Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Catching Up

We're heading into the busy part of our "home ministry" as we've already started speaking to local groups and churches. Here's a listing of where we'll be in the weeks to come:

Sunday October 3, 2010 - East Leon Weselyan Church on Mosher Hollow Rd. Service @ 11am

Sunday October 17, 2010 - Pleasant Valley Church on Waterman Rd in Cassadaga (Kabob). Service @ 11am

Sunday October 31, 2010 - Jamestown Community Chapel on Camp St in Jamestown. Service @ 10:45.

If you get the chance, we'd love to have you come out to hear what the Lord is doing in Uganda.

Also, while we were in Uganda Reuben asked Aly to work with another Uganda staff member to develop a website for their ministry. Feel free to check out the brand new "official" site of AMG Uganda by clicking this link: www.wix.com/AMGuganda/home

This evening we have the privilege of having dinner with our good friend Ken Ivins. Ken was the team leader for our trip in 2009, and we're looking forward to catching up with him.

Stay tuned for more. I know I keep saying that but I've got some new stories coming up. That first month or so after returning home is always the toughest. So please don't give up on me here. There's more to come!

- Aly

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It All Started One Year Ago

This morning my mom and I went down to Main Street for our town's annual History Fair to watch the parade. As fire trucks blew their whistles and little hands and feet hustled to grab candy, I was thinking:

It all started one year ago.

Last year I went down to the History Fair parade feeling a bit tired. At the time I was cleaning a house for a family I knew, and after the parade I headed down to work. I came home feeling very sore. I thought it was just from cleaning and being tired. That night there were fireworks at dusk, but I couldn't make it. Instead, I watched them out the window while lying in bed.

I woke up the next morning with a fever, body aches, chills, and a terrible headache. We went to a nearby church to speak about our trip, and I barely made it through. I had to sit down during the hymns. I started leaning on things whenever possible. And after we finished speaking, I went home and took a nap. Later on my fever broke with a drenching sweat, and I knew it was time to go to the doctor. This set us down a road of doctor appointment after doctor appointment. Many tests, but no answers.

And it all started one year ago.

It felt like the longest year of my life, but at the same time it seems impossible that it could already be a year. I sit here today completely amazed at what I've been through, and that even though at times I felt like God had abandoned me, He was always right there by my side. I'm in awe that I had the honor of returning to Uganda despite any health concerns or warnings by some of my friends and family.

While it was all happening, I never in a million years thought I would ever be thankful that I had to suffer through it. I was able to admit that God had a bigger purpose, but I wasn't ready to jump straight to thankful.

The truth is, I am so thankful that I passed through this time. Don't get me wrong, it was horrible. There were times that I had never felt more abandoned by God or more alone, misunderstood, or confused in my life.

But through it all I found an unfailing hope. And one day, as I was encouraged by the hope I'd found in God's promises, I realized something important: I wasn't supposed to keep it. God didn't give me hope so I could keep it to myself like some sort of decoration. It was a gift He intended for me to give away.

One month ago I sat in the dark home of two children who had no parents, no food, and no hope. I was able to share with them my struggles and the hope I had found. That day, two kids who had no reason to smile before we arrived were beaming as we left.

And I thought, if I had listened to the people who told me not to come, I never would've experienced it. I never would've seen what God can do when we put our trust in Him. I never would've understood what He can do when we just allow Him to work in our lives. And that little gift of hope he gave me would still be tucked away on the shelf and not living among those we saw that day.

It changed my life forever. And it all started one year ago.

- Aly

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

28 Days

Today, AMG International is starting 28 days of prayer for child sponsorship. We are asking you to join us in praying for this ministry. As you've followed our adventures this summer, you've been given a taste of the impact child sponsorship has on the lives of these children. Many of you even sponsor children through AMG.

This is a great opportunity to help this ministry grow through the power of prayer. You can take a look at the calendar for the next 28 days by clicking here.

We've talked about child sponsorship in this post and this post. I can't say it enough - Child sponsorship changes lives. It will not only change the life of a child in need half way around the world, but it will also change the life of the person who makes the decision to sponsor.

I am so blessed by my sweet children, Mariam and Sophie, and I thank God every day for bringing them into my life because they have taught me great lessons about life. They've helped me learn how to lean on God alone for provision. They've taught me the importance of working hard toward something special. And they've given me strength when I'm weak. When I'm not feeling well, I think of them and their precious smiles. They are always so joyful and it brings me great strength and comfort in knowing that the Lord used me to help put those smiles there.

Mariam before sponsorship in 2007

Mariam just 4 weeks ago after 2 and a half years of sponsorship.

My house key has a frowning face on one side that says, "Before I knew Jesus." And on the other side it says, "After I knew Jesus," with a smiley face. That key reminds me of the transformation these kids go through while they are in the AMG program. From kids who have no hope at all, no reason to smile, to kids who have the joy of knowing Christ.

So I ask that you would consider joining us in this 28 days of prayer. And if over the next 28 days you set aside just $1 a day (the same as what most families in Uganda live on per day) you would have the $28 needed to start sponsoring a child this month.

I urge you to consider sponsoring a child, and equally as important I ask you to pray.

- Aly