Monthly Archives: August 2011

“The Kingfisher Devotion for My Team….”

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CURE’s GO Team Uganda 2011 has now been home for about 3 weeks…

I still miss everyone!

While we were at the Kingfisher Resort, on the way out of Uganda, I was to share a team devotion the morning that we departed for Jinja. However, I got so sick, that I couldn’t get out of bed. Kasie sat next to my side and prayed for me to be comforted by ministering angels and for my body to be healed. She left me in the hut and went to breakfast…

The last thing I could do is think of eating. For this image kept coming to mind….

I still get nauseous looking at him looking at me looking at him….

So, I stayed in the bed, locked in the hut, while the team ate breakfast. I so badly wanted to share the word that the Lord had given me.

But, I never had the opportunity. We drove to Entebbe that afternoon and I was still weak and sick.  Thanks to Meagan for capturing the moment….LOL!

What I had to share was wonderful. I had prepared it the night before. The Lord had shown me that I was to encourage each and every team member with my words. His desire was for me to edify them with praise. He had even given me the perfect scripture….

“….encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:11

I was sad that I never got to share this. I tucked it away in my journal and since I’ve been home, I’ll read the thoughts of what I was to share from time to time.

I even thought about publishing the devotion on “Mighty River”…but then I thought, ‘no, the girls have moved on….nobody misses everyone like I do….no one longs for Uganda like I do….in fact, if I publish it, the team is gonna laugh and say,

‘Shannon, you gotta move on…you gotta close this chapter…’ 😀

Afterall, isn’t it time to focus on the GO Team Uganda 2012?

But the Lord said to write this and publish it for these girls….

His word will not return void here…

These words of encouragement are doing no good sitting in my journal.

What I know that He sees in these ladies is meant to be spoken out.

And now the world can read it….

I got affirmation to publish this last night after I recieved a text with a picture of this….

Underneath this picture from Ashley M, it said,
“Yeah I’m missin it….”

I smiled so big. She felt exactly the same way I do!  I am missin it too!

I sit down with a cup of hot African tea every afternoon and think about Uganda.

I’ll pray for the faces that come to mind.

And then I got a card in the mail with some pictures from Emily. She sent me pictures of how the women reacted when I was showing them how to put on makeup! She wrote on the back of the picture

I loved watching the joy on their faces as you told them what ‘true beauty’ was…”

Her beautiful card made me cry. She said, “Thank you for being an amazing team member. You really showed me how God can take the struggles and weaknesses of our hearts/lives and make them our most beautiful qualities. Your testimony was beauty in the rawest form. Watching you minister to the mommas was a privilege. Thank you for your hope and faith in “your Husband”. Love, Em”

My heart was so touched. It is amazing who God touches when we obey. What she saw me share that day wasn’t my plan. It was His.  Emily was encouraging me!

These two gestures of love yesterday let me know that I do indeed need to publish this….

So, beautiful women of CURE’s GO Team Uganda 2011….

Here is what the Lord wanted me to share with you on the morning that I was sick…Some of us were ready to be home, some of us quite frankly wanted to stay in Uganda forever…

The time is now to share….and I’ve had fire shut up in my bones to publish this…..and rivers of living water!

“My Kingfisher Devotion….”

I want to encourage each and every team member that you were divinely appointed to this team. You brought a quality that no one else had. I believe that He opened my eyes to the beauty that He sees in you….

Kasie. Whenever I say your name in my home, my little Ellie sings out, “Kasie Lake, Kasie Lake, everything’s better with Kasie Lake.” Oh how true that is! Kasie, I love that our spirits connected before we even met face to face. I love that the Lord gave us the same visions. How powerful! You have such a presence about you…its PEACE. You are a peacemaker….a violent peacemaker, just like Jesus, you do whatever it takes to bring peace to a situation. You are not a peacekeeper, showing weakness, but a mighty peacemaker. I love that! You blessed me by intently listening to every thought, concern or opinion. You lean in to hear and absorb. I saw you do that with mommas, doctors, team members, waitresses, etc. You care about people….no matter the outward appearance. You are strong…nothing moves you. Your testimony is one of the most powerful ones I have ever heard and is proof as to why nothing moves you.  I loved walking the streets of Uganda with you and asking you if you see the womens faces like I do…the total sadness….when I asked you what it was, you said, “its called hopelessness, Shannon.”  God had already spoken that word to me.  I will never forget laying on a twin bed with you and sharing earbuds to listen to a sermon together.  I love that the Lord called us together to lead a team back next year.  I know that He is calling forth mighty warriors for the kingdom.  My favorite memory of you will be eating with you at the Boma and picking your teeth for you!  I am truly like your sister, huh?

