This thing that once seemed so far off is now just appearing along the horizon. A lot has happened since our last post. We have been blessed with new supporters who are catching the vision of what God is doing in our lives and through The Amazima School and helping to make this mission a reality. We have been to Guatemala where, despite some practical challenges, we saw the Lord bring salvation, equip the team, raise up leaders, create testimonies that will last a lifetime and in all kinds of ways saw God do amazing things. We went training in Atlanta to prepare for ministry in a new culture and meet members of our new team who will be like family for the next few years, and oh yeah…. we purchased one-way plane tickets to Africa! Wow, now this thing is getting real. So here are some of the details.
September was a whirlwind as we prepared for our church trip to Guatemala. What an amazing time to see God bringing together 22 people ages 9 to 69, from four churches, to pray together, share testimonies, learn how to do cross cultural missions more effectively, grow in fellowship with each other and focus on Jesus and what the Holy Spirit would do in us and through us in Pueblo Nuevo. For Tally and I this trip was emotional as God used our engagement in Pueblo Nuevo and the people there to help us hear His call to missions, and this trip was likely the last time for at least a year or two that we could return to worship with and encourage people we love in that place. Despite some travel and stomach issues that challenged the team, we saw God do what he always does, providing open doors for the gospel and putting just the right people in place to see Him change hearts and at least 10 people humble themselves before Our Lord to ask him to be King of their heart. We celebrate God’s faithfulness as we found Alma in good health and visited her in her home and worshiped with her family in church giving testimony to how God brings beauty from ashes and used that beautiful girl made in the image of God to change our lives. We also saw God do what only he can do, giving a prophetic word to our translator Michelle through a grandpa in her village the Saturday before we arrived that she would see God to something great at work. She wasn’t scheduled to work but 5 minutes later she got a call that our team needed an extra translator! Her story of redemption was a perfect testimony to minister to a young girl that Tally and I had formed a relationship with over the last few years whose mom asked us to talk to during visitation. What a blessing! Between visits in our door to door ministry, she spent two days ministering to my friend Carlos, a young man who the Lord had put in our path several years ago but was struggling with giving forgiveness to family and receiving forgiveness from Christ. I was at a loss of what to do, and the language barrier prevented me from going any deeper, but God in his awesome pursuit of this young man used Michelle’s story and passion and just before we left on Friday we prayed together as he received Christ! What an incredible gift to witness his story over 3 years to come to salvation, so we celebrate God’s faithfulness and marvel at His work. And to cap it all off, after we were commissioned to go to Uganda and prayed over by Pastor Pedro and his church, as well as the Hope of Life staff, the very last thing I saw as I was stepping on the bus to leave the village and embark on what God has called to at Amazima was a double rainbow, WOW what a promise for the future!! So with tear filled eyes and awe for the God that lets us be a part of His work, we depart, knowing that His work in that village continues under the leaders we’ve witnessed Him raise up and the lives that are being transformed in the village and at home. God builds faith in us as we take steps to trust Him in any area he calls us out of our comfort zone into on his behalf, and His faithfulness in Guatemala not only gave us great memories and a testimony that changed our lives, but showed us that His equips His work to bear fruit. That gives Tally and I great confidence to look forward to what’s next.
The week after we returned from Guatemala, it was off to Atlanta to meet our new Amazima family in person and receive some training on everything from how to pack and prepare, to how to begin to understand the fundamentals of Ugandan culture, to what to expect in a typical day. With both leaders, who flew in from Uganda, and first time Amazima staff just like us, we have made fast friendships that will develop much more as we grow the kingdom together over the next two or more years!
We found out that we will be mentors to 18 boys!! It’s going to be so exciting to meet them and their families and see the impact that Christ will have on their lives, what potential! There were many incredible take-aways from training, first, God is blessing this incredible ministry with obvious fruit (click to watch this video) of individual lives changed by the gospel of Jesus, which is incredible to witness, but also the gospel changing the culture of families and education in Uganda. Secondly, what a great encouragement to meet the team. We spent the weekend with our leaders and co-laborers, hearing their testimonies, and seeing their authentic love for Christ. Their humble but passionate commitment to relationships that honor Christ build the basis of an amazing work of God, and are an incredible affirmation that God, in His mercy, has given us a team of people to learn from and lean on as we move our family and do His work. So our energy and excitement is beginning to peak as all of this gets close, tangible and real, which is a real blessing to us as we have a ton to do! We’ve got to sell vehicles, figure out how to pack our stateside stuff into (hopefully) 12 crates of 50 lbs each,
store our remaining stuff, visit family, get our yellow fever vaccinations, and speak to both groups and individuals about financial support, not to mention figure out how to make Christmas lists for the kids that make sense when space is limited!
We’re almost half way to our fundraising goal and have only a couple of months left. We need partners who want to be part of this incredible work of God by joining our support team, partnering in prayer and financial support that will help us do everything from buy data to communicate with our family back home to provide groceries and necessities of life. Please pray and consider joining our team by donating through Resourcing Christian Education (RCE) and if you think our journey would inspire or interest someone you know, please pass along our story and get them to contact us! For just the cost of a dinner out per month you can invest in making an eternal difference in Uganda and equipping a ministry of real people you know and we are so grateful for those of you who have already partnered with us. It would really bless us to see our fundraising completed by Thanksgiving so that we can focus on packing and family time through the Holidays and be ready to fly out from Washington DC the afternoon of January 8! Until next time, keep us in your prayers!