Karimajong Tribal Experience – Kidepo Valley National Park

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A BETTER WAY TO PRAY – ANDREW WOMMACK

I love spending time in prayer connecting with God but for the longest time I struggled with how prayer was ‘taught’ to me right from childhood with it taking on different shapes. For example, prayer was asking God to give to me, you had to have eyes closed, kneeling down except when practically impossible, talking for a such a long time etc. And then there were the overnight prayers at University where the struggle for sleep and staying awake was real. After analyzing and realizing over night prayers were certainly not for me, I dropped them but not without guilt for a while. When I heard of this book, I was excited to pick it up after listening to Andrew Wommack when he visited Kampala.

In this Andrew approaches prayer from two angles, the first being how not to pray and the other how to actually get the most from ones prayer time. He shares many misconceptions about prayer especially through misunderstanding of certain scriptures. He shows that God has already done his part, He moved already and the onus is on us to move and receive. This is the attitude in which we approach prayer.  Below are some of my ‘take-homes’;

  1. “Prayer is not to inform God how bad your situation is. He already knows what you need – even before you ask!
  2. Begging from God, using Luke 11:2-4. God is not waiting for us to beg Him, he is not like the friend referred here. “If the Lord hasn’t already supplied your need by grace, your faith can’t make Him do it.
  3. Sin is not in the way for you to receive from God because God sorted that once for all. Do not think that maybe I have not received because I sinned.

For us to have a better way to pray, we need to get back to the Word, believe it, live it and declare it concerning all of life. Andrew mentions that “when God is truly the center of your life, everything else works out. The Lord makes it work supernaturally.” Prayer is about praising God for who He is, declaring the truth of His Word. More ‘take-homes’,

  1. Almighty God wants to hang out with you because He loves you. Prayer is primarily for loving and worshipping God.
  2. Speak to your mountain and not pray about it, Mark 11:12 -14. Faith is a powerful force, but you must believe in order to reap its benefits. Although your words are very important, your actions must also be consistent with your faith. When you pray, praise God that your problem has been taken care of. Then, exercise your authority and speak directly to the problem. If you don’t, you won’t see your desired results.
  3. We are Spirit being, your answer is given in the Spirit the moment you ask but it has to manifest in the physical for you to experience it – speak it and declare until you see it manifest in the physical. If you are still in fear, don’t pray over whatever it is yet…draw near to God and deal with the fear. Praise Him for His awesome love until it casts out all fear ( 1 John 4:18.) Don’t speak words in hope alone either. Wishing and trying aren’t faith.
  4. You need to get this attitude that God is faithful and He’s already met your need before you ever had it. Boldness, confidence, and faith will raise in your heart as you realize that God’s supply is always greater than your need!
  5. Consider the Spirit realm. The devil will try to stop your answers like in Daniel 9 & 10 but you must keep on believing and declaring. The manifestation of your answer is affected when you become discouraged, depressed, or give up.
  6. Other people are often involved in the manifestation of your answer. God sends provision through people. E.g. you need money, God tells someone to give you money and they withhold it, keep thanking God until this person responds to God.

God is constant. God is always faithful. His promises are yes and amen. Ask and you will receive.

This verse consistently came to mind as I read this book and I leave it with you here Heb 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” NKJV

Enjoy the Spiritual Blessings in Ephesians 1:3-13

The word ‘blessing(s)’ has been in the media for a while, both from believers and non believers. Everyone wants to be blessed, with some people purporting to be custodian of blessings which they release to those in need depending on how they respond to their demands e.g. you might have to sacrifice animals for the case of witch doctors or ‘sow a seed’ for the pastors. Mostly the blessings ‘given’ by such are dependent on what one does or does not do. It is exciting that you and I have access to blessings from God our father that are everlasting we access through faith in Him. It is the object of your faith that matters because after all when you visit and do as the pastor, prophet or witch asks you to do, it is because you have faith in them and trust that once you do what they ask, you will receive the blessings, why not direct that faith to God who is loves you regardless and in spite of whatever.

With this back ground, I was excited when I saw blessings listed in these verses as I started reading Ephesians this week. I have read this book before but the beauty of the Word of God is that it is fresh every time and you pick truths that you missed the previous time. Paul mentions in v3 ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ’ NKJV. My attention was drawn to ‘Spiritual blessings’ I read on in search of what they were. I wanted to know these blessings and see whether I have been enjoying them or not. If I do not know the Word of God, I will not access what is rightfully mine and will not enjoy the fullness of life. I know that there are many other spiritual blessings listed throughout the scriptures but these are what I saw in this portion of scripture.

