Sinking Deep

I was sitting in church this Sunday listening to our pastor talk about how we are to love each other because we are loved by God.  He challenged us as a church to make sure we get the “horizontal” right before we know that we have the “vertical” with God.  What he meant by that was that if we can’t show love to the people around us, then we can’t truly be connected to God because God is love.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:7-8

This hit me hard.  I started to question my actions, words and behaviours with the people around me.  Am I a person who forgives those who have hurt me? Do I hold grudges? Am I welcoming? Is my first reaction to judge, rather than love? Do I reflect God’s love to others the way that I should?

Deep down I knew that the answers to those questions were not what God expected from me.  I need to do more to show the love that God has for me and to spread that love to others.  Sure, I care about others and do my best to be a good person.  Yes, I do things to encourage my friends and make sure that they know I care about them and love them.  But what about the people who have hurt me or the people that I care about?  Do I show them love? What about the hurt and lonely around me? Have I showed them hospitality and love in my actions?

So now it’s time for me to make some changes and step out of my comfort zone. God paid the ultimate sacrifice to show his love for me, I need to be sure that I am sharing that love with others. And I challenge you to do the same. 

We ended our service Sunday morning with a song that is becoming my prayer as I step out in faith to love others with all that I am. I want to leave you with the words to the chorus of that song. I pray it speaks to you the same way it has spoken to me. 

“I’m wide awake, drawing close, stirred by grace and all my heart is yours. All fear removed, I breathe you in, I lean into your love, oh your love.”

Hillsong – Sinking Deep

 

-Kris

 

God’s Creation – Sipi Falls

If you ever have the pleasure of going to Uganda and you have a day or two with no plans, I would suggest going a little farther east, past ROWAN to Kapchorwa. While there, you will have the opportunity to meet some very friendly people, maybe purchase some local coffee beans and hike to three absolutely breathtaking falls.  

I have had the pleasure of visiting Sipi Falls twice.  Once with a friend of mine just for the day and the second time, with my husband for our honeymoon.  Both times we were well taken care of with a guided tour to all three of the falls as well as the caves behind.  Both times it poured rain on us and we used banana leaves as umbrellas.  Both times were beautiful days and many chances to take some amazing photos of some stunning scenery.

My husband even braved getting as close as he could the the largest of the three falls.  He went down to the rock at the bottom of the falls where he was showered with the mist and came back to the path soaking wet.  He could even wring out his socks.  

The hike takes about three hours to visit all three falls and the path is rocky and steep in some areas but so worth it.  If you do make a trip to visit Sipi Falls and plan to stay the night, I would suggest taking some “warmer” clothes as it can really cool down there in the evenings.  

My husband and I stayed at Lacam Lodge and were treated like royalty.  Their bandas are located right at the top of a cliff and overlook the falls.  We woke up to amazing views and wonderful food.  I am sure there are other amazing resorts, lodges and camps as many people visit these falls.  

I remember being in awe of how beautiful everything was around me.  Everywhere I looked I could see how the hand of God was so powerful and how unbelievably wonderful his creation is. It makes it very clear to me that I worship an incredible God. I am amazed that a God, who created such a beautiful world for us to live in, also created me.  

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

 

 

Choosing to See God’s Blessings

I was having coffee with a friend last week and we started talking about how the world we live in is full of pain and suffering.  People around us getting sick, being hurt and diagnosed with terminal cancer.  The news is filled with horrific stories and brutal attacks to innocent people. Sometimes it’s so hard to find God in these stories.  But then our conversation shifted to talking about how life shouldn’t be about seeing the negative in the world around us, but rather focusing on the blessings we have in our lives.  

I remember sitting in the Mawanga Church of God one Sunday and hearing person after person going to the front of the church to share testimonies.  I remember one woman sharing how she was so sick with malaria and didn’t have the energy to get to the clinic for treatment but yet she thanked God that she was able to make it to get what she needed so she could come to church on Sunday to worship her Saviour.  

As my friend and I were reflecting, I couldn’t help but think about how it’s so easy to see the bad around us in the world.  We are bombarded with negativity all the time and sometimes it’s hard to see God’s blessings that flood our lives every single day.  

