Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Cost of True Worship

Lately I have been struggling with telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Not that I am just going around lying, but I feel like I have somewhat started sugarcoating some of my feelings, and I am not sure why.

Deciding to embark on the journey that Jason and I have, we have obviously been asked a lot of 'Why' questions.  From friends, definitely from family and even from people I hardly know.

It isn't that we don't have a good answer or don't want to talk about it.  I DO!  In fact, there is hardly anything I would rather talk about more at the moment.  So please, keep asking.  I feel like there is this fire burning within me and all I want to do is set anything ablaze that I can with it.  I want to scream it from the rooftops.  So why don't I?

I think I am mostly worried about other people's discomfort.  That me voicing what is happening in our lives will make them feel like I am judging theirs.  I am not.

It is just that Jason and I finally see that worship is not true worship if there is no cost.  Service is not true service without sacrifice.  These are our feelings.  This is why we want to follow God's calling of our lives to Uganda.  Not because it will be a vacation, or easy.  But because we clearly hear Him and are finally listening.  What we have He has given us and we are willing to let go of those things to serve Him in this way.  The way that He has called us.  To help the orphans and the widows.  To make disciples of all nations.  To hopefully let Jesus shine through us to lead more people to His kingdom.

We are not trying to deny our children things here, but realize that the true gift that we can give them is not a material possession, but the gift of a close, intimate relationship with God.  A life of total surrender to and for Him, and a life focused on the eternal rather than the earthly.  We realize this may not be popular opinion, but it is our responsibility to do for them what we feel is best.  As Christians, how are we to go wrong by serving Him?

God gave me such an awesome reminder of all of this today in II Samuel.  King David had done wrong against God and wanted to make a peace offering to God.  One of his servants wanted to give him the supplies for this offering, but King David insisted on paying him for them.  He said, 2 Samuel 24:24 "No, I insist on paying you for it.  I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."

I believe that worship that costs us nothing is not true worship at all.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Uganda Elections Today

Please keep Uganda in your prayers today.  Presidential elections are underway.  Pray for peace and for fairness for the people of Uganda.  Thank you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back to Uganda

I am so excited to officially share with everyone that I, (Kari) will be returning to Uganda in just over two weeks.  I will be spending the week at Canaan Children's Home.  I am once again traveling with Visiting Orphans.  In addition to working on some murals to brighten the children's rooms and loving on the kids at Canaan, I am also hoping this will be an opportunity to see what the future holds for my family in Uganda.  I will be meeting with other missionaries in the area to discuss all types of things, such as schooling, cost of living, ministries, etc.  I am also hoping to get the chance to look into what our housing options could be.

Here are some prayer requests that I would love to have you praying with us for:
- clear vision on where we go from here
- safety for Kari while traveling
- continued development of the relationships with those in Uganda.
- strength for Jason and my mom, Bonta, while taking care of the little ones for the week while I am gone.
- support, understanding, and trust from our friends and family. We are daily seeking God's will for our lives and we feel such a peace about these decisions that we are making.  Decisions that are definitely not always the easiest to make and not always the most popular, but ones that we whole heartedly feel God calling us to make.

Things you can do to help:
1. We are gathering used cell phones to take with us.  If you have any old ones that you no longer need, I would love to take them off of your hands for you.  Even the most basic, really old models can be sold in Uganda for $10+ dollars and we want to bless Canaan's with that money.  Chargers are a plus, but not a must.  Because I am leaving in such a short period of time, I will most likely only be able to gather from those people in the College Station area.  I have been told, that even if the phone is a little banged up, as long as it works, it can still turn a profit for the children's home.  Thank you so much!

2. We are hoping to bless the children's home with new mattresses.  Some of the ones that the kids are currently using are in very, very poor shape.  I have a feeling that there are many animals in the US that have better sleeping arrangements.  The mattresses cost $30 each.  If this is an area that you feel you can help at all in, please let me know.  You can donate through my paypal on this page or by check written to Visiting Orphans and mailed to me. (email me, for address)  You guys are the best and I know I can count on you for your support with this.

So I'll leave you with some of the sweet, sweet faces that I will soon get to hold and kiss!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pastor Isaac of Canaan Children's Home

I wanted to share some VERY exciting news.  I will be returning to Canaan Children Home in March.  I will have more details to come, but please keep me in your prayers regarding this trip and everything that it encompasses for our family!

I spoke about Pastor Isaac that started CCH with his wife, Rebecca.  He has one of the most amazing testimonies I have ever heard and I wanted to share it with you.  To be able to hear this story in person was an unbelievable experience for me.  To see the joy in his words, even when talking about such tragedy.  Joy that clearly comes from the Lord.  I know it is lengthy, but I hope you will take a moment to read.  Enjoy!

