January 2013 Update #3

And I thought things would slow down a bit after camp…just kidding!  I asked people to pray for us to be productive while my parents were here.  Prayers answered!!!  Monday we checked into our hotel and enjoyed dinner then allowed mom and dad to go to bed to get adjusted to the time change. Unfortunately the power was off overnight, so mom and dad’s AC unit wasn’t working.  Long night…welcome to Africa!!

Tuesday we hit the ground running, literally. We walked all of Jinja.  One of my desires for this week with mom and dad here, was to introduce them to my community.  I want them to know the family that God has built around me here.  So Tuesday I arranged lunch with 7 of my good friends.  I was absolutely loving sitting back and listening to the conversation.  There was a lot of laughter and joking as well as good conversation about family and Uganda and camp.  So much fun!!  I am so thankful for the community God has placed me in here in Jinja.  And with each trip the relationships just keep getting better and better.  I am excited for the day when I won’t have to leave after a 2 week visit.  After lunch, we started footing (walking).  One of our tasks for the week was to set up a bank account, so we walked into town to the bank.  After a very good meeting with a banker, we walked down Main Street to the supermarket.  An essential for mzungus (foreigners) here is clean water of course, so we picked up 4 5 liter bottles to last us the week.   We then made the journey back to our hotel on foot.  I told mom and dad they were getting a small taste of what the kids here go through to get water. (Later in the week we got to spend time with my parent’s sponsor girl thru CoG and she said she carries 40L 2 kilometers a day. So much for our 10L!!)  After resting and cooling down a bit (M&D’s AC was working), my twin sister Vicky came and met us at the hotel for a soda and then we headed into town with her and Emma, my driver friend.  We enjoyed a great indian meal, dad ordered too much as usual, but Vicky and Emma got a kick out of it and Emma got to take the leftovers home.  They actually ended up kicking us out because we were sitting and talking for too long 🙂 This has been a wonderful day of community!!  I am so thankful!!

Wednesday we enjoyed breakfast and then we were off to town to meet with Simon, the Community Development Officer.  This is the guy who is responsible for all the NGO’s in the Jinja District.  A good guy to be friends with.  He helped me back in May to file all my papers to get my certificate as a CBO (Community Based Organization).  He warned me then, that I needed to get busy and do some work or else they wouldn’t renew my certificate, the initial one is only good for a year, so this was to share with him what we did with His Hope and our plans for the future.  I was kind of hoping it would be a quick meeting, but God had other plans.  We ended up sitting and talking for about 2 1/2 hours about ministry opportunities and ideas for growth.  Dad asked him a ton of questions too that have provided a wealth of information.  I have been a bit guarded about how much access I’ve given Simon because I had a bit of a weird feeling about him, but he could be a wonderful person to be connected to in many ways.  I also had a chance to hear a bit of his heart and the frustration he sees in his government.  He truly wants to see things change, but has seen that it is going to happen through NGOs.  The afternoon was pretty open, so mom and I headed into town and did a little souvenir shopping while dad did some work?!? He looked to be napping when we returned 🙂  We decided just to stay at the hotel for dinner this night- bad decision- mom and dad ordered chicken chow mien that had no noodles and appeared to be more like curry.  Not so good, but I enjoyed my chinese beef and veggies.  Today was a pleasant surprise from the Lord with Simon.  I need to be careful not to judge too quick even though I know I need to be cautious.

