritual wealth. God is marrying together the streams of prayer intercession and missions so that one cannot move without the other. And we are a part of preparing Uganda for the great change that is coming. I truly believe Uganda will be transformed and that testimony will motivate even the church in America to be changed. But revival cannot come if we are not ready. I believe I’ll be a part of coming alongside our Ugandan brothers and sisters to build up houses of prayer intercession and discipleship that will not only birth revival but will receive those who need to be loved and mentored. Prayer is the engine room for all the amazing transformation I long to see in the lives of young women in northern Uganda. I am excited to get back up to Gulu to see the girls and begin strategizing for the future. But I really feel it is no longer my plans. I have learned so much from watching Heidi Baker in Mozambique, that it is really about hearing the voice of God and doing that thing and seeing what is good news to that one person---what do they want and need? How can I be Jesus to them?

I will be using that lens as I go back to see my girls. I’ve heard things have changed a lot in the year and a half since I’ve been in the States preparing, so I am anxious to jump in and start loving one person at a time. The need for counseling and true relationships with Ugandans in the North is still very great and I’m excited to continue with partnerships in the US to bring girls economic empowerment opportunities. More updates soon. For now, I’m just happy to be back and incredibly stoked about the future. I’m beginning to see all the prophecies that have been spoken, all the promises over my life and the ministry I will have, coming into fulfillment. It’s been a long time in coming, but the journey has been worth it. I feel I really have something to bring now, something to impart, and that was well worth what it took to get back home.

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