What a special day this has been.
As I write this entry, it is hard to know exactly where to start.
Our mission team is comprised of (10) participants from Texas, Tennessee and Indiana, plus (3) members of the incredible Sweet Sleep Staff.
A personal sidebar real quick, this is my fourth consecutive year to travel to this dear African country with Sweet Sleep, and it has been my personal prayer that I would experience God and this specific adventure in a new and fresh way.
We began our second full day in Uganda, Africa this morning by spending time with God during our team devotional. This will be our team strategy each and every day. We will also close each day of ministry with a second team devotional, complete with a session of processing/debriefing our day. I can hardly wait to discuss all that we anticipate God doing, teaching and showing us.
We then loaded up the bus and traveled a relatively short distance to attend a Worship Service in the village of Patiko. What a joyous sound to our ears as we disembarked the bus……..…the sound of boys/girls and men/women singing songs of praise to God inside their mud hut sanctuary. We were warmly greeted and given the “best seats” in the house.
When all of a sudden, Jennifer (Sweet Sleep Staff) informed me that the pastor of the church wanted someone from our group to preach a sermon at the conclusion of his own Biblical message. Naturally, I immediately said, “Yes” and began to rummage through our bus to find my backpack which contained a couple of “at the ready” messages, just in case.
The entire service was beautiful! It was filled with worship though song, prayer, giving and God’s written Word. How exciting and inspiring it was to see and hear brothers and sisters in Christ worship the one and true God on the other side of the world from which I know so well. It seemed as though every person was fully engaged in active worship to God, and I could sense that God’s Holy Spirit was directing me to not the differences between this culture of worship and mine, but instead He was crystal clear in revealing to me the countless ways we are similar.
The songs of praise were rich and heartfelt, at the front of the church stood the cross, the pastor and lead teacher were direct, yet loving and the scores of children were simply acting their age (special note – the service was close to 2.5 hours long). This sampling of common ways of worship felt deep and true in my heart and I truly sensed that “YES” all believers in Christ Jesus are a part of own GINORMOUS universal church. I have believed this truth for a long time, but today I could see it, hear it and bask in it.
During my brief time of presenting God’s Word, I focused on the man found in Acts 11, named Barnabas. He was known as the “son of encouragement” and was exactly what the early church and it’s leadership team needed at that time and exactly what I needed today. He was a good man, a man full of the Holy Spirit and a man full of faith. He had a reputation for being an uplifter, a person who could offer hope and help bring spiritual renewal, and couldn’t we all agree that every now and again, we all find ourselves in need of this type of refreshment.
So, as only God can do, I found myself in what feels like a million miles away from my family, home, church, school and friends, addressing a sweet and faithful group of believers and I found the quench to my spiritual thirst. I found it in God’s church, with His followers, teamed with servants who LOVE Him, and inside of His Truth.
Yes, it was a special day, a very special day.