Here it is. Again. This season that seems to rush in just when this weary soul needs it. A reminder, a reality–that HE IS COMING.
He comes in, consistently, powerfully, and changes me. Every single year.
He is coming.
I am wandering. Last year I was wondering.
I wondered as I set foot in a new country, surrounded by new people, a new culture and began making yet another new home. I wondered where He was in all my mess. In all my uncertainty and in all my questions. I wondered how I would see Him and know Him more through all of this.
This past year was hard. One of the hardest. We were broken and hurting. Our kids were grieving and confused. Some more than others. My heart was broken to release a people and a place that had grown so deep into me. I missed Ethiopia. I missed our friends and our home. I missed the long drive through the vast, beautiful country. I missed my friend Ayelech and her joyful worship of her Redeemer. I missed watching my husband fly off on the helicopter to the unreached–the untouched. I missed hearing his phone ring and watch him RUN to pour out. I missed our garden, our community, watching my kids run free and climb trees. I had to let it all grieve and hurt for awhile. I had to watch two within my home be pulled up out of some deep pits by a strong and loving Savior. I had to trust more than I ever have before–on behalf of my child. I had to release and cry out. I had to lay down what my hopes had been, and love Jesus above all of that. I had to ask him for new vision and renewed passion for what He’d called us to. HERE. and NOW.
This year was a year of Healing. But the healing began with many, many broken pieces. The healing began through tears and through valleys. But HE WAS THERE.
And He IS COMING. He always is.
And when the vessel that he made of the clay was marred in the hand of the potter, he made it again another vessel,
as seemed good to the potter to make it
Jer. 18:4 (R.V.)
God’s fairest, highest place of service in the land that lies beyond will be filled by the men and women
who have been broken upon the wheel on earth.
~G. Campbell Morgan~
Over a year ago, God gave this man a new vision. It began in a deep, broken place. A place that had been left void and longing for three long years…it was a desert longing for the fresh rains…to bring a harvest in this man’s weary soul, in the body of Christ, as well as in the Kingdom.
His eyes fell upon the islands and he heard the Shepherd say, “Come.” “Come out on the waters…ask and I’ll give the nations…and you’ll know more of Me.”
He said yes. And there it began.
A vision was given and the cry of this man’s heart for the souls on the islands began to burn.
I stood beside, somewhat like Sarah next to her Abraham-man. The giant faith and vision shadowing our own like a cloud. Maybe it was doubt. Maybe just the silent, humble place of a wife walking alongside a great man.
For the past 9 months, he has prayed, and labored, and advocated, written memorandums, visited with government officials, driven, boated, walked, boda-ed…and prayed some more for hands and feet to come upon this vision.
This week, the ministry was birthed. My sweet husband who has so faithfully and diligently worked to obey, watched as the Lord breathed life into this—and somehow back into his own heart as well.
We hopped in the boat early Thursday morning—all of us eager and trusting. After a two hour sail out into the waters of Lake Victoria, we laid eyes on Kibibi Island. The silver fish laid out upon the rock made the island gloriously reflect the sun above…the boats lined the shore like soldiers ready for battle. Wooden homes were stacked along the rocky islands’ edge. This island was ready. I sensed the Holy Spirit longing to be invited in—and so we prayed and opened our hands, and watched Him wash over that place.
The day began with prayer, with welcoming, with gratitude and tribute to each person contributing…each person appreciating another. As the clinics began, I stood back in wonder. This was the body of Christ in motion. The nurses ran the clinic smoothly, giving careful attention and love to each patient. Records were made, shots were given, children were loved and blessed, vitamins and de-worming were provided for each child. One beautiful sister was outside singing, dancing and loving the children. Five evangelists sat, bibles open wide, sharing passionately the Word of God– inviting and welcoming new souls into the Kingdom. One brother walked around encouraging and offering cool water. It was all Grace, and all God in this place.
I stood and breathed in the awe and wonder at the outpouring of the Spirit over this place. It was a moving, functioning, nurturing, outpouring body. Each member doing its part—working for our KING.
That day, it was as Christ prayed for us …”May they be ONE as we are ONE.” Perfected unity is only Above, but that day we experienced some sacred moments of, ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ The blessing of His drawing, His calling, His movement and His heart aligning for HIS OWN on this earth is a joy and fulfillment beyond compare. He has done immeasurably more than we asked, or envisioned, or imagined—for HIS GLORY and OUR JOY.
May God continue to be the HEAD
May the SPIRIT be the LIFE- BREATH
And may Jesus be our highest GOAL, and the only HOPE ANCHOR for our souls.
THE POWERThe PURPOSE
Pictures of Grace and Fun The Line- Up for de-worming and Vitamins…This woman–“Mama O”…she is JOY, and LOVE, and wisdom and just a very precious reflection of our Jesus.One of the greatest joys on this earth…serving Jesus side by side with my favorite partner (sweaty though he may be!!) Daniel and Annet the new Outreach Team Leaders!! (This was amazingly miraculous–God spoke to these 2 just three weeks before the outreaches began!! He was calling them to serve on the islands, but they weren’t sure how…GOD KNEW!! And our prayers were answered!)My Sweet CLARE…who LOVES so deeply. Every. Single. Child.The Immunization TeamThe hour and a half commute–not so bad on this beautiful Lake Victoria!
The ride home….with fish of course. 🙂 You see people transport fish like this often in Uganda, so we thought we would give it a try.
I am blessed as I look back on October…it was a month FULL of blessings and deep, deep filling. The Lord, in His goodness, gave my parents and our family such a special month. When looking back at all of the pictures, I can hardly believe we were able to do so much in a short five weeks. I LOVE that my parents entered fully into our crazy life here in Uganda…A life we are so deeply thankful for, and a place and a people that are capturing our hearts. I may be mistaken, but I think this place may have snuck into my parents’ hearts as well!! Here’s a glimpse of some of the amazing things we got to do together. IT was a time of joy and laughter, and partnership, and work, and play, and cooking and eating, and exploring…of loving and serving, and growing together. I am so so thankful.
WE LOVE TO CELEBRATE!!!
OUR SHIM FAMILY worshiping in our home!! (Shepherd’s Heart Island Ministry)AND MORE CELEBRATING…HAPPY 1st to our FULL OF LIFE KID, ISAIAH!!THE MABIRA RAIN FORESTWORK.3 worlds collided in a beautiful way for us.
Our Dear Mehret visited from Ethiopia while my parents were here.
Together, we ventured to the islands–our new place of ministering!!
(Clearly, Selah was ecstatic too!!)AND JINJA HAS AN ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT!!!! YAAAAAHOOOOOOOO!!!!! Betam Conjorno!!!ATV-ing through Uganda, was just about one of the most incredible things…we had a BLAST!! okay…now we’re actually ready to ride!!
SUPER BEAUTIFUL, Special boat ride on the NILE RIVER!!TO THE ISLANDS!!!!
We were able to take Mom & Dad to Lingira Island! We had a beautiful day visiting the church there, listening to Dave teach, watching Keeky teach Sunday School, hiking and visiting with some friends there! What a super special day!!
AND, along the way…these two became the BEST of BUDDIES!! Hilarious.And a little bit of rest and quiet for my sweet hubby and I…ahhhhhh!!!
WE JUST ADORE THESE TWO. They are our parents, our friends, mentors, INCREDIBLE Grandparents, adventurers, servants, generous, kind, fun and just SO FULL OF LOVE for all of us!!!
We LOVED having you, Dad and Mom. Please come back SOON!!!
John L. Bell & Graham Maule
Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?
Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?
Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?
Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?
Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In Your company I’ll go where Your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.