  1. V4 – God CHOSE us in Jesus to be holy without blame before him. It is important that we understand that God chose us, it is His will. He is happy to associate with us and is pleased with us. When in doubt, remember God chose you in Jesus and it is Jesus who makes you holy and not of your own effort. Today choose to enjoy this spiritual gift and stop striving.
  2. V5 & 6: God adopted us – we are sons…we are accepted in the beloved. This verse seems obvious when you first read it until you realize you are not living it. Hello out there…you are a son of God – with full access to God and everything in His household. A child is taken care of by their parents, a child is not worried about bills ( at least this is how it is usually except in a few instances and still we find those abnormal). Can you start living the fullness of life with this truth, let ii permeate every area of your being as you approach life. You are a son of God. You are beloved…regardless of what you do or do not do, Gods favor is upon you. Please do not wait for someone to say it for you to believe it, it is in the scriptures.
  3. Verse 7: He redeemed us. Our (Your) sins were forgiven once for all, the ones you committed yesterday or the ones you will commit tomorrow. God’s grace is enough to handle all our sins, do not live in condemnation, guilt or shame, you are forgiven before you commit the sin. Your sins were wiped out once for all…those you commit knowing and those not knowing, or by omission, they are wiped out. Live in the freedom that Christ purchased for you.
  4. Verse 8 -10: He has given us wisdom and insight… O how I need wisdom and insight as I live here on earth concerning the Spirit, Soul and body. He has made this available. I need to call this forth when unsure. You have the mind of Christ, ask and access this wisdom concerning all of life.
  5. Verse 11 – 12: People…We have an inheritance, wululululu. I do not have to add much here…those who have received an inheritance know how it feels to know that someone worked hard to leave you with something.
  6. Verse 13: We have a guarantee – the Holy Spirit. What more would you ask. The God who never lies, creator of heaven and earth has chosen you, loved on you, given you an inheritance but knows that you will have moments of doubt…then he gives you a guarantee to seal it off. Know that the Holy Spirit is here for you to walk with and enjoy his presence. I have enjoyed having conversations with the Holy spirit concerning all of life, he has given me direction often telling me what to do in a situation in real time and reminding of God’s promises.

Aren’t those blessings exciting? They are for me, I invite you to read and re-read this portion of Scripture and start walking in these blessings. Each of these triggers many other blessings and leads you to live an abundant life in Christ Jesus. Apply them to your life, you will be awakened to approach life with boldness and courage taking on your dreams, you will not live in fear or condemnation, you will seek for your healing, etc. Let me know how it goes as you apply the Word in your life.

Everything rises and falls on leadership

166683-John-C-Maxwell-Quote-Everything-rises-and-falls-on-leadershipIn one of John C. Maxwell’s books, he  mentions that ” everything rises and falls on leadership”. The first time I read this quote I did not quite agree, I thought that surely people have a role and they cannot be left off the hook and we give the full responsibility to the leader. John C. Maxwell further says ” Leadership is influence”, this is when it suck in and I agreed with him that indeed leaders have the influence and authority to determine the direction of their people and subsequently their communities.

For the past months, I was spending time in 1st and 2nd Kings in the old testament for my morning devotions. I like to keep inter changing the testaments so that when a the book in the old testament the next should be from the new testament book and back so that I keep in perspective of the message of the gospel. However when I finished 1st Kings, I realized that 2nd Kings was in a way connected to 1st Kings so I needed to start on it so as not to lose the flow.

For the first time I learned that the Kingdom was divided into Israel and Judah. I imagined how years later these two would be enemies forgetting that they are brothers. I think this is how the world behaves when we focus on our differences and highlight them instead of celebrating life with one another because we are all human beings. We forget and start thinking one tribe is better than the other, and therefore choose to relate and favor one against the other, the same for race or gender  forgetting that essentially we are all; Spirit, Soul and body.

Two insights that I gleaned from these two books;

  1. Everything rises and falls on leadership. The Kings had influence on the people and could determine which direction the community took. The bible kept mentioning how some Kings did everything evil in Gods eyes and led people to worship at the high places whereas other times a King would do right in the eyes of God, destroy the high places and lead people to worship God. If a King was hard working with wisdom, he created wealth for the Kingdom only for the next King to squander it. One King would choose ‘his wars’ carefully using wisdom to create alliances and listening from God through the prophets whereas another would not. Whatever the decision of a King, it affected the people directly. Your leader matters because they make ‘life and death’ decisions on your behalf.