Thursday…today is going to be crazy!!  We have 3 things all scheduled for the same time.  We are meeting our sponsor kids from CoG at their office.
DSC_0444I was so excited to finally introduce Sharifah to mom and dad.  They have sponsored her for 8 years and I was able to meet her on my very first trip in 2009, God put her in my small group at camp.  As always, it was fabulous hanging out with my boys too.  Muhammad wouldn’t let go of me when I hugged him, it almost made me cry. They are definitely coming out of their shells around me.  Its about time!!!  We collected the 3 of them and jumped on bodas and headed into town.  Our first stop was at Rita’s Craft Shop.  Rita is a friend through Erin Beck.  DSC_0451She has a daughter named after her, so I always try to get pictures to bring home.  We visited with them for a bit and then started walking around the craft shops.  Dad hadn’t really looked plus we had seen something we really liked at the CoG house that we were on the hunt for, cute candlestick holders shaped like animals.  I’ll send out pix later.  It turns out that another friend, Florence is the one who sells them and she’s the only one in town.  While we were waiting for her to wrap them up we asked the kids if they saw anything they liked and Sharifah jumped at the chance to get some cute sandals.  We walked down a couple booths and the boys found full futbol outfits!!  Too cute!!  We continued down to the supermarket to pick up some essentials for the kids, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc.  We were fully loaded up and headed over to Flavours a favorite restaurant for lunch.  My boys know this place well and love it because they know they will get ice cream for dessert.

We also squeezed in a meeting with Frank and Antoine from YWAM’s Discovery Centre.  The meeting was for 2 purposes, 1- I needed to pay them for camp and 2- I wanted to talk to them about continuing to partner with them to run camps.  We had a great conversation getting to share with them more of my future plans and then dad did his thing and started asking questions.  A huge idea out there is about buying land in the future.  Dad was asking questions about that to both Simon yesterday and these guys.  Great thing is now I have a bunch of locals checking out land for me, which means less work for me plus they don’t see my white skin and hike up the price.  After this great meeting, we took the kids out to Pastor Godfrey’s church.  This is the church that the CPR teachers come from.  This week they have a conference going on for their church family.  We went and sang and danced.  I was invited up to share a word, love that!?!  But my parents got a taste of what church looks like in Uganda.  DSC_0437Afterward we returned our sponsor kids to their homes and headed back into town.  We had a quick meeting with Kimi before heading back to the hotel.  We were too tired to go out for dinner, so we braved the hotel’s restaurant again, but ordered safer.  This was a full and fabulous day with our kids and getting to see and grow relationships with others.  Thank you Lord!!

Friday is our last full day in Uganda.  Today we need to finish up at the bank (we were waiting for paperwork we needed).  The gals at the bank were great.  They were asking all sorts of questions about my ministry and one said that the bank does outreach stuff with NGOs, so maybe we can partner in the future.  Partner with a bank…YES PLEASE!!!  Hey, turns out…I am a multi millionaire!!! In shillings that is 🙂

The afternoon’s mission was to check out land options.  We were just going to get in the car and using Google Earth, see what was available.  We drove around the YWAM base to see the area and then Raphael, one of the CPR teachers let me know he had a friend of a friend who knew stuff about land.  We ended up meeting up with them and looking at a piece of land that is rural, 35 acres and already has a title.  Pretty good news because if it is already titled then that decreases the prep work exponentially.  The other great thing is they quoted us the Ugandan price instead of the mzungu price.  It would only be around $45,000 for the whole thing.  That seems almost too good to be true. There is a lot of work to be done to it and there is a lot of checking things out before we could even consider it, but God is working.  Praying that I will step where He wants me to and no where else.  Whether we end up buying it or not, it was another great opportunity for my dad to ask a lot of questions and feel out the Ugandan system.

We rushed from there to meet Vicky and her mom and dad for a family dinner.  This was really special.  Vicky and I have joked about being sisters/twins and her parents have welcomed me with open arms, so the chance for my parents to get to do the same for Vicky and meet her parents was just sweet!!  We had a wonderful time.  We found out that Vicky’s parents and mine share the same wedding anniversary, and I’m pretty sure my dad invited them to the US to celebrate in September.  That would be crazy cool!!!  Vicky would come too of course 🙂  We also ran into a pastor from Alabama of all places, at the restaurant.  I mentioned to him that we were looking at land and he said he knew of a place too.  Maybe we’ll see that tomorrow?!?!

