Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Come and Rest

I’m at a point in my time here where I am just physically tired and worn out. All the early mornings and days of travel have finally took a toll and I find myself at a mentally and emotionally challenging place, since those are usually the next two things to be attacked when the physical is lagging. Yesterday we had a 5am wake up and travel to the capital for a presentation and meeting. After we left the long but successful meeting (God always has a way of honoring the work He calls us to) our bellies were hungry and our energy was fading and yet, we still had another 3 hour journey on the taxi to face. At times our moments of rest here feel like a flash and then we’re on to the next task before us… and it’s easy to continue moving and doing like that because let’s face it, there will always be something that needs to get done or something that can steal away our moments of peace and times of rest. That is why I am so thankful that our faithful God doesn’t allow us to continue in our own strength and unrest for long and he is quick to confront and supply. On our bumpy and tiresome ride home I could hear him pulling at my heart as I watched the sun descend, “Lindsey, the sun is setting on tired and weary hearts who strive and toil without receiving my perfect rest… are you going to do the same? Or can my beauty bring closure to your exhaust and my dawn bring a fresh strength to your heart and life? How long will you carry the burden of the work here without offering me a chance to prove my strength and might? Come, my daughter. I know you are heavy with the burdens of this world, I will give you rest.” So I rest in Him and surrender my striving and agenda that is full and tiresome. Sitting between the two women and a little babe on the bus I realize that despite my physical exhaust, there is no place that I’d rather be than here in His love and rest.

“Jesus was sleeping in the middle of a life-threatening storm. The disciples woke Him because they were afraid of dying. He exercised authority and released peace over the storm. It was the peace of heaven that enabled Him to sleep. And it was that same peace that subdued the storm. You only have authority over the storm you can sleep in. 
If I am filled with anxiety in any given situation, it becomes hard for me to release peace—because I can only give what I have. Authority functions from heaven’s peace.
Even after the disciples got their answer to prayer, a stilled storm, Jesus asked them about their unbelief. For most of us an answer to prayer is the reward for our great faith. In this case they got their answer but were said to be small in faith. He expected them to exercise the authority He had given them to quiet the seas themselves. Instead they asked Him to do it. We often pray in the place of risky obedience. 
Real faith is anchored in the invisible realm and is connected to the authority given in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The authority to cast out demons is found in rest. Rest is the climate that faith grows in. It comes out of the peace of God. And it is the Prince of Peace who will soon crush satan underneath our feet! What is restful for us is violent to the powers of hell. That is the violent nature of faith."
-When Heaven Invades Earth, Bill Johnson

Friday, November 30, 2012

Our Expressions of Faith

I sit in the office and read... The sound of over 600 children from the school and orphanage is shadowed by the music and shouting that erupts from the church. The afternoon prayer overwhelms me in volume and style. I don't understand it or this expression of faith. The shouting, the continuous repetition and appeal of emotions... Me and my American friend look at each other, without an expression of words while the praying continues. We begin to examine ourselves in silent searching. This marks a week of intense differences in the expression of our spirituality. Corporate prayer and worship is one of most contrasting areas in this new culture. I find it to be an area of great struggle since it is so far outside of how I exhibit these things in my own life. Yet, in the same moment I can also find it to be one of the most beautiful articulations of worship to God. At times, I want to become critical and pious but instead Jesus calls me to look first at my own Westernized expression of faith. What is right? What is true? I feel conflicted but who am I to question or judge another's experience of faith. I want to legitimize my own experience by saying that it's the right way or the best way but it's spiritual pride and ignorance to limit the God of the universe in such a way. I don't understand or know the answer to my internal conflict... but I keep my prayer simple: open my eyes to see your unlimited majesty so that I may join in the song of heaven. Lord, show me the limitations I've put on my own expression of faith. Help us to learn together and to challenge one another in our faith and the loving of our God.

