The Progress of Many, The Power of One

In one year, we’ve seen a huge change already in this place

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 – Ngariam, Uganda

There comes a point when feeding people just isn’t enough. Jesus fed the 5,000 but was that His real mission? His mission was simple: to expose humanity to a revolutionary and new kind of love, show that ALL men can find close fellowship with the Almighty God and then equip them to change the world by teaching these same Truths to everyone they come in contact with.

The people here have to eat. There is disease, death, sickness and starvation in Uganda. But more prevalent then these things are complacent feeling of apathy brought on by years of being pushed down and held back. These are a people who have given up and accepted that… this life is God’s best for them. There is no self-esteem. There is no drive to rise up. There is no reason for even striving for something greater because they’ve been told so long that this does not exist for them and they’ve heard that so much that they believe it to be true.

Jesus meets needs. That’s what He does. When He rolled up on those 5,000 hungry people gathered on that hillside, He met that impossible need. When He encounters a nation of impoverished and starving people, He meets that need. And when He sees you and I with our own daily struggles and pain, He will meet our needs. But Jesus isn’t solely in the “Needs Met” business. What Jesus Christ is really passionate about is equipping people with the strength to walk boldly in this newfound confidence that only He can bring. He wants to see people rise up and walk on their own – He said it at the pool of Bethesda to the lame man, “Pick up your mat and walk!” and even more incredible, Christ chooses to use the ordinary people of this world to accomplish this mission of His of meeting and equipping needs. Jesus meets needs to display His mercy and His power; He equips so that we may be able to become self – sufficient. Our longing to stay within His grip becomes more then duty or obligation but grows from a deep gratification of the power and mercy He first displayed in reaching out to us. I walk with Christ because I love Him and I truly know Him. But before I walked it was He who chose to raise me up.

The needs are vast

When we first arrived in Ngariam, the experience was overwhelmingly heart breaking. There was so much to do and the task before us seemed impossible. There wasn’t enough money to feed all those kids. Returning home, I racked my brain with this idea and that idea but in the end, I knew… there was very little I could do. Not smart enough or visionary enough to formulate some great plan to “end hunger in Uganda” but I also knew this: I could keep coming here, as often as I could, to at least do something. Still, I sold prints from my trip. I recorded a CD for raising money and awareness for Uganda. I talked and talked and talked about Uganda. I tweeted about Uganda. I planned on starting a 5013 – C (or whatever those non – profit organization thingy’s are called) because, heck… everybody’s starting one these days, why not me? Nothing seemed to work, however and I just seemed to be spinning my wheels. So I just kept trying to go again while desperately thinking of something huge that I could do. And the harder I thought the more frustrated I became. Then came the second trip and again… unbelievable how moved I continued to be. I felt “If everyone could just see what I’m seeing, here…” but coming home this time sent me into a deep depression and sense of failure. How could I NOT have some huge impact, there? I was obviously willing to go. But each time I came home, I still had the same struggles, slipped into the same routines of shallow consumerism. I started thinking that maybe these trips were some sort of way for me to feel like I was really doing something even though deep down I knew… this was a lie. The façade isn’t hard to imagine if you were to see into the deepest parts of my heart. Heck, I couldn’t even give up chocolate doughnuts for week. I cared about Uganda, but could I sacrifice everything for a cause God put before me if it ever came to that? I knew what the answer was before the question was mentally completed. There are people of great faith and then… there are the rest of us. The problem facing God is – there are more of “us” then there are of them.

The answer once again lay in the scripture. We don’t know what ever happened to those 5,000 people fed. We don’t hear about them directly, ever again in the bible. So what can we take away from this? Probably a lot, but for where I was, this is what I took from that passage as I began to relate to my internal “Ugandan Crisis”: Jesus has already met every need that I have ever had and will ever have. I am redeemed, I am saved and I am His child and I’ve promised to follow Him. Beyond that, I need nothing more. I don’t need comfort and I don’t need sleep. I don’t need good health and I don’t need to matter, outside of whatever it may be that He might call me to do for Him tomorrow. I don’t need money and I don’t need people to buy my songs. I don’t need fame and I don’t need to recognize or be recognized by anyone or for anything, except being a true Christ – follower. And His Love flowing through every part of me can only show that.