Mandi.  You are a woman that can do anything.  I loved watching you do whatever is needed.  You have a servant’s heart.  The first time I met you is when you interviewed me for this team.  I loved hearing about your adventures that you’ve been on around the world.  I remember praying for you and thanking God for your adventurous spirit and your desire to meet the people that He has created all around the world.  On this trip, I love that you had whatever we lacked….bugspray, snacks, drinks, etc.  You looked out for all of us.  You always kept the back of the team in order…you knew where everyone was.  I love that you have a strong hand to correct where needed.  You have a gentle firmness.  You are a great leader.  I thought about your upcoming marriage on this trip and wondered if Rob grasped how blessed he is to be getting a woman who will drop everything and just “go!”  I love that everything you were asked to do you did with a smile….whether if it was cleaning, cutting meat, making chipottis, or buttering bread with me.  My favorite memory of you is racing you to see who could butter the most bread the fastest….yes, you won!

Sam.  You truly are Pocahontas.  I seriously thought you had an airbrush tan for Africa.  Ha!  (She is Indian…I asked.)  Wow, Sam…where do I start?  You are such a talented nurse.  You always knew what to do everytime.  I loved to watch you engage with people.  You truly care about what everyone is saying.  Your heart for the people of Uganda is huge.  And they love you too.  Its as if they say, “we need her”.  I saw that with Momma Jackie.  She waited for you to return for a year.  I loved seeing her call your name out in the dark and run into your arms.  She is a picture of “hope rising in Mbarara”.  She was waiting with anticipation.  You have touched many lives there.  I believe that you are just beginning in this part of your life.  I can’t wait to see or hear about your husband walking right beside you in your call.  It is a beautiful thing to see.  My favorite memory of you is definitely Momma Jackie….she’s a part of you.  But on a lighter note….I’ll never forget hearing you throw up while we ate breakfast one morning….and then coming out of the bathroom like we didn’t hear a thing….we heard it all!!!

 

Lena.  Lena, Lena, Lena. I have to say that I admire the courage you have to go to the other side of the world at such a young age…you just graduated from high school!  Never would I have done that at your age.  I love the way you say what is on your mind.  You have a confidence about you that your age is never a factor as to if you can or can’t do something….you’re going to do it anyway.  I love that we shared a room in the beginning and you took the initiative to just start reading the Bible out loud to me and sharing with me your favorite scriptures….as well as preach me a sermon about it!  I love the way that you played with the kids…it was as if you could sit in their presence for hours!   The Lord has truly gifted you at such a young age….I can’t wait to see the woman that you will become.  I believe you will be powerful.  My favorite memory of you is….well….always hearing, “does anyone know where Lena is?”

Ashley R.  You are such a cheerleader….always poised.  😀  I love that you are so funny!!  You made me laugh so much.  You brought a ray of sunshine to us and to every child you were around.  I loved to see you interact with every child.  You got right down on their level and looked them right in the eye.  Your eyes just light up with His love.  I loved hearing you preach to the women….I loved being your last minute prop-girl to help you complete your message.  You had such peace in your voice as you delivered.  My absolute favorite memory of you is hearing you scream from the room next door because you had a frog in your toilet!!  Your eyes were bigger than saucers when we ran out into the hallway.  Good thing you had Ashley M to catch the frog….

Ashley M.  Talk about a mighty tower….you don’t fall!  If I stood face to face with God Himself and He told me that I could only take ONE person back with me…who would it be?  I’d choose you.  I don’t say that in a negative way to any other team member….it is because a person like me needs a person like you.  You are so leanable….and I love to lean.  You can handle anything.  You show no weakness.  You faced the highest mountains and the biggest odds to be on this trip.  The devil has tried to take you down with sickness and defeat and every time you stand up taller and shout, “I’m coming back!”  I praise God for you!  I loved sitting with you in an abandoned dormitory while you slept with a fever.  I felt so bad for you, I killed bed bugs crawling around you and gasped when I watched a mouse crawl up the wall next to you….you didn’t flinch.  I loved watching you with the children….especially Robert.  He had such a love for you.  I think that he’s like me, he notices the leanable people too, and he felt safe with you.  I loved turning my fish towards you every night at dinner, so he could watch you.  Thank you for the sweet note and fish charm in my suitcase when I came home.  I wear it because he makes me laugh.  Thank you for telling me that you love to hear me pray….that is the sweetest compliment ever.  My favorite memory of you?  Ha!  Its when I took you as my bodyguard to go get water in Mbarara and the man scared us outside in the dark….we ran fast and screamed louder…..but you made me face the guy and tell him why we were so scared!  Girl, you are crazy!  I can’t wait to take you back next year….you excellent frog catcher, you!

