Thursday, June 4, 2015

Anything, God.

One year ago I sat on a rock in Karamoja and I opened up my hands and told God that He could have anything. I told Him that I would rather die than not serve Him, that I wanted to pour out everything I have for His glory, whatever the cost. I told Him I would do anything He asked of me, and that I held onto nothing.

I wrote in my journal that I knew this moment was somehow significant. God later told me that was the moment I became a warrior, because when I opened my hands and surrendered it all to God, I declared war on the powers of darkness on this earth.

I told God I would do anything, and God told me to go back to Kampala.

Which I really did not want to do. Because Kampala is dusty. Kampala is dirty, and busy, and loud, and there are no lions there.

The next day I boarded a tiny airplane and flew back to Kampala.

I’m strapped in my seat ready to take off on the red dirt runway, when the missionary man yells “Do you have a ride home from the airport?” 

“No!” The engine of the plane is loud. 




“Okay,” I think. “Is Buyando somebody's name?” 

I am totally not banking on this. I am already formulating a plan to fit my suitcase and self on a boda and find my own way home if this "Buyando" doesn’t show up.

Buyando showed up.

I'm in Buyando's car riding back to my house on the hill, and we’re small-talking. I tell him that I’ve come to serve mothers in Uganda. Buyando dramatically slows the car and turns to me. “That’s what me and my wife do!! Are you a Christian?!” and he reaches in his back seat to show me a Mama Kit.

Instant friends.

Buyando invites me to Muyenga Baptist Church, where I found a home. It is there that I became friends with Eve, who took me to Namuwongo for the very first time. On that day I think God must have brought every single pregnant woman out of her home as I walked through the slum, just to show me that this was where Uniquely Woven needed to be. I met Sarah and Oliver, who are now the mamas in our Intertwined Program. When I got home that evening I wrote in my journal “I went to Church at Muyenga Baptist and loved it. I’m so very thankful that this place preaches the Gospel! It felt like home. I went to Namuwongo afterwards…I think this is the one.”

I think this is the one.

One year later, and it’s Tuesday evening. Mother’s Day. We’ve purchased 120 Bibles in eight different languages for the mamas at Jangu Omulise, and my new friend Eddie is helping me transport them down into one of the very darkest places I know. Thank God for four wheel drive as we make our way into muddy Namuwongo. We park by the community hall and I am shocked to see over 50 women are already here. By 4:30, we are packed in, over 100 of us, and Isabelle asks me to welcome the women and we’ll begin worship. I ask Emmanuel to translate for me, and we walk forward. “Mwebale kuja bamaama! Mukama yebazibwe. Nze Natalia. Nsanyuse okubalaba!” and Emma laughs. Now my Luganda has run out, and his job of translating really begins. I begin telling the women how grateful and expectant and overjoyed I am to see all of them here today. I am excited to see that their bellies are a little bit bigger than last week. I’m happy to see old friends who were here at our very first Bible study a year ago, and Mama Robinah and Mama Mercy beam. I am excited to see new faces, too. “Do you believe that God is here with us right now? Do you believe that He has been walking with you all day, as you fetched water, and washed clothes, and nursed the baby? And now He is here in this place with you, ready to speak to you and stir in your heart?” 

“This will be the loudest worship ever to come out of Namuwongo, and it will not end tonight.”

Tears well up in my eyes as Emma translates these words and I realize they are not my own. I know that was the Lord speaking through my mouth, and I am overcome with emotion as I realize the truth and beauty and weight of what He spoke.

Isabelle comes to the front and begins singing, and the women join in. My ears are ringing with the most joyous and loud worship I have ever heard in my twenty-one years.

Tallimwa, Katonda waffe tallimwa!

There is nothing impossible for our Lord, there is nothing impossible for Him! 

There is nothing impossible for God, and I am weeping. I weep and weep and weep, and today I don’t care that crying is not culturally acceptable. Today I will not just glisten. God has been faithful to me, and today I will weep. I will weep as I look into the eyes of a woman whose baby was transverse, and miraculously flipped to the right position right before delivery, just like we asked God to do. Mama Robinah and baby Wise. I will weep as I look at the joy on the face of a mama whose baby died in her womb, yet she continues to show up to Bible study week after week, faithfully pouring out her heart before the God who holds all things together. God is making her new again, just liked we asked Him to do. Mama Faith. I will weep as a widow walks up to the gate, baby in her arms and a group of seven women trailing behind her because she’s invited everybody she knows to come and hear about this God who saves. She is Namuwongo reaching Namuwongo, just like we asked God to do. Mama Carol and baby Jenny. I will weep as I remember all the times my faith was small and I didn’t buy enough muffins for the amount of women God would bring to Bible study, but he multiplied those muffins to meet our need. In joy, He has been faithful and working all things together for good. We’ve seen it and we’ve danced. In mourning, He has been faithful and working all things together for good. Even if we don’t see it this side of Heaven, we’ve lifted our hands in praise. 

Today our worship is louder than the music blaring in the bar around the corner. Our worship is louder than loss, poverty, and disease. Our worship is louder than the sounds of the slum, and louder than the lies of the enemy. And it does not stop tonight. Because tomorrow a woman will wake up with this fire still inside her. She will rise long before the sun and before her baby wakes. In the still of dawn she will crack open her brand new Ryankole Bible, and the words will sink deep into her heart. She will pore over the words of this Bible, and what’s more powerful than a woman with a sword? She’ll feel Him in her bones and He will become truly hers. Something like scales will fall from her eyes, and she will realize that this God is in her mud and tin-roof home, here and now. She will tell God that she loves Him and He can have anything. She will surrender to the One who Saves. This will change everything. 

One year ago I came to Uganda because I thought I could do something to help pregnant women in Uganda. A year later I stand in awe of a God who continually moves and works on behalf of these women, drawing them in to salvation, and for some reason He lets me be involved. Little did I know that God was ready to do far more than I ever could have planned, and all I had to do was open my hands wide and whisper the words that made me a warrior: “Anything, God.”