Thursday, May 19, 2011

just CALL

So the last few weeks have been tough. Without going into detail, it has become more obvious we need direction, vision and more help here at GSF. Mark is investigating a significant theft and trying to determine who was involved. We have had water pump and generator issues that affect all of us. We have several preteens that are having serious struggles and behavior problems right now and we just don’t know how to address the issue. And, of course, our dear friend, colleague, and teacher, Amanda, in a life threatening condition (see previous posts).

But this blog is not about any of these things but instead of what God has been teaching me through these things. The word is CALL.

“Call unto me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3 (NASB)

Crying out to God. I think of my own kids and the kids here at GSF. They come and ask for things many times. But it is when they are really desperate and can’t get to me fast enough is when they call to me. Cry out for me. Plead for my help.

Sunday morning, after we had heard how desperate of a situation Amanda was in, I was lying in bed with an unexplained fever.We had just dealt with a behavior in one of our own kids that was very unexpected and all the other situations mentioned above had already happened. I looked at Mark and said, “I am at my lowest!” I felt like I couldn’t even reach God. There was darkness between us. However, I knew that I had to keep calling out to him. Crying to him for all these situations. I read later that day Lamentations 3:55-58

“I called on your name,

O, Lord, out of the lowest pit,

You have heard my voice,

‘Do not hide Your ear from my prayer for relief,

From my cry for help.’

You drew me near when I called on You;

You said, ‘Do not fear!

O Lord, You have pleaded my soul’s cause.

You have redeemed my life.”

I was at my lowest pit. I felt like everything in me had to cry. But like a child in his bed crying out for his mother in faith, knowing that the mother will hear, I called out to God. And He did hear me and reminded me that He knew each situation and had allowed each situation for my good.

“For I know that plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. “

But He reminded me . . .

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord. . .”

Jeremiah 29:11,12-14a

As this week has continued, He has gently shown me how He is using each situation. Refining me, molding me, teaching me to cry out to Him.

Thursday, when I was first told Amanda was in the hospital and I began to pray, I was reminded that she once said that I was a prayer warrior. To be honest, it was one of those statements that I never understood and I have not been able to let that statement loose. I don’t believe that I am a prayer warrior but, funny thing, it also prodded me to work towards being one. I keep pondering what does it really mean to be a prayer warrior and how can I be that way. I now am struck by the fact that Amanda is the one who said it and it is her sickness that is causing me to seek more and more to be that way. To call out to Him in desperation.

I have always been in awe by the desperation that Hannah prayed. Eli the priest thought she was drunk. Her defense to him was this “I have poured out my soul before the Lord” (1Sam 1:15)

So whatever it is, a need for wisdom and for truth to come out, a desire for a vision, freedom from the bondage of sin, change in my heart, desperate need for healing for a friend or just the strength for the next hour—God will hear and answer as we call out to Him. Some of the answer is just in calling out to Him and through that He changes us and guides us. This is my desire that I will learn to CALL to Him in all things and in that He will change me!

Update on Amanda

Thank you everyone for your prayers for our dear friend! She is steadily improving but has a long way to go. If you would like to keep updated on her progress you can check out her caring bridge page.

Thank you so much for praying for her; it means a lot to us, her and her family and friends.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Crying out for a friend

As many of you know, we have been blessed with a fabulous teacher for our kids here in Uganda. Amanda Kruppenbacher came to Uganda in June of last year to be the teacher for the missionary kids at GSF. She has been so much more. She is our neighbor, friend and co-laborer. She brings so much fun and laughter to GSF. The kids all know her as Auntie Amanda.

Several weeks ago, after finishing the school year, she decided to make a trip to the States to surprise her mom who was getting ready to have surgery. It was also going to be a time for her to relax, refresh and reflect. I got word on Thursday that she had been hospitalized for malaria that she had contracted here before she left. Saturday evening, we got the devastating word that it had progressed to a very dangerous form of malaria called Cerebral malaria. Her malaria parasite count was very high, the brain was swollen, and there were signs of meningitis. They were having to fly in the medicine to PA from Atlanta.

We called all the GSF kids together to pray for their Auntie Amanda. We all gathered together and sang some songs and then divided in groups and began to pray. It was so sweet to see big boys with little boys leading them in prayer for someone they love! These are kids who know pain and know the God who heals.

This morning we woke to find a text on my phone that said all the malaria parasites were gone! That is an incredible miracle. Something that medicine alone couldn't do in less than a day. We have been keeping track all day and have found out that the swelling is continuing to decrease.

God has done amazing things already for Amanda but she is still in ICU and still in need of a lot of prayer. He is not finished and we ask that you continue to pray for healing for Amanda. We are also asking God to use this in the lives of the kids here at GSF.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Our hope is in Him

My eyes are continually toward the LORD, For He will pluck my feet out of the net. Psalm 25:15

We had a fabulous time with Mark's family. His mom, two brothers, David and J.R. and nephew, Gage came for 2 weeks. They stayed at GSF for a week and then we went on safari for the last part of the trip. Best safari we have been on.

Friday morning, we were leaving the lodge to get them to the airport for their flight that evening and got delayed paying the bill (as someone had billed a few things to one of our rooms). We then hurried to the ferry which runs only every hour. We got there just as the ferry was leaving and had to wait another hour! We were bummed and knew our time would be cut short and a little rushed. However, through the rest of the day, everything went smoothly. We even had lunch ready for us when we got to the restaurant and we didn't feel the pressure of rushing to get to the airport on time.

As we were traveling, we got reports of riots in Kampala. Because of the arrest of the top opposition leader the day before, the city and several other areas in the country were in upheaval. We even heard of some of our co-workers who were caught in the riots as they took two of our GSF kids to the doctor. We found out later that God orchestrated our matron and our two missionary nurses to all be in the car with Claudia, one of the other missionaries. If one of our kids would not have gotten hurt the day before, these ladies would have been on the Kampala streets, in the taxi park or in a taxi during these riots, which would have been a more dangerous place to be. God is good.

Meanwhile, we were talking with our driver and our country coordinator on how best to get to the airport (in Entebbe an hour on the other side of Kampala). The driver planned on taking the western by-pass which seemed we would only go through one place where there were riots. We got to that one place and saw that business was back to usual but there were still smoldering logs and tires on the side of the street. As I looked at the smoke I realized that the riots may have stopped only an hour before.

We continued our route and discovered the remains of ash, tear gas canisters and burnt tires all along the way. We quickly realized that if we had not missed the ferry, we may have been right in the midst of the end of the rioting all along the way. God is so good!

We got our family all the way to the airport and said our tearful good-byes but grateful the good things we had experienced together.

We drove back yesterday and all was clear. The unrest seems to be on the week days especially on Monday and Thursdays. We are safe here in the sugar cane fields but request prayer for peace for Uganda. Pray for wisdom for the leaders of Uganda and those in the opposition party.

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:17-22