I just returned to Uganda from a two-week trip to the US to visit family and conduct some ministry business.  What a journey it was!  I returned with one less bag than I started with (thank you British Airways) and a few more pounds packed on than I left with (thank you Jonathan Stark.) The visit with my family, which I had not seen in almost two years, was such a blessing, and the food…well that’s another blog story! I left the States longing to see my wife and kiddos, but I also left feeling recharged and rejuvenated.

While I was in the States I got to hear some amazing men of God speak.  Pastor Will Lewis at Brazos Fellowship, Rev. Elijah Stansell at Christ United Methodist and Pastor Tony McCollum at Seabrook United Methodist.  It was great to hear these men speak and to hear a different perspective on God and how He is at work. During my time in the States I was blessed to be able to share at 3 different speaking engagements how God is moving in Uganda and how He is using Healing Faith as a tool for His Kingdom. However, as I always tell my children, God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason…. So that you listen more than you speak.  I was so very blessed to be able to listen to these men speak and lay it down for God.

While at our home church of Brazos Fellowship, I was blessed to be at a First Wednesday service in which baptisms were being conducted. It was amazing to see the line of people who had decided to go public with their faith and make a commitment to God. What I saw that evening brought tears to my eyes and gave me goose bumps.  I saw young children, the future of the church, giving their lives to Christ.  I saw college students and a mother and her two daughters give their lives to the Lord together.  The one that put a lump in my throat and chills over my body was a sweet elderly couple.  This loving couple decided they were tired of waiting and at the age of grandparents they gave their life to the Lord.  He was slowed with age and she could barely make it into the baptismal, she had to be helped in by several members of the church.  Right there on that Wednesday evening I watched God move into the heart and lives of a couple that had been lost for so many years before. After the husband came up out of the water a new man, he reached for his wife who was waiting her turn and embraced her with a hug and a kiss. It was a moment that I will never forget and a moment that brought tears to the eyes of a whole congregation.  It just goes to show that it is never too late and God continues to work on everyone’s heart that is willing to open it.

I listened to Rev Elijah give a good report from a doctors appointment as he began his sermon. He said the young doctor told him “I’m good to go.” He told us he too had been on a journey, a journey of spiritual awakening. He told the congregation that through his time with them at the revival “I’ve gotten some content for my journey.” He spoke spiritual truth and asked the question “When you are lying on your death bed will you be wishing you did more for Jesus or are you secure in your place in His Kingdom?  Do you know that you know?”

Many times the struggles we face here in Uganda begin to wear us down. We all have struggles, these struggles just have different faces.  For the last two years our struggles have been the faces of the Ugandan people who are entrenched in poverty.  So entrenched I wonder how the cycle will ever end. Yet they always smile and welcome us and do not seem to dwell on their circumstances.  I have seen the struggles of those suffering from illness, especially from malaria.  I sometimes wonder how the Uganda people could be dealt this fate.  However, I have come to realize that a quote from Rev Elijah Stansell nailed it.  “Faith in a faithful God will determine my fate.”  It is this faith in a faithful God that will determine our fate, not our circumstances. I heard him speak these words at a Revival at Christ United Methodist Church. The dictionary defines a revival as; a restoration, a new presentation. The church defines it as an awakening. He brought a powerful message. Whether it is in a church in College Station, Texas or the sugar cane fields of Uganda a revival is an awakening.

Well, I am awakened by my journey.  I am awakened by this journey that God has placed our family on in Uganda.   In the words on Rev Stansell, I’m good to go and I have some content for my journey.

Matthew OrtegaComment