So here is the truly amazing thing about this year’s November trip to Uganda: change is happening. You must understand that following God into His mission field – where ever that field He has for you resides – will alter you. Just as Moses was literally changed after being before the Lord, God Almighty, we must also know that we too will be changed. To know whether you’ve been on a God mission, all you have to do is look in the mirror. If your first thought is “Who the heck am I even looking at?!” then you’ll know beyond any doubt. And these experiences will change you – inside and out. I’m changed. I don’t think the same; I dwell more on trying to figure out what God’s next plan of action will be – not for MY life, but for the lives He has asked me to help Him change. That’s change on a personal and spiritual level. But on a natural, visible level, we are seeing a great change in Ngariam, too. The people are beginning to stand up on their own. Where there was strife and some bitter resentment between parents of unsponsored children and those receiving sponsorship, communities are now coming together. As a church, we are doing well to continue keeping a steady presence, there, in Ngariam. What that does is show the people there that we are committed and we care. That’s the feeding of the 5,000. But the real change – that part where Jesus has spoken His message and sent everyone home to start living life in a completely different way? That is beginning to take place, too. The Work Program initiated by Tom Cox has given these people a reason to believe again, that life CAN be different. The Work Program has given Ugandan men back their pride through the opportunity for THEM to make a difference in their own communities. The Work Program has been the single biggest impact on this community because it IMPACTS the community. See, we began feeding orphans and widows and now, that Work Program has created working opportunities to also feed community children AND adults, alike through labor done by Ugandan hands. SO when we walk into a care point, we’re now greeted by screaming children AND an entire community. That’s real progress. When people who once argued about whether or not to sell us a bit of land versus giving us an unused field now argue about not giving us enough, that’s progress. We’re eating meals partially grown from the harvest that they’ve grown next to care point buildings they’ve built surrounded by fencing they’ve put up. Yes. We must keep feeding them. We must continue to help them find ways to provide better educational tools like paper and pens, by purchasing better uniforms and newer books. They need medical assistance. They need better water systems for irrigation and sanitation. The needs are still great. Jesus never stopped meeting needs, but at some point He turned to His disciples and said “Now you go and feed my sheep…” spiritually and physically. I am blown away by just how much has changed and I am convinced that these work programs remain at the core for seeing whole communities being dramatically altered.

They must take ownership

Will we be the 5,000? Or will we be the 12 helping Jesus feed the 5,000? It was His miracle, provided the meal. It was the hands of His disciples He used to serve it. Change will happen. Progress can be made. I see it in my own life and I’ve seen it in a starving country called Uganda. Tom has chosen to let God have God’s way with Tom. You and I don’t have to be anything more then who God called US to be; but there are a hundred or more out there in our church alone who are just like Tom – men and women who have the ability to hear God speak an impossible idea to them and then go out and trust that – it being His idea anyways – God will surely see it come to pass. I might not have plans to move to Uganda, but I know that I’d rather walk among the least of the 12 then lead the 5,000 homes on a full stomach.

We can’t raise their flag, nor can we raise up this nation of theirs. Only Christ and His Power can truly change Uganda. But we can be a small part of His plan to see this nation of His be restored and proud once more. I want to do whatever I can. I’ve seen what’s possible with just a small bit of faith and a little hard work.

In the Grip of His Grace… Peace. Sean Gutteridge

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So Now What?!

