Molding a lump of clay

Molding a lump of clay
I am a work in progress, molded by my Maker, refined by His fire, shaped with His love. Walk the journey with me.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

What a wonderful day to turn 5!

We celebrated Noah's 5th birthday today, and it was a blast.

Right from the start he was all grins...

here with big brother Aidan

and opening presents with 'help' from Keziah and Aidan

...and the day just kept getting better and better. The overcast sky transformed to sunshine and blue skies, perfect for pool party.

We enjoyed lots of swimming...

friends from the YWAM base and from the neighborhood

...and playing games.

Noah loved his whale cake...

...and being tossed up in the air 5 times, once for each year.

Daddy ended with a prayer of thanksgiving for our precious son.

We thank God for this wonderful little boy.

We love you, Noah!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WFW - Am I fishing?

We had a campfire at a YWAM staff retreat recently, and someone took this photo of me 'writing' in the dark sky with a burning stick. I wasn't trying to draw a just came out that way. I've been trying to figure out how Photoshop works, and came across all these fun effects, so what you're looking at is a normal photo with the 'plastic wrap' effect.

A good reminder to me that Jesus wants us to attract people to Him, even as we follow Him.
Let's fish!

To see more Word-filled Wednesday photos and Scripture, check out The 160 Acre Woods!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A lion or a lamb? A robe or a towel?

"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know:
the only ones among you who will be really happy

are those who have sought and found
how to serve."
Albert Schweitzer

I'm not very good at serving.
I want to be, but I tend to have my own agendas, my own timetable, and being task-oriented, I like to get things things. I'm quite happy to help other people, but it's better if it fits in with my plans for the day or the week.

And yet, as followers of Christ, we're supposed to serve others. And as a leader, I'm supposed to be servant-hearted. But to be honest, it's much easier said than done. I'm still trying to figure out how it all works practically.

I've been reading another Darrell W. Johnson book called "Discipleship on the Edge: an expository journey through the book of Revelation." It's fantastic...I highly recommend it. In simple yet profound words, Mr. Johnson unpacks to me what has always been a difficult book to understand, and extracts the beauty of this revelation that John was so honored to receive.

In the discussion of Revelation chapters 4 and 5, Mr. Johnson points out that when John is looking at the throne, he sees One sitting on it holding a scroll which is sealed. An angel asks who is worthy to open the scroll, but there was no one found worthy.

Devastated, John begins to weep, and then one of the elders surrounding the throne tells John to stop weeping, for the Lion has overcome. And he is able to open the scroll.

Yet when John looks back at the throne to see the Lion, what he sees is actually a Lamb, as if slain. Not a powerful victor, but a little slain lamb.

But the lamb has 7 horns and 7 eyes. Horns are the symbol of strength; 7 is the number of completeness. The little Lamb is completely strong.

Eyes are the symbol of wisdom. The little Lamb is completely wise.

The message?

The power that overcomes is the 'weakness' of sacrificial love.

The wisdom that overcomes is the 'foolish
ness' of sacrificial love.

The Lion gets to the throne by being a Lamb.

Jump with me to another book I'm reading called "Cross-cultural Servanthood" (Duane Elmer). He's talking about the Last Supper and the humility Jesus showed when he washed His disciples' feet. The disciples had been arguing about who was the greatest among them, and Jesus showed them it was Him by kneeling before them.

Mr. Elmer contrasts the significance of 'The Robe' or 'The Towel', and reminds us that Jesus, who is worthy to wear the Royal Robe as Lord of Lords, took the towel to highlight His self-chosen role of servant.

The message?

In the world, greatess is judged by the power a person exercises over others.

In the Kingdom of God, greatness is judged by service to people.

As children of the King, we follow Kingdom values.

The Lion gets to the throne by being a Lamb.

We follow Christ by serving others.

What does that look like practically in my daily world? Not sure yet...I'm only on Chapter 3. But I'll post my insights as I get deeper into the book, and highly welcome any feedback from you on the subject.

Servanthood. Sacrificial love. Lofty goals not possible to achieve without His Spirit working in us.

Thank you, Father, that you are with me, and that with you all things are possible.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A life sentence...

John has waited 16 years for this...I've waited 12. Not that we were really waiting. We were just living our lives one day at a time and following God the best we could.

John and I met here in Uganda. We even got married here, in Soroti. And 2 of our 3 children were born here in the capital city, Kampala.

Over the years, Uganda has become our home.

