Monday, January 22, 2007

Attitude Adjustment

I wrote quite a lengthy post on all the technical difficulties rocking our world this week...but then realized it was riddled with complaint.


Here is my new post...looking at the bright side:

Thank you Lord:

1. For the quiet moments I've had staring at the computer screen waiting for the pictures to upload.
2. For the SUCCESS of the pictures actually being on my computer.
3. That I have access to the internet at all.
4. For my blog buddies who are filled with patience and understanding as I am unable to leave comments for several weeks at a go.
5. That I've been able to actually read the blogs.
6. For the electricity and back up systems that keep us "powered" long after the rest of Ft Portal loses electricity.
7. For a life filled with...stories...people...pain...loss...victory...and Him...
8. And for the ability to transfer that "living" into typed words on a virtual page...

Blessings, blog friends! My your day be full of the "bright side"...

(We are laboring to share pictures of Faith Quest with you. We will continue trying, with firm belief that "...nothing is impossible with God..." :-))

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"Just There..."

When transporting people to their village homes in Uganda, we are often directed with the phrase, “My home is just there.” In actual fact, “just there” can mean many more hours down the road. Or it could be around the next corner…

Pain and loss are irrefutable facts as we live our life on this planet.

The blow never fails to take the wind out of me though.

Unbelievable news. Shocking alarm. The weight of grief.

When the pain and loss is far away…we feel it…

But when it happens on the roads which you, yourself travel…the reality settles like an elephant sitting on your chest.

The undeniable truth that each day is a gift. We are not guaranteed tomorrow.

And that our Home is, really, in another place, entirely.

Two fellow workers on this Ugandan soil…are in that Home today.
They went much too soon for our comfort…
They went too early for our understanding…

We mourn,now, with hope…

And unquestioning faith…that they were received very well when they reached…”Just There…”

To the families, co-workers and friends of Adam Langford and Moses Kimeze…may God’s presence be very evident to you through the valley you pass through now. We are so sorry for your loss. You are in our constant prayers.


(For more information please go to

Is Changing the World Too Much to Ask?

History of Saaka Land--Conclusion....For Now...

Its been a long time since that communion on the dirt road…when we were only two.

Now over 200 Christians commune before God’s throne each year. On land that was once used for unholy claimed in the name of our Christ.

I remember our dreams. Our concerns.

The labor. The ants. The snakes.

The thieves. The struggle.

The waiting. The lack of funds.

And I see what God has done anyway. Despite us. Despite “them”.

He has redeemed our offerings and brought Glory. Release. And Freedom.

On a gorgeous piece of land….through one man’s fearless dreams.

I moved to Africa with very idealistic goals. I wanted to change the world.

Much like our experience with this land…the dream was huge…the path full of pitfalls and pain.

But in the end…I see the world is changing.

One step at a time. Beginning right here, with me.

We ask the youth at Faith Quest each year, to do remarkable things.
We ask them to go counter culture in purity, honesty, integrity.

We ask them to speak the secrets…that often accompany lies.

We ask them to lay down their burdens and trust that what God says is true.

To turn away from the idols of their lives.

The very process of the land required many of those things from us. To step out in faith, even when the logistics were overwhelming and we didn’t have all the answers.

We had to find the Godly balance between “counting the cost” wisely and yet not trusting in our own selves and abilities. Giving up our own control…which can be an idol in any culture.

Is changing the world too much to ask?

I don’t think so.

As long as we realize, it may very well take place outside our (perceived) realm of control.

What absurd dream does God whisper to you today?

Are you the speaker of the dream? Or the one who hears?

In the presence of the inevitable list of all the reasons it could never work…do we boldly step forward anyway? Or spend more time analyzing the impending results.

I urge you to pay attention. Whatever your response or inclination.

He IS changing the world. Despite us. ☺

And, He, never fails.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

On Snakes and Stealing

History of Saaka Land Part III

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Over the next years the clearing process went on and on. At different times in the ministry our focus would be on other areas…leaving the land to go wild.
We’ve hired over 200 people in the last decade to clear, and guard the land…with varying levels of success.

Much has been stolen.

Entire mud huts. Doors. Mabati(metal roofing). Food. Tools. Animals. Tables and Chairs.
In the last week, oven thermometers and metal drums from the new dock.

Sticky fingers and selfish hearts have become the bane of the development.

Also disturbing the land…Snakes….Jeff and the workers killed over 30 snakes in the first week of clearing. Almost every trip to the land in those first years involved a snake story.

Which got my heart to praying. You’ll find no snake lover in me, no sir. Especially in the land where they call the snakes, “Last step,”…once you’ve been bitten you’ve taken your last step.

So we clear the land in every way we know how. We cut trees…grass…the guys have even removed entire boulders. And we pray.

Hours marching around those grounds. Asking the God who cursed the snakes, to remove them from the area. So that all those who visit, will be safe. Asking God to reign on soil that has been used for witchcraft and sacrifice to spirits.

Many times, over the last years, I have pondered these things. Through huge leaps forward and abrupt halts that were unexpected. The peninsula at Lake Saaka has continued to be a major facet of the ministry in this place.

I’ve been so thankful for my husband’s vision. So thankful for God’s provision.
So frustrated by the setbacks. So confused by the distractions.

Not willing to quit.

Praying that somehow…this land will be used by God to bring Life.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Clearing Away the Mess...So We Can See the View

History of Saaka Land Part 2

After the payments for the land were in process….and all the papers had been signed…Jeff began to make a way for us to approach the land.

