Monday, April 23, 2012

A Plea to the Maker of Young Hearts

Some of Uganda's young people

I scan their faces and wonder what they are thinking. Are they hearing? I study their eyes. Do I see a gleam of understanding, of receptivity? Are they just taking in words, or are they grasping what is being communicated in heartfelt tones?

When I find myself facing a group of students in church or in a school assembly here, I often have such thoughts.

At times tears come to my eyes as I wish with all my heart they knew the depth of their Creator's love for them. I pray they someday grasp how great a plan their Heavenly Father has for each of their lives. I long that they know Jesus as a Savior, Friend, Refuge, Confidant and Guide.

Sometimes the Ugandan youth remind me of teenagers elsewhere. They live for today, but many often don't consider how today's choices will alter their tomorrows. Messages of purity, abstinence, standing strong, staying in school, etc. are repeated over and over again. I wonder if they become weary of these familiar themes and tune them out?

We exhort them to get good grades, respect their authorities, don't bully others, consider your neighbors, etc. Yes, these are among the messages we tell the island youth. Sound familiar, huh, to what might be shared with an American adolescent or teenager?

I believe young people around the world have dreams, passions, fears, and insecurities that follow the same veins. They want to be valued, listened to, appreciated, respected. Yet, their culture, backgrounds, family relations, poverty level, status, etc. are as diverse as their appearances, surroundings and locations on planet Earth.

I find myself sometimes stumped by how to reach these kids. Am I just spouting off streams of words that vaporize before they enter their heads and hearts? Or spinning my wheels as I teach, mentor, disciple, befriend?

Only God knows. And only He knows what will actually penetrate these young and impressionable lives to bring true transformation according to His  purposes. After all, He designed them, formed them and wrote out their days before they were born (Psalm 139). 

Heavenly Father, please give me grace, wisdom, discernment, patience and divine understanding as I work with the youth of Uganda. Grant me vision to see them as You do. Help me to be a vessel to show them Who You are and who they are because of Your love, grace and forgiveness. Amen.

(I very much covet your prayers as I pray, plan and prepare for the coming second term and the months ahead. I have run dry of creative ideas and energy and really need God's leading and inspiration. Thanks so much!)


  1. Thanks for the insight into the teenagers of our day--from Africa to the USA, they sound very similar! I know, however, that you are not spinning your wheels in your efforts. You are part of God's plan for these youth, and it is a wonderful thing that we are all part of this great plan of our sovereign God:
    "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)

    His purposes are being accomplished--praise the Lord! Praying for you!

  2. Mikaela, thanks so much for the prayers and for the encouragement! It is very reassuring to know that God remains in control, has a plan, and His Word and Spirit are so, so powerful. The scripture was perfect, too! :) Thank you.

    1. Yes, Winkers!! God 'is' using you. And, He will give you ALL you need to accomplish the task. You are in my heart, thoughts, and prayers!! I pray for refreshing and strenth to continue the journey!! Loads of Love, from your Mommy!! :-)

  3. Oh Ruthie,

    I found myself sighing as I read your words. Your love and care overflows in this place, and I am praying today for you to find the right ways to creatively convey these critically important messages. I ask God to give you strength, insight, and renewed energy.

    God delights in your, Ruthie. You are such a gift.

    Much love to you ...

  4. Hello miss Ruthie. Please forgive me for my absence for so long. I am so thankful that God brought us together in so many ways, the most astonishing being through Joanne! Amazing. You've touched my heart and even if I am absent in typed word, I am not absent in thought, prayer, and sisterhood.

    Father God, I hold my dear Oregon friend, miss Ruthie, up to You. Please fill her with Your love and guidance so that it overflows and runneth over. Ignite her creativity and passion and energy to reflect You in all that she does. Encourage her through her family in Christ. She lives her life wearing the skin of Jesus and inspires many. Thank you for crossing my path with hers in more ways than one. You obviously want us in one another's lives. Bless her with all that she needs. In Jesus' name, amen.

    Love and hugs.

  5. Aw, thank you all so much for the encouragement! I am so blessed by the family of God and how He connects us by love and prayers!
    Jennifer, thank you, thank you for the love and blessings!
    Aw, Darlene, I myself have been absent, too. But yes, I too am very grateful that we reconnected in an amazing way and can continue to stay in touch. I so appreciated your prayer that you posted. Blessings on you and your family!
    And to my Marmee, thank you for always being there - for your love and prayers, too!

  6. oh, oh, oh, i know your marmee too. you all bless me big-time. makes me lonely for oregon. maybe you'll come see us here sometime.


  7. Aw, Darlene, thank you! You are certainly a blessing, too. That would be cool to venture to your neck of the woods someday. :) Blessings to you and yours!

  8. In our present-day world, with so much visual and verbal access, the same challenges hit us over and over again. You know what will be done when you share and speak? You are planting seed. Believe me, as a sharing, loving teacher, sowing piles of seed will make a difference in time... and for eternity. It happened to me, believe me.

  9. Thank you, Joanne, you are such an encouragement! A visitor to the island this week reminded me to be faithful where God calls me, and God will bring the fruit in His way and time. :)