Sunday, May 6, 2012

You Know Me..



The place where God calls you to is the place where deep gladness and the worlds deep hunger meets.
  
-Frederick Beuchner




It’s about time for a blog! I haven’t written one since outreach… God is just as good to me when I’m going all out on the literal missions field as he is when I’m in a season of learning and rest. Plus it’s just time for some updating!

It is currently a nice Sunday afternoon… I have enjoyed a very nice morning of catching up on emails, pictures and updates as I listen to wonderfully mellow music and enjoying numerous cups of tea. Oh and did I mention is it raining? This afternoon is right up my alley. 

A lot of people have been, and do ask throughout this DTS, “What are your plans after this school?” It’s so fun to answer this question. The Emilie one year ago may have immediately given a detailed dream and expectation for her future- knowing exactly her talents, her desires and her potential and using them to piece together a perfect little future of, yes, serving God, but possibly being too preoccupied by her own big dreams and plans to fully submit. But thanks to God, that’s not the Emilie I am today. That Emilie changed ONE day, during ONE quiet time with the Lord, and waiting quietly upon him for ONE minute.  It was during that ONE moment of my life that the Lord spoke something to me that would forever change my life and the course of it;

“I’m calling you back to Africa”.

It was such a sudden clear voice like I’d never heard that actually terrified me. “God, did you really just say that?!.... Oh goodness of course you did… oh my….. oh. No.” Okay, I yes I was dreading and fearing a bit (or a lot, whatever.)…. When God trusts you enough you ask you to lay down something big, it’s because he wants to do something big…. and it’s time to make room. I have been blessed to go through numerous experiences to find that once he asks of you to surrender something, or to take a risk, he will not relent until you do it. He loves us too much than to call us to a higher place with Him and then to not stay right by our side, reminding us and encouraging us constantly what we’re capable of and that we can do it. So yes, in this moment I was full of fear… yet a steady peace reigned in me that He just started a new chapter in my life that he would be right along side me the whole way.

From that day up until I boarded the airplane to Africa, the Lord was so good to confirm and to encourage me along the way that this was the path I was to be walking on. And though I was sure and confident that going to Africa was my purpose for this time and though I knew deep in my heart that I was ready, I was truly dreading and fearing this trip. It was the last thing Emilie Ely would EVER do and of COURSE that’s what God would call me to!

But things changed the moment I set foot on the African ground; the inner Emilie who I was created to be and whom I had not yet known was beginning to quickly and naturally to be discovered and revealed by the Lord. I began to see, understand and become the heart I didn’t known I had; the heart that God knew was ready for this adventure with Him even If I myself didn’t feel ready one bit.
I like to explain this by giving a visual of two different paths in life; one is aligned with a future of everything your heart desires; your perfect little cookie-cutter planned out life of graduating your dream school, marrying your dream soul mate, working your dream job and having a perfect little dreamy family. But the other is a path of risk in which the only way of entry is with God; you are blinded by what’s down this path, yet it’s the path your Creator calls you to. It’s a path far too extravagant and glory filled for your earthly eyes to see and your human mind to understand. Yet, He calls you to trust Him, and to take to the plunge with Him. You’d find yourself saying, “I want to take this path with God- my heart and soul is drawn to it, but do I even know him well enough to trust Him with my life? Can I trust him with my future and my everything? Does he really know me?”

Maybe I’m just a young girl. I’m 19 years young and 8 years in a genuine relationship with Him. But I know the answer to these questions.

Yes. Trust Him with your life, you were made and designed to live for Him.

Yes. Trust Him with your future; He’s the only one who knows it and He designed it for you to know and walk in.

And yes; He knows you. He knows every little desire of your heart, every fear and every intricate part of you. More than you know yourself.

I’m just 3 months in this journey- 3 months down this path of the exciting unknown; And I have discovered secret realms and parts of the Lord that are better than life. I have tapped into just a small portion of the supernatural joy, fulfillment and peace that I am promised multiplied portions of for all of my days and beyond. I have received such a small, small sliver sized portion of this goodness compared to the eternity I have with Him and will be receiving from him!

And this, what I just explained, is what goes through my mind the moment a person asks “What are you doing after DTS?”. The answer is… “I have no idea… and it is the most exciting thing EVER!!!” Why? Because the Creator of the Universe not only knows me best, knows where I belong and knows where I was made to be, but also because I am confident that He knows exactly where and when I need to be; and He will tell me. I am not a slave to my future and I do not fear it, because I’ve chosen to walk down a path in which I am PRIVILAGED to let Him completely lead me. What freedom and peace there is in NOT leading your own life! I have finally learned how to live in the present and there is no greater peace.
           Psalm 139
 Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lordyou know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

23 
Search me, O God, and know my heart!

     Try me and know my thoughts!
24 
And see if there be any grievous way in me

 and lead me in the way everlasting!

