To Adacar Day One

We arrived in the Entebbe Airport late last night and settled into our hotel. Joseph Olutu was here to greet us. We ate a full meal around midnight.
According to Joseph the are 15 Carpoints now in Uganda.
It is indescribably good to be back.
God has been impressing these verses the last few days:
Romans 8:15, 16: For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit half testifies with our spirit that we are Gods children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God…

The Beautiful Song of Miriam and Moses

We return to red Ugandan soil in approximately three days. 

Yikes. 
How did 6 months suddenly turn into three days?  There is life, procrastination, too much rumination and half-finished posts.  There’s been too much inward reflection and not enough sounding of the trumpet, truthfully.  I’ve had plenty of time to pray over this trip, our goals and our objectives, the children, and lots of asking God to do big things.  You see, three years ago, God did something really, really big, but He is not one to be outdone, not even by himself, so there will be something to blow things out of the water–or maybe it will just be the fact that they have water now pumped from a well on their own property.  Water that they didn’t have to hike and bike miles for and sparingly use as they boil the posho for the kid’s daily meal.
I’ve been reflecting on water here lately, on the cessation of water, particularly–a wall of water, at exactly the right time and in exactly the right place, beginning in Exodus 14.  A place of desperation and panic and thoughts of “Oh God, what are you doing right now?!” turn into, “Whoa, God,  what are you doing right now?”  These frightening initial questions end with a song of victory in the next chapter.  And as we see in so much of our lives, these miracles don’t always happen overnight–sometimes they do, but much of the time it takes struggle, persistent prayer, trial.  And it made me think about how much time God took preparing Moses in the desert–forty years to be exact–forty years to become a leader, to lead sheep who are not too far off from our stubborn personalities. But through this toil and yielding and belief came this beautiful song of praise and adoration for a God who sees all, knows all…
In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed.  In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.
Which made me think of the work in Adacar.  This will be our fourth time there as a community.  And one of the things that God has been impressing upon my heart is the urgency of investment.
Here is a community that has been ripped apart by disease, infighting, AIDS, a community that truly reflects the national average of 50% of a population age 15 and under.  This is a community ripe for discipleship, for guidance for leadership.
You see God is raising up leaders, young adults by the name of
Moses
Paul
Miriam
Simon
Lillian
Martin
 These children have been aptly, if not prophetically named because of the potential that lies within their hearts, but their hearts cannot be strengthened unless their bodies are strengthened first, through nutrition.  Their minds cannot be sharp and discerning unless they receive the education they need.  Their souls cannot be brave and know the love a Father who loves them unconditionally and orders their every step unless they receive discipleship. 
How do you raise a generation of children with hearts turned toward their Creator? 
You pour into them.
And that is what we’ve been doing in Adacar for the last four years, we have been visiting, taking pictures, playing games, telling stories, sharing hugs, sharing food, writing letters, talking with community leaders.  With any relationship, it takes time but it is worth it, we don’t ask for anything in return, but we know that there is a return when my sponsor child speaks a blessing over my life, or shares about a Bible lesson he has learned at the CarePoint in one of his letters.  My chest gets that melty, pangy feeling like God is moving and he is working and he is working out both our salvation, because He Is.
I read a beautiful post over here not too long ago by Seth Barnes as he talked about the importance of sponsorship, one worth sharing again and again.
Will you pray for us as we continue to speak life into these young people and make an investment with unbelievable return?
To learn more about child sponsorship, particularly with Children’s HopeChest, hop on over here.

What Elsa’s Reading These Days

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. Duet. 6: 6-9

I was in the bathroom this morning getting ready for work.  Little A had just received this awesome birthday gift in the mail yesterday and had been busy playing with her when I heard a little knock on the bathroom door.

Her: Look what I made!
Me: Oh cool.  What is that?
Her: It’s Elsa’s book!
Me (thinking): Neat. Why does that title sound so familiar?
Her: Look!  It’s your book!

Sure enough Elsa of Erendelle was enjoying the same Richard Foster title I had been reading at the beach a few days ago.  Do our kids really watch us that closely?  Yep, they sure do.

Does God’s Voice Fit Ours?

I’ve had some parents share with me recently how their children have perceived God in their lives, for the four-year-old, God was an abstraction until they began to talk about Jesus and his coming to earth and teaching and healing and loving everyone unconditionally–God incarnate is what this child understood.
For another, it was the almost seven-year-old who felt a holy trembling in the ground as he led a hymn circle that caused him to sit back down quietly in wonder.
For my own daughter, recently, I asked her if she still talked with God.  She said, “Yes.” I prompted further and she explained to me that, at school on the playground, by herself, she talked to God.
And Samuel–in I Samuel 3, how did he encounter God?  He thought the voice of God was the voice of his long time shepherd and mentor Eli, the priest whose eyesight was failing and was laying down for the night.  Each of the three times God called Samuel, he ran obediently to Eli to ask him what he needed.  Finally, the third time, Eli realized what was happening and instructed Eli to go back, lay down and wait for God to call again.
I was serving recently with a program in the city and I hitched a ride along with a sweet couple whose twenty-year-old daughter has been in this full-time inner city service program for two years and was going back for a final third year.  They were excited, this was graduation night and they’d driven all the way down from Michigan to be a part of it. 
I found out later that her senior year of high school, she was set to receive a full scholarship at a university up North, they had visited the campus six times–six times.  And then she served for the summer down here in Atlanta and knew this was the place that God wanted her to stay.  The dad, telling the story, was clearly choked up.  I couldn’t tell if he was proud of his little girl serving God whole-heartedly or upset about her giving up that full scholarship–maybe a little of both. 
There’s the conflict, we raise our children to know God, to talk to him, to perceive His Son and to be attuned to his voice and then God calls, in His beautiful, majestic, holy voice, the voice like rushing waters –and when He does, our feathers get ruffled, because it doesn’t look like what we think it should.  They are called far away or are prompted to sacrifice or to go through a fiery trial, or like Samuel, are called to do some really, really hard stuff. 
So whose turn is it thento listen?  We’ve spoken it, we’ve lived it out and it’s time for us to step back and let God move. 
Is there something holding you back from letting God speak into your child’s life?  What can we do know to prepare our hearts for that moment when our dreams collide with God’s purposes for them?