(Yes….this is the perfect Christmas card picture!!)

Katie.  You make me laugh thinking about you!  I had the best time laughing with you in your room in Mbale when it dawned on me that we could never room together.  You forgot all of your snacks at home and everywhere I went, I left my jacket.  We laughed knowing that we need people to take care of us.  You told me that you’ve accepted that you are that way, and I told you that I like the way I am….but we’d never make it together.  I loved doing make-shift workouts with you.  Lunges in the school room, no problem!  You are a great encourager.  I loved waking up to you and Ashley R playing African music as loud as you could at 5:30 am to work out.  I really loved watching you play soccer with the kids at the clinic.  I loved when you broke out the hands games during dinner one night….what fun!  Everyone loved you!  My favorite memory of you is this….wall push ups in the early morning in Mbarara.  Praise the Lord that Meagan didn’t get a picture of the bench sit-ups!  You have encouraged me to do a triathlon next summer.  Katie, you will do great things in life….He has big plans for you!

Emily.  Lady Di.  Your smile just captivates me.  It intrigues me.  It never fades.  I never heard one complaint from you.  You always laughed and smiled.  You see God in everything.  I love that your keepsake from Africa is a large yellow water container.  You said you were going to write a verse on it….I’d love to know what you choose.  I will never forget you holding baby Benita’s head up for me as I held her body and cried.  You joined me as I prayed for the child’s healing.  Your hands seemed like Jesus’ hands touching her head.  I kept telling you that I was sorry I was taking so long, worried that you weren’t strong enough to hold her head.  You kept reassuring me that you were fine.  You could have stayed there forever, I felt your heart.  I loved watching you play with the kids and laugh with them.  You really do look like Lady Di….its almost scary.  You light up ministering to people.  Em, my favorite thing about you is something you said to me…you took me off guard….I had you hand out my crosses to the 50 people standing to “carry your cross”.  You came to me when you were finished and said this…”thank you for letting me be a part of that.”  Your humility was beautiful…I didn’t know what to say.  It still leaves me speechless.

Meagan.  I know I’ve written a lot about you on this blog….and so has your family, I love them!….So, I may repeat myself.  Oh, how I love Meagan!  Before this trip, I felt a connection with you and I hadn’t even met you.  I think that I realized it when we traveled to Mbarara and you were sick.  I love that I was by your side when you fainted and I could guide your head to the ground.  I loved that I could help take care of you.  I loved praying with you through the night in Mbarara.  I loved talking about your parents and family and home.  You are always so sweet….but I really loved when you broke out the Bon Qui Qui immitation in Mbale while you painted your toenails green!  Ha!  I never knew that side was in sweet little Meagan.  I loved that there were times when you would just walk up and hug me for no reason in the world.  It reminded me of one of my sons at home…he does the same thing.  I love your eye for the beautiful things of the world…you have a way of capturing images the way God sees them.  Your heart is beautiful.  You are wonderfully talented.  I love you dearly….and miss you greatly.  And I love that you had your 21st birthday with us!

I want all of you ladies to know that without you, this trip would not have been a success.  I love that we could share the deepest thoughts and emotions with each other.  Our lives and experiences and just who we are intertwined with one another and made a beautiful masterpiece to express His love to the women and children of Uganda. 

I have no idea what His plans are for you next….but I know they will be full of courage and honor and strength.  I know that all of your days are laid out before Him.  You took a step of obedience to enter and complete this mission.  My life is forever beautified because I got to know you.  I take something from each of you….and its qualities that I would like to be more like.

I love you all….and I hope that every person you encounter in your life will be touched in the same way that you touched me….

For you bring the presence of Christ with you….

You bring hope…

Good bye sweet friends…

Amari, forever and a day….

Love,

Tumusiime

“Ye, have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit shall remain:  That whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16

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“The Fourth Man in the Fire….”

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I got a call early this morning from a dear friend in tears.  She was choked up and could hardly get her words out….

I knew why she was crying, before she could even explain.

She didn’t have peace about something she was about to go through with.  She was about to make a huge decision in her life….that the world would totally support.

What she didn’t know is that God had already put her on my heart to pray for her very early this morning before she even called. 

