Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's Time

I've been a little MIA lately. I apologize for not updating sooner. I've been in a bit of a funk since I came home 2 weeks ago. There's just been so much to think about and process. Sometimes I think about things that happened and just start to cry. I think of the kids and all the things they're facing in their lives, all the things they shared with me and my teammates during youth camp. It breaks my heart. Sometimes I find myself crying and don't know exactly why. Sometimes I'm frustrated with life at home in the States. Other times I just don't know what to think. It's all part of coming home.
But it's time.
It's time for me to share. It's time for you to know. Because I know I can't keep it all to myself. I always say that the ministry doesn't end when I step on the plane to go home. The ministry continues even now. And it's my prayer that you will be touched by the stories, and that maybe you'll even be changed by them. I pray that you'll see that while one person can't save the world from poverty or suffering, that each of us can make a difference for a few.
Today I want to introduce you to one of the girls I met at youth camp.
Each morning at camp, the teens would enter the meeting hall and take a seat in a plastic chair. Most would choose a seat near friends. The front row was neglected by most of the kids not wanting to be quite that close. But one girl would choose a seat in the center of the front row. As I walked into the meeting hall that first morning, I saw one girl seating among the row of empty seats. I chose the seat next to her. Every morning after that I chose the empty seat next to her.

We didn't have much time to talk. Once we entered for the morning session we had praise and worship, then listened to the preacher, and then it was time to meet in our small Bible study groups. One day I asked her name. She replied, "Lailah."
On Friday morning, one of the team members from the US was the main preacher for the day. He asked everyone to stand up and take the hand of one person next to them. He challenged everyone to pray for that person over the next year.
Lailah and I became prayer partners.
That same day during a special meeting with only the girls, they opened up the floor for anyone who wanted to give a testimony of their time at camp. Lailah stood up and said, "I praise God for the youth camp because I come from a Muslim family, and when I am here I can worship and pray freely."

I later told Lailah that our team would be coming to her village a couple days after youth camp to do some painting at the center and visit some of the homes. She told me she really wished we could come visit her home because it was near the center.
As we traveled closer and closer to her village I felt a strong urging to visit Lailah's home. I talked to the director of her center to set it up (being the coordinator of team ministry has it's benefits). It was all set. Our team would visit Lailah's home and share the love of Christ with her Muslim family.
When we arrived, she had prepared tea for us. She set out boiled water, tea, hard boiled eggs, some meat, and bananas. As we sat there in her humble home enjoying the feast she laid before us, she was busily folding paper behind me. A few minutes later she plopped 9 letters in my lap, one for each of the team members.
Her mother, a beautiful woman named Grace, joined us along with Lailah's siblings. Grace was born into a Protestant family, but she married a Muslim man and was therefore joined into his religion. And although her husband died, she continues to practice Islam (possibly for fear of the consequences of leaving the Muslim community).
One of the team members, Alex (who was in Uganda for the first time), came forward, sat before this woman and shared the Gospel. She understood no English, so he needed a translator. Lailah stood before her mother, translating everything Alex shared.
And while this woman didn't accept Christ that day, God did an amazing thing. He took a young girl who wasn't even free to pray or worship at home and He used her to share the Gospel with her mother. Because although the words originally came from an American visitor, Grace understood them through the voice of her own daughter.
And I'm praying that one day, Lailah can pray and worship freely in her home along with her entire family.

- Aly

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