Daring To Hope

Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful by Katie Davis Majors is a touching, heartfelt recollection of Katie’s struggle to trust God in the dark times of life. She writes,

“Reality would shatter my optimism, but I would realize that it was only a cheap substitute for true hope anyway. The Lord would take the darkness and make it my secret place, the place where I knew Him more intimately and deeply than I had ever fathomed possible.” (page 5)

Reading this book feels a lot like reading a well edited personal journal. You read the true stories with both happy and sad endings of Ugandans she served. At the same time, Katie does a beautiful job of including Scripture and connecting what God was teaching her to those Scriptures. It has so much truth in it that anyone who reads it would find something to inspire them. I would be very interested in reading Katie’s bestselling book from 2012, Kisses From Katie, after reading Daring to Hope.

Here are a few thoughts that I earmarked:

“As I’m tempted to wallow in guilt over all that I am not for my children, gently He reminds me that I was never meant to meet all their needs anyway. It isn’t me who can make up for all their losses and hurts. He reminds me that I cannot be what they need Him to be — Savior.” (page 43)

“To dwell in the place I have been given. To do the things I have been given. To love the people I have been given. This is not mysterious or far reaching, and yet this is the truth of a God-ordained life.” (page 98)

“The pain and the hurt are everywhere. But the joy and the hope that we find in our Savior? They are everywhere, too…. Our pain does not minimize His goodness to us, but in fact allows us to experience it in a whole new way.”  (page 138)

“I desire to enter fully into the joy He places before us and I desire to enter fully into the suffering He places before us because both can be His gifts to us. Both can be made beautiful.” (page 195)

I was encouraged to embrace interruptions in life, to not run away from hard things but to look for God in the middle of them, and to be faithful with what God gives me to do each day.

Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing me with this book for free to read and review.

P.S. If you’re a podcast listener, you can hear Katie on the Family Life Today podcast on December 19-21, 2017. Here’s a link to the December 20 broadcast here.

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Progress

Construction on the school in Uganda is continuing!
Snapshot_20130228_8If you think of it, please be praying for all involved with getting this school started. Much prayer is needed!

I sometimes wonder if my prayer matters, but just yesterday I heard of two incredible answers to prayer. One of those was that my cousin, Daron, received good news! Let’s keep praying many more positive reports from the doctors will be coming his way and for continued healing.

I appreciate you prayer warriors!

Our 2 Corinthians 9:8 Story

The following true story is a display of God in our life that I long to remember and have impact my future actions.

When Brad officially committed in December to go to Uganda in January (note that short time frame) he didn’t really count the cost of missing the NFL playoffs but he count the financial cost. He decided he would pay for it. God has blessed us to be a blessing.

Much to our amazement and God’s glory, the cost of Brad’s trip was covered by people who gave generously. They were “planting crops.” Other than Brad suggesting to one person that they could donate to his trip if they would like, he asked no one else. A handful of people gave enough to cover his $1,500 airfare, expenses while there, and $600 worth of shots. Does that just not have God written all over it?  We continue to be blessed to be a blessing. Praise God!

While Brad was in Uganda, I listened to a challenging sermon on 2 Corinthians 8 & 9. It seemed to apply amazingly well to how God provided for Brad’s trip. Here’s an excerpt for you:

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

Now that’s a mouthful. Let’s unpack it. He says:

And God is able (that’s the word from which we get our English word “dynamite.” He’s got the power. He’s got the power to do what? He says God has the power)
…to make all grace abound to you, (Overflow to you. Whatever your grace container is, God has the power to fill it to where it’s overflowing, more grace than you could possibly need, to abound to you. Why?)
…so that (now and then having? No! always!)
…always having (some sufficiency? No!)
…all sufficiency (the word sufficiency is the word translated “content” in 1 Timothy 6—that we would have always what we need in order to be content in a few things? No! that’s not what it says)
…in everything, you may have (a little? No! you may have)
…an abundance (for a few things? No!)
…for every good deed;” 

Check out the above link if you’d like to listen or read the entire message on 2 Corinthians 8 & 9.

Why Build A School In Uganda?

Isn’t Jesus the answer to the problems in a third world country? Let’s teach them about Jesus and that will solve many of their problems. Wealth isn’t the answer to their problems. I don’t want to make the American standard of living their standard of living. I battle against the need to keep up with the Jones’ every week. Is starting a school going to help them?

That was my thought process while Brad was in Uganda. I’m a huge fan of education, but I kept wondering “Why build a school?”

I’ve gathered several reasons while listening to Brad talk about his time in Uganda.

1. The Bible commands us to care for orphans, widows and the poor. With the established CarePoint, the children were being cared for with a meal six days a week of posha and rice and some Bible teaching. We wanted to do more for them, and a school is a way to do that. Whether we see amazing results from it or not, we are obeying the command to care for the poor and orphaned and maybe even widows through providing them with jobs.