On other terms, we are preparing already for the main outreach that will be taking place in 3 weeks! Tomorrow we will find out what locations we will be going to, and from there the group will split into two for the separate locations. It’s crazy how fast this school has gone; and it’s very heartbreaking to think this will be my last 3 solid weeks with some people of this school before we split for the last 6 weeks. Oh, YWAM relationships… not looking forward to saying goodbye to loved ones, knowing that we’ll never see them again. Depressing, I know but it’s the reality unfortunately!
Internet got set up last week and it’s SOO awesome to be able to Skype everyone! Can I just say that Skype is a lifesaver? Whoever invented it deserves some serious gold stars. Love it.
Anyways, that’s my small update for now and what has been brewing in my heart. I’ll try to be more regular until outreach!

My prayer request to all my prayer warriors (aka all of you, yes!!) out there is that the Lord would strengthen me to stay focused and determined for these last two months. Also, that our group would be seekers of Jesus’ will and heart, not our own or each other’s. Please pray that we’d all make an effort to be in perfect unity through Christ.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your love and support! 

Em

"You Know Me" By Steffany Frizzell... this song was on my mind the whole time I was writing this. Beautiful!




Currently listening this THIS Jon Thurlow AMAZINGNESS. Thanks Val! Every song on this album is divine.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Outreach; More than numbers!

17     16      20    5   29   35
4        8        2       15     19

Here's to the most challenging, most fulfilling and most God-filled two weeks of my life. These numbers above are more than just numbers; they stand for the number of souls won to Jesus in the days of our outreach. They stand for the lives that have chosen to live for him. They stand for human beings that chose a life of DAILY supernatural joy, divine love and a sureness of an incredible purpose instead of an unfulfilled confused life of hurt, darkness and ultimately suffering that would have lasted an eternity.
I praise God with the heavens for every soul won to Him, and every life touched by his love in these short two weeks that I was blessed to experience. There were days of no one being led to Christ; and then there was the days of over 30 people being led to Christ. Either kind of day, I laid my head to sleep at night in a room packed with 9 girls in a partially built house, but with the abundant joy and peace of the Lord in my heart that increased with each new day.
I thank him for being so faithful to hear our little prayers, and for constantly amazing us with how he moves in response to them. I thank him for meeting us and proving himself to have gone before us in steps of boldness and love that we'd take as a group, and individually.

For the first week of our mini outreach, we were in Mpumodde. The place we stayed in was named as "the bomb shelter", because if one were to describe it, that's exactly how it looked like. Our main ministry, along with the crusades, was door to door evangelism. In groups of 3, we'd separate and walk both near and far going door to door preaching the gospel to the people of Mpumodde. This was something so strange and foreign to me, because American door to door would look much, much different than African door to door! In the States the chances that you'd walk right up to a strangers home, say you want to talk, and then have them proceed to invite you into their home openly to just talk or hear about Jesus is quite unprobable. I believe this type of evangelism works great for Africa, because their culture is so friendly, open and inviting... But nevertheless it was difficult for me to get into! At first i walked up to every door expecting we were going to get a door slammed on our faces or get completely ignored. But door to door was very effective in this village... Many were saved and we built great relationships with them throughout the week with following up. The crusades were fantastic; many were saved and many were touched by the love of God! The people of our group rotated each crusade to get a chance preaching to the people. I preached on Easter, and it was an incredible experience; all of the glory to God for that one. I couldn't possibly describe the feeling of completely surrendering yourself to God in front of a group of people, and feeling his incredible sweet love and his spirit so openly and powerfully pouring out of you to this body of people. It was a beautiful experience.
Mbikko, I believe, was the incredible, exciting and spirit-filled week I'd been expecting! Arriving there the first night to find that our equipment and 15 person group would be squeezing into an unfinished house of two 10x10ft square rooms was a bit of a shock. The fact that this house was in the ghetto of prostitution, rape, drug, alcohol, false religion and dark spirit filled Mbikko was pretty unsettling. And let me say that it was no secret that we were settled in this area for the people of Mbikko as an unashamed spirit filled group, and of course a group with .. Uh, white people. Big deal apparently. Mbikko doesn't exactly attract any tourists so I understand that one.
Though those were small factors that made heads turn in that village, there was one... ONE on our side that was lifted high and exalted in our group that caught more attention than we'll know. He honored and he loved our prayers that in this darkness-filled village, we'd lift him high in our prayers that He'd be the first people would see when they look at us. It's the only thing we wanted and desired after hearing the spiritual state Mbikko was in.
Mbikko is a small village that is tangled in much more darkness beneath the surface of the prostitution it's known for. This village is entangled in the false religion of Muslim, suffers rape and fear, and its people are chained to all sorts of addictions like gambling, drinking, drugs, and sex. Above all, the enemy thinks he has a grip on this place through the many witch doctors, demon possession and curses that defile its people. We also learned that salvation was not taken seriously in this village, and there had been multiple recent crusades in which not one person got saved. We knew that we were stepping into a battle that surely was not of flesh and blood, and we took those steps in confidence and fearlessness that this wasn't our battle, but Gods. Finishing up these two weeks, I can't possibly sit still with the excitement and praise inside of me that God has proved himself VICTORIOUS, as always, in this city of Mbikko!