They're still there...and none of us have forgotten

Hemming with energy and a restless anxiety that is neither good nor bad, it’s just… there. The feeling reminds me of a similar feeling I always felt just before jumping out of an airplane while sky-diving. There was always fear to jump but the kind of fear that excites the heart and pumps the blood just a little bit faster. The exhilaration and anticipation of the feeling of freedom at drifting among  the clouds far outweighs the all – too – real possibility of just as easily plunging through those clouds to your death! (And truthfully, in a weird and macabre sort of way… this is sort of exciting, too – the uncompromising uncertainty of where we find ourselves. Death never crosses your mind but now that you think about it’s possibility, well… no point in wasting good worry, 50 bucks and a packed chute on something that will one way or another resolve itself shortly! Besides… what a way to go, man!) And in the back of mind questions loom and the uneasy truth we all feel pounds in anguish on our hearts: those children are still there… and we have not forgotten.

“So now what, God?” I ask myself, pissed these days only that I can’t afford to feed all of Uganda myself and annoyed merely that the “f” on my keyboard now sticks. Not bad iff you happen to know me. Lately, I walk with an ease and comfort, not familiar with my normal character. I wait with patience, knowing that I’ll get out on the wing eventually so there’s no need to rush out there. I understand that I really have no idea what I am doing here except… God called me jump in much the same fashion that my adventurous spirit urged me out on the wing of a plane – repeatedly. And so I keep climbing out there and wait until it’s time to let gravity do what it does best. And so it is in all things. There is so much waste in worry, no point dwelling on what you can’t do so… might as well focus on what you CAN do and enjoy the entire process. God really IS good so let Him do what HE does best!

So what now. It is the periods of quiet solitude and inactivity that God uses us most. This is where we grow, where we learn things like love and patience and forgiveness. This is where we renew and find new strength so that we may be used again, with full effectiveness. These are the times we build our tents and find our direction and guidance from God. We hear Him speak in the quiet. We see Him move in the chaos. We feel His grace in obedience. And it is this process in which we find our own redemption while discovering the very true nature of God’s abiding Love. Things like Power, Joy, Peace, Patience, Hope, Rest and so much more are found, cultivated and nurtured. And His presence, come to find out, has been with us every step of the way.

Have I prayed? Have I waited patiently for Him? Have I strayed too far from His desires? Am I trusting? Am I humble? Am I fully obedient? Am I prepared to follow His agenda and not my own? Am I able to be wrong and retrace my steps until the correct path has been found? So what now, then?

John ticked off after finding out he wasn't going with me

Cate just wants that zebra... and a little sister

What now. Lead today, prepare for tomorrow and always be ready to seek forgiveness for yesterday. Right now, I need to watch a movie and play chess with my son.  Right now, I need to read to my daughter and smother her in kisses and hugs. Right now I need to love and serve my wife. Right now, I need to take care of my body and stay healthy. Right now, I need to be a good employee and work hard for my boss. Right now, I need to be a blessing to my church and show the Love and Light of Christ for them in every way possible. Right now is here in front of me… today… and the truth is… I know exactly “what now” means. I don’t have to chase it…I just have to do it. God’s Word isn’t some code I must work to crack. It’s not some field manual that needs a degree to understand. It’s not a list of really good quotes and advice that I may want to consider following. God’s word is life, it’s love, it is a symphony of redemption written in grace aimed at liberating my soul and keeping it free. It guides, it comforts, it protects and it strengthens me as I grow. And it always answers my every “So now what?”. I just have to open it each day and decide to get out of bed and walk where it takes me.

I’ve discovered something very true: it’s always exciting to be taken around the world or be taken on some new and exhilarating  adventure. But it can be just as exciting when it takes you down the street or around the corner to quietly lend a hand to someone much closer to you in need. And it’s always best when it brings you back home again… because that’s where the sno-cones are! There are chess games to lose and books to be read and dishes to unload and people to lead in worshiping the Loving and Gracious God who gives me all these exciting purposes and adventures… and so much more. That’s what now really is. Now, i I could just get this damn “F” to stop sticking…!

