Wednesday, January 25
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28
The verse above created a whole new meaning to my life today. Comfort zones were shifted and my life is definitely better because of Him. The previous evening we had dinner at Pastor Ruth’s home and heard her story of her mission and how she is changing lives. It was an amazing meal and time of worship. In our discussion it was brought up that I have been speaking with young boys and the youth about their relationships with God and being better Christian men. Pastor Ruth asked if I would speak at a conference that was just starting in the next village the next day. I reluctantly agreed not knowing what God had in store. And it begins…
As we met with Pastor Ruth at SMILE Africa and met all the kids it was time for me to head over to the conference. I had been told that I was going to speak to about 20 men, which internally and mentally I was prepared for. We arrived at a huge tent in a field and I could hear the music playing before we came around the bend. As we entered through the gate I immediately noticed it was not just 20 men, but OVER 500 men/women/youth/kids! I just started laughing inside and looking up to sky thanking God for His sense of humor. I was then informed that in Uganda 20 men equals about 500 people or so. A comparison that I did not think of to ask earlier.
As I got out of the van I was immediately greeted by many people and they started thanking God for bringing me to their conference. At one point in time I had to stop and just ask Him if he was sure that this is what I was supposed to do. He automatically gave me peace in my mind and heart and I knew then that I was in the right place and time.
They started the conference with praise and worship, singing and dancing and they explained the words to me as it went along. I felt so blessed hearing them sing songs with the same meanings that we have in the U.S. It’s amazing to see God worship the same here as it is back home. His love is universal and I truly expereinced that today. As the singing came to end I knew it was my time. My heart started racing a little, but more and more peace calmed my shaking hands and heart as I began. I may or may not have gotten a little carried away with Hallelujah and Amen as I got the crowed excited to hear God’s word, but I couldn’t help it. I’ve never “preached” before to a large group so this was all new for me. I only tried to envision what I had experienced in the past. I also had an interpreter and that was quite interesting. Having to start and stop so they could translate was a little hard at first, but I got used to it after a while.
In Africa people don’t talk about issues out loud. They don’t like to talk about rape and unwanted sex, prostitution, and beating up spouses. I felt as if I needed to talk to them about it. At first I saw a lot of facial expressions raised, but after a few minutes I saw smiles and heads nod that I was speaking the right words. I’ve never tested the art of talking out loud and praying for God to give me the right words at the same time. It made me appreciate my pastor back home even more. I then talked about not giving up and encouragement. It seems here in Africa that the men whom are pastors and spread the word of God have a lot of issues at their own home because they neglect their families as they are ministering. I tried to encourage them that they were doing the right thing and that when the devil sees us doing right and God’s work he will try and attack us in areas that are vulnerable. I tried to tell them that they need to not only be a pastor to others but to also be a father, a husband, to their own family back at their home. Again, I was a little worried I had overstepped boundaries, but I noticed more and more of the pastors shaking their heads up and down and saying Amen. I then started a few more Hallelujah’s and Amens as I could feel the Holy Spirit working in the tent. Whew, praise be to God!
I ended with a story. A story that I hoped they could relate to. A story that showed faith in God and how if we truly believe with our hearts and minds we will see God’s blessing appear in front of us. We as a group experienced a miracle earlier when we arrived about a young girl whom we’ve been in contact with for many years. A young girl who we talked to last year about rape and to stand up and not ignore the hatred actions that are so frequently observed in her village. We came back to this village only to find out she was taken from her home because she told someone that she was raped. We were only told that the government took her and her sister away and we would never see them again. We stopped everything and prayed asking God to help us and through His grace, 3 hours later we found them in a small Christian orphanage in a much better place.
As I told more details about the situation and what God had done I noticed that most of the ladies in the front row were crying and raising their hands thanking God. I tried to relate God’s undying love and faith to us if we only believe in Him to these people. I had known from earlier talks with the pastors that some couldn’t read the Bible and that people lived and learned from experiences from others and actual miracles that happen. I tried to remember those words as I spoke more to these people. In my mind I was silently praying for God’s presence to come over these people and hope that at least one person understood what I was saying.
I ended with a prayer. A prayer that was more powerful than I had ever done before. With my eyes closed my heart would beat faster and I noticed my voice was getting louder. I could hear others in the background shouting Amen and for a moment I didn’t even know what I was saying. I only knew the Holy Spirit was taking over and that God was using me in this moment.
I thank the Lord for this experience and it will be forever in my heart.