“Bringing Hope….”

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I don’t really feel as if I need to write many words with this picture.

What you see is our team praying with mammas who asked Jesus into their hearts after hearing Michelle’s testimony.

We gathered the mammas into the spiritual center and I introduced Michelle as a very special team member.

She herself has hydrocephalus.

Many of the mammas here feel hopeless for their child….they don’t know how they will grow up and live a normal life.

Michelle brought hope as she shared with them how to love and encourage their children.

Many wept as they listened to her. They asked her if her shunt hurt….and was she able to go to school?  Michelle testified to God’s goodness in her life….and how when He looks at her…

He sees her as beautiful….

And He sees these children beautiful as well.



“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his glory.” Isaiah 61:3

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“Today….”

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Today was the team’s first full day at the hospital. I loved watching the team minister to the mammas and love on the babies….for this is when I really saw “who” my team is. As I lay under my mosquito net tonight, with the power flickering on and off, and stray dogs howling out my window….I want to share about “Today….”

Today, I watched Ann be a mamma to a baby not her own. I watched her sing a lullaby to this child. I saw the mamma smile, for now her child was loved and not rejected. I saw Ann cry….and God touch her heart. She was holding someone precious to Him.

…I watched Michelle cry as she was looked in the eye by Simon Peter (a pastor on the spiritual staff at CURE) and he told her that her story of having hydrocephalus and living a normal life would bring hope to the Ugandan mammas for their own children with hydrocephalus. I saw God touch her heart. He spoke life giving words to Michelle.

…I watched Ashley hold and comfort Robert as a nurse injected painful medication through his IV. Ashley met Robert on our trip to Mbarara last year and thought she may never see him again. I watched this tough girl cry as she saw him for the first time again. He remembered her and he asked her to promise she would always come back to see him. I saw God touch her heart. They cannot even understand one another….yet they love each other.

…I watched Lauren smile. Just smile. She says she is in love with this place. She is filled with joy as she talks to the mammas and hold their babies. I saw God touch her heart. He filled her with His joy.

…I watched Staci hand out candy on the way to the hospital this afternoon. As we walk the dirt roads, young children often run up to us. Her eyes smiled as she gave each of them a treat. I saw God touch her heart. For she received the children just as He does.

…I watched Caroline laugh. Her smile is contagious. I saw her talk to the mammas and her smile would make them smile. I saw her connect with a young mamma when she asked her how her baby was doing in her native tongue. I saw God touch her heart. For she let her know that God loves her baby.

…I watched Payton tell the story of how she helped in the lab. I laughed as she laughed trying to pronounce the name of the next patient. I saw God touch her heart today. I saw a young woman serving as a medical missionary.

…I watched Sarah get attached to a 3 month old baby boy named Brian. She says that he is the cutest baby! She talked to his mamma for awhile. I saw God touch her heart today. Sarah’s eyes light up when she talks about this baby.

….I watched a 15 year old girl from Gulu receive our prayer for God to heal her of a brain tumor and hydrocephalus. I saw my team be just that….a team… as I asked them to join me in laying hands on her. She was an orphan…her parents killed by the LRA, and no one wants her. I felt God touch my heart. For this is why I was created….to touch the sick and pray for healing.

“Finally here….”

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It is 6:15 pm in Mbale, Uganda on Monday. We made it! After several LONG flights and drive, we are so happy to have a place to rest our heads tonight.

Ashley and I asked the girls to share their first impression of Uganda….

Anne, “I am just so glad to finally be HERE, in Uganda. I know that I am supposed to be here.”

Payton, “Wow, so this is what cankles look like, ” as she looked at her very large ankles.

Staci, “I loved how I was riding in the van and I began to wave at some young Ugandan children in another van, they all began to wave back! I loved it! It made me feel at home.”

Sarah, “I love how joyful the people are…they have so little, but so much!”

Michelle, “As I watched all the kids walk down the street I began to think of the verse about how we need to become more like children in order to enter the kingdom of God. I realized that these kids are going to teach me a lot about Him this week.”

Lauren, “I am so happy to be here and I can already tell that I am fully in love with this country.”