Peace to you…     SAG – July something, 2010





Just A Drop of Hope

We Only Think We Know What They Need…


I stepped off the plane and my first thought was: “Whoa…This Ain’t Africa…” They shut the plane doors before I could re-board back to Uganda. Let me tell ya… the culture shock was much worse returning to America then it was arriving in Africa. I know, I know… that can’t possible make sense… until you go there and see her with your own eyes. I left thinking I knew what these beautiful people needed. I had no idea. We only think we know what they need and, being the arrogant American that I am, I actually thought I was going there to bring these people hope and salvation. Stupid “Mazungo.” (“Mazungo” means white!)

THAT’S…                A STUPID…     MAZUNGO…!

I didn’t really think I was going to save anyone. But I did think that I had an idea of the devastating needs of this country. I’ve seen the pictures, I’ve read the articles, and I’ve heard the stories. I was up on my Ugandan history. I thought I knew what we were walking into. Ten days later I discovered what “This Is Africa” really meant. I thought that was just some clever, catchy little phrase some wise-ass American came up with, but it’s no hip catch-phrase, it’s a culture; it’s a life-style and a mind-set that most Americans can’t even begin to relate to. Not even going to Africa, can a westerner fully grasp the African mind-set or ideology… though once you’ve been there and lived in it and seen it, you can begin to both appreciate who you are and better understand what African means and what she bleeds… hope and joy through poverty and despair…

THERE IS JOY AND POWER which screams through the hunger and starvation… how can a people seem so fragile AND powerful, all at once…within the very same moment? I seem to have what they need yet they have something that I want. And as Africa bleeds upon me I quietly wonder who comes away with more… them? Or me? There is no searching my personality or checking my character – I walked into a village church where they demanded that someone from our group preach. I must’ve been sleeping because I didn’t feel qualified to bring the good news to them. At one point, I may have even stated… “Your Joy moves me…” Or…maybe I just thought it, but that’s how I felt never the less. But this defining moment where spirit meets will and flesh sees that it hasn’t a chance to conquer obedience on this day and so the task becomes very simple: what can I do in ten days? The answer? Not enough. And so I must begin to reconcile that fact within my own heart.

There is Joy and Power...

...through Hunger and Starvation...

Overwhelmed & exhausted...there is so much to process

“THIS AIN’T AFRICA…” MY MIND whispers. The frenetic pace has not been missed and I wonder, almost aloud, “Does anyone know what I’ve seen? Would they even care?” And there’s the trap, right there. God didn’t call the guy in the blue blazer to even give Ngariam a second thought. But He certainly had called me. Kim Gilliam said it best when she stated “We arrived thinking we’d could Americanize Africa and now we’ve returned fighting the urge to Africanize America.” This is where we are and this is where we must live, whether that be Africa or America. So what will you do with that? I can’t beat my children or my friends into this passionate submission! I can’t make you see or feel what I’ve just experienced… because this ain’t Africa! But how can I articulate such a dire need to those who’ve not experienced what I have? When we begin to seek God for His will that is the moment that we begin to reconcile our will to His…not just for our life but for the lives of people we do not even know whether they are across the street or across an ocean. And it is at that moment that God’s Holy Spirit finally seems given the green light to begin speaking to our hearts and pulling us across streets and continents.

