I’m sitting in an air-conditioned house on a comfortable sofa in front of a big screen TV…I just had a hot shower…and I used tap water to brush my teeth. I’m realizing that although I like these things very much…they weren’t all that hard to do without. I’m thinking about what my next apartment might look like when the time comes…and I’m pretty sure it will be under 700 sq ft. Everything I own is currently in a 5×10 storage unit and that’s the way I would like to live…owning no more than would fit in such a space. I get overwhelmed in the grocery store…so many choices…yet I often walk out of the store with only one or two things. I wonder if, over time, I will re-assimilate to the material culture of the US…or if my changing worldview is something permanent. The pull is strong…to just go back to my life as it was before Uganda. I wonder what the Lord is doing…how He will use me here considering all I have learned and experienced in the last three years. God’s timing seems strange sometimes and I’ve learned to slow down and take it in and be intentional about trying to see Him weaving circumstances together. A meeting with the Bishop here to discuss my return has been postponed after shocking news last week. The Diocese of SC has just learned that it lost a court case with The Episcopal Church and will have to turn over all its buildings and property, should a re-hearing of the case be denied or lost…a very real possibility. There continues to be growing divisions in the US…tribalism and racism are alive and well in our western culture. Political turmoil and international threats abound. There is a shaking going on…in the Church and in the world. I wait patiently for the Lord to reveal my next assignment. As I wonder and wait and watch, I am at peace.
I spent my first two weeks back in the US recovering from a nasty case of bronchitis…no doubt picked up on the 20+ hours spent breathing re-cycled air on a plane. After that I visited my parents and brothers in MS. It was good to see family. I’m back in Charleston now, living with a friend in Hanahan who has generously opened her home to me for as long as need be and has provided transportation as well. Thanks be to God for Jennifer Miller. As I wait, I have been put on the preaching schedule and asked to teach a class at my home church, Saint James. I still continue to be involved in the life of Janani Luwum Theological College. Just today I was emailed the final exams to be graded of the class I taught just before leaving. I also continue to input financial records into Quickbooks monthly. It’s been good to see friends and smell the salt air and be in a place where driving laws are adhered to…at least for the most part.
The primary reason for this update is to report on the use of the funds raised for Sudanese refugees in Northern Uganda. After my visit to a refugee camp in March and blog post regarding the needs there, over $5000 was raised to help build two basic shelters to be used as church structures for Christians in one particular refugee camp. This was more than enough to cover this expense. Dr. Katie Rhoads has reported that with the funds, she was also able to have altar tables and benches built for each church. She purchased fabric for the women’s ministry to sew uniforms for themselves and the lay leaders. She has asked permission to purchase two sewing machines for the women there and also to build another church structure in a different camp. I have given the green light, knowing the donors of the money would be happy to know their generosity is enabling further blessings for these suffering brothers and sisters in Christ. Dr. Katie also used the sound equipment and projector/screen I left behind to take the Jesus Film to the refugees…something I pray will continue. I can’t think of a better use for the equipment than to encourage the refugees. Dr. Katie also used the completed shelters to host a medical outreach back in July. The buildings are multi-purpose.
In the top photos above you see can see one structure before the mud walls and then after the mud walls have bee completed. The photo on the bottom right is the other structure as the doors were being installed. It too will have mud walls.
Above are photos from the medical outreach Dr. Katie did in July, using the church shelters as a meeting place. It’s great to have these shelters be available for other needs as well. I’m sure Dr. Katie will continue to use them as such in the months to come.
I was so excited to see the Jesus Film taken to the refugees. I prayed often that the Lord would raise up someone to carry this ministry on after I left. You can see in the photo on the left, a group of students from Janani Luwum Theological College setting up the projector and equipment. Killing two birds with one stone…practical ministry experience for the students and encouragement for the refugees!
Please continue your prayers for these people. Click here for a recent article concerning refugees in Uganda http://www.itv.com/news/2017-08-04/south-sudan-civil-war-number-of-refugees-fleeing-to-uganda-close-to-1-million/ If any churches in the Charleston area are interested in how to support the raising up and training of indigenous leaders in Northern Uganda or supporting the work of Dr. Katie Rhoads to Sudanese refugees, please contact me. I would LOVE to talk with you about creating partnerships to aid in these incredibly important and worthwhile ministries.
I welcome your prayers as I continue to transition back to this culture and wait for the Lord’s next assignment for me.
In His love,
We are so glad that you are home and at least within our reach…..a few hundred instead of thousands of miles. God has always given you direction and he will do so again.
Thanks for that moving update Elizabeth , a great start for the refugee s
God bless you as you settle back in US
We had a wonderful time when sandra visited
I’m looking forward to your being with us, sharing perspectives and enabling our group to grow in faith. I wonder if it would be a good idea to invite neighboring churches to learn more about the opportunities you describe and to invite them to partner with us. Maybe this is something we can explore in detail on Sunday.
Just want to see if this gets to you, darling Elizabeth. I am so grateful you are once again in salty environs. Love, Kits >
You are such a blessing and so blessed! Thank you for sharing the rich insights & experiences He has so abundantly poured out on your steps of faith!