"But do not overlook this one fact, dear ones, that with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day." 1 Peter 3:8

Praise him that within the short one week we were in the sin entangled village of Mbikko, the Lord did incredible and miraculous things that will stand for an eternity! Here's some highlights.

A woman we met and ministered to in door-to-door evangelism, experienced the love of God, committed her life to Christ that evening, was set free of a demon inside of her, and was filled with the joy of the Lord like I've never seen. She immediately was taken in and connected with a church. This was all within 1 day, and she continued to connect and fellowship with us all week long.

An elderly women we met as well through door-to-door ministry was curious, yet at first skeptical and hesitant about following Christ when we first met her. However as we took on the person of Jesus Christ and unrelentingly and lovingly pursued her in gentleness and love, she became saved 3 days later! I believe and am confident that her needs are met, her business is blessed and her soul is at rest in the arms of her Savior where she belongs.

If anyone has ever been to Uganda, you will believe me and know exactly
what I'm talking about when I say that the trash cans are actually the streets.  It is dirty... Very dirty! The Lord inspired an idea in our group to take action in a prophetic act in the village to cleanse it and purify it. On went the plastic gloves, and we began the very next morning our regular "mercy ministry" for the week! Our team filled the streets with prayerful and whole hearted action in serving the people of Mbikko as we cleaned their streets of all the rubbish. I am confident that the people of that village did not necessarily see a group of young people cleansing their streets and shops, but I believe they were touched by the very spirit that led and inspired this act. I believe they were touched by the love of the Lord that inspired and was the leader of this act of cleansing in their village. I could list the comments of the people that confirmed God gaining favor and glory abundantly through this act he asked of us, but it'd be far to much to remember. Glory be to him that love covers all sin, and through this act of love we willingly took on their burdens to cover their sin with the act of love. I am convinced that this simple act was more powerful than we know. They needed to see the real Jesus, and that's just how God showed them.
A barren woman was prophesied over that she was pregnant, babies were healed of sicknesses, deep strongholds of the enemy were broken, weather was miraculously changed, so many incredible things that I don't even have time to write!

Thank you for all your prayers and love sent my way. We truly received it!






















Saturday, March 31, 2012

Awesome/Awkwardness


Awkward/Awesome moments of Africa

I know of a blog I used to check up on on a regular basis, which is where I found this brilliant idea of awkward/awesome moments of the week.
This trip has been awesome. Super awesome.
But there have been some very awkward times since being here. So here's a bit of both.

Awesome:

-The sunsets and sunrises.. obviously! So divine.
-Getting ready for outreach! We're leaving tomorrow (Sunday, March 31) for our first 2 week outreach. Looking forward to it!
-I can’t complain about the currency here for us; a latte evens out to be about $2 and a delicious meal of a chicken burger, fries and veggies is $4 in our money. Being the frugal person I am, it's pretty nice!
-Seeing legit One for One Tom’s! They are real, and fantastic quality! Buying more Toms asap when I go back home:)
-Can I just say that using a real toilet, eating cold fruit and any food other than potatoes has become quite the luxury and is actually awesome?
-July weather everyday. Obviously.
-I would have to say that everyday is just plain awesome.. it’s just what I get when walking in synch with God! But God does have a sense of humor, yes He does. Therefore there are some awkward moments too.