I think of the first time I met Le and Lindsey Andrews. I had already begun dreaming of travelling to the Dark continent. Our church was currently supporting the water well projects in Rwanda. My family had given to this project the past two Decembers but I felt there was more that God wanted me to do. I couldn’t see what but in my prayers, I told God I’d do what ever He asked. I began praying that He could help me write some new song to maybe create a way to raise more money for the needs of this continent. It’s ridiculous, I knew that. I’ve never had a song on the radio that wasn’t a jingle, how did I think I could write songs people might actually buy where the proceeds could provide clean water or food for Africa? Still, that’s what I prayed. I felt stupid but really… this was all I could think of. I mean, that’s really all I had to offer God, was my music and a willingness to obey His unforeseen (and unrevealed) purpose! When Pastor Paul told us in a staff meeting about adopting this village, I suddenly began to see a clearer, much broader vision. A tangible avenue opened before my eyes in which I saw a way to not just do something significant but see it happen first hand. “Feed a village of orphans” ran through my mind. Then I met Le and Lindsey and after hearing them talk and share their passion for this region called Ngariam I caught that fever. I knew I had to get there. I knew we had to sponsor a child. I am forever grateful for Le and Lindsey’s faithfulness… my life has been forever changed. Two of the most genuine and amazing people I’ve ever met, the Andrews have inspired me to remember that God has created me to do more then I ever believed I was capable of. And that’s how God does it through us. We are faithful, we are stirred and it is that passionate fire within that stirs someone else to action and that stirs someone else to action and so it goes. Like a wild fire, it catches the soul and cannot be controlled. And that is all I can hope to do in somebody else’s life, all while continuing to follow obediently.

How can a people seem so fragile and powerful all at once?

THERE IS TOTALITY WHEN WE ARE IMMERSED in something beyond ourselves, something so great and powerful that God has engineered. We are moved to action, as Pastor Kevin told me this morning, not just moved. The seeds of change are laid by the passions of others, like what the Lindsey’s passion for Ngariam did to me. I’m praying that my passion will be as affective as their passion was. We are moved to action but our first action must be one to pray. God forces our spirits to confront a haunting reality and a brutal truth when He reveals a need that He wants to see met. By human nature, when our hearts are moved to compassion by someone else’s passion, we often rise up to face the need and seek to fix it. Yet we still have no idea where to go or how to meet it so in we go, blindly and stupidly without any direction or thought. Our intentions are valiant and noble but we become embittered, frustrated, overly anxious when nothing appears to be happening. We spin our wheels in frustration and cannot understand why nobody else can see what God has shown us…it seems so obvious to us, doesn’t it?! “How” no longer seems relevant because we can’t get beyond “Now”.  Yet God sits by quietly and waits for us to draw back unto Him. He is preparing His way and His “How” for His perfect timing. And this is the place where many willing people fade away…because we cannot seem to wait patiently on the Lord. 12 months ago, I wanted to go to Africa. What I thought I’d do once I got there was anybody’s guess. Desire had nothing to do with it – I certainly had that. But I didn’t even know Ngariam existed 12 months ago. I could’ve never accomplished anything without the nine other people that I traveled to Ngariam with – even now, I can’t fathom making that trip without any one of those awesome people. I believe God specifically chose each one of us for that trip precisely for each individuals special gifts and talents.  12 months ago, none of us was really prepared to travel to Ngariam and even BE of any use to God, there. We’ve been programmed to believe that we can only do so much but just as Pastor Paul preached a few weeks before we left for Ngariam, “Jesus uses our little to do a lot for others.” We just gotta give God something to work with even if it’s no more then an open heart and a willing body. There is nothing about any of us that is extraordinary… until we begin to obey and follow Him.