I had prayed that she would have peace about what she was about to do. 

And I prayed that if she didn’t have peace, then she wouldn’t do it.

She cried.  I told her that our Father had already gone before her today and had me pray for her…

And that this was an answer to the prayer…

She cancelled what she had planned for tomorrow.

If I told you what she was about to do….you’d probably say that she should have done it. It only makes sense.

We prayed and accepted the fact that only He knows His ways.  We can’t figure Him out.  That’s not our job.  But we have hope that we know His glory will be seen in this decision.  I can’t wait to see the fruit of it!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  Isaiah 55:8

I told her that this song has ministered to me all week. 

Now I know why….this has been for her.

The words say that we are not alone…there’s a fourth man in the fire.  I’ve listened to this over and over again.  I’ve known this bible story since I was a little girl….but I had never applied it.  The song speaks peace over our situation.  Its a declaration that He stands in the fire with is….He never leaves us….and He shuts the mouths of the lions. 

My God takes His hands and shuts the mouths of the lions….our enemies!

He is our Defender.

He is our Shield.

He is the only One who knows the answer to our questions.

This song is my declaration over your life today….I don’t know what you are facing, but take hope, Beloved….

He’s the fourth man in the fire!  You are not alone!

“A Prayer for My Team…”

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“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying,

“This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21


This is my very favorite GO Team Uganda 2011 picture. I’ll tell you why in a moment…

I don’t believe in coincidence at all. You can argue with me if you would like, but I’m firm in this belief. I won’t change my stand.

In January of this year, CURE International advertised a short term mission trip to Uganda and called it “GO Team Uganda 2011”. GO means Global Outreach. It was an invitation and application process to choose a team to bring healing to a nation.

It was an invitation to experience God.

By February, the team was selected. Now that I have met and journeyed with this team, I marvel at how God knit our talents, abilities, strengths and weaknesses together. Our weaknesses would lean upon another’s strengths. We all became a great balance for each other.

It wasn’t coincidence that we were chosen to go.

It was divine appointment.

I pray that I savored each moment with these young women, for I know that all of us can never repeat these moments together. I never want to forget how God used each and every one of us. 

And now we will all take different paths…

It wasn’t my plan to write a post today. But it was His. He told me to write…

“A Prayer for My Team”

“Oh Father, I thank you for the opportunity and the appointment to go to Uganda with these beautiful women. I thank you that you moved upon them to “go” and they obeyed. I thank you that you provided for them to go. And I thank you that you have prompted me to pray for them today. Lord, fill them this moment with Your delight in them. Let them know Your amazing love that You have for them. Carve the memories of Ugandan faces upon their hearts. Forever change each and every one of them. Bless their paths that you lay before them. Lord, give them the courage to step upon each new step that You light up. Give them visions to see things like you do. I pray that they continue to say, “Here I am Lord, send me!”   Lord, release the forerunner spirit upon our lives.  Thank You for crossing my path with theirs and giving me moments with them. Love on them today, I pray. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.”

So, why do I love this picture? Its because it captures who we are. For those that know us best, you can tell who is who by our outline. Each woman’s placement shows exactly who she is and her heart. I don’t need to describe everyone, for the loved one’s can see it too.

I think this picture is prophetic. Its as if you can see the paths we are taking….

Even Meagan who took the picture and is not in it….its her heart to serve and capture things the way God sees them. She doesn’t want to be seen, she desires for His glory to be seen.  Its as if she sees through His eyes.

I looked at myself and realized my position…I’m in front.

Not coincidence at all…

I’ve been asked to lead a team back next year.

And for that, I am humbled….

“Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.”
Psalm 25:4,5

“I’m Home…but I’d give a million shillings to be called a ‘mzungu’ right now….”

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Good morning!
I’ve been home for few days now, but as soon as my plane from London touched down in Atlanta, I feel like I’ve hit the ground running….
Life has resumed as momma to Anderson, Avery and Ellie! And, what a beautiful role that is!

I missed them! I came home to a poster hanging over the balcony that the kids had made…
“WELCOME HOME TUMUSIIME!! AMARI!!”
Avery had baked an apple pie and taped a note to the microwave to “open for a big surprise”. He said that he knew I was probably sick of beans and rice by now. 😀

Yet I made rice and beans for lunch yesterday…

I know this doesn’t make sense at all to the world that says, “Aren’t you glad to be home?”….
Because my answer is, “No, I’m not.”
In fact, I’d give a million shillings to have a Ugandan child call my name, “Mzungu, Mzungu!” (white person)

I have a deep missing for Uganda right now.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am thrilled to be with my children! I would love for them to have experienced Uganda with me. And I believe one day that will happen.