Awkward:

-Behold, I have learned not to bow my head in prayer when I am half asleep. I have found that it results in subconsciously falling asleep, and drooling. Even when prayer is ended. Yep, that happened.
-May I just say that beans two times a day, every single day results in it’s own awkwardness? It does.
-The Africans finding pictures on my laptop that me and my sibs sniped back at home. Wedgies, double chins and straight up weirdness. How do I even explain that?
-African children teaching me how to say “How are you”. Oh wait, let me correct myself! African children teaching me how to say “I’m going to beat you” while I THINK it means “How are you”. Clever little stinkers!
-Suggesting to one of the African girls that we should do a clothes swap, and being told that it wouldn’t work because I’m too fat for her clothes. Oh thanks, you know, I won’t even mention cultural differences.. that was just flat out rude now!! But not really, I understand the culture difference that fat is good here. It just stings. Ouch..


I can't wait to tell you of all the great and wondrous things God will do during outreach! I am sure and confident that we will discover great things and have faith building testimonies after this time. 

God is great, his people are great and walking in his plan is great! Loving life like never before.




PS... Can I just share this incredible bed art pieces?? I've found i'm the only one in my room who ISN'T doing this everyday... it really must be an African thing. Pretty impressive.







Sunday, March 25, 2012

Never.





Never in my life have I felt so gloriously filled with the fullness of joy that is poured into the depths of my soul.

Never in my life have I been so abundantly poured into with such unexplainable and divinely touched love that cannot possibly contain itself within me.

Never in my life have I felt such a genuine sense of belonging; never have I had these eyes that can peer into the depths of my soul, and allow me a great sense of knowing that the solid rock I stand on lays the sureness and discovery of who I am.

And never would any of these sweet revelations be even mine is it wasn’t for the blessed assurance and nearness of my Savior like I’ve never experienced. Never have I known just how simply close the Creator of the universe is to me; never have I quite sensed the burning desire my God has to sweetly and gently pour into me and renew my spirit with his unconditional love daily.

Never did I know until this day that the sweet simplicity of resting in his presence is where I am filled with these things; where his very hands cleanse my soul and his very voice whispers secrets into my ears that are eternally mine.

Never will I be who I was yesterday.

Never will I be the same after this day.

Never will my mind conceive what new things my God longs to create into being tomorrow, that will be mine forever.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gardens, revelations and greater things to come!




“…The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity in the land he is giving you. The Lord will open the heavens. The storehouse of his bounty, to send rain in season and to bless all the works of your hands..” Deuteronomy 28:11
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away. For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come. The fig tree ripens its figs and the vines are in blossom. Arise, my beautiful one. Come with me.” Song of Songs 2:10-11

Since arriving here in Uganda, (actually exactly a month ago! It’s going by so fast!) the Lord has been speaking to me so much about gardens. His words have been aligning perfectly in my life for the identity this season has. That is, abundance. Newness. Freshness. Life. Beauty. Fruit, fruit and more fruit that I get to taste from seeds planted long ago! These are all elements of a garden that God has been revealing in my life.

 The first few weeks I was here, I was in an undisturbed “perfect” blissful phase of so much joy and fruit from obedience. Among all of the other things the Lord was pouring into my heart and soul when in quiet times, he continued to tie things into this concept of this season being like a garden. Interestingly enough, most of the more impacting ways he’s spoken to my heart since I’ve been here have been through the simplicity of nature. Birds, trees, flowers, and the air, as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, are ways he’s been speaking to my heart which all are parts of a garden. (in ways that are so simple that I could have easily missed his message through them!)

To my delight within the first week, I discovered my work duty for that month of school was in the gardens! I just laughed to myself and was delighted to find this not-so-coincidence of working in a literal garden while God was building me with all sorts of garden metaphors! I imagined a beautiful African garden full of color and decorated with fruit, flowers and beautiful plants as I would, in my imagination, plant and water and receive all sorts of wonderful revelations from God about gardens and my life as I worked! ..Well, it didn’t quite turn out that way.
First day of work duty I was handed a machete type tool and found myself in a massive field filled with tall grass, weeds, small bushes and trees for as far as I could see. “Slashing” was the chore, and this garden chore wasn’t quite all that I’d imagined. Two weeks of literal sweat and blisters and then came the hoeing; which was going through the entire field hoeing the ground. I found I was very mistaken to think slashing was difficult! Though the garden wasn’t what I’d expected, of course God still brought revelation and understanding between this “garden” and my life as a garden as I was in that field for a month.