But God really does shower us with his blessings continually throughout the day.  We just have to make the choice to see his provision and protection in our lives. When I think about the widows and orphans that are a part of ROWAN, I can’t help but be reminded of the incredible hope and joy that God has brought into their lives.  Many of them have come from some very difficult and hard situations.  Yet they choose to worship a God that provides. This is something that I desire to do daily: to see God’s blessings, even in the small things.

How can you help?

Please consider sponsoring one of the widows or orphans from Eastern Uganda.  You can help to provide them with opportunities that they would not have the chance to experience.  Through your sponsorship, ROWAN will provide education, health care, entrepreneurship, and many moments where your sponsored widow or orphan will experience the love, protection and blessings of God.  

 

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 

 

 

The Best Chicken in the World

I really didn’t believe my friend when she told me that the best chicken in the world can be bought on the side of the highway between Kampala and Jinja.  She claimed that it not only tasted the best, but it was a fun experience as well.  If you have ever travelled the highway I am talking about through Mabira Forest, you know exactly what I am talking about. 

All you need to do is pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and you will very quickly be surrounded by people dressed in blue aprons with numbers on them.  They will be carrying a variety of items from water, fanta, soda, ngonga (roasted banana wrapped in newspaper), meat on a stick, bananas and the famous chicken on a stick.

The best part about this experience is watching the vendors.  They will surround a matatu or vehicle but if they don’t make a sale in the first few minutes, they will leave.  But if another vehicle pulls up, they will dash to that one hoping to be at the window of a person hoping to buy their product.  The best is when a bus pulls up.  I don’t think I have ever seen people drop what they are doing to chase down customers on a bus as fast as “the blue apron” people.  They can barely reach the windows to sell their product, but they manage as best as they can.  

Now as I said, the chicken on a stick is the best in the world.  Why? you ask.  Well, it’s salty, perfectly roasted and a little crispy.  But eating it in the back of a matatu when you are sweaty and squished is the best part.  The windows are down, as you barrel down the highway, and every single bite makes the dangerous drive on this highway way more worth it.  For me, I know that if I end up in a head on collision with another vehicle because my taxi driver was passing a sugar cane truck and another matatu side by side, I will have had the best meal ever as my last.  

I Got Married in Mawanga

Okay, it’s time to share a little more of my story.  I met my husband in Namuwongo Market in Kampala.  We became friends and I taught him to play the guitar in exchange for him to teach me some Luganda. Over my next visit or two to Uganda, our relationship progressed to the point that we decided we wanted to get married.  We needed to have our wedding in Uganda, because it was too difficult for him to get a visa to Canada.  Once we were married, the paperwork to have him come home with me was much more straight forward. 

I called Pastor Paul to ask him if we could get married in Mawanga, because Mawanga was my Ugandan home.  He was more than happy to host our wedding in the Mawanga Church of God and to do all the planning since I was in Canada teaching.  He sent me the budget and I sent him the money.  We were in contact through the months leading up to the wedding and Busiisi visited to discuss plans.  Busiisi and I showed up a few days before the wedding with my mom, a few of my friends and Busiisi’s family and close friends. Pastor Paul had taken care of everything.  I was not allowed to be part of anything.  I just had to get myself ready the morning of the wedding and go to the church for the ceremony.  

When I look back at the pictures of our wedding, we were surrounded by love.  People who knew us and people who didn’t.  Pastor told me that we were the first to get married in his church so people came from far and wide to see the wedding.  I’m sure they also came to see the mzungu get married as this was something that might not ever happen again.  Pastor even arranged for my sponsored child through Compassion to come from a neighbouring village.  

We started the morning at Pastor’s home with tea and we got ourselves ready for the choir to walk us to the church. We ended the day walking back to Pastor Paul’s home while the rains blessed our marriage.  

Our Wedding Day

Jackfruit – The Fruit That Brings People Together

You can’t really visit Mawanga and Pastor Paul’s home without experiencing the fruit that the village produces. Whether it is mangos, passionfruit, pineapple or watermelon, you will experience the best tasting fruit you’ve ever had.  But no other fruit takes the time and energy than that of a jackfruit or known as ffene in Uganda. A jackfruit is a social affair that isn’t as simple as just cutting it up and eating it. 

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