Friday, July 5, 2013

Tremors & Earthquakes

We were sitting around the dining room table, just finished sorting beans and all crickets and night sounds were suddenly silenced. A strange rhythmic squeaking began. Kim said, "What's that strange noise." and then the shaking began. "What's going on?" someone asked. My mind went back to days in Southern California when I experienced many earthquakes and I realized what was happening. Earthquake. "But what's that strange squeaking?" The water tower was swaying back and forth with a tank full of water on top putting stress on the metal.

We don't know what cracked or was broken during that 5.7 earthquake centered at Lake Albert 109 miles away but it surely shook us.

During our trip to Kobwin Children's Center God shook the earth for many. We took an art/drama team of five from New York City to the New Hope site of Kobwin in the northeast of Uganda. Some of these children were formerly in Kony's LRA army and most had grown with parents or guardians who had been deeply affected by the LRA. The staff, themselves, have stories of their own of pain and rejection.

While I took some time to listen to God about what He wanted for the week, I felt He was leading me to let Him do the work and not so closely direct everything. I didn't understand at the time but God made it clear. 

The staff grabbed ahold of the dramas we asked them to do and put their hearts into them. We gave them one word and asked them to come up with a 2 minute drama on that word. The words were abandonment, despair, redemption and hope. After their rehearsal we asked them how they are personally involved or maybe had distanced themselves from the drama.

The next day these staff led the children from the two family groups in 9 different dramas with 3 to 4 people each. The words were abandonment, confusion, pain, despair, hopelessness, redemption, joy, hope, and peace. While they were preparing their dramas the staff discussed with them whether they personally were affected or possibly identified with the word. Wow! They shared some deep confusion, pain, struggle and revelation of their circumstances and how God was meeting them there.

It was in the midst of that time I realized what God was showing me. I wanted to direct the times in the small groups, to make sure they were being done the way I thought they should be done. But I heard the Holy Spirit's prompting to let the staff learn and grow and to let the Holy Spirit direct them. We were all growing.

I also had to trust God on Sunday when I preached a sermon that I didn't have much time to prepare. Those 9 words lived out in Joseph's lives from abandonment/rejection by his brothers to despair and hopelessness in prison, forgotten, to hope and peace that his family was together and his bones would be taken back to Canaan after he died.

I had to praise and thank God that He did the work because many were affected deeply by the week, Kobwin staff, children, team and myself.

What made the blessing even more sweet was that my family was able to come with me and we loved to be together.

Our world was rocked, shaken and at times torn apart so that God could rebuild, restore and redeem. Praise God for His family.

Only by God's grace, Tim

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