Monday, June 21, 2010

Uganda 2010 Update

There are so many things happening around here I thought it was time to let you in some things.

First of all, I've been seeing big improvements each and every day. (Oddly enough I say that as I lay in bed at 4:30 in the afternoon with a cold pack on my forehead, eyes squinting. I had a blood treatment today and we took it a step further to kill more of the virus. I can tell how well it's working by how terrible my head hurts. And it's working awesome!) The doctor sent me an herb that was formulated to help fight off tropical viruses and after about a week of taking it I noticed a HUGE difference. I have more energy, I ache less. I haven't taken a nap in the middle of the afternoon in 2 weeks! That's pretty amazing when you consider I had been taking 3 hour naps every day for the last 9 months. I still have bad days. I still walk at about half my normal pace. I still need to rest in the afternoon, watch what I eat, and try not to over do it. But from what my family says, there's a spring in my step and a sparkle in my eyes again. And I praise God for that!

I was talking to the doctor today during my blood treatment, telling him of all the improvements. I told him that there was a time that I thought I would never get to go back to Africa. For a long time I thought that was going to be a dream that would remain just that: a dream. It would no longer be a possibility for me. So to be 4 weeks away from leaving to head back to Uganda is so amazing to me. It brings tears to my eyes when I think of what the Lord has brought me through.

In other news at Houser Headquarters, last week I wrote about some confusing struggles we were facing. My mom had started to feel that we should consider going to Uganda for 3 weeks instead of 4. She said that as my mother she felt that was a better option for my health knowing that 3 weeks would give us enough time to do the ministry we planned, but not be too taxing on my still-recovering body.

I disagreed.

I'm stubborn like that. But I've really felt all along that we are supposed to trust God even when it doesn't make sense. It was difficult for me when she suggested that, but I understood where she was coming from. It is a little scary to think I could go back and end up repeating this whole year. But I was also frustrated because I knew the only reason this was even a topic of discussion was because of me. It was my fault. I told my parents that I didn't want the reason for us not to go or for us to cut our time short to be that I didn't feel well. I feel that God wants us to trust Him in that way - that He would give me strength for every day. My dad felt the same as my mom, being concerned with my health, but also felt we needed to trust. So no one knew what to do.

This is all happening while we were talking to the travel agent about finding a flight. So we're feeling pressed for time to make a decision and we all seem to be on a different page.

We all prayed about it, and I still felt we needed to trust God in all aspects of the trip. After taking some time to pray about it, my parents felt the same way. We decided, as the verse says, to trust the Lord with all our hearts and not depend on our own understanding, seek God's will in all we do and He would show us which path to take (Proverbs 3:5-6). We would trust God to go for 4 weeks.

As we continued talking to the travel agent, but we kept hitting roadblocks in our original plan. We had planned to leave July 15. She said, "Apparently everyone wants to go to Uganda on July 15 because there are no seats available." There were no flights, and the ones we could find were outrageously expensive. So wanting to be good stewards of the money people have generously given to our ministry, we started looking for less expensive flights on different days.

So we are now leaving on July 20 and returning August 13 (return date stays the same as originally planned). So that's a 5 day difference. The Lord cut off close to a week.

I think of the story of Abraham when God asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering. Burnt offering - like with fire...and his son. This is the son that God promised to bless Abraham through making him the "father of many nations." And we think that's insane! Who would burn their own son, especially one that God has promised to bless us through?! But Abraham followed God and brought his son out to the mountain. He even made the poor boy carry the wood for the fire. And then the boy asks where the lamb is that they're going to sacrifice. We all expect Abraham to turn around and walk right back down the mountain, saddle up his donkey and head home with his son. But Abraham replies (and truly believes), "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering."

And just as Abraham raises the knife to kill his on son, God stops him.

There are times in life that I think God just wants to know that we're willing to trust him in whatever he asks of us. A lot of times this isn't the case. Most of the time God prompts us to do something and He really does want us to go through with it. But every so often He doesn't. He's testing us. Will we trust? Will we walk the road with Him even when it gets rough? Will we keep trusting when it doesn't make sense or seem logical or convenient?

The thing about trusting God in times like these is that when we endure testing, we come out stronger on the other side. And when we increase the level of trust we put in God, we can begin to walk more deeply with Him. And that's what brings purpose and meaning to our lives.

We thank you for your many prayers and ask that you would continue to lift us up. Specifically we need prayers that the Lord will continue to provide financially for this trip, and that we would continue to trust Him in every aspect of this trip and ultimately in our lives.

- Aly

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