Reflections on our life and lessons in uganda
Jon has written another update/post for us, I think it's great!!!
So, a lot of you who read our blog posts know that Kristin and I are high school leaders at our church. Thanks to the Kristin being on the women's retreat, I have had the pleasure of getting to teach for two weeks in a row. On Friday, we finished Colossians, and in putting the study together, God taught me a few things that I think are important for more than just mission work, but for all of life. I wanted to share with you here something that God taught me about prayer. Here is Colossians 4:2-4
2- Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
3- meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,
4- that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter to the church at Colossae, we know because here he says that he is in chains for what he calls "the mystery of Christ". But here we also see that even in prison he understands the importance of prayer.
Let's put ourselves in his shoes for a second, picture yourself in prison, if you want close your eyes and really put yourself there. A damp dark room, immovable stone walls and the only opening is covered in steel bars keeping you in; chains around your ankles and wrists probably chained to the floor in the middle, just another way of keeping you there. The shackles have been on for so long that your wrists and ankles are constantly sore and bleeding. It's to hot during the day and too cold at night. Underfed, malnourished and dehydrated, thinner than you've ever been, you can see your ribs under your skin and can barely stand from weakness.
But even in the midst of this, Paul doesn't say pray that he will get out. He says pray earnestly, be vigilant (that's circumspect and without ceasing) in prayer, and be thankful in your prayers. Then when he does say pray for me, what does he tell them to pray for. Not for his escape or for his rescue, which God is completely capable of, but instead says pray that doors would be opened for the Word of God to move even in prison. He is praying for his guards and for his fellow prison mates, knowing that even in this darkest and most horrific of situations, God is powerful enough to move mountains and to remove the barriers in people's lives and the things that are guarding their hearts to make his name known. Paul knows why he is in prison, it's only because he is a Christian, that's the most unfair reason to be there, but he also trusts that God has not forsaken him. And God has not forsaken you either. That is why no matter what situation you are in, the best prayer you can ever pray is not "God get me out of this", it's "God use me in this situation to make your name known."
How much more powerful is that prayer, how much less self-centered. I don't know about you guys, but I have a tendency to pray in a very self-centered way. Usually something like, "God, thanks for all these things that you've done for me, now please do all this other stuff for me too." Man, I am a fool sometimes, just walking in circles it seems like. I can't even think of the last time I prayed a prayer when I didn't ask for something. But God knows every hair on my head, so He must also know my every want and every need, how about instead of pouring out my Christmas list at the cross, I pour out my heart instead. Just once seek after His glory instead of my own.
Prayer Requests: Everything is under way for the house to sell! We close on the 17, pray that God continues to work that out smoothly. Pray that we bless our soon to be roommates (Pastor Matt K and his family) as we live with them until our first deployment.
And remember: THE OFFICIAL COUPALS TO UGANDA HOODIE IS HERE!!
If you want some awesome gear and to support what God's doing now is your chance.
Some of you know, many don’t, that I have a tattoo on my ankle that has references for several verses. These are the verses that shaped my life or have a special meaning to me. One of those verses is Philippians 1:29. It says, “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” I remember clearly the first time I read this verse. I knew I was called to missions in some form or fashion, but this really drove home the idea for me. It doesn’t say, well some of you are going to have to suffer, sorry. It says it has been granted to us, this holds the idea of honor. Being able to believe in Jesus is a gift, and this verse shows us that so is the chance to suffer for Him. It has been GRANTED to us to suffer for Him. I was blown away at the idea that suffering for Jesus could be a gift.