THERE IS A MAGICAL TRANSFORMATION which comes about in our (not so) blind obedience: the ordinary begin doing extra – ordinary things. Oh, we stay ordinary, we remain flawed, we struggle as we’ve always struggled before, and yet… bit by bit, slowly and steadily all selfishness is stripped away as we begin to witness the bare fragility of humanity colliding with the providence and supplication of God’s raw and mighty power. We are not partakers in this occurrence, merely spectators in an empty auditorium which should be filled to capacity. We have nothing to do with this display before us. We are simply awed by His beauty and humbled by their Joy. And we are consumed by His Grace, feeling a love we only thought we understood before. The way of the cross is simple to understand but a difficult path to pursue, NOT because of it’s difficulty but because of our own fragile humanity. I think poverty breaks the pride in most human beings and maybe that’s why it takes such extraordinary measures for God’s Holy Spirit to bring us to this place. It could be Ngariam, it could be Haiti or India, or somewhere in Asia or Russia. It could even be downtown at the Jesus House or across the street at the Nursing Home. But make no mistake: God is drawing you somewhere today to witness this same occurrence. He is bringing people across your path constantly in an effort to move you beyond compassion and into action. I am so thankful for my church for having a heart to pursue and support these kinds of Christ – Centered ideals and visions and ministries. I am blessed to follow a man like my pastor who is willing to stand up and say “It’s no longer about us, it’s about us following Christ to these places!” I am thankful for the amazing faithfulness that Hope Chest cultivates in facing such an overwhelming challenge and refusing to back down even an inch. I thank God for breaking my heart one night so that I might hear a beautiful young couple share their hearts which moved me beyond compassion and into action. And I am humbled to have such an amazing family that would be so excited to see me travel half a world away, even at the cost of a front yard tree and a missed birthday party. I’m glad that I don’t have to be worthy of all this and so much more, found in the friends and the friends of friends who simply wrote me checks and stuffed cash into my hands and just said: “Go for me, too, okay?” I left praying I wouldn’t screw up, that I’d make people proud. I returned unable to remember what that even meant anymore, so devastated by what my eyes had seen I could never feel proud again…least of all, anything that I may have done. It is forever burned into my eyes and will stay within my mind for a long time to come. It’s difficult to sleep some nights. The memories are relenting, though not as if they behave as nightmares. They are more like dreams… dreams where I see the tattered clothes hanging off hungry faces and still, they cry out His name with Joy, greeting me with praises of Him, whom they seem so well to know. I awake from the dream determined to see it become a reality… not so I may sleep once more, but so that they might one day awake…and NOT be hungry.

IT SEARS YOUR HEART. IT CLUTCHES your soul. “This IS Africa” my mind screams at each memory of every outstretched hand. “This is Africa” my eyes remind me with every picture I copy onto my computer. “THIS  is Africa” my heart cries recalling hundreds of hungry children laughing and playing, screaming at the tops of their  voices “Mazungo! Mazungo! Mazungo!” “This is Africa” I quietly whisper so that no one will think I’ve gone in sane, every so often, just because I’m afraid to forget even though deep down I understand… that’s not very likely. A picture is always one click away… but there remains a fence between us: my willingness to look away. And perhaps, more then anything, that has been the greatest triumph for me on this trip – that fence has been ripped down and I won’t ever be able to look away again.

It sears your heart... I WANT to make a difference... I WANT to see change... I NEED to come back... again and again and again until we see these children clothed and sufficiently fed...

There is a fence between us… my willingness to look away…

Kids at Achanga

1000 words later, I can’t begin to explain all I feel at this moment and… at nearly 3000 words I’m still no closer then when I began and yet despite the late hour I just can’t stop trying to tell you how I feel... I don’t want to stop looking at the pictures… my heart is broken and I’m glad, for I’ve never felt more Joy and peace in my life – such purpose, such clarity and vision and understanding of what I must do… not out of obligation. I – just – simply no longer have a choice. You can never go back… at least, not spiritually. Stepping off the plane I understand that I cannot make a change… though I am changed… and though this ain’t Africa, this is home. “I can’t even make a dent how can I make a difference?” I start to protest when a quiet peace washes over me. God’s soft voice speaks to my soul “That’s not your job, it’s mine…”

And finally… I get it.