"What do the elders see that make them all fall down? What do the angels see that make them cry holy? ...for we have to know..."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Don't leave your joy behind

This last week has been full of travel and moving about the country for different meetings and visitations of purposed project sites. Travel here tends to be a little more taxing due to the terrible road conditions and pot holes that will swallow your car. Everyone always jokes with me about how I fall asleep so quickly on our journeys but I just tell them that it’s just my coping mechanism to the driving here… better to just fall asleep than have a heart attack! While it has been tiring to be somewhere new almost every other day, I’ve really enjoyed the time spent with everyone. I love sitting in the car together, laughing, listening to worship music, and sharing stories of great faith and the beauty of our God. I love the glimpses I get here of true joy and the enjoyment of those God has given us. The work here is such a privilege and I continually find my heart dripping with thankfulness for the family I live with. Pastor Danny has a real gift of humor and anyone who meets him figures that one out very quickly. He can get the whole car to erupt in laughter without a moments notice. I love the way Dovie still laughs at him and never tires of his jokes, even though I’m sure she’s heard them a thousand times. I love hearing that real belly laughter from Dovie when her children are being silly and the light-hearted nature of the families that surround me. It’s such a gift in a place where it’s so easy to become frustrated and burdened with the way things are run here. Every time it would seems reasonable to respond in irritation, I instead hear outbursts of laughter. On Saturday we were heading back from Northern Uganda and our driver suddenly burst into laughter at the overkill of speed bumps every five feet… He just turned up the music and shouted, “All our bodies will dance now!” We laughed as we bounced and danced along the roads of Africa.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Sacrificial Gift

For a moment things here feel normal and comfortable. I finish skyping with a friend back home, the tv entrances the kids into silence and laughter, we make plans to lay snug in our beds and watch a movie after a long day of ministry… all of us are occupied and distracted by the entertainment offered. A smile pulls its way across my face, since the comfort feels natural and pleasant. Then, of course the power cuts right when we’re on our way to make popcorn for the planned cozy night and we realize it’s just another night by candle light. We retreat to our rooms in silent defeat, having put so much trust in the unreliable things here. Another night of reading and journaling. Another night of soft flickering flames and quiet reflection.

My heart finds its way to the students and women I’ve encountered. I remember the Sunday spent at the secondary school, early in the morning… students packed in the dust filled school building with the only light shining from the windows and doors. The students sing and dance and as they worship it is as though they offer their whole body to the Lord. They shout and sway, stomp their feet and move to the beat of the drum. They gather every Sunday to worship our Father. Gratitude fills my heart at the opportunity to speak and pour into these hungry hearts. This Sunday they enter into the building clinging tightly to beautifully wrapped, bright colored gifts of all shapes and sizes. They have brought gifts for their prayer partners. My heart swells during the exchange as the whole assembly sings as each bring their gift to the front. Bashful smiles and sweet looks fill the faces of the students as they hand their blessings over to each other. I imagine the thought and sacrifice that each gift required. Some had verses covering the metallic wrapping and you could sense the silent pride that each person had in preparing such a wonderful present. An exchange of sacrifices for the enjoyment of one another.

My mind wanders to the faces of the FAITH women that fill our office every Sunday. I recall the tiresome day where all I wanted was to melt into my bed and forget my current exhaust and hunger. Instead, I found myself with these women after a long day of speaking to the students and attending service. My heart began to be strengthened, just by sitting with them. As I looked into their tough, yet tender and sweet faces, I realized the inner strength that each one must posses to fight the stigma and physical exhaust of being declared HIV positive. Gratitude fills my heart as we work through our study of Jesus as God the Son. Their questions and requests are honest and sincere. “Why is it important that I read the Bible if I store the word in my heart during service?”, “Can God forgive us since we’re HIV positive?”, “tell us about purgatory and why the Catholic Scripture is different from the Holy Bible…” At that moment I want nothing more than to be with those women, discovering the depth and riches of Christ Jesus together. We end our meeting and they gift me and Julia with green peppers, spinach and eggs. I can’t comprehend such gifts. These women and students give from their lack with an abundance of joy. There is nothing more beautiful than learning from these brave and generous souls. Needless to say, I left that meeting asking for God’s forgiveness for my self-pitying attitude for being too tired and hungry.

These people have given me something to feast on every day.

Thank-you Lord.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The work of UAOG Rescue

Many people have been asking what exactly the work is here that we’re doing and I’ve intentionally delayed in my response because quite frankly, I wasn’t sure of all the details myself! I thank God for the desire of Pastor Danny and Dovie to inch me into the work slowly, so I can effectively take on what’s being asked of me. So here it is… right now I’m taking on the position of Program Administrator of Uganda Assemblies of God (UAOG) Rescue, which is a humanitarian wing of UAOG. UAOG Rescue was a byproduct and response to the floods in the North back in 2007. Now, UAOG Rescue continues with it’s office in Hoima with Pastor Danny and Dovie as the Program Directors. Since their move to Hoima in 2009 they have developed an array of social projects under UOAG Rescue.

