Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jehovah Rapha

The Lord Who Heals.
The One Who Makes Bitter Things Sweet.

Just three days after the miraculous deliverance from Pharaoh and his army, the Israelites were complaining again. They were wandering in the desert without water for these three days before God led them to a source of water, called Marah. But this water was bitter. It was unhealthy, and they could not drink it.

The Israelites were beginning to feel desperate and helpless. They had become bitter in spirit, and their hope in their Deliverer was drying up.

Moses cried out to the Lord asking what do to, and God showed him a piece of wood. Moses took that piece of wood and threw it into the water, and the water become sweet and drinkable.

"...for I am the Lord, who heals you," Ex. 15:26.
Jehovah Rapha.

The Lord took something bitter and made it sweet for His people. That piece of wood from a tree made all the difference. It was a matter of life and death, and the Lord created a way for His people to live.

So it is with the tree on Calvary. In a matter of life and death, it has made all the difference. We were hopeless, cursed, and gone astray. We were wandering and dying in desperate places. We were bitter, and our souls were drying up.

But the Lord stepped in, with grace and mercy we cannot begin to understand, and drank from the bitter cup so that we would not have to. In His death, Jesus conquered the bitterness of sin, and in His resurrection, He became sweet, living water for all who seek Him.

Jehovah Rapha is our Lord who brings physical, emotional, and spiritual healing to our hearts and to the world.

He alone takes the bitter situations and disappointments in life and makes them sweet.

What difference is this going to make in your life?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Embracing Accusations

The father of lies
Coming to steal
Kill and destroy
All my hopes of being good enough
I hear him saying cursed are the ones
Who can't abide
He's right
Alleluia he's right!

The devil is preaching
The song of the redeemed

That I am cursed and gone astray
I cannot gain salvation
Embracing accusations
Could the father of lies
Be telling the truth

Of God to me tonight?
If the penalty of sin is death
Then death is mine

I hear him saying cursed are the ones
Who can't abide
He's right
Alleluia he's right!

Oh the devil's singing over me
An age old song
That I am cursed and gone astray
Singing the first verse so conveniently
He's forgotten the refrain
Jesus saves!

He redeemed us from the curse of the law

("Embracing Accusations" by Shane & Shane)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How To Make a Rolex

One of my favorite local foods is chapatti, which is kind of like a cross between Indian naan and a tortilla. Recently, I've discovered the delicious Ugandan snack called rolex. It's simple but so good! It's also one of the Ugandan foods that would be very easy to make back in the States, and this "recipe" is too good not to share!

First, put on an apron because you always cook better in an apron.

To make chapatti, all you need is flour; warm, well-salted salt water; grated carrot; and grated ginger. (You can also add some chives if you have them on hand.) One handful of flour is approximately equal to one chapatti. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, add water a little at a time as needed, and knead until the dough is formed and smooth. The dough should be only slightly sticky. Feel free to add more water or flour as necessary to acheive the right consistency.

Separate the dough into equal parts, and roll into balls (approximately the same number of balls as the number of handfuls of flour). On a floured surface, roll out each ball to desired thickness, keeping in mind that they will become somewhat thicker while cooking.

Heat enough oil in a skillet to just cover the bottom. Fry one chapatti at a time in the hot oil, about 30 seconds on each side. Hopefully yours will be more round than mine!

At this point your chapatti is ready to eat! To make a rolex, though, all you need to do is fry an egg and roll it inside a chapatti. Tomato slices are a wonderful addition and are commonly found inside a proper rolex.


Monday, January 16, 2012

The Dream Lives On

I deeply look forward to sitting and talking with Dr. King in heaven one day...about his life, struggles, dreams, and hope of future glory made real. Until then, with hearts of gratitude for how far we've come and souls that continue to long for justice to be a reality for all, we must continue to do our part in bringing the Kingdom of God to all nations.

(excerpts from MLK Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, 1963)

"...we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. 

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind [us] of the fierce urgency of now.
This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of... justice. Now is the time to lift our [world] from the quick sands of...injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for [us] to overlook the urgency of the moment.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.

Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

[White people] have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that... little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope.

With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope."

"And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly
and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
Micah 6:8

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Happy Holiday

I thought that having an entire month off of teaching would seem like a very long time to not be actively involved with something, but between a trip to Rwanda, the holidays, and a day trip to a ministry for boys formerly living in the street, the time has passed quickly!