I WANT to make a difference; I WANT to see a change in this place; I am no longer satisfied to sit by idly while children starve and people sit in their mud huts waiting to die. So what CAN I do? I can come back. Then I can come back again… and again and again until people are sick and tired of me asking them for money for air-fare or underwear or soccer balls or McDonald toys and hot wheels. I can keep doing benefit concerts to raise ground money to purchase food  for kids who need to eat until people stop showing up to hear me play because their tired of my music. I CAN keep coming back to Ngariam until I no longer have breath in my own body. And as I step off the soap- box I’ve been preaching from to, well… myself – I start laughing. Because I can feel the warmth of God’s smile. It’s the desire of Christ that has finally penetrated the hard shell of my own will, making His desire my own… to see the least of these tended to and cared for. The rest is in His hands as I am doing all that He asks: to just simply stand up in my desire to say “Here I am, send me” then GO, where ever that may be, in absolute and unquestionable obedience… one drop at a time, one life at a time…one step at a time.


Sean Gutteridge – June, 2010

ONE LIFE AT A TIME
THE ROAD HOME ISN’T SO LONG AFTER ALL. God seems to find me where ever I happen to be. And while I’ve always known this to be true, it has never been more comforting then in this moment of surrender. It’s just another drop of hope for my thirsting soul, a drop of hope for these children’s thirsty bodies. They were fed and that’s a start… I can promise you this… most will eat again. Just get me back on the plane, Lord… I’m ready whenever You are. Thank you to the Hope Chest team, especially my brother’s in Christ, David and the two Joe’s, on the ground, in Uganda. I look forward to seeing you again… very soon.
eyala-ma noi… SAG


OUR AMAZING TEAM FROM WESTMOORE COMMUNITY CHURCH IN OKC.

Our Team from left to right (top row): Kyla, Tom, Joe, (second row): Reagan, Robin, Jami (third row): Kim, Jackie, Misty, (Hope Chest; bottom row): David, Joseph, Joseph.








T.I.A.

Your first instinct is to say “I’m a sorry sack of crap…” The second instinct is to tell yourself  “I can fix this…”  Then finally, after days of heat exhaustion, guilt and emotional turmoil it sinks in that…this is Africa… t.i.a.  So now the question becomes: what will you do from here? Being in Africa and seeing what I’m seeing… breaks my heart. It also breaks  God’s heart and as I begin to understand this truth, I also realize this – I can walk away from this  and do nothing or I can let this change in me lead to something great… something beyond me.

It DOES break God’s heart to see any of His children hungry or suffering. but it breaks His heart even more to see His children do nothing when they have the means to help His other children ease their suffering and they do nothing.

Ngariam, Katakwi

Just before lunch

I cannot save this country. I cannot feed this country. I cannot clothe this country. But I CAN feed One child. I can help One child. I CAN clothe One child. It’s One life that I can participate in helping God make a difference in. This is overwhelming in my spirit. I cannot expect you to understand this kind of pain. How can you hurt for what you’ve not seen? And today, that is all that God wanted me to see. He doesn’t expect me to feel guilty… He only wants me to feel the compassion and the hurt that He feels for these children. He only wants me to search my heart and then do whatever it is that He may ask of me in helping Him help these children. The greatest question for all of us on this trip is simply this: what will change… AFTER Africa?! When I get home and find myself satisfied once more, will I stay as hungry in my spirit as I feel tonight? I am amazed that I have wanted for nothing this week and have never experienced such a transparent joy as I have even just tonight. I can make a difference if I’ll only listen to what my God asks and go where He sends.

In Africa, nothing is simple from the inside while outside it is a life that is nothing BUT simple. It rains when it rains. You eat when you can. You work and you sweat everything but the small stuff. And you expect nothing but what’s in front of you. Because… This – Is… Africa. I cannot expound anymore then this. I don’t feel eloquent or articulate. I can only tell you tonight that here, in Africa, God is just as present here as He is surely present today exactly where you are as well. If nothing more, Africa is teaching me to love what I have greater and believe that even a sack of crap like me doesn’t stink so bad because… I CAN make a difference. This IS Africa… we all can!         Blessings and Peace from Uganda       SAG

Handing out letters that first day in Ngariam

letters to the children