But I cannot shake that today…

I’d love to hold a baby with hydrocephalus and pray that my arm is strong enough for her head to rest upon.


I’d love to hear Robert sing “Assimwe..” and clap his hands right now and see his paralyzed legs not even bother him.


I’d love to look at a woman from Mbarara and just smile and hug her. I’d love to see her smile back.
I’d love to use a squatty potty right now. I’d gotten really good at it and even prefer it. One of the village women taught me to throw grass in the hole first so that the flies come out and mask the smell.
I’d love to wash dishes with a cloth cut from a rice bag and a bar of soap that dries my hands out.

I’d love to feel the coolness of the African morning.

I’d love to hear the rooster crow outside of my bathroom window.
I’d love to wait for a cow to cross the street so that I can move forward.
I’d love to go eat dinner somewhere tonight and see a chicken walk through the front door and fly up into a chair like it did in Mbale.

I’d love to pull my covers back tonight and make sure there’s no scorpion, lizard, snake, roach or ants.
I’d love to put my headlamp next to my bed tonight just in case the power goes out. (I’d click it four times just to annoy Kasie too…. 😀 )


I’d love to walk 30 minutes to church tomorrow like I did there.


I’d love to see Miriam’s smile this morning.


I’d love to look forward to worship at CURE on Monday morning and hope that they’d sing the song where we walk around the room and look high and low and realize there’s no one like our God.
I’d love to hear the beat of a drum right now.


I’d love to smell a fire burning, knowing that dinner is being prepared.
I’d love to sail on Lake Victoria today with no jet skis or big boats in sight. I don’t even think they know what those are. I want to watch the velvet monkeys jump from tree to tree.


I’d love to hold a baby today that the momma has left the home and decided to keep the child. I’d love to be her connection by holding the rejected today.

I’d love to walk around CURE Uganda seven times today with Pastor Nelson and hear the Lord speak to me again.


I’d love to cut a banana leaf down with my knife to shield me from the rain.
I’d love to hold a baby with no diaper on and be peed on.


I’d love to tie a baby on my back today and carry his precious body on me all day long.

I’d love to gather in a circle and dance with women who I have no idea what they are saying, but my heart joins in praise.


I’d love to hang out next to the fire with my friend from Mbarara, Kikuro, and listen to him teach me “Praise the Lord” and “Good Morning” in his native tongue…waiting with a smile for me to correctly reply.

I’d love to pick Anna up from crawling down a hill because her legs don’t work. I’d love to sit with her again and hear her call me, “Auntie”…not understanding anything else she says. And then I’d love for her to hand me her precious meat again and know that is her dearest gesture of love…to give me her meat.

I wish right now that I had the human vocabulary to describe what this mission did for my life. I went to Uganda to fulfill a call that the Lord Himself placed upon me. I trained my body, heart, soul and mind…..
Yet, nothing prepared me for the longing that remains and has now intensified for the beautiful women and children of Uganda.


I am humbled that He chose me to touch them with His powerful love. Yet, somehow, in only the way He does….He touched me greater. My hands touched the sick and the hopeless….the rejected…the forgotten.

He has kindled flame upon my heart to return. My heart longs to return and bring healing and restoration once again.
Thank you to all of you who have contacted me to continue to write on Mighty River….I will.

Your words of encouragement mean a lot to me.

I pray that He is magnified even more as I journey to the next seed He has planted.

And its VERY EXCITING!!

I will continue my journey and walk the dirt roads of Uganda…

Asking Him to open my eyes to the way He sees…

And touch the people He says to touch…

Won’t you join me?

“Praise the Lord!”

“Messages to Our Families…”

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Here are some words that the girls want to send home:

Mandi: “Thank you to everyone who cares enough about me and my adventures to follow this blog! Knowing that you are praying for me through Uganda is a huge blessing. I am safe, happy and enjoying my time serving our Lord, the CURE staff and the mamas and papas. I am learning about myself and growing in my faith. Special shout out to my family and Rob and to all the others who support me! God Bless You and See you soon.”

Lena: “This trip has been amazing and very hard at the same time. Even though we are serving others, it has changed me as well. God is definitely moving here in Uganda and He is moving in me. I feel that I am supposed to continue with what I feel God is calling me to do in life, but I know it may not be easy or fun as I had expected before this trip. However, seeing the result is completely worth it. I miss you at home and it is truly a delight to get a message from any of you on here. I love you all, Lena.”