 

  1. God is committed to His people and it is never His wish that any should perish. We see this in 2 Pet 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” NKJV. This truth keeps coming out as he pleads with Israel to leave the high places and stop worshiping gods that are nonexistent and causing pain to them, practicing rituals like passing their children through the fire. Why would a god who loves you ask you to burn your children? In all this God keeps hope alive and keeps inviting them to himself through the prophets to choose life. He still does this today, inviting us to choose life, because what the world offers is fleeting and leads to destruction.  He invites us today in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they many have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”.  NKJV

Have you read 1st and 2nd Kings before? What insights jumped off the pages for you? Please share in the commend box.

The Magnificent Kidepo Valley National park

I had heard of Kidepo valley national park for quite a while and I longed to visit it. Tucked away in the furthest north eastern corner of Uganda, it is ‘out of touch’ with the rest of the country and only few determined adventurous folks make it there. For a long time, it was not only the distance from the Capital – Kampala and poor road that made Kidepo inaccessible but also the war which cut it off from the rest of the world. This led to very few visitor numbers and subsequently animal populations reduced due to poaching. On a good note though, it made the park a true African wilderness like its tagline because of few visitors.

IMG_8021
The beautiful Narus Valley

Thankfully the war is long gone and the visitor numbers have increased, it is quickly becoming a favorite place for many who brave the long car drives like we did. One should know there are options of a flight from Entebbe or Kajjansi.  I was on a tour organised by nature Uganda and I must say I enjoyed my time in this wilderness. We set off from Uganda Museum in Kampala at about 7.15 am and arrived about 8 pm with a stopover in Gulu town for lunch. I wanted to arrive during day light so that I enjoy the sights leading to the park but alas, I missed.

IMG_8264Unlike the other Savannah national parks in Uganda, i.e. Murchison falls, Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo, Kidepo valley is the only park with no water body to have a boat safari. This leaves one with ample time to engage in game drives and nature walks in the park. Our very first game drive was in the Narus valley which has some water throughout the year unlike Kidepo river which is seasonal. Off we went with our fantastic ranger guide who knows Kidepo like his own home. He shared about the different animals and birds found this area and the people groups that called this their home – the Karimajong, Tepeth and the Ik people who moved to create way for the park.

IMG_7799My highlight on this game drive was the the scenery of the valley against the mountains, such a wow moment throughout the drive. The animal populations are generally low but recovering and we had great sightings of Elephants, big herds of Buffaloes, Zebras, Topi, Water-bucks, Jackson’s heart beast, Uganda Kobs, Giraffes and warthogs. After a while everyone was anxious for a lion, cheetah and leopard, you could easily smell the anxiety of the people as the game drive continued. Eventually a leopard was spotted in a tree to everyone’s excitement but we missed the photos because it soon descended and disappeared in the tall grass.

IMG_8328We started the game drive early without breakfast, we were eventually exhausted and ready to return to the lodge for breakfast. Many were disappointed because they had not sighted the King of the Jungle but thankfully we had Day 2 to search again depending on the program. For me Kidepo is more for the culture, birds and scenery and not for the animals animal sightings.

My Top 10 places to visit in Africa – 2018

It is a new year and I am thankful for a great 2017 where I experienced God walking with me and stretching me to grow in good ways. Some days I thought I had hit dead end and could not go on anymore but every time this happened, He reminded that I have not reached it and have so much unexplored potential. I am typing this from cold Netherlands where I am attending Vakantiebeurs 2018 – a travel expo on behalf of Kagera Safaris and these conversations are on going with God.

Because I challenged myself to start writing weekly on this blog – I decided that I could not wait until I get back home before I could start writing again. There is no particular order in which to visit these areas, I will simply list them below. Here they come;

1. Jinja – Bungee Jumping – Uganda

I have always wanted to do Bungee jumping but like many activities I am interested in doing, it has not happened for a while. Water rafting was a high adrenaline experience on River Nile and it is only right that I follow it up with a “Kiss of the Nile” by doing a bungee jump.

 

2. Pian Upe Game reserve – Uganda

Pian Upe game reserve has been on my travel scope for 2 years now, but somehow the years end without me visiting it. This year I look forward to visiting this land of the ostrich and Cheetah with amazing cultural experiences from the surrounding tribes.

