The house is still relatively quiet this morning. Integrity's Christmas Cd is playing. Veggie Tales entertains the first children up. Silas has had his morning cereal...which actually means he has eaten two bites then spent 20 minutes pouring the milk, doing milk art and then rubbing it in his hair. I am too tired to worry about it. It's milk. And he was occupied for 30 minutes. Everyone else is still crashed....Graul's in the guest room, Cashes in their respective bedrooms, Samuel in the playroom. The living room and hall are littered with the after effects of a camping trip. The washing machine and dryer are working away already on a very large pile of laundry...
This week was spent camping out at Lake Saaka...with nearly 200 youth and counselors from all of the churches of Christ in Uganda.
The idea for this Quest was born in the Northwest. And created in the Northwest. (United States, that is.) Many lives are changed, convicted, refreshed, and renewed during one Labor Day weekend retreat at Camp Yamhill in Oregon.
Jeff wanted to bring this Quest into the lives of youth here in Uganda. Jeff's dreams are usually so big I can't get my emotions all the way around them in the beginning. And this was one of those dreams. But with his Vision, God has also granted Persistence. And Faith Quest Uganda has become a reality.
Every year gets better. The first year, the campers hardly had tents. They slept on the ground in the bush....and LOVED it. The meetings were held in a banana leaf/bamboo structure. About 100 youth attended. The topic, was appropriately...Faith. The campers departed asking for more. They loved the entire program. We were encouraged.
The second year, four Quest leaders from the Northwest came over to help lead. Most campers had tents. No one had toilets..."use the trees, my friend" and Prayer was the topic of discussion. Everyone was dramatically changed by the events of the Quest...and God was shown to have ALL power and authority again.
The third year, five Quest leaders from the Northwest came over to help. Everyone had tents...and ants. (Yikes!) Mark Long built us a make-shift toilet in the woods. We talked about Worship. And we did worship. Alot. The ampitheatre was cemented for the occasion and the gorgeous view across the crater lake inspired, motivated and charged the passion in the young people and older people too! :-)
This, the fourth year, five more Quest leaders have come. Two of them are adults. Three of them are children. Yes, you heard me right. Isaiah (5yrs), Mali and Michal (3 yr old twins) have made the very long trip across the ocean and are here. Handling it. (all you who have said you could never make the trip...I'll hear you no more! I, M and M have set a high standard, my friends!)
We all had tents. We staff had our own "village" and kitchen with a cook making omelets in the morning. (Yes, Steve, omelets). We had a bricked and plastered bath house with warm showers available if requested. AND...we had real sit-down toilets. Pretty nice.
The topic was Sharing the Love of Jesus. The worship times were more intense this year. The prayer times...amazing. Sins were confessed. God was sought. Burdens were laid down. It was BLESSED.
On the last night, as I sat in the ampitheatre and watched the faces..my emotions "wrapped around it all". Young people, from turmoil and stress beyond my comprehension, have gathered to learn how to trust...in Him. And there, on that last night, their worship together was inspiring. On the faces around me, I saw, peace. Joy. Sincerity. Need. Blessing. And I realized that this Quest of Faith CAN change not only these young lives...but also whole villages...and even this whole country. One desperate soul at a time.
The Quest is a worthy one. And it will continue in Uganda...hopefully, not just for four days in December. But every day.
God bless you as you Quest for Him wherever you are today...