We will never settle for less

“Settle for Less” is the title of the song that tagged at my heart during this years Fearless summit at Mavuno Church in Nairobi. It was the first time I was hearing it and it got my attention throughout the morning worship. Other songs were sang which I do not recall but this kept playing on in my heart throughout the entire day and more than a month later it is still playing.

I have asked myself over and over again what it looks like for me to ‘settle for less’? I have gone back and forth on what that looks like in my everyday life and it always comes down to ‘ I settle for less when I do not know Gods promises as shared in the scriptures for my life and therefore I live life outside of the promises which consequently affects my life purpose going forward.  Or maybe I know some of the promises but do not trust him to fulfill them or out of past pain I choose to go it alone than look to Him.’

Settling for less comes from not fully understanding what God says about me in the scriptures and therefore allowing circumstances and the environment to dictate my life. This is in relation to every sphere of my life as shared in the 5 Capitals of life by Mike Breen & Ben Sternke i.e. spiritual, relationships, finances, intellectual and physical. If I do not know what God has promised and availed to me in each of these areas I will definitely settle for less but thank God for His word where He avails all the information for me to live the abundant life he promises in John 10:10. My work is eased because all I need to do is search the scriptures and hold him up to fulfill them after all this is His area of specialty – He is Faithful.

What about you, what has been tagging on your heart recently? What conversations are you having with God and what are you working on in light of these conversations? What promises of God have you seen in the scriptures and are looking to take Him on till you see them fulfilled in your life? Which areas of life are you ‘settling for less’?, would you consider surrendering these to God and allow Him give you the fullness of life.

I will never settle for less because I know there’s more that’s found in You Lord!

Stories of change: Mother gives birth in Mabira forest – Part 2

Part 2 of my friends’ story
Recently, my wife and I traveled with a Ministry team to Jinja. We visited the Muslim family of a couple that we picked from Mabira last year September (Does this story ring a bell?)
 
Yes, the couple we picked having given birth along the road in Mabira forest. I last communicated when the couple visited us with the baby last year and how the community made a request for us to visit them. The parents and community implored us to name the baby and we gave him the name – Moses. 
We left on April 20th 2017 to visit our new friends in a place we have not been before.  to us. We traveled, branched off a few miles to Jinja town into the jungle on a 17 km rough road heading to a remote fish landing site. The distance seemed so long because of the bad road!
With several phone calls to our hosts for direction, (occasionally getting lost), our host eventually met us on the way. We passed areas known as Benghazi and Kandaha (Please this is not in Libya, but this community is predominantly Muslim and maybe it explains why they adopted these names), then to Nakagga our final destination, the road was very steep and rugged.
 
We eventually reached our destination and found the family waiting for us with excitement, they welcomed us with lots of hugs. Evidently the over 20 people receiving us were all Muslims, with occasional Islamic greetings. They were curious to meet us and share their joy and thankfulness for God using us save their son and wife.
 
We had coached ourselves as a team not to use any of our Christian jargons.  They prayed, ululated, praised and did everything in Islam. We felt the joy of the Lord, praying that the Grace and love of Jesus would be evident in and through us the whole time we were there. And true, they experienced Jesus as we heard one –by- one testify and we were greatly touched. “This is love, thank you”, the grandparents said. “You have greatly honored us, enduring our bad roads to come to us shows love”.
We never quoted any Scripture or even prayed but every moment with them, freely interacting and sharing life was so God honoring and glorifying. No mention of Jesus but fully expressed during the whole time we were there. ‘’Oh, God is good me seeing this day!’’ another said.
 
Pray God helps us build authentic relationships with the couple and the community through other visits as we trust God to guide us on how to proceed. 