2. Lodging

This is Alex. He is about ten years old. His dad recently died, and his mom is either dead or who knows where. He lives with his aunt and six cousins. IMG_4846The left third of this building is where Alex sleeps. He uses the mat Brad is holding in the above picture and has a mosquito net. The aunt sleeps in half of this section and the seven kids sleep in the other half. Brad thought it was similar to the size of a pickup bed. IMG_4852Brad gave Alex a toy car and some pictures of us but worried that was going to cause problems for him with his cousins. We would be happy to give Alex a bed and more clothes, but it would likely all end up going to his uncle or to others in the family. With our boarding school, Alex can have a bed in a larger room, can stay year round and have a few of his own things.

3. Food – These children eat posha, which is like a corn meal porridge, and rice almost all the time. Although they live in a tropical climate, they eat very little fruits and vegetables. Now that there is five acres with a fence around the school land (to keep others from helping themselves), we’re hoping to grow and raise different types of food for them to eat. Learning how to garden and care for animals could be a valuable part of these students’ education. Someone already planted orange trees and these boys worked hard at weeding them.

Uganda Orange Trees

4. Education – I wonder how often some of the kids get to the public school. In a letter Alex wrote us, he said through an interpreter “…my guardians mistreat me a lot they don’t cloth me. Because of this I fail to go to school. At school they need children to put on school uniforms which I don’t have so this has denied me the chance of studying and my life is in ruins.”

Sponsors of older girls in Kayango are paying so the girls can go to private schools, largely for the girls safety. Sending them to private schools is expensive, and they’re required to take certain things and have certain clothes. Brad and James took 14 girls and 4 boys shopping to get them clothes for private school. I’m not sure if the green dress in the following picture is for school or just for fun.

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Brad said the private school students knew English, but the students in the public schools did not speak English even though English is Uganda’s national language. Public school classes have around 100 students to a teacher. We’re hoping to have 25 students in a class at our school.

5. Jobs – We’re starting with just a primary school but hope to have a secondary school someday. The focus of the secondary school would largely be vocational training. You’d be shocked at even the basic life skills most Ugandans need to learn.

At the same time, the school will create many jobs for people in Uganda.

6. More time to learn about Jesus – At the schools students are in now, they’re learning some religion but it’s never certain exactly what. Our boarding school would obviously be different!

7. Basic living conditions – One great example for you: At some of the private schools students are given only five liters of water for an entire day to do whatever they need involving water – drinking, bathing, cooking, etc. Another school relies on rainfall, so in the dry season they have no water at all. James asked the kids if they would want running water in the new school, and they saw no need for it. Even without running water, they will have whatever water they need.

I’m sure there are other reasons I’m failing to mention, but my doubt about why we should build a school is no longer.

What do you think?

The Start of a School

Brad was in Uganda to help start building a school, but our community is not just building a school. We’re starting a school. God is using small town Nebraska to start and maintain a boarding school in Uganda.

The challenges of that are more than we know, but it is clearly an opportunity for God to show HE IS ABLE. He has already shown up, and I know He will continue to do so.

Following are a sequence of pictures of the start of the building. Notice the fence topped with barbed wire. It is there to keep thieves out and surrounds the five acres of property purchased for the school.

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How it looked when Brad and James arrived

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chopping the lava rock with pick axes

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The kids even helped with covering the ground with these big rocks.

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Random Chicken

Random Chicken

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Then they crushed the large rocks.

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Cement Mixing. The sun was clearly too bright there for our little camera.

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Plastic went on top of the rocks and cement on top of that

IMG_5012One fourth of this foundation was finished before Brad and James left. Two Americans who live in Uganda will continue to keep the construction of the school going. Several people are going back in May, and I look forward to seeing their pictures of the progress.

Why a school? I’ll tell you as much as I can about that next time.

 

Boda Towing and Bicycles

I’ll get to the real reason of going to Uganda soon, but for now a little story and pictures are easier to post.

Uganda Boda Boda

3 men on a boda boda

3 men on a boda boda

The second week Brad and James were in Uganda a pastor’s conference was going on at their hote. Brad and James each rented a boda boda from pastors at that conference for the week so they could get to and from the construction site. One morning on Brad’s drive to Kayango, he had a boda boda break down. The chain flew off and cracked something.

Brad was stranded on Ugandan road side. He thought he was going to have to push his boda a mile to the construction site, but James came to the rescue. While he was waiting for James someone who knew James was around stopped to keep Brad company, knowing that being a white man sitting alone on the side of the road wasn’t a very safe situation.

James came and they towed a boda with a boda.

IMG_4999They took it to a repair shop and the ticket stating what it would cost to fix it had super glue on it. They thought the $40 part was too expensive. James told them to get the part and the $40 part would be covered.

The other popular form of transportation in this part of Uganda is bicycles.