Here’s what I’ve learned: God’s understanding is greater than ours. He knows us. He sees us. And when he calls us to him for himself, promising a beautiful garden of abundance, fruit and blessings to be grown in our lives, he also knows that before a beautiful garden is produced and enjoyed, some heavy duty work needs to be done, and it’s far from easy work. He’s our “gardener”, and a garden cannot be a productive and rich garden without the rough work and process of the weeding, purifying and digging… actions that only the gardener can do.

My friends, I cannot explain what beautifully painful and cleansing work the Lord began to do in me when my regular prayer became, “Lord, you know me- shine your light in my soul and reveal sin and darkness in me that I never knew existed within me!” (How many times in this blog have I said the phrase, “Watch out when you ask God __________!”….. because this is definitely one of those warnings :).)

The very next day I first prayed that prayer, the Lord was quick to shine that light into the depths of my soul, allowing me to see wounds I’d shoved away long ago. My heart was broken as my eyes were opened to how I’d changed myself as a result of past hurts and wounds in my life, changing and molding myself to who I am today because of them instead of letting God heal me. What a great God he is that he rises to have great compassion on the innocently wounded, and graciously walks alongside them, as they reside back to who they’re meant to be and who he’s created them to be. I’m slowly but surely re-learning from him who I am and who I’m meant to be, and let me say that there has been no better peace and contentment in my walk than to be confident and sure in the Lord who I am and what I’m meant to do. Yes, that I am sure of.

It keeps getting better and better. When I thought that was the deepest wound and hindrance in my life preventing growth, the very next week the Lord took me even deeper to a more serious bound in my life; a stronghold of the enemy deep inside my soul. With the Lord’s light in that place, confession on my part and declaration in the name of Jesus against that stronghold, it was gone and I call myself a free woman!


With that said of how the Lord is moving spiritually, I have some informing to do of my DTS!
We have been waking up every weekday morning at 5 am, praying together as a group towards our mini outreach that is coming up in about a week. Here are the details about the mini outreach:
It is 2 weeks long. 
Our group of 28 is being split into 2. One group is going to a certain location, the other group to a different location for the two weeks.
My group is doing something a bit different than the other; we’re at a location for one week serving and evangelizing, and then going to a different location for the other week doing the same thing.
The first week, my team will be partnering with a church in a small village in Jinja, Uganda called Pumodae (spelling.. not certain that's right). It’s a small poor village, and I don’t have much more details but that our group of about 14 students and 3 staff leaders will be housed in the church itself for the week, partnering with the church to reach out to the village, and evangelizing in that village for the week.
The second week we’ll be going to a town in Jinja called Mbiko. This particular location is known for prostitutes; therefore those are the people that we will be most likely ministering to in that weeks’ time.

We'll have no power in that time, we will all be sleeping on that church floor and showers and laundry aren't promised... but God is great and we are filled with joy without question!

I'm THRILLED for what is to come for this trip! The Lord has been so good, faithful and NEAR to me and the group.

To my prayer warriors!
Please pray that we'll be protected and healthy from now up through the mini outreach.
Please pray that our group would have open and ready hearts to receive the Lord.
Pray that God will ready the hearts of those we are ministering to, and that language barriers, culture barriers or barriers built by the enemy would not hinder us from preaching the gospel.
Please partner with us in faith filled belief that the Lord would provide a God-given house PERFECT for the second week of ministry..we do not have one yet.
And please pray that everyone's gifts in the group would be discovered and activated! Pray for unity and love among us as we link arms for the sake of expanding God's kingdom on earth. 

I love you ALL dearly! Thank you for your love, support and prayers!







Monday, March 12, 2012

Quick Update

Quick quick post while I wait for my bota-bota here at a cafe! (Motorcycle taxi pretty much.. so fun.)

Within this last week, we've learned a pretty rad african dance, and a skit which I'm sure some of you have seen on youtube; "Everything" by Lighthouse. So powerful. We'll be performing both of these throughout the outreach phase of our trip.

On Friday, we walked about 20 mins to a small town called Kaikira to do our first crusade. I guess you could say it is like church on the streets; we set up sound on an open area in the middle of the town, start out with dances, then a message, alter-call, then do the skit. All while being able to be with and talk to the people of the village. Kaikira has a lot of witch craft going on, so it was awesome to go and minister to the people despite the difficulty of language barriers. Out of the maybe 100 people watching, about 8-10 people came up to get prayed for, and a handful of them got saved. It was wonderful!