Stories of change – Mother gives birth in Mabira forest

Below is a story of change from my friend Barham. This resonates with my heart on so many levels. That what God has called us to is the gospel in action as we go along. Lets not waste the opportunities.
Recently what looked like one of our usual mission trips where you have already figured out what to do, this one was unique. I confirmed you can never predict what God is up to. The day was Monday 19th September 2016 when we set off for a conference with the Pentecostal Pastors in Mbale. There was a heavy down pour that day all the way to Jinja.
Reaching the middle of Mabira Forest, at a distance we saw a car stop and as we approached, it sped off. On the roadside were two people, a woman seated and a man standing near his bodaboda.
He tried to stop us, but we were suspect they could be thieves and so we drove a little further. However, we were convicted to stop and reverse kind of risking our lives. The man came near our car and immediately told us his wife had just given birth on the road side and needed urgent help to take her to Hospital. The temptation was so great to give excuses (imagine with me please), but we don’t know how we were all moved to compassion and swung into action.
We prepared a seat for her: shivering and holding her baby wrapped in her husband’s jacket, the only cloth available with them and blood stained. At that time, our lives and comfort didn’t seem to matter. Blood all over hands; we lifted her with the baby into the car. To create space for her, one of us had to jump on a bodaboda with her husband and in heavy rain. We then sped off to a nearby health center we didn’t know where.
We finally found one, with two elderly nurses who were very helpful. They needed to lift the baby first but then discovered he was still attached to the mother! Now here I got a bit scared. The nurses looked for gloves only to get a pair but of the same hand. We were getting worried.
We just wanted to lift the woman and the baby inside for the much needed help but the nurses restrained us saying we don’t have gloves. They never knew we had been lifting her bare handed. That’s when it downed on us that actually we had all along been exposed to blood!!
They went back and forth until they got some but again there was no razor to cut the Umbilical cord and other gadgets to stop the bleeding after. One of us run down to the trading center and brought a razor. This Muslim couple was on a journey from somewhere and had no clothes with them, so they were not prepared in any way. That meant that we had to buy essentials both for the mother and baby.
This trip to Mbale was by faith and so our resources were very limited. Immediately the story of the Good Samaritan hit us (Luke 10:25-37). Verse 35 says the Good Samaritan paid for all the bills and verse 37 tells us to do likewise. So we obeyed and paid the bills, money for bed sheets, mother’s and baby’s clothes, prayed with them and exchanged our Telephone numbers for future follow up and since then we have been in touch.
From there, we went for our other mission but the Lord had taught us great truth: His Compassion, Servant hood, Humility, Love and Generosity. It’s very easy to have a great seminar on all these topics but the application of any one of them can be very hard.
We were challenged to have a functional first aid tool kit in the car for any eventuality.
We experienced the Gospel first hand and to this we are thankful to Jesus and pray the Lord continues open our eyes to many of such opportunities and to move us into action.
The parents have since dedicated the Baby to us. ‘’This is your baby and we want to bring him to you, give us an appointment”, the parents have repeatedly told us. “Our parents and relatives want to meet you, when are coming to see them”? They inquire.
Give thanks to God for using us boys as inexperienced Midwives (???) to rescue the situation.
Please pray that this experience will translate into their hearts the Love of Jesus and thereby embrace Him as their savior.

Intentional Growth

In January I made the decision to join Harvest Institute which is run by Worship harvest ministries. This is a yearlong school with once a month meeting and assignments, some of which are monthly and others all year. The institute is about personal leadership growth and organizational leadership with the hope that this will  create transformation in our lives, for those around us and eventually spread to the entire country. The sessions and books we read offer ways of how to be intentional about living this out and in turn influence others.

There is a variety of topics covered monthly falling under four broad areas. The broad areas include 4 major topics; Personal Growth as a Leader, Leading in the Church Context, Organizational Leadership & Management, Leading in a Changing World. In the end the person is challenged to grow in all areas of life as leaders because like John Maxwell says, ‘Everything rises and falls on leadership’, in another instance he explains that ‘leadership is influence’. This is what  influenced the leaders who started Harvest institute, they had a desire to grow the people attending who in turn would impact others.

I have enjoyed most of the studies and been challenged to grow. Truth is, for many years I have had the privilege of learning a lot of these things and more but somehow the cares of life cloud them out of my life which leads to less influence. I sit in most of these classes and smile remembering the last time I listened to someone teaching that topic. One of such topics was to do with Bible essentials of ‘exegesis’ and ‘hermeneutics’. I first heard of these terms about 10 years ago but I convinced myself that these are for bible scholars, surely not for me a ‘lay person’. Finding it again here got me thinking, maybe it is high time I considered growing in using these tools for myself and others.

I see growth happening in my life and more waiting to happen. I feel very stretched but I know that this growing is not for me only but also for those that I will interact with on my life journey. They will benefit more from conversations with me and will be able to learn from me as I learn from them.  I welcome you on a growth journey, which will be both for yourself and for others. Let’s keep learning, unlearning and growing together for the sake of transformation of our nation and world at large.

 

 

Small actions do have big impact

So like most Ugandans I find myself complaining about this and that which is not proper or not working as I would like in this beautiful country. In the same breath I remind myself that there is a lot working and I should focus on that instead of complaining. Again I am reminded that it is so easy to complain and see mountains out of other peoples actions while I diminish my own actions and how they contribute to the overall functioning of this country.

I was having this conversation with ‘myself’ as I waited in a terrible traffic jam where we barely moved. As we painfully waited in the long line there were others who chose to drive past and form parallel lines which worsened the traffic jam because then the movements were paralyzed. We all know that when we maintain the one lane in a place made for one lane, the cars move faster. It was very frustrating and tempting to get out of the proper lane and squeeze into the ‘illegal’ lane so that I move faster but then God reminds me that small actions like that eventually lead to the big actions and also affect the general outlook of the country.