Overall it has been a hectic week, but God has helped to bring clarity to our vision and has comforted my parents as they think of me moving to AFRICA, now they know the place and the people I will be with.  I am so thankful that they have been here.  It still seems a bit surreal.

Saturday morning was a bit rough.  Mom and dad are both feeling crumby.  I think it is probably a mix of heat, dehydration and weird food.  Please pray for quick recovery.  This morning we got a few errands done.  Dad went with the pastor from AL to see that property.  I ran to the bank to give them some more info.  And then we packed into the car.  Before heading out of town we swang by Vicky’s to say hi to her niece and nephew.  They were expecting to see me, so I couldn’t let them down.  The drive to the airport was long, especially since mom and dad weren’t feeling well, but we made it. Ethiopia bound!!!

Please pray for our time in Ethiopia.  I’m not really sure what all God has in store for us, but I am excited to find out.  Thank you for your love and support!!

January 2013 Update #2

Wow!!  Things have been busy.  I am sorry I haven’t been able to write.  Where did I end up…so saturday, I got up early and headed out to enjoy the views and have my quiet time before the day started.  Agaon there were some kids already out there.  I sat and began reading when one of the girls came over and asked if she could talk.  I was a bit annoyed at first wanting my own time, but I said yes and she sat down.  Viola ended up sharing with me about her life, her family, her faith in the Lord.  How her dad had been an alcoholic and was abusive toward her mom and the kids.  Her mom was saved a couple years ago and then started taking the kids with her to church and Viola became a believer with some of her siblings.  She was praying for her dad, but her continued to abuse her and ended up running the children away from their home.  After staying away with their mom and praying, her father ended up coming to the Lord.  He has stopped drinking and now their family is back together all serving the Lord.  So amazing!!  She even took my Bible out of my lap and opened it up and started ministering to me.  This was a great reminder to me from the Lord that I always need to be interruptible.  You never know what conversation will happen or what blessings  you might miss.  Viola wants to be a singer/songwriter and asked if she could share a song at our worship that morning.  She did and it was beautiful!!  Thank you Lord for speaking to me thru this young sister in Christ!!
Saturday and sunday had a similar schedule, breakfast, worship in the morning followed by small group.  Saturday I spoke to the kids about where we come from.  We spoke about Creation and how God intended things to be perfect with us walking in communion with Him and then we fell.  This we all have in common(Romans 3:23).  We all are deserving of death (Romans 6:23), but Christ came to give us a way back to God.  We spoke about the Hope we have in the Christian faith, available to each of us.  Sunday I was going to speak about where we are headed to round out the theme, but again, I felt God wanted me to share something different.  I got up and I shared some of my testimony.  How God has rescued me from so much hurt and pain because I have decided to live like He desires me to.  It lead to a good old fashioned alter call.  Kids were given an opportunity to ask Christ into their lives or return to the cross if they had wandered away.  (Today I had lunch with some of the people who did camp with me and Allan shared with me that many kids shared that they received a new hope from camp.  Kids that had already slipped and had sex, but felt like they could return to God and be forgiven and walk anew in what we call secondary abstinence.  AWESOME!! Praise God!!!)
The kids were really talking about the different things we had brought to them thru our Scripture study or the CPR education.  It was awesome to walk around and see the kids participating.  Then we headed to the field for some fun games and crafts.  Friday I took pictures of each person and today we made picture frames.  Again, so simple just craft sticks and foam stickers, but the kids would have stayed there for hours if I let them.  They were very proud of their pictures and showing off to their friends.  We don’t think about how special it is to have a photo of ourselves, but here it is really a big deal.  Lunch was followed by futbol and ropes course.  Saturday we had 2 teams on the ropes course, so red and orange played soccer ending in a draw.  The team going to thru the ropes course really ended themselves so much!!  Sunday orange played their final soccer match before going thru the ropes and then yellow red and green finished out the soccer tournament.  