Thursday, January 29, 2009

Africa January 2009

As many of you know, Ben joined a group of 25 men on a 10 day trip to Gulu, UGANDA and Nairobi, KENYA. They left on January 15th and returned on the 25th! I am so thankful he had the opportunity to be a part of such a great trip--with such an incredible group of godly men! They spent a great deal of their time in Gulu, where they worked alongside a man named Aloysius. Aloysius works with Sports Outreach Institute. The team built bricks for a couple different buildings, they visited with HIV infected women, spent time with lots of kids and played a few soccer games! Ben was so encouraged by the people there--and their hearts for the Lord! Gulu is a war-torn area, and the people have been through so much loss and heartache. But it is so exciting to see God really at work there and really restoring the land and using SOI to meet the practical needs of people.

The second part of the trip was spent in Nairobi. 4 million people live in Nairobi, and 3 million of those live in the slums. Ben said it is one of the worst places he has ever seen! Franklin, the man with Sports Outreach working in that area, has such a heart for these people, though. Franklin himself grew up in the slums, and now he has a desire to every day go into the slums and tell people about Jesus! Franklin is praying for a revival to break out in the slums of Nairobi!!

The trip ended with a day on a safari, enjoying God's amazing creation! From the stories I have heard, the men laughed a lot together, and also shared some great moments of seeing God at work in the lives of people. What a privilege to join Him in His work around the world! Thanks for praying for Ben while he was gone!

And on the homefront, I am thankful for how the Lord sustained me. I felt loved and cared for by friends in Charlotte! I am so thankful for the body of Christ, especially since my family doesn't live close. It was a long 10 days, and yet I see very clearly ways that the Lord encouraged and sustained me through it. And the biggest thing He taught me and continues to remind me of is that I desperately need HIM!! I cannot do anything apart from His strength and His all-sufficient grace and power! And I cannot love and care for my children well on my own! I am so thankful for that lesson and for the forgiveness when I fail--because I don't always seem to get it very easily and I forget it all too quickly! As one of our favorite songs says, "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord!"

The kids, especially Hailey misssed Daddy dearly and couldn't wait for him to come home! Hailey said multiple times that next time we should all go to Africa and we can sit in "one seat on the airplane!" Not sure about that part, but I do hope and pray that one day God will provide us the chance to go as a family!

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