Pastor Isaac with Kari and Jason at Canaan

"Canaan Children’s Home was born after the Lord gave me a vision when in a dangerous time and that was the time when IDI AMIN was the ruler of Uganda. He closed all spiritual Christian churches in Uganda and he persecuted the Church openly. Most of our churches were burnt down and many of our pastors killed. I was one of the pastors, who were persecuted but narrowly escaped by the Grace of God, because I was invaded three times because I was the District Overseer and my name was on the death list.

On this third time, I was found at home with my family and they started shooting at us, looted my household property, bound me with ropes and I was put on their truck and taken to Kampala where they had a special place for killing people.  On that truck I found five more pastors whom I knew and we became six. We were kept in a room at the house which was called the Nile Mansion and the room was stinking with human blood.

When we arrived there we found when they had just killed some pastors including Bishop Jana Luwum of the Anglican Church in Uganda. We were told to stay in that room for three days. On the third day, the soldiers came in and asked us to denounce Christianity and become Muslims so that we can save our lives.  Because of torture and hunger, four of the pastors accepted to be Muslim and were circumcised and eventually set free. 

The other pastors and I persisted and after 3 hours we were told to get ready for death. We were taken outside with our faces blindfolded, our hands held backwards and were shot at. My fellow pastor called John died instantly. I was shot in the right hand and the soldier thought that I had died, and then we were left there. They never knew that I was alive so that is how I miraculously escaped death. After that about 25 of us were thrown on the back of a truck and the driver was commanded to take us to a pit dug in Kampiringisa Forest on Masaka Road, then we were dumped in the pit as dead bodies. Late in that evening, I heard a voice calling, "Isaac, I have saved your life so that you may save the lives of my fatherless children".

In that state, I got a vision in which a lot of children were coming to me and these children were hungry and malnourished. In fact they were like naked, moving skeletons and the voice went on to say, "Isaac, I will be the father of those children through you." Immediately I felt strength in my life and stood up but failed; so I crawled on my knees from the dead bodies. I really cannot tell how, but I found myself in the home of a herdsman who was looking after his master’s cows. I asked him to help me because I had come from a dangerous situation. He welcomed me and nursed my wound. He was my Good Samaritan and early in the morning I was taken on a bicycle to a place where I received first aid and that man paid the bill. I recovered after 5 days of treatment in that clinic. I requested my Good Samaritan to go and see my home but when he went there he found everything looted and my house burnt to ashes. My wife had gone to hide at her parent’s home with our children whom we had at that time: James and Samuel. I found myself homeless and I had nowhere to go. So many pastors were escaping into the neighboring country Kenya. I also got an idea of escaping too and the Lord made it possible for me to go into Kenya by train. Within one week I had found my fellow pastors who were already in Nairobi and they took me to the hospital where I was totally healed.

We spent 9 months in Kenya praying that God may give us a God fearing President and God did hear that prayer. The government was overthrown in 1997; we started making arrangements to return to Uganda. The Spirit led me to go back to my Church at Buziika even after my home had been burnt down. I insisted that I go back to that place. I thank the Lord for the brethren in Kenya had contributed some money to help me build a small house to live in. The brethren at Buziika helped with putting up the small house.

In 1982, I had almost forgotten about the vision and the words of the Lord in the forest, but one day a lady came to our church with two children and told us that the Lord had led her to come to our church. She stayed for three days and the fourth day she abandoned the children and escaped leaving the children behind. After 2 days that is when we remembered the vision of becoming the Father to the fatherless. (The two girls are now married.) In 1986, a widower came to us and asked us to help him with his 2 sons because he was sick and old, within a few days the old man died and the children remained with us: one was 4 years old and the other one was 8 years old. We stayed with them and took them to school until they became adults and self-reliant. 

In 1996 this was the year we found that a home was necessary because of the many children who continued to come to our church with the problem of orphans increasing and abandoned children continued to rise. I remembered the vision in its full light and great conviction came to me to help these children. My wife and I rented 2 rooms near our house for those orphans. We started that home with four children by July 1997 we had received 8 more aged between 4-13 years. We tried our best to clothe and feed them and meet their health needs. To our surprise children continued to come and we could not stop them. By 1998, we had 24 children on roll and I was obliged to open another home at one of our local churches in the village called Seeta. We helped them with the little finances we could get from god. The most difficult problem has been the education of these children but the Lord has been so good, we trusted his providing hand.

1999 Canaan home became a registered Ministry with an orphanage of 30 children and that year was the year when our Ministry was low in finances and we found that we needed some real partners to give us a hand in this work of promoting the vision that God gave me. "