In the afternoon we would have tea and then head to the classroom for our CPR lessons.  This program is so good!!  It looks at the whole person in perspective to our sexuality and decision making.  So often we say don’t have sex so you won’t get pregnant or get an STD, but this looks and the emotional mental and social consequences of being sexually active as well.  So good!!  And the kids were really into it and I think it challenged them a lot in a great way!  After CPR is dinner and then worship with Raoul and saturday night we watched the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and sunday we had our annual dance competition.  Each team is to perform a traditional dance and every member of the team must be a part of it.  2 of the staff members that work with His Hope Uganda came for the show and I pulled them in to be guest judges.  The kids were great!!  I am always so impressed with their ability to dance, drum and sing.  So wonderful!!
IMG_0317We ended the night with a bonfire where we roasted marshmellows and had sodas(a huge deal for the kids).  Since it is the last night of camp, I am not strict about bedtime, although I was exhausted.  I asked 2 of the guys who were counselors to be the last ones to bed and they agreed.  I found out monday morning that most of the kids stayed up until around 3 with the last ones going to bed at 6AM!!! So glad I didn’t stay up.  A fun opportunity to play and enjoy for the kids!
Monday is the last day at camp.  We had a bit of a late start since the kids were up late, but after breakfast Raoul came with some guys who help lead worship with him at their church.  It was really a good time!!  The kids just gravitate toward Raoul.  He’s definitely in the sweet spot of his giftings here.  I finished up talking to the kids about where they are headed, personally, as a nation and as a believer in Christ.  It was great and the kids really seemed to respond well to the message.  Pastor Godfrey, the husband of one of our CPR teachers and a friend I met in 2010 came and he and I served communion to the kids.  So sweet to offer each child by name the Lord’s Supper.  Such a blessing!!  Kimi the director of His Hope came and spoke to the children too this morning.  I was sharing with the kids that they are responsible to share their story of God’s grace to them Sunday morning as I shared some of my testimony.  Kimi realized that she hadn’t really ever shared her story with all the kids like this, so she came and shared.  It was so sweet and tender to hear the story of how God had worked and changed her to bring her to Uganda and into each of their lives. So thankful for that chance and willingness of Kimi to come and share. CPR then came and finished up their final lesson before we headed to lunch and prepared to leave.
It is always sad to leave.  But this I know for sure, I will be back and seeing most of these kids again.  For that I am so thankful!!! This morning I was slightly distracted by the fact that my mom and dad were due to be coming in in the afternoon.  I have been giddy throughtout the week, but today I was a little wacky even.  I made a phone call to Emma my friend who drives me who was picking them up and it was my mom’s voice that I heard!!  They were here in Uganda!!!  I did a little happy dance right there and the kitchen staff looked at me rather strangely.  When I explained why they all flashed huge smiles!  Thank you all for your prayers that they would arrive safely!!  The drive from Entebbe to Jinja is long, but I was still out at the Discovery Centre waiting for a ride back to town when my dad walked out onto the porch where I was sitting with Kimi and a couple of the couselors.  I jumped up and into my dad’s arms.  It is real!!  They are here!!  Seeing this place I love and meeting my Ugandan family.  Today God answered a prayer I’ve been praying for 3 years!!  Praise God who hears our prayers!!!  I can’t wait for the rest of the adventure!!!
Please pray for a safe and healthy week here with mom and dad.  Pray that they would adjust to the time and the heat quickly. And please pray that we would be productive in furthering the ministry of Abundant Life Ministries here in Uganda.
Thank you!!  God is hearing your prayers!!!  I am so thankful for you all!!
Kindri 🙂 <><

January 2013 Update #1

Webele nyo!! Thank you very much for your prayers. God has certainly been busy here in Uganda. When I last wrote I was waiting to head out to camp, sitting and relaxing. Now relax is not a word I know. Wednesday afternoon I spent the afternoon getting a last few items before heading to the Discovery Centre. This is a facility attached to a YWAM base about 15 minutes outside of Jinja. It is absolutely gorgeous here!!

