Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Truly Simple Things

Awhile back I wrote a blog about how I missed the “simple” things from back home. The Simple Things 
The simple  things like autodraft to pay your bills and the simplicity of swiping your debit card at the grocery store were on my mind.  I have a new perspective on the simple  things. This perspective came from an unlikely source.  The children of Kagoma Gate Village taught me a lesson about the  ”simple things.” Last week we visited the village and one of our kids brought a balloon with them in the car. When we got to  the village we tossed it out the door as we were greeting the children.  You would have thought we had unleashed the  greatest thing ever.  The children all ran and chased the balloon trying to keep it from touching the ground. The older kids  and younger kids alike ran, jumped and screamed trying to keep the balloon in the air.  It brought so much joy to them to  chase and play with something  as simple as a balloon.
While visiting the village with friends from back home, it started to rain.  When rain comes it usually is a signal for us to  jump in the van and head out.  The red dirt roads can very quickly turn into red mud and rivers of muddy water.   My kids  described the rivers of mud one time as the chocolate river in Willie Wonka. They thought it was awesome seeing the water  run in literal streams down the road as we were trying to get home.  I was praying we would make it out.  This time the rain seemed a little different, so we stuck it out.  I huddled in the van keeping a watchful eye on the roads, meanwhile the kids of the village huddled under the edges of the grass thatch roofs of the hut and sang songs.  Nobody wanted to leave while we were still there.  They sang and danced in the rain.  The kids sang songs praising Jesus in both English and Luganda with huge smiles on their face.  They were happy to sing and dance and just to hold our hands. As I sat in the van watching the scene in front of me unfold, I thought what greater fun and joy is there as a kid than to sing and dance in the rain?
The children always get really excited when it is time to get out the soccer ball.  They all know that when we are there for a fun day and a social visit that when I go to the back of the van, it is time for the soccer ball!  We have a couple soccer balls that we take with us each time we go to the village.  Today was no exception.  There was so much joy and excitement when the soccer balls came out.  A group of boys immediately organized a game on the small field they have there.  While a group of girls played catch and keep away with another ball.  A ball, a simple soccer ball.  It didn’t make any sounds, it didn’t have any buttons to push, it was just in its simple form as a ball.  A ball brought so much fun and excitement for the afternoon.
I learned a lesson from the children of Kagoma Gate that day, the simple things in life are not the conveniences I miss from back home. The “simple” things in life  are sharing a smile with someone and holding their hand, playing with a balloon,  soccer for hours and singing songs in the rain. There are many days that I get busy with my to do list, job duties and the struggles of everyday life and I miss out on the truly “simple” things of life.

I have included a video of the joys and smiles of a soccer ball .  If this doesn’t make you smile, especially the little girl at the end, then just go back to bed and start your day over with this video. Soccer Ball Smiles

Sunday, March 17, 2013

This is my Son with whom I am well pleased...

This is my Son with whom I am well pleased…

This is my Son with whom I am well pleased…
Kari and I had one of the greatest joys of being parents happen a few weeks ago.  Karson came to us and wanted to accept Jesus into his heart.  Everett was with him and they both wanted to accept Jesus together. It was an amazing evening for us!  We had been discussing with the boys about what it means to truly be a Christian and about accepting Jesus as their Savior.  However, we did not want to push them, we wanted it to be totally their decision and on their own time.  We had just started thinking about settling down for the evening when the boys came to us.  Right there in the middle of our bed the boys prayed together to accept Jesus as their Savior.

Kari and I had discussed how nothing as parents scared us more than having children that did no have a relationship with Christ.  We were not scared moving them across the world, we were not scared having them grow up in Africa, but we were scared that somehow they would not accept salvation. All of our fears for the boys were taken away that night.  We have the joy of knowing that not only do we get this brief  time with them here on Earth as their parents, but we get to spend eternity with them in the Kingdom of Heaven.  They are our sons and now our Brothers in Christ. There truly is no better feeling as a parent!
We also had the joy of getting to baptize them in the Nile River or “babatize” as Everett would say.  We loaded up and went to our favorite place on the Nile River to baptize them.  I talked with the boys and made sure they were ready and understood everything that was going to happen.  As it got closer to evening we loaded up on a boat and went out into the Nile, we found a great spot to pull over and the boys were baptized right there on the banks of the Nile River.  It was such a joy to be able to share this moment with Meme and our good friends from the US, Michelle Skow and Holly Downs.  What a joyous day, I have never been prouder and more excited for my boys.  Hadlee asked when it was her turn, so the seeds have been planted with her as well.
God is so good to us and the boys have quit a testimony to share about accepting salvation together and then being “babatized” in the waters of the Nile River.  I am so thankful for the gift of Salvation and even more excited that the boys received this gift!
“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like and dove and coming to rest on him; and hehold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17

Check out more images from the day at:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Village Victories

Today during out visit to the Kagoma Gage Village we had the opportunity to see one of God’s victories.  Several months ago we had a prayer request for a young boy named Vincent.  Vincent was in bad shape when the villagers brought him to us.  He could not walk or stand on his own, he could barely hold his own head up.  His eyes would not focus and they continued to roll back in his head and his breathing was shallow and labored.  He had visited the clinic and had been discharged with the only findings that he was anemic.  We did everything we knew to do for him.  He was negative for malaria, a test for meningitis is very dangerous and almost non-existent here, and the test for Polio (which was my big concern) was negative.  The only thing we were able to do for him was to raise his iron levels and to fight an infection he had going on.  For several weeks it was the same thing every time.  Vincent was carried  up to see us with no improvement. Today God showed us His Glory in a big way.  As we were wrapping up and packing things up to leave, a little boy walked up to see us.  At first, I did not recognize  the boy,  but it was Vincent!  He was walking on his own and seemed recovered from his mystery illness.  God reminded us that He is the Great Healer.  For all the reference books, testing materials and medications we have available He reminded us that He is ultimately in control.  It is hard for me, especially as a man (must be a guy thing) to not be able to “fix” something.  I want to see a problem and fix it.  This time I could not find the problem and it frustrated me.  I saw this child in need, but could do nothing about it but cover him in prayer. And pray we did.   Sometimes I forget the power of prayer, I get so caught up in what “I” can do and what “I” can fix.  Humble was the word of the day today.  God humbled me and reminded me He is the one in control of circumstances, not medicine, not medical testing and surely not me. Prayer was the best medicine we could provide Vincent and prayer healed him!
O Lord my God, I cried out to you for help, and you have healed me.” Psalm 30:2

Not only did we get to see God at work, we got to have fun as well.  There is a small team visiting from South Carolina, with a ministry called Voices for the Voiceless, that had the opportunity to visit the village with us.  They had the chance to see the excitement of the kids when we brought out the soccer ball.  The big hit of the day was nail polish.  Some of the girls sat down to paint nails and to say they were mobbed was an understatement. The kids were all so excited to get their nails painted and even more excited to show us once they were done.  One of the team members even had the chance to check on a pregnant woman with Kari.  The report came that a young woman was 7 months pregnant, having stomach pains and that her water had broken.  My first thought….we are going to deliver a baby on a dirt floor in a hut in the middle of the village.  Kari went and checked on her, they determined she was starting to dilate, having some contraction (Braxton Hicks) and her water had not broken. No baby today. Never a dull moment.
It was another amazing day in the village filled with blessing and another day for God to reveal His Glory.

Pierce and his buddies