I can say, however, that this week has had numerous obvious attacks from the enemy. One could have been actually quite serious. It's amazing how once you start taking steps to do great things for the Lord, the enemy immediately meets you with one of his uncreative little schemes. So what do we do? We stand confident. We stand as a united army together and intercede against darkness, and walk with sureness that we already have the victory and nothing can stop us. How great it is to walk with no fear! To be sure and confident that we're walking in the path that the Lord has already prepared for us, and nothing can stop us! Every attack from the enemy so far has ended in bringing greater glory to the Lord, and has worked together for our good. God is great! Can't wait to tell you more! Love you all.

Currently listening to:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Found Where I Belong...






Your presence is all I'm longing for here in the secret place
Your nearness is all I'm waiting for here in the quiet place
Here in the secret place

My soul waits for you alone
Like the watchmen wait for dawn
Here I've finally found the place
Where we'll meet, Lord, face to face

I've finally found where I belong
I've finally found where I belong, in your presence
I've finally found where I belong, Lord
To be with you, to be with you

Your presence is all I'm longing for here in the secret place
Your nearness is all I'm waiting for here in the quiet place
Here in the secret place

My soul waits for you alone
Like the watchmen wait for dawn
Here I've finally found the place
Where we'll meet, Lord, face to face

I've finally found where I belong
I've finally found where I belong, in your presence
I've finally found where I belong, Lord
To be with you, to be with you

I am my Beloved's and He is mine
So come into your garden and take delight in me
Take delight in me

Delight in me, delight in me
Delight in me, delight in me

Here in Your presence, God, I find my rest
Here in Your presence, God


                    -Where I Belong- Cory Asbury

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Some small updates...

Hello world! I'm getting on here really quick to update you all on my trip and days here.


I am attempting to learn the language here! For the whole first week here, an African friend of mine would purposely ONLY talk to me in Luganda... I came to find he was trying to teach me his language. Well, mr friend that is NOT working! So slowly but surely I am learning!! These are the current words in my vocabulary:

Come here
Pound it
I am hungry
How are you
I am well
Goodnight
Tree

I feel like this random assortment of words that I know are actually a simplified version of my vocabulary generally everyday. I can't seem to remember any other words.

Concerning my daily schedule, days are pretty busy. Here's how they generally look Monday through Friday:

6-7 am- Quiet time with God... this is where the magical sunrises take place... oh such sweet times! Minus the bloodthirsty annoying mosquitoes!!
7:30 am- Breakfast. This is usually tea, two rolls and a banana.
8/8:30 am- Worship/Prayer.
9:30 am-This time is usually dedicated to prayer and needs as a class. This is also the time that a student gives a 10 minute sermon/word to the class. That 10 minute sermon rotates with every student throughout the school.
10 am- Lecture. For lectures there is one teacher for the week, and one topic for the week. The first week was hearing God's voice, this last week was about sin, repentance and forgiveness, and this next week will be about the Holy Spirit. There is plenty of time for ministry and meditating on the words spoken.
11 am- Break tea. We drink tea, and eat bread, and fruit and refresh for a bit.
11:30 am- Lecture again. This is usually the continuation of the first lecture.
1 pm- LUNCH! What a glorious time!! For lunch is usually varies between matoke (green bananas- it's just like mashed potatoes) or potatoes, beans or pasta, and usually g-nut sauce. (Pretty much peanut sauce) So yummy!
2:30- Small groups. For this time we've just been hearing each other's testimonies. It is wonderful! We start actual small groups this week. That is nice because It has been very very long since I myself have been IN a small group, not leading one. I am excited for the growth in this! They're co-ed which i'm a bit iffy about, but it's something new which I'm looking forward to!
3:30-5:30- Chore time! Work duty is only Monday, Tuesday, and Friday .. but on Friday it is at 6:30 am. Yes, it is painful. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I wrote next to my name on the chore request list, "Put me anywhere and everywhere!". I believe I was put into the job no one really likes doing; slashing. It really is as vicious as it sounds. I would describe it as African mowing. For this job i was literally given a machete type tool in my had and was told to just slash the tall grass in a massive field. And so that is exactly what I do for an hour and a half straight! it's tough work and I have massive blisters from it.. but I LOVE working hard with my hands! I do all my laundry now by hand and many other things.. it takes much more time and patience but I absolutely love it.
6:30-Dinner time!! Same plate as lunch usually but we are treated sometimes with cabbage and or sweet potatoes. So yummy. There is always pineapple for dessert.
8:00 usually rotates between dance rehearsal for outreach (SO FUN), worship, movie nights, or free time.