Thursday was a little chaotic, but all went well. The kids came a little later than I expected, but it gave us time to get everything set up. The friends who I met Wednesday who are doing our teaching (CPR) came early and I was able to share all that we will be doing in the week. As the kids began to arrive, they played futbol (soccer) until we got all the kids there and were able to get organized.  We have forty kids 15-18 with a couple older kids from His Hope Uganda. We enjoyed lunch and because of some afternoon showers we started with some class time before we headed out for tie dye. The kids love tie dye. My good friends Brian, Emma and Allen showed up who have done camp with me in the past. So good to see them and again evidence of God answering my prayers. I wasn’t sure if they would be able to come or not and they are such a blessing!! Thank you Lord!! We played some games, enjoyed some dinner and then another friend Raoul joined us to lead worship and bring us a word from The Lord. Raoul is a youth pastor of sorts here. As he leads us it is obvious he is doing what he what created for. It is already late when we finish, so off to bed we go.

This morning I was pondering the greatness of our Creator as I sat on the porch looking over Lake Victoria and the hills. I admire the creation often, the beautiful sights, but this morning as I was taking in the beautiful view, I looked to my right and saw 6 beautiful African faces smiling at me. In that moment I realized that God created all for us to enjoy, but He is just staring down at us with that same warmth inside. The crown jewel of His creation is us. This morning I looked at those beautiful faces and as I smiled back and said good morning I was filled with that same amazement I feel at a beautiful sunset or amazing view. Thank you Lord for opening my eyes to know You more.

Friday our first full day of camp. I am amazed at how open these kids are already. Usually it takes a couple days for the kids to open up, but these have been so interactive already. I hope this will lead to great movement by the Spirit later in the week. Breakfast then worship lead by Raoul. I have typically taught a simple Gospel presentation, but this morning as I was preparing to speak, God had different plans. So I prayed and then allowed The Lord to speak His message thru me. I love when at the end I’m not too sure what all I’ve shared. Then I know I was just a vessel. The Lord used a word spoken by Raoul to encourage me to speak to the kids about who they are, where they come from and where they are going. Today we focused on our identity and what God wants for us. We looked at Psalms 139:13-14 and John 10:10. Small group time was spent sharing who we are with each other. These are kids that generally know each other, but I hope they will dig deeper and truly share their lives this week. The rest of the morning was spent playing games and painting tote bags. Man these kids are talented. Their bags were really art and some of them would have sat for hours.

After some lunch we started our futbol tournament while the red team headed to the ropes course. For those who aren’t familiar with our camp program…the kids upon arrival are put onto teams that they spend most of camp with, small group, games, competition etc. this year we have green The Great, orange is Chicago, yellow is Washington and red are the jaguar stars. Not sure why the US cities?!? Orange defeated yellow in the first futbol match while green watched. When red finished going thru the ropes course, they played green and the Great we’re victorious. The late afternoon we had our second session with CPR after tea and then some free time before dinner.

The evening was filled with some more wonderful worship and a message from Raoul. Then to close the evening we played some bingo. So much fun!!  Bed time so we can start again in the morning

Going with the flow… (from 1/25/12)

I’ve always been pretty laid back, but I do like to have a plan.  God, it seems, is enjoying changing things up on me.  I have from the beginning of this thing, said that God is driving the train and I’m just along for the ride.  I’m pretty sure I know the final destination, but the route seems to be ever-changing. To trust means to believe in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something.  I trust in the Lord and I know Satan will try to test that.