Between the bigger events, we also had time for a few smaller activities. Last weekend Kelsea, Martha, Justus, and I took a hike up a large hill in the nearby area. The walk there took the better part of the morning and afternoon, but the view once we reached the top was so worth it!

We also had the opportunity to learn how to prepare matooke, a local staple dish made from green bananas. Our next door neighbor girl, who is home from secondary school on holiday, invited us over and engaged us in the process of peeling, steaming, and mashing the matooke. I also worked on pounding g-nuts for a long time to turn into g-nut sauce, which is typically served with the matooke.

preparing the banana leaves to steam the matooke in

After experiencing the incredibly long, sticky, and tedious process that preparing matooke proved to be, I concluded two things:
1. I admire Ugandans so much more for all the work that is put into preparing this dish in such large quantities (about 7-10 bananas per person) day after day.
2. If I were a Ugandan, I would never prepare matooke. I would stick to other foods, like rice and Irish potatoes, instead... 

For a final adventure of the holiday season, our team had a retreat at Queen Elizabeth National Park and a nearby resort-type hotel. Six of us left Mbarara at 6:30am on Monday morning to make the one and a half hour trip and spend the day doing a game drive and a boat ride at the national park. The drive was beautiful and we were blessed with wonderful weather! Although we didn't see many animals out and about on the drive, we enjoyed riding on the vehicle's roof rack (when our lives weren't flashing before our eyes!) and spotting the occasional warthog, crested crane, or kob.

The highlight of the game drive was spotting a male and a female lion quite close to the road! Seeing lions was a first for me, and it really was incredible.

After a beautiful lunch at the safari lodge, we took a relaxing boat trip on the Kazinga Channel that flows between Lake George and Lake Edward. Because it's now the dry season, many animals can easily be spotted down by the water. We saw hundreds of elephants, hippos, birds of every variety, a monitor lizard, crocodiles, monkeys, baboons, and water buffalo. It's incredible to see animals living in their natural habit doing exactly what they would be doing whether we were there watching or not. The elephants were certainly my favorite on this trip! Have you ever seen such a huge, powerful animal with such a sweet, kind face?

We spent the evening relaxing and enjoying each other's company, conversation, and the breathtaking view of the park at Kingfisher Lodge.

The rest of the team joined us on Tuesday, and we spent the entire day at the poolside soaking up some sunshine, laughing a lot, and creating some wonderful memories! It was the perfect way to wrap up the break, and although I've thoroughly enjoyed my extra free time to spend traveling and being with friends, I'm excited to start school again with Dade on Monday! I've also begun tutoring another 8-year old neighbor boy, William, to help him catch up a little before their new school year begins in February. He's a complete joy and an eager learner, suggesting that we meet together every day, so I'm really looking forward to spending more time with him in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In 2011, I...

  • Had the pleasure of helping begin a mid-week children’s ministry at my church in the Twin Cities
  • Worked alongside inspiring teachers dedicated to the profession and completed my student teaching
  • Was challenged to the core as I learned to trust in God’s provision and perfect timing
  • Graduated college, summa cum laude, with a degree in early childhood education and a minor in Biblical studies
  • Celebrated as two wonderful and dear friends got married to love of their lives
  • Was humbled as I saw God provide 100% of my financial support for the coming year
  • Got to meet a dear friend's brand new baby
  • Went to New York City for the first time
  • Moved to Mbarara, Uganda to serve with Africa Inland Mission
  • Started learning a new language
  • Experienced teaching in a typical Ugandan school
  • Discovered the joys of homeschooling
  • Learned to negotiate prices in the market and around town
  • Rode a motorcycle nearly every day for 4 and a ½ months
  • Developed friendships with teammates who continually keep me laughing
  • Cooked meals completely from scratch most nights of the week
  • Went without electricity in our home for 20 days straight
  • Developed a love for local food, especially passion fruit and chai
  • Added lots of new words to my everyday vocabulary, like “air time,” “generator,” “transformer,” “petrol,” and “load shedding.”
  • Went to Rwanda for the first time
  • Celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas away from my family for the first time
  • Went to the pool and picked produce from the garden in December
  • Gained a bigger and more realistic view of world missions and what it means to “be a missionary”
It was a wonderful year full of adventures, learning, and new experiences that have helped shape me into the person God is creating me to be. I'm looking forward to 2012 and all that it will hold knowing that my God doesn't change and that He will continue to be faithful to complete this work that He has started in me!