Sunday, August 1, 2010

a Father to the Fatherless

18 years ago, I was given an incredible gift. It’s life-changing. And it’s a gift I’ve been instructed to share. But I’m ashamed to admit that I rarely share it, fearing that I lack the “right words” and also what others will think of me. But how dare I keep this gift to myself? If it’s “life changing” like I claim, shouldn’t I be boldly sharing it with as many people as possible?

I’m sure you’ve guessed that I’m talking about the gift that Christ gave me—His forever love and grace. And assurance that I will live with Him when I die.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been convicted of the fact that I rarely share the gospel. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. I shouldn’t let fear stop me. But I often do. Well, last week, I knew I’d be returning to Kampiringisa (see previous post to refresh your memory.) I couldn’t wait to see those children again. But I wanted to do more than just hand out stickers and wrap my arms around them. I desired to give them something that would last.

The day before I went to Kampiringisa, I felt like God was encouraging me to share the gospel with the children. I had no idea how….or what I’d say….but I knew I had to obey. Tuesday morning, I made the hour-long car ride to Kampiringisa with several D.P. staff and two young ladies from the Canadian short-term team ,Lisa and Queenie. After talking with Queenie, it was obvious God has been working in both of us—telling us to share Him with the kids. We were both nervous as heck, but we took a few moments to pray for wisdom and guidance.

When we arrived at Kampiringisa, we asked the staff if we could share the gospel with the kids. They had no problem with that, and they actually helped us out by gathering all the children and youth (about 80 individuals!) Everyone sat on a cement floor and listened attentively.


I am so thankful for my friend/co-worker, Diana, who translated our words into Luganda. Queenie and I took turns sharing—we told the kids that God created them and wants a relationship with them; He wants to live with us in heaven forever. Queenie did a great job clearly explaining sin, the cross, and the resurrection. I encouraged the kids, “even if you don’t have a father here on earth, God can be your Father. He loves you so much and will never leave you.” (It was intimidating and hard for me to explain love and our Father to children whose parents have abandoned them….who have no one loving them….) When we offered a chance to turn from sin and ask Christ into their lives, about fifteen individuals came forward to pray with us. I will admit that I was blinking back tears; I could imagine the angels rejoicing in heaven at that moment…..when fifteen beautiful Ugandan children realized Someone was missing from their lives. I pray God sends people into their lives to disciple them. And unfortunately, some of the children listening that morning don’t speak Luganda or English, so they may not have understood the gospel that morning. But God’s not done with them.

That was certainly out of my comfort zone, but I was reminded of 2 Cor. 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” When we feel week and incapable, we call upon Him, and He provides us with His power. Simple as that! Please hear me—I didn’t do anything great. I don’t deserve any credit. Just be encouraged that even when you’re fearful, if you step out in obedience, you can really impact lives!

During our time at Kampiringisa on Tuesday, we also did face painting (technically “hand painting”) and blew bubbles…..I’m so touched by the kids’ gratitude and excitement for such things.

Do you remember precious little Hope, the beautiful girl in my previous post? I took a video to share with you all. Please pray for her….(and all the kids.) Hope seemed to be in a great deal of physical pain on Tuesday (her cheek was swollen, and she hardly cracked a smile.)

On a random note, this weekend I was determined to learn the taxi system so that I can get to and from the city by myself. (Before this weekend, I had only been into the city twice.) Grace (my roommate) helped me navigate the city yesterday, and today I traveled by myself which was quite the adventure but I made it! The taxi park by yourself is really not a fun experience. You certainly see some interesting people. In a sea of HUNDREDS of taxi buses, you have to find the taxi you need…it’s organized chaos, and I’m sure it’ll get easier with time. People are usually helpful when I ask for the taxi I need to locate. And you must keep alert as you walk, so you don’t get run over by a taxi….I swear, the drivers don’t look where they’re going. They’re just concerned about cutting into the massive line of taxis trying to exit the taxi park. And it’s impossible to have a “personal bubble” when you ride on taxis…’re often squished between at least 18 people in a vehicle that really shouldn’t be holding that many people! You can imagine the lovely smell(s) ;) Here's a small portion of one of the taxi parks (there are two in the city.)


I’ll leave you with a photo of my sweet friend/co-worker, Jessica, who came over to my flat last night. She’s beautiful inside and out, and I was blessed by our conversations and by learning more about her life. I admire her hard-working mentality and her goal-oriented personality, as well as her love for Her Savior. I hope I can get to know many of my co-workers outside of the office setting!


1 comment:

Jessica Showalter said...

Ashley, this latest one had me almost in tears... It has been a long time since I have truly stepped out of my comfort zone, or shared my faith. thank you for sharing your experiences with everyone! every time I look at the photo I bought from you, it is a great reminder to pray for you and the people of Africa. May God's love shine through you to these precious children!