When I become discouraged or weary, God gives me a glimpse of the work He is doing here.
Let me share just a few recent stories…
His eyes are full of light as he tells of the deep changes he is experiencing. David has just finished the first month of the six months of a Discipleship Training School (DTS) he is doing at a local YWAM base here.
What David is gaining is more than a greater knowledge of God’s Word or a more intellectual understanding of Christian truths - he is experiencing a true transformation of his heart and mind as he yields to the Holy Spirit’s work in his life.
Although raised in a Christian home under the loving care of God-fearing parents, David is beginning to understand that Christ desires truth in his inward parts. Cutting away old ties and affections is not easy, but David has caught sight of the freedom that Christ brings to lives yielded to Him.
Pray for David in the coming months, that God would continue the incredible work He has begun in this young man.
Without Abandoning Her Faith
“God has done great things in my life” says an exuberant Halima, with her eyes and smile beaming. A student at the island school, Halima has shared her struggles with me in the past – such as being the Christian daughter of a staunch Muslim father.
Oftentimes after listening to her hardships, the primary being to pay school fees, I would admit I didn’t have the answers, but suggested we take her concerns to the Lord. So we bowed our heads in prayer, admitting our own weaknesses and inadequacies, but pleading for God’s wisdom and provision.
In this, her first term of her final year at the school, God performed a miracle. Halima’s father has refused to pay her tuition since sometime in her primary (elementary) years. He told her that would only change if she converted back to Islam. I and others encouraged her to remain strong in her faith in Christ, promising that God would make a way. With joy, Halima shared that her father paid this term’s fees – without her abandoning her Christian faith.
She attests to a fact that I can see is true – her faith has grown, and her desire to serve God her Provider has intensified.
Providence Amid Broken Promises
Kenyan born, Benjamin came to the islands of Uganda on the wings of hope. But instead he found challenges and broken promises. His uncle, a fisherman on a nearby island, struggles to care for his own four children, let alone his nephew, whom he invited to study in Uganda.
Last school year, Benjamin could not afford to board at the school, so he lived in the nearby village of Kyoya. Sometimes he was late for classes or skipped days entirely as he looked for money to pay his fees and buy food. Showing mercy, the school teachers began helping him to eat. This term, he again paid the day student fee, but was permitted to board.
Last year he came to me asking for help, such as in the form of sponsorship. After telling him I was unable to offer help at the time, I suggested we pray. This year when one of our sponsors offered to help more students, Benjamin’s name came to mind. And the choice was confirmed when the school administration spoke of the boy’s good behavior and work ethic.
Words of heartfelt gratitude poured from Benjamin’s lips as I sat with him last week to learn more about his background. As he told his story, I asked when he became a Christian. Born a Catholic, Benjamin’s interest in Christianity was piqued when he came to the Christ-based Lingira Living Hope Secondary School. In the second term last year, he confessed Christ and since then has seen Jesus changing his life.
“I used to be lazy,” he says, but now is eager to read his schoolbooks and seeks out work around the school to earn extra money. Indeed it was his strong work ethic that caused Benjamin to stand out from the other students who could have received the sponsorship.
His countenance exudes joy and gratitude. His eyes sparkle with joy, and his voice is rich with it. In his childlike faith, Benjamin trusted God, and saw God answer in a remarkable way.
Faith in God’s Promises
I am awed as I witness God working in the lives of David, Halima, Benjamin and others like them. Yes, God loves the whole world, but He is in the business of changing lives one at a time.
God began his work on the Buvuma Islands long before any missionary reached there. Those of us serving here are just joining a work the Holy Spirit has already begun.
God does not need my help or your efforts, but He invites us to be part of the greatest and most magnificent story of redemption and restoration.
Don’t doubt God is at work in your life, in the lives of your family or friends, or those for whom you feel a burden. Trust. Pray. Have faith. And believe God will continue and complete the work He has begun. He promised to do so.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6
Photo: Cross atop Lingira Island, Uganda