So when we received the text message saying, "You have been given a life sentence," at first I thought it was one of those clever Easter texts talking about Jesus' death and resurrection. But then it went on to say that we needed to send in our 1 million Ugandan shillings...which ruled out Jesus because He paid the price freely.

With dawning clarity, I realized we'd been granted Permanent Residency.

Whoo hoo!!! Yippee!! Skip to my lou!!

Once the truth sunk in, John and I were ecstatic! After all these years, we are privileged to become permanent residents of Uganda. That means no more visas or work permits! Yay!!!

It really is an honour to be accepted as residents of this beautiful country. We have made many close friendships with the Ugandan people, and residents of neighboring countries. It is a joy to live here in the "Pearl of Africa."

We would like to say 'Thank you' to the people of Uganda who have loved us, lived with us, and accepted us. May God bless you so much!

John met me in Kampala and we headed over to the Immigration office to sign our certificates

Standing outside the Immigration offices

We had to put our thumbprints on the certificates

And then celebrated with a lovely dinner at the Thai restaurant

Let the drums roll please.....


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Noah's Arm

Is it just us, or do other families experience the fall-out when one or both parents go away for awhile? It seems like everytime one of us goes away, everything starts to go wrong for the parent left behind.

When I went to Jinja for the CRIT consultation a couple of weeks ago, John had to deal with all 3 kids getting sick, the tap on the kitchen sink breaking and gushing water everywhere, the deadline for an important financial report when all the people doing the accounts were sick, Kezi stepping on charcoal and burning her foot (for the 3rd time), and so on.

Just a few days ago, John and I left for a YWAM staff retreat, and hadn't been gone 24 hours when we got a call that Noah had fallen out of a tree and hurt his arm. They were rushing him to the hospital for x-rays.

Poor Munduru, our fabulous house helper who is brilliant with the kids and was staying with them at the time, was beside herself with worry. She called a good friend, Pam, who helped sort everything out. Thankfully he just had a sprain, but Munduru was so concerned that she got up 3 times that night to check on him.

I've come to expect these kinds of challenges when we travel, but I also have peace knowing that God is in control, and has proved faithful in caring for our family time and time again. He is true to His Word...He never leaves us or forsakes us. Praise His holy name.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Noah's flood

I don't know what woke me up.

Could have been the surprisingly loud bang and rattle of the jumbula seeds, discarded by the fruit bats after they'd gorged on the bitter purple flesh, and chucked onto our echoey tin roof.

Could have been our dogs barking at the neighborhood dogs and working themselves up into one of those long, drawn-out, frenzied orchestral yowlings that make one wish they had a BB gun under the bed.

Or maybe it was the roar and splash of water gushing from the kids' bathroom sink tap and overflowing down the wall, out the bathroom door, across to the kids' room, down to our room, flowing under the bed and into the closet, soaking my book bag with my Bible and daily planner, seeping into my backpack with my new camera inside. (Good thing we don't have carpet!)

Yes, that must have been what woke me up. And if I wasn't fully awakened by the noise, I was definitely snapped alert when I crawled out from under our mosquito net and put my feet down into an inch of water. Not a pleasant experience at two in the morning.

But such are the realities of life when you live in a place where the water is off and on, and when it's off, and your 4 year old tries to brush his teeth and turns the tap but nothing comes out, well...he's not clued in enough to think, "I better turn the tap off in case water comes in the middle of the night and floods the house."

So we give him grace, and we thank God for whatever it was that woke me up in time to turn off the tap before the creeping flood got any closer to the extension cord and power strip that was plugged in and lying on the floor just inches away from the water's edge.

Instead of trying to clean it up then and there, I just went back to sleep. And in the morning, that same 4 year old, ironically named Noah, commented upon seeing the situation, "We should build an ark inside the house for the next time it floods."

Good idea, kiddo! Or maybe just turn off the tap...

John mops while I take photos for my blog... :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

WFW - Beautiful feet

As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
Romans 10:15

My good friend, Pam (a missionary like me), and I recently had a few days together of R&R in the capital city, and we pampered ourselves with a lovely pedicure. Then I was blessed recently at the CRIT consultation (see following post) with Adobe Photoshop...something I've been longing for for almost a year now.

So I took all three blessings (my friend, our pedicures, and Photoshop) and with a lot of help from design-master Aaron, we created today's Word-filled Wednesday photo.