The best example of this has to do with trash that we find all over the place especially in the urban centers. It is very sad watching someone throw rubbish out the window of a vehicle alongside the road. Maybe they do not see how their one plastic bag or bottle, or whatever affects the face of the city and country and negatively the environment. This is the same for things to do with all sorts of pollution form personal level and business that choose to release sewage in our lakes and rivers.

I think until we question how our everyday actions fit in creating a better or worse world, we will continue to complain about what is going wrong without seeing how our own actions contribute to this. My prayer is that we make deliberate efforts in contributing positively to our world whether it be’s in how we use energy, water, food or keep our environments clean. Remember that it is easy to see how corrupt our government is and yet we oversee our small actions like paying the Askari to let us in beyond the visitation hours.

Thank you to the production and Guest experience teams at Worship Harvest Kati Kati

downloadOn Sunday I had a trip starting early morning and I needed to pick the client and send him off for his trip. I woke up as early as 4.30 am to finish up some work and called the tour guide at about 5.30 am to consider picking me before 6 am so that we can make it to the hotel by 6.30 am. I normally find my way to the meeting point before the trips but other issues led to my inability to travel there. Anyways thankfully we make it in time for the trip and even have to wait for the client to arrive in the hotel lobby. So I sat in there pressing several buttons on my phone until he arrived. We exchange pleasantries and were ready to enter the car and start the trip.

I requested the driver to drop me at Kati Kati – one of the locations for Worship harvest Sunday Service. I have been attending this church for a few years and I am always thankful for the cleanliness and orderliness of the place. I knew that a certain team of people comes in early every Sunday to set up and I truly appreciated them in my heart of hearts but I had never fully comprehended what they go through to set up every Sunday. Goodness, it is lots of work! I was at Kati Kati about 7.20 am and I found 2 members of the production team waiting for others to arrive. Meanwhile the rain was not relenting and so I imagined the hustle of people making it on time amidst the rain. Eventually the vehicle with sound system and children’s church items arrived after 8 am and ‘we’ had to set  in such a short time. When service was ready to start I smiled knowing that most of the people attending have no idea the energy and commitment that goes into setting every Sunday.

Thank you to the the production team and guest experience team at Worship Harvest Kati Kati that is committed to work behind the scenes to give us a pleasant Garage experience every Sunday.

Growing from ‘last minute’ actions

 

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I am an adrenaline junkie and this partly contributes to why I do things last minute when the deadline is knocking. I have talked myself out of this habit but I am yet to succeed. I know it contributes negatively to my output sometimes but somehow I find myself back at it whenever I have a task. Some days I have felt so helpless and almost resigned to my fate but  I know that growth requires me to keep on and not give up concerning an area I am convinced I need to improve. I must say that going forward I will pick up again and work towards planning and accomplishing tasks without waiting for the deadline.

Take for example assignments, I can have them for as long as a month but I will still keep pushing them aside until it’s the last day. One given Friday, the electricity was off for most of the day and night ( who makes these decisions at UMEME) and I needed to finish reading a book and a write a report on my reading before midnight. You should have seen me reading the book using the torch from my phone. This lasted up to about 11pm and later start the process of writing the report . Thankful that the computer had enough battery which allowed me work. Once the writing was complete and ready, the internet connections was playing hind and seek with me. It was difficult to attach the documents to the email. Thankfully eventually they attached and I was able to send a few minutes after midnight. The voice inside me (God) inquired why I do not consider doing all this much earlier to avoid the hassle.

And yet it is not only in tasks at work or school but even concerning travel. I usually know weeks prior to my travels and I wait until the night or morning before the trip to do the packing. This is disorganizing because I tend to forget some items which I need on these travels. It’s in times like these that I remember the advice from my dad while growing up. He suggested to me to consider packing my luggage at least one week before the travel ( this was especially in relations to school) because that way when I forget an item I am able to include it before the travel date. He even suggested that I consider making a list of the items I must pack.

Today while thinking about this I almost quickly acknowledged my weakness and accepted it as me but then I remembered that if this is not helping me be effective then I need to drop it and find ways  of growing. In life if we hope to grow, we cannot allow certain areas of our being to go unchallenged but rather engage with them and come up with plans to improve them. I look forward to operate from the ‘not urgent but important’ quadrant as opposed to the ‘urgent and important’ quadrant which is draining. Which areas in your life which areas do you recognize need growth? What are you doing about it? Or are you justifying their existence instead of improving them?