As I sit and write this blog from the Lasse’s porch overlooking the fast flowing and treacherous Nile River, I can’t help but be reminded of God’s powerful yet elegant creation. It is truly amazing and quite perplexing to see God’s beautiful intricacies through the nature surrounding us here in Uganda. Above that, however, it is incredible to see the beautiful people, the beautiful smiles, and the beautiful laughter embodied by the orphan children as well as the Ugandan workers here at Restoration Gateway. These children, many of whom were orphaned by their parents struggles and subsequent passings from the HIV epidemic in East Africa, express a joy that can only be explained by the love of Christ found in them. I listened today as “Uncle Clark” (as the kids call him) taught the kids about God’s covenants and promises. Additionally, Uncle Clark spoke about the adoption we obtain when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. Now I’ve heard this story numerous times, but as I sat with these orphan children and listened, my heart was moved by the reality and joy that is found through adoption into our heavenly Father’s family. Imagine what joy these kids feel when they hear this story! Children who have lost their parents and don’t have a family to care for them, yet, they can be adopted as SONS AND DAUGHTERS of the God of the universe and the King of all kings and the best Father we could ever imagine having reign over and through our lives. Wow. What an incredible testimony to be able to tell! Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'” I can imagine these kids crying out “Abba! Father!” one day when they allow Christ to come into their lives and to be adopted as children of the Most High. No more tears, no more pain, and no more emptiness, for God our Father has filled the void in their lives left by the pains of being raised without parents.
In addition to spending time with the children, we spent an evening last night listening to the story and testimony of a man by the name of Alexander. I could write thousands and thousands of words detailing Alex’s powerful testimony. Alex was captured by the Lord’s Resistance Army headed by Joseph Kony when he was 22. Long story short, he spent 3 years entrapped into committing unimaginably horrible acts before he escaped the grips of the LRA at age 25. He endured starvation, dehydration, sickness, wounds from war, and sleepless nights haunted by the crimes he was forced to commit. I sat and listened as Alex recalled these inapprehensible times and adversities; however, after becoming renewed in Christ shortly after escaping the LRA, he exclaimed “I count it all joy to have faced these sufferings and tribulations.” What an incredible testimony that he counted these horrible times and memories as joy because he knew they ultimately brought him to Christ. Moreover, that they ignited a spark in his heart to outreach and serve the children and orphans of Northern Uganda. He reflected, “I did such horrible things with the LRA and took away from so many people and children that I felt obligated to give back what I had taken away.” Alex’s story kindles a flame in my own heart to count all suffering as joy so that I can reach out to others and serve others in a way I wouldn’t be able to had I not gone through difficult times. His testimony is powerful, but the God we both serve is most powerful and I am grateful for men like Alex who proclaim God’s goodness and power through any and every circumstance.
As our mission continues, I am eager for the days ahead. Eager to pour into the kids’ lives as they pour into mine. Eager to see God work in and through the lives of the orphans and the workers who spend every day with them. Eager to hear more and more stories from people like Alex. I pray I can have the boldness to count my sufferings as joy like Alex, and I pray I can have the joy and adoration the orphans do for their Heavenly Father.
Please continue to pray that God would work in and through our team as we serve alongside the long-term missionaries here. Pray we would be effective in relating to and building community with the orphans. Pray we would all have open hearts and open hands to serve to best of our abilities. Pray we would seek God’s will as we serve here. And lastly, pray that God’s love and God’s story of family and adoption into that family would shine bright here at Restoration Gateway.
Written by Jeremy Mueller