Emily: “To everyone who has supported me in my dreams no matter how far they have taken me: I love you and miss you so much. I can’t wait to see you all next week! This trip has been about giving to others, and it also has given so much to me. THe unselfish love and overwhelming Spirit of God in the people here has given me a new sense of hope and appreciation for my life. Today, I get to visit an orphanage. I hope that I can give all the love I have felt here and from all of you at home to every child I meet. Nikukunda (Love), Em.”

Ashley M: “First of all thank you all who have been praying for us…Let me just say. “It’s been working!!” I am having a wonderful time in Africa. I am still amazed when I see the wonderful ways God works for and through the people of Uganda. Seeing how strong their faith is, is such an inspiration! Mom- I love you bunches and please give tinker my love. Don’t worry. I am doing great. Bill- I miss you and don’t try looking at the phone bill b/c I think it’s going to be ugly 🙂 LOL. Dad and Karen- Love ya and miss you. Cody- I love you bro and you better be nice to my baby! Nathan- Sam is doing great. I know she misses you lots. It is awesome to hear how she talks about you! You really need to come to Africa, there are so many people that already know you. Thank you for all the prayers too. Love ya. Thank you all for the birthday wishes via text. It was a birthday I’ll never forget, Survived malaria and got to celebrate African style. I thank God for my family away from home. They are a wonderful group of girls and I love them all. My family…you owe Kasie and big time for being great nurses under some odd circumstances. Sending all my love…keep praying for the team and the people of Uganda.

Kasie: My Precious Family: These times apart enrich my deep affection for you and reveal the tightly woven spiritual destiny and dynasty we have together. How I long to bring you all here where beautiful women and men with faces as dark as night greet you with smiles that sparkle like the stars. They welcome you with their entire being with holding no good thing. You should see the joy they display as they exalt the Lord with rhythmic dances and loud praises. They declare their children will bring Glory to God. They are rich you see. It is us in the States who have fallen to greed which breeds poverty of spirit, soul, and body. There is much to learn from these dear ones! And this is my prayer to us all: That our love may abound more and more in the knowledge and depth of insight. That out of His glorious riches, He may strengthen our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that we may be filled to the measure of all fullness of God. I love you deeply. Sending kisses through the moon!”

Sam: Nathan George- I miss you so very much! I can’t wait to see you and my sweet Mia! Just 6 more days and I can share all my pictures and my wonderful experiences. I tell everyone about you and they all have the same response…Nathan should come to Uganda with you some time! We should definitely pray about that b/c I would love for you to meet my Ugandan family. I am praying that “food on the mount goes great tomorrow. I pray it is a huge blessing to everyone working it and to all the people that show up for the event. I know the Lord will be there to work wonders! I love you so much. Thank you for your love, support and prayers. Dani-I hope you are not missing me too much. haha. I sure do miss you. You better have a wedding date by the time I get back. Love You! To all my friends/family- Thank you so much for all your prayers and support. With out you I would not be here now. I know that the Lord wanted me here to serve the momma’s, babies and the people here in Uganda but what most people don’t know is how much of a blessing they are to me! I love seeing the love and passion the people here have for Our God! Although, I miss ya’ll I am really enjoying my time here in Uganda. Again, Thank you for praying for me and the team! I love you all.

And me, Shannon…. To my children, wow! I know that letting your mama go to the other side of the world for this long required a lot from you and your little hearts. Thank you. I love you more than anything in this world. When God choose me to be your mother, he gave me the heart that identifies with these women. For I know now what their hearts feel towards their own children. So, not only did the Lord use me to touch these women, He used Anderson, Avery and Ellie. Amari! Lives were changed because of you!
To Carrie and Mom, thank you for carrying my responsibilities as mama during this time. I pray the Lord blesses you for your selflessness and love.
To the rest of my family and friends, thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. I praise God that we slept while you were awake. For the texts I’d receive in the middle of the night, you were right on time….it was always a word I needed to hear. Thank you for your obedience to pray.

“Reflections on Mbarara….”

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Good Morning from Mbale! Its good to be back….

When we pulled into the CURE hospital late last night, Miriam called my name, “Shannon, come quickly, the mothers are singing!” I followed the voices and found a group of mammas outside singing and dancing praises to the Lord. Miriam said that it translated into ‘I know that I will find my miracle here! I will celebrate!’. They danced and sang so loud…in the night, holding their babies. My eyes filled with tears.