There are my days! Weekends are completely free and open, that is very nice. Otherwise the weekdays are pretty busy.

Sorry if that was vague or if I had typos, I had to write something for all you really quick! Love you all! Otherwise all is WONDERFUL!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Abundant Prosperity of Obedience


Life has been so abundant, so rich here. People here say you go on roller coasters of emotions… weeks of feeling like you’re on a honeymoon with God just freefalling and loving the nearness of his love, his presence, and the people He has surrounded you with. And then they describe some weeks and days of culture shock… being afraid, missing family and home. I can honestly say I have been in this beautiful honeymoon phase every moment and day since my arrival and it feels like it will never end. And though I’m sure there will be times of missing home, I believe it will actually never end as long as I’m here. Bottom line is one year ago it would have never even crossed my mind that God would have picked ME and said “Emilie, come away with me.” … to AFRICA. I NOW get to experience, taste and see all the abundant fruit here from every seed sown in this last year, and my life. Seeds of surrending my life. Seeds of saying “God, do whatever you want to do with me”.  Seeds of being content in the seasons when I think nothing is happening, but pressing into him and setting my hope on Him anyways. Seeds of hearing his call, and though terrified, saying  “Yes, I’ll trust you. I’ll walk confidently into the unknown, because you are good.”. Therefore most of all, seeds of obedience. Seeds of obedience, is the exact fruit I am tasting and living in right now.

The Deuteronomy 28 chapter entitled, “Blessings for Obedience” has been my favorite chapter to dig in and grab hold of lately. BECAUSE I obeyed, therefore I AM blessed!
Deuteronomy 28
English Standard Version (ESV)
Blessings for Obedience
28 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. 11 And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God.

 The Lord has been so faithful to this promise. Words cannot describe the spiritual wealth and richness I have,  He is so great!
The people here are incredible. I absolutely adore them. Not only are Africans absolutely dangerously beautiful, and fantastically hilarious, but they are abundant in love, in friendship and community. I couldn’t believe how close I felt to them within a couple days because they exceed in treating you like family from the moment you meet them!

I thought I’d be good to write some highs and lows of being here, since I haven’t quite done that yetJ
Cons:
16 girls sharing two bathrooms and two showers and one room. Enough said. Luckily that was only for a day in a half before we concluded that it really wasn’t working and it was time to split up.
Mosquitoes. And massive African spiders. And ferocious African beetles. And more mosquitoes. And rats. And ginormous flies. And more mosquitoes. And a more mosquitoes. And more. They really spice up my quiet time in the mornings by trying to enter my eyeballs. I want them all to die.
This is more of a challenge than a con; there are 6 African girls in our room. They are the absolute sweetest; some of the most God loving, people loving human beings I have ever met. The challenge is that they hardly speak any English, so it’s hard to understand each other. But good news!! We’ve found a common ground of the language French! Mom, if you’re reading this I know you’re all giddy and excited. The school stresses that they need to learn English, but for any words they don’t understand, French does the trick!
Jet lag... absolutely terrible. Makes your days 10 times longer.
Rice, beans and potatoes are for lunch and dinner everyday. I don’t find this a terrible thing yet, because it’s food, I’m thankful and I find it actually delightfully delicious. But I’ve heard from previous students about the “beans and rice meltdown” that is to come... oh dear. So I guess that is to come as a con, but I’m loving it now.
The culture differences have been hard to get used to. I’m so thankful that the Africans here have the boldness and confidence to speak the truth in love, because I have done countless things to them oblivious to it being an insult! The other day in class I finished my cup of tea, put the empty cup in front of my friend David, who is an African, and walked away. Luckily I was confronted later that that particular action meant that I was saying he was inferior to me, and they just laughed about it. But it broke my heart that I did that, and have done many things like that, even though I have no idea.
 Internet is down on our base until late March, and we’re only allowed to go to town every other weekend which is where we get to use internetL So I am sorry about that!