The first time I saw the property close up…we were in a dugout canoe. I tried hard to see all the amazing attributes while not turning my head. Any slight movement threatened to put us in the middle of the serene and very green lake. Dug out canoes are tricky vessels. ☺

Jeff and some guys from the nearby village worked hard to clear a path so we could actually walk to the grounds. We packed a picnic and hiked to the boundary. Some of the men were hacking their way around the periphery of the land to the right and Jeff decided to follow them to see what the land was like on that side.
I waited in a small clearing.
After about 45 minutes, I saw Jeff running towards me with his arms swatting at something around him. He got to me and began stripping down to his boxers. He was covered in biting ants. My husband doesn’t panic much. But a swarm of biting ants will take anyone to the edge of sanity. My husband included. We stomped and swatted and annihilated the many ants overtaking my hubby. After he caught his breath, we discussed the probability that the mean, swarming ants lived all over the land. And what were we going to do about it. My solution…go to a safe place and think about it. Jeff’s solution…buy better gear.
Which is what we did. We went home, decided what gear to buy…bought some ant poison and headed back to work.
Jeff and his team of workers labored for several days to clear a path. When he drove me there after a week of work, we still had to have a panga (machete) to cut the underbrush in front of us. It was so bushy and undeveloped… but we did manage to hike around the entire boundary of the land. It took us about 2 hours.

He hired the team of workers for another week, and they began to chop and cut like crazy. Jeff reported every day how much progress was being made. “God has given us something incredible, Cheryl!” We had a party at the end of the week, on the cleared land and felt encouraged by the gorgeous views surrounding the peninsula that we could now see.

Jeff walked me to every point of the land. (This time it took about 15 minutes!) “We’ll put a dock here.” “An amphitheater for worship, here.” “Volleyball and football pitch here.” “Cabins and dormitories here.” “Kitchen and meeting room, here.”

We prayed. Hard. We were meeting people from the surrounding village and it was becoming more and more obvious, God was planting us in the middle of darkness. His Light was very needed. There were 5 witchdoctors operating in this village. And the villagers were known to be thieves. Pangas, slashers(grass cutters) and lanterns were already going missing…in one week’s time.

We ended the week excited, nonetheless. Thankful to have the land. Thankful to have cleared the view. Eager to see what God would do…

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dreaming Big Has a Price

History of Saaka Land Part 1

When we first moved to Ft Portal, Jeff loved to jump in the Hi-lux pick-up and head off in a new direction. He would drive awhile, then get out and hike. He would meet people, discover new paths and new roads. And always, ALWAYS come home with a story.

One day, he returned a bit early, very excited. “Cheryl, there is a crater lake about 20 minutes down this road! It is gorgeous!!! And there is this peninsula of land jutting out into it. What an amazing campsite that would be!!! Can you imagine….?”

A long oratory would follow on all the blessings and possibilities of owning land.

I heard his dreams. Admired his enthusiasm. And settled my thoughts on the logistics. Lawyers. Money. Land disputes. Clearing. Developing.

At the time, our finances were in a precarious position. We danced a delicate dance every month. Working expenses dipped deeply into our personal money…and left us with fun decisions at the end of every month…”Meat for dinner? Or electricity?” ☺ The dream of buying land sounded, to me, impossible.

But, I kept this to myself. Mouth closed. Smiling. Nodding away to the exuberant plans my husband seemed to feed on.

The Sunday following Jeff’s discovery of the land, found him and me parked on the side of a dirt road, facing the serene, crater lake. We were gazing at the land and taking communion together. Our prayers were of thankfulness for Jesus. And for God’s dreams and plans to become ours…

I returned to the States for my sisters wedding after 6 months in Ft Portal. My absence left Jeff alone and seeking new friends. His time exploring led him to two new acquaintances.
The first was a carpenter. His father was selling a large piece of land. Did Jeff want to go and see it? But of course. Much to Jeff’s amazement, his new friend took him to the very peninsula we had sat and gazed at just a few weeks before. Hmmm….
The price was much too high. But Jeff was curious as to how this had all come about.

A few weeks later, Jeff made another Anglican priest. Who was very excited about Jeff’s dreams and plans. The priest ended their conversation by saying…”You need some land. And I know just the piece for you.” Jeff began to get an inkling of God’s directing as the priest drove him straight to the already viewed peninsula.

Now, we were sure we were being led there. But how to pay? After much negotiation we got the price cut in half. Funding came through in a miraculous way. And the land was purchased.

Dreaming big has a price. For me it was my logistical sense. I had to lay it aside for the moment. Focus on the dream. Not get lost in the mire of details. God was obviously moving us in this direction. To what end…I did not fully understand. The step in front of us had been clearly illuminated. And my husband, with no hesitation, stepped boldly into that light.

The next step? We waited on the Light to guide the way.

“…Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”John 14:27

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Questing--Uganda Style

20 tents
179 kids
17 Missionaries
7 Missionary Kids
1 Incredible Friend from the States
5 Fort Portal church leaders
15 Ugandan Sponsors
A Brother Whose Purpose was to Become Like us…then save us.
A Spirit Whose Comfort, Conviction and Power never cease to amaze.
And A Father…Who Never Quits...

Faith Quest 2007

We prayed. We praised. We cried. We laid down burdens. We Rejoiced.

And sent all back to their homes, yesterday…asking the Father, the Son, the Spirit…to go with them. Enable them. To be different. To stand firm. To cling to the Truth and the Promises that never fail.

Thank you for your prayers.

The Quest just gets better every year.

(Stay tuned for more details…when my tired brain can function or I’ve made a dent in the laundry . Whichever comes first.)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Faith Quest Update

Ben has arrived!

Tents are up!

Kids are packed!

Food is cooked!

I am tired...

And it all REALLY begins tomorrow...

Faith Quest 2007.

Your prayers for this endeavor are a blessing.