Ashley, “My heart finally feels at peace since I got here. I know God’s hand is on this trip because the one little boy, Robert, from Mbarara last year, is the very first patient I saw today. I thought I would never see him again. He is the reason I am here. He is the voice of all these children.”

Shannon, “When we landed and I watched women walk down the road barefoot with a bundle of sticks on their heads with a baby on their back….I felt like I was a home. I never knew how much I would miss the smell of a fire burning….it makes my heart burn for this place. I am excited about what God is about to do!”

A Few Images from London…

“CURE GO Team Uganda 2012….”

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I praise God for this team that He has divinely appointed.

Here is the CURE GO Team Uganda 2012….


Shannon
Loganville, GA
GO Team Co-Leader

International House of Prayer, Atlanta

“Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell;  I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”. C. T. Studd
“I, The Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Isaiah 42:6-7

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Ashley
Cabot, Arkansas
GO Team Co-Leader
 
Victory Baptist Church
 
” I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here I am, SEND ME” – Isaiah 6:8
 
            I can do ALL things through Christ who strenghtens Me. Phillipians 4:13
 
” I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than a land flooded with light” — John Falconer

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Staci
Chandler, AZ

Mesa Baptist Church

“Jesus called His followers to be a lot of things, but I have yet to find where He warned us to be safe.
We are not called to be safe, we are simply promised that when we are in danger, God is right there with us. 
And there is no better place to be than in His hands.” -Katie Davis 

Colossians 1:10-11 “so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy”

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Caroline
Nashville, TN

Covenant Presbyterian Church, Nashville

“all that shimmers in this world is sure to fade away” -third eye blind

“& live a life of love” -ephesians 5:2

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Sarah
Waynesboro, Va

Blue Ridge Christian Fellowship

   “Everyone may not be good, but there’s always something good in everyone. Never judge anyone shortly because every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”♥
                            -Oscar Wilde

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

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Michelle
Ephrata, PA

Alive Church

‘Why blame the dark for being dark?  It is far more helpful to ask why the light isn’t as bright as it could be.’  Rob Bell  

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.  Amen!”  Eph. 3:20-21

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Lauren

Philadelphia, PA

Circle of Hope

“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
“Awake, Oh Sleeper, 
    rise from the dead, 
    and the glory of God will shine on you.”

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Anne

Bettendorf, IA

Harvest Bible Chapel

1Cor 1:27-29  But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;  God chose what is week in the world to shame the strong.  God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
 
“Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.”  Mother Theresa

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Payton

Bettendorf, IA

Harvest Bible Chapel

 

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

“112 Lipsticks….”

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Very soon I will leave for Uganda.

I just returned from St. Augustine Beach, and on the way home, my husband and I stopped in Jacksonville to visit with Meagan, a former GO Team member. I love Meagan. My heart SO connected with hers during the weeks we spent together. She just got married! It was great to see her. I believe that when people have a spiritual connection in Christ….then they are always connected.

As we sat at breakfast, she asked me if I was ready to, “Go”.

“Yes,” I replied. “I just need to buy about 100 lipsticks for the women of Gulu.”

“Then you need to come by the house. Someone has given me a box full of lipsticks that cannot be sold in the stores. They are perfect for those women!” Meagan said.

I went by her home and got the box of unused lipsticks and began to open them. The colors were perfect for African skin. I was amazed at how I had a plan to purchase $1.00 lipsticks and the Lord poured out a huge blessing with much more expensive lipsticks!

I put the box in my lap and began to count the lipsticks on the way home…

“112 lipsticks!” I exclaimed to John. “Isn’t that just like the Lord to say, ‘Shannon you have a way for getting the lipsticks for the women, but I have a more excellent way!'”

I couldn’t believe it! Who in the world has 112 lipsticks sitting in a box in their garage? Those that God has a divine appointment with.

Every time I think of a battle I face now, I hear the Lord say, “Don’t you know that if I can give you 112 lipsticks then I can take care of anything? I AM the God of details!”

I am like a child. I still giggle over this and have the biggest smile on my face because of this blessing!