How many of us could go outside of a hospital at home and sing praises at the top of our lungs?

How many of us would dance?

How many of us would put no time limit on the amount we praised?

How many of us would come unhinged?

Somehow, I think that many of us have come to change the lives of mammas and babies at CURE and the mobile outreach in Mbarara.

But I can say that I have been changed.

I want to bring back a spirit of deeper worship with me. I want to sing and dance in the midst of confusion. I want to speak out hope when everything seems hopeless.

I want someone to grab a friend by the hand and say, “Come quickly, Shannon is praising her King!!!”

While we were in Mbarara, I delivered a message outside under a beautiful tree as the mothers sat all around me. I spoke about “Carry Your Cross”. Before I left home, the Lord kept telling me to “magnify the cross”. He opened that word up to me and showed me that in magnifying the cross, I am not to focus on the sadness of my Savior dying for me, but to magnify the His love of carrying the cross. I was to express to the mothers that the cross I carry shows the death of Shannon and the redemption and restoration by a Savior. My cross identifies with the cross that they carry of rejection and a broken marriage. My cross carries the pain of losing two babies.


I had sat in on a spiritual discussion with Miriam the day before with the women. Miriam translated what struggles they faced. Most of the women have been left by their husbands because they produced a sick or deformed child. The woman then has to take care of herself. These women expressed how some of their children are old enough now to say, “why did God make me this way? Why do my friends run off and leave me on the playground while I can’t walk?…” The mammas said that after the child is done asking them the questions that they have no answer for, the mamma breaks down and cries…..

My heart broke.

I remember losing two of my babies and I’d ask God “why?” He reminded me in Mbarara that they have the same feelings and questions that I did. He told me to share “hope” with them the next day when I shared the message.

So, on that beautiful afternoon in Mbarara, I had the greatest day of my life EVER.

We opened up with song and dance. I shared my testimony. I told them that I was just like them. I told them that I knew what it was like to go to bed at night and cry, wondering if anyone had ever hurt this bad. I told them that sometimes the pain hurt so bad that I had wanted to die….

But I told them that I had a choice to make, I could live my life sad, or I could carry my cross and claim that everything I have been through was for the glory of God.

I told them that their child would be the cross that they carry. To make a decision to say, “God, I don’t understand, but I choose to say that this child and my story will glorify you.”

I asked those to stand who wanted to carry their cross. Nearly 50 stood. They boldly proclaimed that this child would glorify the Lord! Amen!!!!

The others seated gave their hearts to the Lord.

It was a powerful message. And we had reason to celebrate!!

One of the men ran and got the drums, we circled up and danced and sang for an hour! These people were full of joy!!

I am forever changed.

Each and every one of us have touched the women of Mbarara. But we have been touched more.

Each woman on this team brings a unique gift…

I love to see the way that Sam speaks to every one and engages with them in conversation. She is so personable. I remember thinking, I wish that her husband could see how these people need her. I know he is supportive, but its a beautiful thing to see her interact.

I love Kasie. And she knows it. We are like sisters. Her and I share a room and share a lot in our spirit together. I admire her constant stillness. No one can shake her peace.

Mandi. I told her that she is a great leader. She can bring a firm hand if needed. She is organized and hard working. Rob is getting a great wife! I’ve see her make mac and chess by the fire.

(FYI…we had no refrigerator or cooking equipment, everything was made fireside. The last day chickens were delivered via bota-bota (motorbike) alive and the Pastor had to chop their heads off. Miriam plucked the feathers and grilled them over the fire. We wash all dishes by hand, bent over African style….Rob, she’s great at that too)

Ashley R always brings a smile to my face. She is funny and energetic. I loved to see her interact with the kids. She is a gifted nurse. My favorite memory of her will be watching her dance American style in the African circle. The mammas laughed. It was right out of a movie.

Ashley M is a rock. I can’t say that enough about her. She had been sick a few days and when she returned to camp, a lame boy, had someone carry him over to her so that he could sit next to her on a blanket. I watched him prop his elbow up on her lap. He was so content to just sit in silence with her. I knew that he felt like me. I could do that too. She is a great person to lean upon.

Emily is the most smiling person I know. I know that people are drawn to her for that. I have never heard her complain. She works hard and has a deep heart of compassion for those around her. She radiates with joy.

Lena is the youngest on the team. I can tell that the Lord has big plans for her. I admire her strength and courage to travel so far and do this at such a young age. I was able to hear Lena practice her story for the women and she is truly gifted in this. It will be great to see where the Lord leads her.

