Find My iPhone in Uganda

It’s a cool story, and it hasn’t even really happened yet.
But it starts something like this. God put it in the minds and hearts of women’s ministry leaders in Midland that I should speak at their annual ladies’ retreat. At the same time, He put it in the plans of the Queen Mother of Uganda and one princess to come to Midland to do some fund raising. I, naturally, thought that was pretty funny, and I made jokes…not about the Heifer Project fundraiser for the people of Uganda, of course. That’s not funny at all. But what I did think was funny was that I’d be speaking to royalty.
Let’s just stop right here for a moment. Don’t try and get all spiritual on me and tell me something about how we’re all royalty in Christ or that it shouldn’t matter to me one bit who’s in the audience. I get all that. Still, I’m the girl who once (in my youth) pulled the fire extinguisher down off the wall at church, hid, then aimed and fired at the first unlucky person to walk through the door. I squeezed the trigger only briefly, thinking it would emit a small, funny “poof.” It was funny, alright, but there was no little “poof.” The whole room filled with powdery mess. No, there was no fire, and it made a ginormous mess, but I accomplished my purpose nonetheless. The other teenagers all laughed until they almost wet themselves (except for that one girl who I extinguished…I think she already had), and I became a legend at FBC Woodlands. It’s a shame there was no youtube, facebook, or twitter back then. I would have been more famous than that British kid whose little brother, Charlie, bit his finger.
Anyway, the Queen Mother of Uganda? Well, let’s just say she’s more dignified than someone who has a bent toward such antics. I’m a rule-breaker; she’s a rule maker. I’m athletic shorts and Nike Frees; she’s long, colorful dresses and head wraps.
Back to the story –  a couple of days before the event, I got word that the Queen Mother and princess would be flying out of Midland just before the retreat started. Even though I was a little sad that a really cool future blog post was taking off on a jet plane, I knew it was probably best. International relations really shouldn’t be left in the hands of someone like me.
God had other plans, though. At the last minute, the Queen Mother and princess headed back to attend the retreat, because their flight had been canceled and they would be staying another night. The truth is that it really didn’t matter that night who was in the audience. It was an incredible privilege and blessing to serve those women as we dug into Ruth 1:1-7 together and what it really means to leave your baggage behind. We laughed, we cried, God moved. I hardly even noticed that the Queen Mother and the princess were there until we were between sessions and we had opportunity to talk.
After the retreat ended, Queen Mother Best approached me and told me how moved she had been by the message and how God had spoken to her. She wanted me to share the same things with the people in her country, and she invited me to come to Uganda this summer to lead a women’s conference and attend her daughter’s royal wedding. She shared with me that the women in her country carry heavy loads, both literally and figuratively. They are oppressed in many ways by the men in their society, and, in many cases, do not understand that they are valued and loved by God. At this point in the conversation, some little kid was busy stealing my phone that I had put down in a seat, but it didn’t matter much because I was so overwhelmed by what God had done and was continuing to do. And God worked that out, too. No, I had NOT downloaded the “Find My iPhone” app. Every person who heard the story asked me that question. I was about ready to make a sign that said, “No, I didn’t download that app. I’m an idiot,” when the good news came. Despite my lack of foresight regarding school-aged thievery, we tracked down that sweet little urchin and went to her home to retrieve my phone. And I now have a new app.
So here we are. I am going to Uganda this summer to serve the people of Tooro Kingdom. Plans for the newly named “unburdened” women’s conference are being made, and I am busy praying and discovering how God wants to use the time to speak into the hearts and minds of people there.
I’d love it if you’d pray for the people of Tooro Kingdom, too, and the days that God has purposed for us to spend together. He has already worked out the details, and He is showing that to me one step at a time. I had already acknowledged that God was calling and determined that I would go, but felt a little bit funny about going without anyone else from my church. There are some dear people from Midland going, too, but I guess since no one from my church was a part of the process, I felt a little bit like I would be leaving them out of what should be an exciting partnership. Clay and the kids will be at Super Summer during that time, so they were out of the question. Then on Easter Sunday, we were having lunch at Kenny and Tami Lowman’s house and I told Tami about the trip as we were catching up. She said, “I WANNA GO WITH YOU!” She’d been praying for God to open a door for her to go on a mission trip this summer, and hadn’t felt peace or clear direction about one yet. Now she has:) He’s so faithful; I’m not worried about anything in regards to the trip. I know that He already knows how everything will work out – like how I’ll find a way to connect with people from a different culture entirely, language and literacy barriers, and the cost of the flight.
See what I mean? It’s a cool story, and it hasn’t even really happened yet. I’m so glad that, in prayer and friendship, we’ll all get to be a part of it together. 
Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
   proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
   his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.- Psalm 96:2-4

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Wow- isn’t God good? Thanks for being in Midland. You are going to knock the socks off a bunch of women in Africa! Hugs, Janet O

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