This has ushered a new phrase into our home when asking each other, “how will God do this?”

“112 lipsticks!!”

Just a side note…when I was in Mbarara last year and did hair and makeup for these women…it was amazing to see the transformation on their faces of hopelessness and rejection and being deemed “untouchable” to a smile! As I worked on them, I told them they were BEAUTIFUL! And I told them that no matter what I did to make them beautiful, true beauty comes from the heart. They began to smile.

“3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, 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. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.” 1 Peter 3

Pray for me as I share this message again and touch the women of Gulu. My desire is that they will smile as big as I am from knowing that He looks upon them as BEAUTIFUL!

“The Lord has need of him…..”

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I keep hearing these words over and over in my spirit.

“The Lord has need of him.”

This is a scripture from the 19th chapter of Luke….

“When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  And it came to pass when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat.  Loose it and bring it here.  And if anyone asks you, “why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.”  Luke 19:28-31

Jesus needed a colt in order for the parade to begin.

“So those who were sent went on their way and found it just as He had said to them.  But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”  And they said, “The Lord has need of him.”  Luke 19:32-34

The Lord has need of him.

The Lord has need of him.

The Lord has need of him.

That colt was precious to someone.  He was a reliable source of transportation in Jesus’ time.  Someone had to let the colt go.  Without a hesitation.

Someone was surrendered to the King.

Are you?

I heard this message from Dr. Mark Rutland the other week.  It has been like a post-it note upon my spirit.

You see, there comes a time when the Lord Jesus calls upon us.

“I have need of you.”

At that moment, we have to immediately decide…

“Yes, I will go.”

A hesitation is unacceptable.

A partial yes is not okay.

There comes a time in our lives when every worship song, every sermon, every teaching, every trial, every test, every tear….

Every filling of our souls is called upon.

Its as if the Lord Himself taps us unexpectedly on our shoulder and says,

“I have need of you.”

Are you ready?

You can say ‘no’.

But the King and the parade will just go on without you.

When the Lord called me to Uganda,

He said, “I have need of you.”

I could have said…

“Wait until my children grow up.”

“I’m not sure I want to go.”

“Who me?  I don’t think so…”

But I didn’t.

I have had to table every fear, every insecurity, every attack from the enemy and say,

“Yes.  I am all Yours, Jesus.”

Everything poured into my life has now met its purpose….

To usher in the King.

This summer, my team and I will usher the King into Uganda, Africa as we minister to women and their children.  Please pray for us we desire for Jesus to be known, and not ourselves.  Pray for a triumphal procession as we bring knowledge of a living Savior into lives crying out for hope and healing.

“The Pause Button….”

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These are the words that the Lord spoke to me in October 2011.  I was asking him why so many things were going at me at that particular time in my life.  I had a plan that I was trying to move forward with… regarding Gulu, Uganda….

But sitting one night in service at IHOP-Atlanta, He answered me as quickly as I asked….

“I hit the pause button.”

The only thing that I didn’t understand about the pause button was why He felt the need to press it upon my life….and my plans…..and my visions.

Now I know….because they were becoming Mine….and not His.

The pause button meant that though He pressed it, He would press it again!  There was a promise attached to it…that the same song would continue to play, right where He left off.  The song never changed.  He didn’t press the “stop button” or the “rewind button”…..He pressed the “pause button”.  His desire for me was to wait while certain things have had to happen over these past four months.  My job was to trust in the “pause button”.  To trust in knowing that the song would play again….that the call upon my life would resound in my heart again.

So let me share what has happened during this “Pause Button”…..

During these past four months, the Lord spoke directly to my heart that a certain man I had met was my husband.  He had spoken the same thing to him…..and I married him.  The Lord blessed me with the most precious man of God.  I wasn’t even looking to marry….remember, I had a plan of my own that I was trying to accomplish.  But the pause button started off as a good thing. 🙂  The Lord showed me that John and I are called together to serve….and together we are stronger for the kingdom.  How very blessed I am to be John’s wife….to be chosen to complete him.