Meagan, sweet Meagan. Before I left from home, I felt a connection with her….and I don’t truly know what it is. I loved that I got to room with her the night that she was sick. My greatest memory of her will be the night that she and I slept in the same room in the darkest place in the world. We prayed ourselves to sleep that night. There were times I would wake up in the night and I would hear her praying in the spirit. I would then begin to pray in the spirt and she would fall back asleep. It was a very quiet, peaceful moment. This continued most of the night….I felt like we carried the torch that night and kept passing it back and forth.

Katie. I’ve decided that Katie and I can never share a room because we need other people to take care of us too much. (I’m laughing….her and I have joked about this). We’d never make it alone together, ha! I loved to see Katie use her sports talent to kick the soccer ball with the children at the clinic. She and the kids truly enjoyed that. By the way, she is an excellent rice sorter. She would spend hours at camp sorting rice from rocks.

In closing, let me say once again that I am the one that has been touched and changed. We have been exposed to extreme poverty and pure joy in the midst of trials. The people of Uganda have captured my heart. I have been privileged to share this journey with my sisters on this team.

This afternoon we go to an orphanage to love on some children. A family has invited us there to have tea and just fellowship with them. We are very excited.

Tomorrow we go to market in Mbale to shop and then Miriam’s home for dinner. Sunday we will go to church here near Wash and Wills. Sunday afternoon we will leave for Jinja. There we will take a boat ride on Lake Victoria to the source of the Nile River. Our driver’s name is Moses 😀
Sunday night we will be staying at the King Fisher. Monday afternoon we will drive to Entebbe and stay at another hotel there…

And then we will begin our journey back home…
Getting us all back into your arms!!
Praise the Lord!!!

“Tuesday in Mbarara….”

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Here is another post that I wrote in Mbarara…….
I am writing Tuesday’s post today, Wednesday….so bear with me. We returned back to the hotel well after 8 pm last night and the power was off again. We were all pretty exhausted, so dinner and bed quickly came. There wasn’t much time for writing. It seems that we get power here every other day.

Now that we have moved camp to the church, things are much better. We had spent a good portion of Monday setting up and then moving across the street to the church. We set up once again. The clinic is located in the church, but most of us stay outside with the children and some mammas waiting for treatment. Everything is “open air”…..all of the cooking, eating, washing is done outside. The weather is gorgeous here, we wear jackets in the morning and by 9 am we are relatively warm. I call this weather “ideal picnic weather”….one of my favorite things to do with my kids. When night comes, the jackets go back on.

We met many of the kids here for treatment on Monday. The mammas sleep here at the church on foam mattresses in the chapel. I love coming here early in the morning and watching them clean up. I am intrigued at the way African women bend at the hip to sweep, bathe their baby, etc…they don’t bend their knees. We tried it before we left wash and wills while we washed our clothes….Katie, in my opinion, was the best at washing without bending her knees.


Ashley R shared the story of why Jesus came to earth. The translator interpreted her message. A couple of mammas raised their hands for salvation. It was a sweet response as we sang “Assimwe”. The song translates into “we thank you, we thank you, our God, Your name is greater than any other name.”. We love to sing this with them because they don’t understand much of anything we say.

The mammas gathered under a tree with me and learned how to put makeup on and style their hair later in the afternoon. They loved being pampered. I was able to give each one of them a lip gloss, headband and flower. I spoke to them first about what I do in the states…I’m a makeup artist and stylist for brides….but I shared 1 Peter 3:3-4 with them….

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

So, I told them that I could only “enhance” who they are….and if they have Jesus in their hearts, they were already beautiful. They loved it!!! All of the team jumped in to help.

You know, we crossed a barrier yesterday…..
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We touched people who have been rejected and abandoned. They felt unlovely. They felt special. When they looked in the mirror when we finished, their smiles appeared! They would laugh with joy!

The women of Mbarara have hope. Hope was indeed rising before we got here.

After their gifts of beauty, one man came and said (in a very polite, African way)…."excuse me Madame, but you have beautified my wife so much, we would like a picture.". Our team gathered around mamma, proud husband and baby for a picture.

Yesterday was Meagan's birthday. We ate dinner back at the hotel. Miriam and her crew cooked for us. We had a long table and ate a feast! I think Meagan enjoyed herself. We all sang "happy birthday" and blew out a candle…in a lantern. ha! We laughed, I told you that sweets are hard to come by.

“Praise the Lord!” or “Mukama Assimwe!”