Hope it blesses you all and gives you a smile!
Happy WFW!
To read more WFW posts, check out host Amydeane's site at the 160 Acre Woods.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

When our dreams match God's dreams

God is so good. He's a Maker of Dreams Come True, an Equipper, an Inspirer. It's so amazing to walk this journey of life with exciting and surprising. I'm still reeling from what's taken place this last week.

I've always written. Ever since I was a little girl, I've written stories and kept journals (diaries). I write every chance I get, and feel anxious and uncomfortable when too much time passes without being able to write.

The past couple of years I've been trying to hone my writing skills, and last year I set up this blog which has been a great outlet for me.

But I knew there was something more. I knew God gave me the gift and desire to write for a bigger purpose, but I didn't know what that was exactly.

A few months ago I joined the communications team for our YWAM Arua base and started helping out with that blog. It was great to write stories and post updates about what the base was doing, and I started to see how my writing skills could benefit our ministry in a broader way.

Then I got a short newsletter in the mail by our YWAM AfriCom team in Capetown informing us about a Communication, Research and Information Technology (CRIT) consultation happening in Jinja (Uganda) this month. The first CRIT consultation took place 6 years ago in response to the Word of the Lord to our mission that our communications were very poor and needed some serious strengthening.

As I read the newsletter, I felt God saying, "This is what I've been training you for."

So I went to the consultation and found God opening up opportunities I'd never thought of before. We had YWAMers from all over the and women with a passion for communication in their regions who came to help us see how we could strengthen communications here in East Africa.

Here we are watching a video of Lynn Green talking more about the 'sickness in our central nervous system'...the poor communication structure in YWAM and how it weakens us as a mission.

My roommate, Anne, comes from Nigeria and has started 'Media Village' there. They train people on how to produce videos and do interviews so they can document all the amazing things God is doing in that country.

She shared her testimony of how she got that ministry started, and it was so inspiring to see what God can do with the little we have when we take a big step of faith.

Michelle (Argentina) & Phillip (USA)

Michelle came from Argentina with her husband Javier and small son, and their good friend Christian. Michelle coordinates LatinCom...the communications team for the southern half of South America,

and Christian runs a ministry called Storytellers where they train people to go out and document the stories in their region. They have put together several videos capturing the amazing things God is doing around them.

Sugi is Indonesian and serving with YWAM in Taiwan. He's helping with AspaCom...the Asia Pacific Communications team serving that region, and is looking forward to next year's CRIT consultation which will be in SE Asia somewhere. (...maybe I'll be there???)

Jonathon is British, married to an Indian woman and has lived in Pune, India, for the last 15 years. He works with Arun in SpiceCom...India's communications team. Jonathon was a huge blessing to me during the week with his IT skills and servant heart. He fixed all kinds of things on my computer and has offered to be my IT advisor from Pune whenever I need help (which is often!) What a blessing!!

I got close to these lovely ladies during the week as we all stayed in the same house with a few others. Bec (on the left) is American but part of EuroCom...the Central Europe communications team, and has lots of great team building activities that I was able to glean from her. She's been doing all kinds of amazing things in the Czech Republic, where she lives, and the surrounding region, and was a real inspiration to me. Pam, next to Bec, is from Zimbabwe but living in South Africa and serving AfriCom, the Africa Communications team that has been helping connect all of YWAM Africa. Lydia, next to Pam, is South African and on outreach up here with the School of Journalism that AfriCom ran this past few months.

This woman, though, is the one who got me connected into all this in the first place. Miranda Heathcoate and her husband Tim are British living in South Africa, and they started AfriCom 7 years ago. It's been their passion to see communications on this continent strengthened, and for YWAMers to be able to hear what's happening beyond their borders, and share their own stories.

Miranda contacted me last year to ask if I'd write some articles for, which I did, and ever since we've been e-mailing and discussing different communications ideas. They brought their outreach team from the School of Journalism to our base in Arua, and really blessed our base by writing staff biographies and several other things.

But it was at the CRIT in Jinja when I really saw what a vital link Miranda and Tim are to connecting YWAM across the continent and globally. It was a privilege and an honor to be part of the CRIT, and I'm looking forward to seeing all the new initiatives that will come out of it.

I still don't know exactly what my part will be in the communications team, but I do know that God is at work, and He will guide me step by step as I seek Him faithfully and follow where He leads. I'm just so blessed that He is using my passion for writing and my dream to be a writer in a way that brings glory to His name. What greater privilege could there be?