Also during this time, I was hit by a drunk driver on the way to work on Interstate 85 at 5:30 am.  It was freezing cold and in a matter of moments, my life flashed before my eyes as we were rearended at a high speed and pushed into another drunk driver.  Trapped in the car, my mind raced as I wondered if my life was about to be over.  I thought that in a matter of minutes an 18 wheeler would hit us.  We escaped out of the driver side door and ran across 4 lanes of expressway.   When the police showed up, they were shocked that my co-worker and I made it out of her totaled van alive.  We both suffered neck and back injuries and myself, a busted chin….but looking at the van after the wreck, we knew God had His hand of protection upon us.  I still hold my breath when I think of that day, I still get a knot in my stomach.  A man later approached me that afternoon after hearing my story and said, “I hope you don’t mind me saying this…but I know that I know that you will never be the same after today.  I know God spared your life because He has work for you to do.  This story will bring Him glory.”  I don’t even know the man’s name.  But he was right.  I’ve got work to do.  I’ve got people to tell about Jesus.

Many of you know that my dad battled cancer during this time….he passed away at the end of January.  Wow.  No one ever told me what this would feel like.  My dad was the most special person in the world to me.  We didn’t have a father/daughter relationship where he treated me like a princess….No, he challenged me.  He believed in me.  There have been days where I’ve cried so hard that my eyes hurt and ache.  I’ve fallen to the floor crying without catching my breath.  It is the deepest pain of my soul.  I would give a million dollars to see my dad watch me walk through the international gates at the airport as I leave for Uganda again.  I’d love to see him, stretch his neck to watch me until we couldn’t see each other anymore.  Oh, how I loved him! And oh, how I miss him.  He just “got” me.  He understood me.  He knew how I felt even before asking.  He knew if I wasn’t being honest when he challenged me with a question.  He even knew what I needed…He himself prayed for John for a long time….”a man of God to lead Shannon and the kids”.  He told John before he died that he was an answer to his prayers.   

The missing is fierce.  No one told me that there would be days that I would still pick the phone up to call him….because I knew he was always available at 9:30 pm (he was a night person)…only to realize he’s gone and I can no longer do that.   No one told me that I would think that I see him in public…and that would make me cry.  I still have his voice mails saved on my phone.  Its the only thing I have left that makes me feel as if he is near.  But you know what God showed me one day?  That my dad hears the best music in heaven and participates in the greatest worship ever.  That my dad sits down at a feast with the King of Kings.  I ask God to show me my dad in heaven.  He is always laughing and smiling.  And that makes me smile. 

 

One of my CURE team members sent me an email that said this, (she had recently lost her cousin in a tragic accident)…”it is people like your dad and Thane that sent us to Africa, people like them who embellished us with love so that we could give it to others, people like them who truly cared.  And even though we didn’t want them to go so soon, we know that they too, “belong to Him.”  And the next time we set foot in Africa, they will be setting foot there with us too.”  

Praise be to the living God!  I couldn’t have said that any better.

Thanks, Emily!

Now after all of these months, the Lord has removed “the pause button” and spoke so clearly to me as I took a hike through the woods the other day, next to a beautiful river.  My husband had prayed that I would recieve a deeper revelation of God’s love for me that day.  And I did….

As I walked, the Lord began to remind me of all the things that I have been through over this past year….some things mentioned here, and some not.  I saw each circumstance come before my mind..like a “check-off list” and the Lord would say, “You trusted me in each situation and in each one you obeyed.  Everything that you have been through has been for training and preparation for Uganda.  I choose those that endure.  I choose the strongest.  You have learned to trust and obey.”  When He spoke this to me, I felt a shift in my spirit of “why God?” to “Thank you, God!!”  I smiled so big! 

Thank you, God for the “pause button”!  Thank you for choosing me to endure.  Thank you for the trials!  Thank you for the tears!!  Thank you for taking my dad to heaven!  Thank you for holding me when I did not understand.  Thank you for these tests!  Thank you for being faithful.  Thank you for making beauty out of my ashes!  And, above all, thank you for sending me a mighty man of God who wants to serve You too!

I’m back 🙂