In January 2011, I went to Uganda just with the hope of gaining some information about land costs as a way to have a starting point when I spoke with people about fundraising.  I was not thinking at all about actually buying land.  I hadn’t even started fundraising or done the non-profit/501(c)3 paperwork, but God was doing something.  I fell in love with a property, and felt like the Lord was leading me to look into the possibility.  I came home and had fuel driving me to share and to get organized.   I had my first fundraising/informational meeting and God showed me the support system He had built around me.  I spent the summer doing paperwork to become a federally recognized 501(c)3 organization.  All because God had given me a property to keep me motivated.

Mid October, I received an email that made me wonder what God was doing.  The property I thought He had picked out for ALMU was sold.  WHAT?!?!  I wrestled with the Lord.  I didn’t know why He had given me that hope just to take it away.  I grieved the loss.  And then I was reminded that this is God’s train and I am just a passenger.  He has a purpose for everything He does.  He knows me better than I know myself.  He knew that I wouldn’t do my paperwork or even attempt at doing the 501(c)3 application until there was a reason.  The land was a tool in the Potter’s hand.  He used it to motivate me and it did.

So what now???  I am an official non-profit with my 501(c)3, but what for???  What is the next step???

Side note: in my personal life, God has been speaking to me about the importance of community.  It would be my natural tendency to say, “Hey, I’m moving to Uganda soon, so I’ll just not dig in too deep here”.  You know, less pain from eventual goodbyes.  God has steadily, faithfully been whispering to me that He is a communal God and I am built to be in relationship because it is who He is and I am His.

January 2012, I am in Uganda again.  No expectations of what God will do this year.  I wasn’t going to look at land again.  I had hopes of one or two meetings, but we would see.  What I knew…I was excited to spend time with good friends in Jinja.  Is it possible that God has been teaching me about community for this time?  I had 7 days after the team left.  Five of those were spent with people I knew, hanging out.  God fortified my relationship with Vicky, a very, very dear friend.  Some superficial relationships were solidified in the Lord.

I spent two days on ALMU business… the first was a 4.5 hour hang out/play session with an organization called His Hope Uganda.  Kimi is a canadian gal who has been in Uganda for 3 years starting and running a sponsorship organization.  She welcomed me into her home, with her kids.  I was “hoping” for a business meeting to talk camp, and I found myself asking Kimi about her community and support there in Uganda.  Building community.  The second was a series of meetings with government type people to do paperwork to become an officially recognized organization in Uganda.  The paperwork is being processed, but more importantly, I made two new and  necessary friendships, one with Emma, a Ugandan driver and a wonderful contact outside of CoG that is very familiar with NGO work in the area, the other with Simon, the highest government guy in the Jinja district who controls NGO work in the area.  He is actually preparing my papers for me.  Awesome!!  I don’t know that he generally does that, but he said that I would have everything in order the next time I was in Uganda (because I waited until the day before I was leaving to do this).  So cool!!  God is building a community of support around me in Uganda just as He is in the US.  I am so blessed!!

I am learning that just as the church is not a building, but a body, God is showing me that camp is not going to be the land that it will someday be on, but the people who He brings together to do it.  I cannot wait to see the team and family that God builds who will partner with me to run camp for the youth of Uganda.

Flexibility is always a key element in doing ministry.  As many times as the direction seems to change, I will continue to sit back and enjoy the ride on this train with my Lord.  I trust that He is in control and knows exactly what He is doing!!!  Please pray that He would continue to strengthen relationships that He has built.  Thank you!!

God is good!! (from 9/19/11)

The IRS officially recognizes Abundant Life Ministries Uganda as a 501(c)3 organization!!!  Praise the Lord!!  I was definitely worried that I would have to make a bunch of corrections to the application because I really didn’t know what I was doing/what they wanted.  BUT thank you Kelly Stephan for being a super champ of a friend and roomie and being patient with me to go through the application page by page because it paid off!!!  No changes or corrections needed!!  We’re official!  I am amazed daily that God is continuing to move this whole crazy thing forward.

God please continue to work and show me where and when to step!  All to Your glory!!!