Pros:
The sunrise.. absolutely indescribable. Wakeup call is 5:55 am every morning in order to have our individual quiet times with our Creator at 6:00. Sunrise happens right at about 6:20 and it is absolutely incredible and magical. No sunrise is the same, and each one is just breath taking.
The worship here! So. So. SO fun! Nothing but voices, guitars and hand drums. It’s so free and exhilarating. Some of the best worship I have ever been in.. God’s presence is most definitely there and there is so much joy.
THE RAIN! I’m sure some would find this a con but I love the rain already… in Africa it’s a massive downpour. And it’s wonderful because it happens to be beautifully warm and sunny, and in the same day a rain storm will happen. I love it.
The people here make me feel like I’m a home. They’re ridiculously loving and kind… so warm and welcoming. It’s like they’re already so full of love that when they meet it it’s just an abundant overflow. I love them. All.
The natural state of this country is BEAUTIFUL. The sunrises. The life. The plants. The land. Everything! And God has been putting the nature to very good use with me hereJ  I can say that for this past week, he has spoken something different to me every day, through his creation around me. Such as the birds- The Matthew 6 command of watching them and how God cares for them, therefore not being anxious. The refreshing clean air that is remarkably different in the prayer garden- His breath. He is near to me always. Hundreds of lilies falling around me as I was alone with God in the prayer garden- the verse in song of songs 2 proclaiming his love for me as his lily amoung the thorns, his darling amoung the maidens. And that is just a few examplesJ He is so good to me.
Allow me to say there are SO many more pros than cons, but I don’t possibly have enough time to write them all down!
I love you all and miss you! Thank you for your prayers, love and care! I am so blessed!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Travel Process!

This whole voyage has been so peace filled! God has met every single detail abundantly, even the surprises. All throughout my entire trip.. every plane ride, every layover, every person I spoke to, everywhere I went it was as if God had already been there, and he was just waiting for me to arrive. Seeing him before me and everything I did brought even MORE peace than the peace I already had, because I felt him so near me the entire time. There was not one little THOUGHT of fear that overcame me before Jesus broke it off with his words, “Do not fear, I am with you. Do not fear, I am before you. Do not fear, I am with you.”
My flight from Eugene, to Seattle, to San Francisco, to Dubai (the 15 hr one one) and to Entebbe went perfectly smooth and everywhere I walked it was as if I knew exactly where I was going. That right there testifies God’s presence and his spirit with us, because uhh I would be getting lost left and right if I was on my own!! And panicking. And then probably having meltdowns in the airport. But God was WITH me so I was sure and confident every step of the way.
The one and only “mishap” I believe really wasn’t a “mishap”… it just wasn’t in my plans. I journal my relationship with the Lord and everyday I get deep in the word and spend time with just him. Everything he speaks to me, everything I learn, everything I struggle with and every miracle he does gets written on those pages. Me and my sister Val used to always joke that we wanted someone to “steal” our journals because in them is the very gospel, the very nature of Jesus and his interaction with us. It is written and proved in that journal that Jesus is alive and loves us intimately. Well, I had literally JUST finished one up, and on my flight to Dubai, it got “found”. (I would say stolen, but I wouldn’t call it that) I searched high and low with the attendants and after about 15 mins of searching my seat area, I just shrugged to her and said, “Oh well. They were supposed to have it, and they’re better off with it than I am!!” She didn’t get it. Oh well, I felt so happy! I pray that the person who has that journal in their possession will be deeply touched and moved by God’s heart the way I was all throughout it.

I won’t forget the peace and joy I had all throughout this trip and was able to abundantly enjoy thanks to his presence all around me and his protection. The time I most tangibly felt his peace was when I finally took a seat in the waiting area for my bus to arrive in Dubai. My bags were in my possession, my items were with me, my passport was stamped, and the little young woman I didn’t think I could be made her ALL the way through 3 different foreign airports to be right where she belonged. I knew it had been him with me all along. And in that moment, I was overwhelmed with more peace than I’d ever had my whole life. Right there, in an airport in Dubai, with no one else with me, he was near to me like never before.

Arriving at my base was tough… it had never hit me that I was going to Africa until, well, I got there. I just couldn’t believe where I was.. I couldn’t believe what I was doing and what I’d gotten myself into. It was terrifying to finally realize I was so far away from my family and my home and to realize it when I was actually there. But I held fast to God’s peace surpassing everything. I held fast to his promise that he leads us beside quiet waters and that he is our caring and protecting Sheppard, not one that leads us to disaster or things that we cannot handle. I have already been able to meet and get to know a few people on my base. It’s amazing that we really are all in the same boat.. being away from home in such a different culture for 5 months is not easy.. it’s not easy at all. But there’s grace. And there’s so much perseverance, trust and faith built with God in and through our beings every bit of this journey. This is only day one and I am sure and confident of the goodness of God that I have already seen.

Internet at our base will be down until late march but I’ll do my best to keep my trip updated! Love you all and thank for the care and support.