3. Mt Elgon national park- Uganda

First I must say that I currently do not have the courage to hike up the Wagagai  peak of Mt Elgon but I will do a one day hike to get the feel of the mountain. I have previously been to sections of the mountain which are outside the national park and I look forward to exploring the scenery and bird life of Mt Elgon.

4. Nyero rocks – Uganda

Nyero rock paintings make it to my 2018 travel list because just like Pian Upe they have eluded me for a while. They have a deep history to them and I look to learn about it. They are believed to have been of the stone age era having been left out by the Batwa who were hunter gatherers and are currently confined in the areas near the forest of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo

5. Mt Rwenzori 

Just like Mt Elgon, I will not be trying to hike up the peak of Mt Rwenzori in western Uganda. I know it takes a about 7 days in total to go up and down the mountain and lots of stamina which I currently do not have. However, who knows maybe one day I will gather up courage to explore this place. However I will do a one day hike to get the feel of this park and also visit with some of the communities bordering the park.

6. Virunga National Park – DR Congo 

I have not been to Democratic Republic of Congo except when I hiked up Mt  Bisoke which is shared between Rwanda and DR Congo. I am excited at the prospect of Congo and the opportunity to see it after hearing so much about it.

I am interested in trekking the mountain gorillas in Virunga national park and  compare the experience with Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable national park. I would also like to hike up the active Nyiragongo volcano.

 7. Kahuzi Biega national park – DR Congo

This park is close to southern Rwanda and is home to the Eastern Low land gorillas. They are much bigger that the mountain gorillas which I have seen several times in Bwindi impenetrable national park. I look forward to visiting and seeing these giants and the compare them to the mountain gorillas.

8. Zanzibar – Tanzania

After visiting Diani in Mombasa, its an absolute yes to warm beach destinations. I have heard so  much good about Zanzibar with its beautiful clear ocean coupled with great history and spice gardens to explore.

9. Capetown – South Africa

This is purely from reading about  this town online and several magazines that I picked interest in visiting it. However in the long run, I also want to visit every country and major city in Africa so I am beginning to tick off.

10. Swakopmund – Namibia

My interest in Namibia stems from the Namib desert and the tribal communities therein especially the Herero. I am interested in visiting the ocean shores and see the different shades of life.

This is my 2018 list of places I want to visit. I have visited some of these places before but did not do the particular activities so I look to do these activities. I will also visit many other places but my interest this year is these 10 areas which I know God will enable me visit.

 

Bird watching in Mabira forest

Mabira is the largest tropical forest nearest to Kampala which makes it a great choice to visit. It is one of those places that has great activities to indulge in, namely bird-watching, mangabey tracking, zip lining, nature walks etc. On this particular day we were interested in bird watching with 2 clients who had come for a conference in Entebbe.  The good thing about birding is that you get to enjoy the birds and other activities, you will be bird watching and still sight other animals and primates as they go about  their business. You are also able to enjoy the forest in the form of a nature walk, learn about the  different tress, culture of the people and certainly the beautiful butterflies.

We set off from Entebbe botanical hotel at 6.30 am and drove towards Mabira forest. Our first stopover was near the new Entebbe highway where we sighted some birds. After that short stop we continued on our way to Mabira. Our next stopover was a brief one in Mbalala – the mini forested area which is a great habitat for birds.

Eventually we arrived at the Eco tourism center in Mabira. There is not much activity and the staff are rarely in their offices. The staff on duty arrived after the cleaner informed her of our arrival. This was a bit frustrating because we wanted to start birding immediately but lost time waiting for about 20 minutes. Birding is best early morning before the sun is hot and the birds get into hiding, which means that next best time is evening. Eventually the staff arrived but unfortunately the site guide was away, which again required us to wait some more. Eventually he also arrived and we set out to explore the forest in all its fullness.

We started with birding near the office area, our attention was taken on by some red tailed monkeys jumping form tree branch to another.  After a short while we continued our birding walking deeper into the forest. We eventually decided that the trail we were on was not as fruitful so we decided to drive to another area which is said to usually have more bird activity. This was true but unfortunately it is also a road leading to the community which means there is a lot of activity of boda bodas and cars to and from the community which makes birding difficult. You sight a bird only for it to quickly fly away because of an approaching truck or car or bodaboda on a high speed.

All in all the day was good, we had lunch at the beautiful Rain forest lodge in Mabira after which we continued birding and left for Kampala about 4 pm. The different colorful butterflies were another  highlight for the day including the freshness of the forest. The birds of the day were the Great Blue Turaco,  Pygmy Kingfisher, White spotted fluff tail, White throated Bee eater etc.