It’s happening…(from 7/24/11)

Wow!  Crazy when you talk about something and dream about something that you sometimes forget how big it all is.  I finally received back the confirmation of my corporation status from the state.  This just became very real!!!  I became a small business owner overnight, the founder of a non-profit organization.  This is HUGE!  I need to take a minute and surrender.  Just yesterday God was reminding me in another area of my life how much I need Him.  As I sit with an application for 501c3 status in my lap, I realize yet again how big this is and how much I don’t know.  I turn to Christ and humbly thank Him for wanting to use me and BEG Him to give me wisdom.  I guess we’ll see what I’m made of now as this is all reality instead of just a thought.  Thank you Jesus for the work You have done, are doing and will continue to bring to completion until the day of Your return.

It’s official… ABUNDANT LIFE MINISTRIES UGANDA!!  A huge step forward in this dream!  Thank you Jesus!

What a small world… (from 6/8/11)

Okay, God you are so cool!!  I am in Savannah for my annual visit of the family before I head up to Alpine for the summer.  Sunday we are having lunch and I get to sharing with my cousin’s mother-in-law (Laurie) about things in Uganda and my plans for the future.  Well, her church just happens to be involved in Uganda because they are actually under the diocese of Uganda (okay an american church under the church of Uganda-now that is weird enough), but then she starts sharing with me about people from her church and the Savannah area that have been involved over there.  I make a few new friends on the FB of course and Laurie connects me with a couple that live here.  Tuesday morning I go over to meet Carol and Clark, who just returned from Uganda on friday, and we visit for 3 hours, trading stories and plans and dreams.  In the midst of the conversation, I say something about my church at home and Carol starts asking about our pastor…you’ll never believe it, but Carol met the missions pastor from my home church in Danville in the Entebbe Airport back in October.  God is so cool!!  The minute you start to think it is too big or you’re all alone, He reminds you that you are part of a bigger plan, a family, and He has you right in the palm of His hand.  Gotta love that!!  He is SO GOOD!!!

Overwhelmed… (from 3/27/11)

I keep telling myself the verse in Ephesians, to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can hope or imagine.  I keep telling myself this to reassure myself that it is He and not me when I get overwhelmed, and when I doubt whether I can truly do this, I say this because it is Him who is at work.  This whole dream is FROM Him and I know the only way it will happen is THROUGH Him.  I need to remember not to try to control the outcomes, the control freak that I am.  It is only going to work as He desires and I wouldn’t want it any other way!!

Today I am thankful that I am overwhelmed, not by how big this crazy thing is, but how big MY God is and how great His love is.  He is already bringing wisdom, love, encouragement and boldness to me that I am SOOOO thankful for.  Why are we always amazed when God shows up??  Did I think He was going to make me do this alone??  That isn’t His style.  He lives in community and desires for us to as well.  I love the community that I find myself in.  I am so thankful for you all!!  Thank you for loving me, supporting me and above all else bringing me regularly before the throne of the King in prayer.  God is using you to be His hands and feet to me as I try to be that to the youth of Uganda.  Dad, Roland and Doug you are a God send!!  Please continue to speak wisdom into my dream, my life!

The beginning…August 2009 God rocked my world… (from 3/19/11)

**This is the letter I sent out after God clued me into His vision for my life**

I serve a BIG God!!  And I serve a God who desires to use His children in BIG ways.  When I started this adventure to help out with orphans in Uganda, I thought it would be a cool experience, but nothing that serious.  This big God has decided to use it to make me very serious.  I have been somewhat floundering through life lately.  Traveling, working enough to be able to do the playing I wanted and not taking much of life very seriously.  I haven’t had a real passion burning and controlling my life.  Well, that is changing.  This most recent trip to Uganda has opened my heart and my world to new BIG possibilities. 