Right now they have a project called F.A.I.T.H. (Food Always In The House) that has two programs and beneficiaries to it. The first is a group of women who are HIV positive (formerly known as the Restore Hope women), who gather every Sunday evening. This project offers microfinance loans for the women with existing businesses, helping them with their savings and growth of their businesses. While the microfinance loans are a small piece of what we’re offering, our goal and aim of this project is to give these women a community where they can learn how to live with hope with their condition and illness. They gather for fellowship, counseling, and discipleship and are some of the sweetest, most loving ladies I have met yet! Also within our F.A.I.T.H. project we have a livestock program where pigs and goats have been given to members in the community.

UAOG Rescue also has HIV/AIDS prevention which is part of our health project within the community. We target many of the secondary schools and trade schools with our health promotion program. There is also a self-sustaining medical clinic out in the village of Kapapi which existed far before UAOG Rescue made its base here. There are currently three nurses at this clinic, including my roommate Julia. The clinic is equipped with a small pharmacy and inpatient care.

One of the biggest and fastest growing projects under UAOG Rescue is our Fish Development Project. This is where Pastor Danny (in his expertise of aquaculture) has created fish cages to replenish the lakes with a main staple food here, Tilapia. I believe we have three model farms right now on two different lakes (mind you, Lake Albert is over 100 miles long) and some other private cage owners. As we place the cages in different areas, the effect is far reaching, benefiting many within the community. The fishing community and local leaders are being provided with training about the fish cages and then offered income as they raise up the Tilapia fish. Then as the lakes are replenished, this offers a greater market for those selling and product for those receiving. I look forward to updating you more on this sustainable livelihood project since I am currently in the process of reading 15 page documents all about it!

Finally, UAOG Rescue has a nursery school called Precious Children. There are 6 different classes: homecare, middle and top class, with 5 incredible teachers (one is about to give birth so she left and her class got combined with another). Our office is actually one door away from the classrooms, so I have the joy of hearing the lessons, songs, and chatter from those kids every day. One of my favorite parts is watching them gather for “assembly” in the morning where they sing and dance together.

So beyond the social projects, Danny and Dovie also pastor at Victory Family Church which also has an array of ministries. This has been the bulk of my work since these first six months are acclimating me to the work of UAOG Rescue so that I will be able to fully take over the administration of each project. Right now there is morning staff devotions each day at the office, Tuesday night praise and worship practice, Wednesday night Bible study, Thursday evening home Bible study (that I’m leading with 4 ladies at their house), Friday prayer meeting, Saturday praise and worship workshop and church home visitation and Sunday campus ministries (where Christian students gather at the secondary schools for a service), and service at VFC. So things have a way of being very busy yet open here! For the month of November I am preaching on Romans 4 at VFC and preaching for the campus ministries before our main service. I am constantly in awe here of the devotion of our staff and fellow co-laborers. The work here is such a gift from God and testimony to His power and influence within a community. Now as I write you can follow all the odds and ends here of our work in Uganda!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

He made for us a home

I wake up and walk down the dust filled roads of Hoima, they’re bustling with motos and a million different staring faces. The children in school are full of song and laughter. The young giggle and shout at us as we pass. At the school we’re greeted by the most adoring precious hearts. They are full of the desire to be held, tickled and loved. My desk is bathed in sun and the banter of the kids echoes throughout the office. This is home… and I couldn’t ask for a place of greater beauty.

At the house, everything is shared. From the shouts, laughter and cries from little Abby, to the food, toys, space and song. We don't all speak the same language but the love of our King sits us all at a table together. Power scarcely proves itself reliable and electronics often lay dead but that doesn't stop us from running around by candle light, fiercely fighting in an imaginary world of our own. Once the screaming and rough housing calms, we sit in an intense game of cards with the boys, until we are too tired to keep our eyes open. As we slip into slumber the howling from our eight pups stirs us awake until we drift into the next day ahead. This is my lifetime of adventures. It's rich, full of love and incredibly raw.

