(This is from our first night in Nairobi, but Hunter just now emailed it to me...so I'm posting now)
I am sitting in my room at Resurrection Garden, our first overnight stop on Africa 2006. It has been quite an experience already, and we are preparing for an early 4:45a rise tomorrow to make our flight to Yei, Sudan. Things of which I am confident:
1. God is sovereign.
2. He's got big plans.
3. Satan is furious.
We have a most incredible team and have been traveling with another group from IBC going to Rwanda. Upon leaving Dallas, we had 16, then sent two straight to Mombasa for a six-week stay. Tomorrow nine of us will head to Sudan and five will go to Rwanda. Within the Rwanda team are three people who will be ever so obscurely going into Congo for two days to research the women who are being raped and beaten just for being of the female gender.
We are surrounded by heartbreaking stories in all these countries, and we have a heart to go on a mission trip to carry the Lord's cross and unconditional love to those who do not know. Yet what we tend to lose sight of is the fact that these people are faced with travesties each and every day of their lives. To them, past, present and future are all one in the same. Hope for tomorrow is as bleak as the suffering they endured today. I am very confident that God has called me to this place, to serve Him as a member of this team. What I've realized today is that I have quickly been caught up in the "ministering for two weeks" mindset, while this is an eternal battle for the Kingdom.
Of what I am most thankful is the strength and power of the Kingdom itself, which beholds within it beautiful and perfect creations in the children of God. On Day 3 (this is Sunday, right?), we have already laughed heartily together and even cried tears of joy and a few of fear, not to mention the fact that we have all said something drudgingly ridiculous and simple, been yelled at by the operator of the underground tunnel in London (What the heck do you think you're doing??...Mind the flaming doors!!!), met intriguing and interesting individuals on the plane, discussed in depth how our digestive system is greatly disrupted when in Africa, and taken numerous embarrassing pictures in order to capture the glorious memories of each day.
I walked back to my room alone from the prayer garden (yes, it's a silent prayer garden - we're staying with nuns), and I was greeted by beautiful smiles of the precious African children. We shared greetings of "Jambo" and "Habari", and as I walked away, I could hear them giggling and laughing and sharing quiet secrets about the "mizungu". I wish that I could put into words what it is like being back here...back in Africa. I think it's "Africa" that I missed - maybe it's just being back in an area that holds a most passionate and special place in my heart. Regardless, when we were driving through Nairobi, I leaned over to Hunter (teammate) and said "It feels so right being back." Being a former Africa visitor himself, he readily agreed, and things haven't been quite the same since. I was in my room thinking "If I could just get over the shower thing...could I make it here?"
But that is God's department - not mine. If He wants me here, well...yeah.
In the mean time, we must prepare ourselves to go out and fight the principalities of darkness and evil and win souls over for eternity. Ready to fight with us? It's so obvious that Satan is fearful of the victories that are going to be accomplished these next two weeks (which will result in plentiful victories going forth), as there are a few prayer requests that could be shared:
1. Alicia is very homesick, as this is her first trip and she left two sick kids at home. Please pray for God's peace and confidence over her.
2. Natasha is not feeling well, but is slowly improving. Please pray fast healing for her body.
3. Sarah is swelling from the flights - at first it was just ankles, but it is moving up her legs with no noticeable improvement. Please pray this is resolved very quickly.
4. Dawn's bags did not arrive - they are still in London and might not ever make it to Sudan in time. Lucky for her, she's traveling with six other women who can share the apparel wealth, but this is quite a discouragement for her, as the comforts of home are not available to her.
All in all, these may sound like petty requests, but we know that this is Satan trying to rob of us joy and plant seeds of discouragement. We know that the Lord is sovereign, and we are confident in His victories. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39
Schedule for Monday: Amy, Rhonda and Natasha head to Harvesters to be at the orphanage and school. Debbie, Kathleen, Dawn, Sarah, Bill and Hunter will be at the Women's Empowerment Center with ALARM leading a women's pastoral conference. Please pray safe travels for us and for the women coming to the conference. Pray for protection over our team, the orphans, students and staff at Harvesters, and for us to submit to the Almighty guidance of the Lord.
Thanks for all of your prayers - I love all of you and look forward to sending more updates. Blessings abound!
"Now to Him, who is able to do exceedingly abundany beyond all we could ever hope for or imagine." Eph 3:20