Most of you know that I love kids, love to play and I think of myself as a big kid.  You also know that I love camp; I mean I still go to camp every summer.  Sure I say I’m working, but that is just so I can get away with going to camp as a grown-up.  =)   My trip to Uganda in January was a joining of these two loves in a new way, for Ugandan orphans.  It was such an awesome opportunity to give those children a week of uninhibited play time where they could encounter the living God that loves them so much.  It was an awesome trip and experience!!  I came back home impacted, but nothing extreme or anything.  I got hooked to go back to Uganda this summer.  Initially to help lead, but it ended up I was just going as another member of the team.  I almost pulled out when I realized they didn’t really “need” me on the trip, but God provided funding and I thought it would be cool to go back again and get to see some of the kids that were at camp in January, so I went.  God will use whatever it takes to fulfill His purposes.  I just saw that in a study of Acts that I’m doing, where God uses Gamaliel to get the Sadducees to let the apostles go.  He wasn’t a believer of the Way, but he was used by God to fulfill His purposes for the apostles.  I am learning this personally through what God is doing in my life now.  He has a purpose for my life and He needed me to go on this trip to reveal it to me.  The full story is long and I would love to share it, but it is a bit much for a letter.  Anyone who wants more, call me. 

So, I have just returned from Uganda for the second time.  This trip gave me a better understanding of Children of Grace and Mary Ann McCoy its founder.  I was able to see the entire process for a child to obtain sponsorship, to how medical treatment is taken care of, to where a lot of the kids go to school.  I got to hang out with Mary Ann and see her heart for where this all came from, which was truly amazing!!  The trip was wonderful!!  I had a great time again, and again I returned impacted, but not transformed.  Well, I think God knew I needed the time and space to be able to process this transformation He had in store, so He waited until I returned home.  The weekend after I returned, a full 4 days later is when Jesus and the Holy Spirit started talking to my soul.  I have had God revealing things to me that are way beyond what I could imagine or hope on my own.  I see Him preparing me for things that I have never even considered before.  He is still very much in the process of revealing His plans to me, but a few things I know for sure. 

I was told that camp this coming January was in question because of funding.  The first thing I know for sure is that God wants this camp to happen and He wants to use me to make sure it does.  He has given me a vision and a desire to be a bridge between Danville, California and Jinja, Uganda.  There is no reason why we cannot provide camp for these kids, and I will even say that I think it is totally unacceptable for us to use the economy or money as an excuse.  These kids need to experience the gift that camp is in one’s life.  And we have plenty of money and/or connections to get the costs of camp covered.  I am going to make sure that happens, by the grace of God. 

Recently, God has brought people into my life, who have been encouraging me where they saw strengths that I haven’t necessarily been using for the Kingdom.  I have been affirmed by several people along the way of certain skills and giftings that I have that may make me a good leader for camp or a team.  The second thing I now know for sure is that God is calling me to settle in and lead the team who will be doing camp this January.  I am excited to step up to the plate and see where God leads our team.  It will be such a gift to organize and bring together resources to bless these children and then to be able to go over there and actually be the hands that God uses to bless them.  I am so excited to get back there!  I am excited to meet the next group of kids that will become my family in Uganda and to work alongside my friends that I have made on my last 2 trips. 

I wanted to send out a letter to my friends and family that have supported me through all the crazy things I’ve done up till now.  I wanted to say thank you for that love and support.  I am who I am and where I am today because of all of you.  And now as I realize that God is at work in a really BIG way, I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you.  I want you to go on this ride with me.  I want you to see why I am so excited about Uganda because I have a feeling this is just the beginning.  As God reveals to me more and more of what He has for me I realize more and more how much I need you all in my life and how much I will need your support as I move forward.  I ask now that you would join me in prayer for Uganda, for the children there, for the COG staff, and for whatever God’s plan is for me in all of this.  Thank you thank you thank you!!  I know I can never say it enough.  I love you all! 

May this BIG God reveal Himself to you as He has for me,

                                                               Kindri =) <><