Thank-you God.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

“the shoes set out are far too big”

A friend once used this to describe the work she’d been asked to do…

There hasn't been a day yet where I haven’t felt like I’m just stomping around in an oversized pair of sneakers. The shoes set out are far too big, in my natural understanding of what I’m asked to do. As I look at the work set out before me, both with UAOG and with the church here, I know I’ve been called to respond, not by the current set of abilities and talents that I have, but from the deficient space that exists that requires growth and a vision beyond what I can offer. I don’t want a smaller pair of shoes or something more comfortable. I want to see growth! There’s something so beautiful when those around you call out what they know exists, even when it may be cluttered with insecurity and the feeling of inadequacy. That is the same heart and voice of Christ.

N.T. Wright once said,
“worldview which is about ideas and self realization, which is rather popular in our day and age... discovering who I really am... for goodness sakes, Jesus didn't come to help me discover who I really am! He came to tell me who he knew I really was and to do something about it. And that is much better news.”
I can only thank God for these shoes that seem too big to fill, because He makes no mistake with the precision of size. He’s just waiting for us to walk with Him and see the miracle as He fills our shoes.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Welcome Home!

It is very exciting to be writing to all of you from my new home in Hoima, Uganda! All the anticipation and preparation has lead up to this point and now me and my dear friend Julia are finally here! Our first full day in Hoima was spent in the company of our friends here at the church. It was another warm welcome and return to the faces and hearts of the ones I love. The second day we spent at the school and around town running errands. Another glorious welcome from all the children at the school… there really couldn’t be a better welcoming party than having classrooms of giggling children wrap themselves around your waist. It’s been so nice settling in, relaxing and getting re-accustomed to life here.

I also want to take this time to make a note to anyone who received my support letter and is now reading along… there was so much more I wished to write to all my friends and family members who received one but space limitations really condensed my writing. First things, although it was a long process of getting out over 180 letters, I want you all to know that there was great joy in writing to you, whether I know you well or not… know that I prayed over each person I sent a letter to and will continue to be praying for an overwhelming sense of God’s presence to follow you in this next year. It is really such a joy to me to invite you in on the work we are doing here in Uganda.

Since my time in Rwanda, God really challenged my ideas and plans when it came to moving overseas. I thought what was responsible would be most noble after graduation, get a job to pay off my student loans so I could be free to live overseas without any burden. As if God would not free us of the burden to carry out His mission. My heart was quickly challenged in the area of raising funds to volunteer my gifts and abilities, wherever needed. That journey of removing the financial confines I had placed God in has led me to where I am now… completely relying on Christ and His provision for all my needs and believing that He will fulfill all He has called me to.

Knowing now that God has not created too many people and not enough resources, I walk boldly and confidently into this next year as a volunteer with UAOG Rescue. I am honored to take this position, move my life here and serve people passionately with a full love, given to me by Christ.

It has also been such a humbling journey receiving God’s provision through those around me, through many of you… There hasn’t been a single gift that has been given that hasn’t been received with a heart sopping with gratitude and joy. I’ve watched God provide for me and build my confidence in the work taking place here through the financial blessings that has been given through my support base. Thank-you for always giving generously, in prayer, finances and encouragement. My heart continues to be filled by the words and love from many of you!

A few last things before I close out this novel…
if any one would like to be added to my email list for updates please email me at
My desire is to invite you in, as closely as possible to the work here in Hoima, so I’d love to answer questions, keep you updated, pray for you, etc. through this medium.

  • There is still about $1,700 left to raise in order to cover my budget for this next year. I’ve been in awe as over $4,000 has already been provided for!
  • If any one would like to come alongside and partner financially you can easily do so through the link on the right with PayPal. You don’t have to have a PayPal account if you’d just like to pay through a debit/credit card.
  •  For tax deductible giving you can make your checks out to International Christian Center with Lindsey Wessa in the memo and mail it to this address:

International Christian Center
3614 NE 7th Place
Renton, WA 98056

(The funds will go directly to my account for missions)

Again, thank-you to every one who has participated in the process of getting me here. I am continually amazed by how well loved I am by those around me!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Why do I go?

The day is quickly approaching where I will gather my things and move to a country that is completely foreign to the life I am living now.

Why do I go?

Life seems rich here. I have depth in friendship, an incredible community, encouragers, mentors, best friends, and family. I live in the most beautiful area with lakes, mountains, trees, the great outdoors, hikes, beaches, waterfronts and adventure... the works, really. I have comfort, a nice living space on a gorgeous hill overlooking Seattle, coffee shops, free wifi, great food, an abundance of stores, the list goes on... it is the world at my fingertips. I also have a great job where I am paid very well to do things like play tether ball, get ice cream, make forts, go to the park and romp around until bed time comes and I love it. Truly.

I feel comfortable here, secure. And at times when I think about leaving I get scared, anxious and I fight the coming change. Life here is so rich and luxurious!

So why do I go?

It's simple. Following the call of God will always surpass the call to comfort and the return will always be greater. Always.

That's what leads me to the dusty red roads of Uganda. It's what drives me to fight the feelings and fears of my flesh and to trust fully in Him. It's what fills my heart with excitement and hopeful anticipation for this next chapter of life. It's why I gladly accept hardship and difficulty because I know the joys and beauty will be even greater.

God is so faithful and so good. He gently whispers and pursues, filling every emptiness with His grace and love. The promises He so kindly reminds me of move me... I will give you deeper friendship, richer community, a loving family and a lifetime of adventures. Greater things are coming.

This is why I go.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Times of change

These last seven months since my return from Rwanda could be summed up in one word: change. 

I learned quickly that life could not go on the same after my semester with Go ED. My heart had changed. Life experiences had changed. Perspective had changed. Friendships had changed. My understanding, my surrounding, my knowledge of others... they had all changed too. All of a sudden returning to a familiar place was accompanied with growing pains, new tears and challenges. Whether I was prepared or not for this adjustment period, didn't effect it's difficulty. Life was changing and I could either fight it or move with it (Let's be honest... I fought it for quite some time).

My final semester at Northwest University was also marked by tremendous joy and blessing. Even though the first couple of months felt like a tear-filled blur, I was in a community of people who consistently spoke truth, love and peace into my weary heart. Not only that, doors of influence began to swing wide all around me, in ways I never anticipated. I got asked to lead my final track season as team captain, I was asked to represent the college of Ministry as a chapel speaker, to share testimony of my time in Rwanda to hungry students and help teach classes to other students in the Intercultural Studies major. The times of questioning I experienced were met by being asked to discover the answers with those around me. Which seemed ironic most of the time since I felt so empty-handed but I knew it was God showing His faithful abundance and that He believed in me, especially when I did not see it.

But again, this four year endeavor would end and be marked by that same word: 

Graduation was a joyous celebration, overwhelmed by the feeling of accomplishment and confronted by the incredible mystery as to what the next step would be. It was the question that every graduate will hear at least ten thousand times that excited me most, "So what are your plans after this?" Some find this question a little irritating and probably more terrifying than anything else but my vague and undefined vision for the future filled my heart with a indescribable sense of adventure. I wasn't even sure what it held but I knew something to be true... Africa was beckoning my heart and there was something great to be discovered.

God had perfectly been preparing, far in advanced, my next step in life. As I began to knock on different doors and explore different avenues to serve in Africa, again, the doors swung wide... My request for a position within UAOG in Hoima, Uganda was answered by this, 
"pack your bags, reserve your ticket, we're ready for you." 
The beloved family I've felt a part of in my last two visits to Uganda welcomed me into their family to serve in their organization.
"Sister Lindsey, my sons have been praying for your return." 
Those words from Pastor Danny confirmed what I felt in my spirit all along, I was going home and no place was a better fit. 

So, that's the big news. More change. This week I move out of the apartment I've lived in for the last two years and the roommate I've lived with for the last four years, in the same room (and we still love each other, that says something after four years!). I'm moving into more unknown, more vague details, exciting mystery and adventure. God has given me a place to stay with a friend, with free room and board (another mind-blowing blessing!) until I leave for Uganda in September. Again, everything is changing and I couldn't be more thankful.

At times I don't feel ready or I get scared about the unknown and leaving everything I've grown to love... but that only lasts for a time and then I am left overwhelmed with excitement. I still know very little about all I am stepping into but for now I am leaving in September, buying a one-way ticket with a definite year commitment to Pastor Danny and his mission in Uganda with UAOG (Uganda Assemblies of God). There is a possibility that I will receive monthly honorarium to pay for my school loans but some of these details I won't know until my arrival (talk about stepping out in faith!).

So in this time of change I ask that you would pray with me, journey alongside me and discover with me the unchanging faithfulness of our God in the changing of seasons.

Get ready, Africa is beckoning.