I’m starting a class TONIGHT (yes, in 45 minutes!) at our local college called Perspectives! (http://www.perspectives.org/site/pp.aspx?c=eqLLI0OFKrF&b=2806295) It’s a class on christianity and missions. I first heard about it on my mission trip to El Salvador over spring break this past year & my heart was moved to take it. I am actually really proud of myself for saying no to a few things this fall so I could devote a lot of time to this class. To study, to read, to do the homework, to put my whole heart into it. To see where God is leading me (and us) in the future.

My good friend Ansley asked me this weekend what my thoughts were about where my heart is towards missions. It’s pretty crazy that besides a mission trip to Mexico in college & to New Orleans in High School that I hadn’t really ever gone on an international mission trip and in the past 5 months I’ve been to El Salvador, Uganda & Ethiopia. A new world has shown itself to me. My heart is drawn towards missions and I hope and pray that this class will give me some clarity about what that looks like.
God is moving. and where He is, I want to be. Praying that this class will help me gain knowledge, wisdom and perspective. Will you pray with me?
Can’t wait to tell you about it. I’ve got my 147 orphan bag packed with my new notebook from Target and I’m ready to go:)If you know me well, you know when I mean when I say I have the BPs. EEKK!!! Time to be a student again!

  • Chantel Klassen - Hey Wynne -was just searching your blog for this post because I’ve been thinking about taking this class. Jared and I have been talking lately about getting into missions full-time. All in God’s time but it makes me so excited. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for you!ReplyCancel

This was the face.
This was the face among many other faces that stared up at me begging for me to hold her, to pick her up, to love her. The morning we got to Return Ministries was the first official day of our trip. We had spend 2 days traveling, unpacking, shuffling donations and it was time to “charge the kids” and to LOVE BIG.
I’ll never forget that first morning getting out of the van. Having about 300 kids all sitting down in their chairs – singing, clapping, waiting for our arrival. We didn’t know our team very well at this point, but after that day we were like family. I just remember looking around and seeing my team members come to life. Seeing big grown police officer Brady having 3 kids climbing all over him, sweet 16 year old Josh loving and holding onto a baby like it was his own, grown men’s faces just lit up with love and affection for these children.
The songs and dances they did for us were priceless. Almost everywhere we went in Uganda the children greeted us with a song. And about all of them had songs about welcoming the visitors. They were so thankful that we were there. in the flesh. not only loving them from half a world away but loving them right where they were. and we loved them!
I just looked back at my journal entry (those were pretty scarce on the trip) from this day and I said that I cried off & on all day because I realized that all the children want and need is LOVE. They long to be held, loved, looked at, smiled at, picked up, LOVED. We were challenged to LOVE big on this trip and this was our first opportunity.
What we did with the kids was nothing out of the ordinary. We sang & taught them a dance (well, Chloe and I tried), we did some crafts, painted their faces (which turned into them painting our bodies), made balloon animals, served them lunch, played with them, danced with them and simply loved them. For us, it was nothing out of the ordinary – but for them, it meant the world – that a group of people would come to visit them! to love them! to give them our full & devoted attention!
I have to say one thing: they sure know how to dance in Uganda! I’ll try to post a little video foryall to see the dancing. and don’t worry that everyone on our team got to try our hand at the traditional dance.:)
We all made many new friends this day. The names are written in my well worn journal: Angela, Jeremiah, Sophia, Olivia, Emmy, Asher, Ester, Shadrack. Their faces are etched on my heart. After spending all day with these beautiful children & Pastor Samuel and his family – it was time to leave. I can’t forget the feeling and the sight of going back around the bus to get in and seeing many of my team members (myself included) just crying our eyes out. How were we supposed to do this? How can we get so attached to these precious children and leave them? And how we were supposed to do this every day for the next 2 weeks?
I keep having to hold on to the hope that being there, actually being there, brought them hope and joy. A hope that only the love of Christ can bring. A hope that comes from fulfilling the scripture when it says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans…” If you want to experience this sort of love, and be able to give this sort of love to these children: check out the Visiting Orphans website. There are so many trips to Uganda that you can sign up for! I pray that you take seriously the command in the bible (James 1:27) and know that you can make a serious difference in the lives of these children and in the Kingdom of God.
If you are moved by the work that Return Ministries is doing, check out their website to see how you can help. http://www.returnministriesuganda.org/
There are many opportunities to give a one time gift, to sponsor a child ($35/month) or donate to their new building fund. Pastor Samuel & his family are salt of the earth kind of people and we are so blessed to have been able to serve with them even for just one day in Uganda. Praying that their ministry continues to bless the children of Uganda!
(more of my images from Return can be found on my facebook: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100145100808703.2455493.9202063&type=1)

We’ve been home for exactly one week. We’ve been “in hiding” for pretty much the whole week – at home, resting, processing, resting, processing. We are still a ways away from completely being able to say what God did in our hearts in Africa. But tonight we braved the world and headed out to church. After being gone for 3 weeks it was so refreshing to be back with our church body tonight worshiping and diving into Gods Word together.

I spent some time this afternoon praying just asking God to show me what it is I could say in 30 seconds when someone asks me about our trip. How do I sum up what happened in 2 weeks in a short answer to someone who wants to know how our trip was.
Well tonight during worship He revealed something to me. Something that has been in my heart since we left Africa – something I just didn’t realize. In Africa, you took the focus OFF of me and put it onto YOU. It seems so simple. Something I’ve prayed about over & over and a lesson that you have been trying to teach me & will continue to teach me all the days of my life on earth. This life is NOT about me. Our focus and our eyes should be on you all the time. But they aren’t. But while we were in Africa you did something in my heart, you shifted my focus and my mind. Tonight during worship instead of thinking about me and my life the whole time I was thinking about my friends I met at Korah and our friends in Uganda at Canaans. You shifted my focus, you changed my world.
My prayer is that my focus and my world will continue to be on YOU and not on me. Thank you Lord for that little glimpse tonight. I pray that you will continue to reveal what you did in my heart and life so I can tell of your good works.
**the pictures and stories are coming…..thank you for being patient!

  • Karen - I’m still not sure how to answer people when they ask “How was Africa,” especially when it’s asked as a prelude to a less important question like “when will that press release go out?” It’s just not something that can be answered quickly like “how was your weekend?” One thing I love to talk about is the JOY those children have. Their 8, 10, 12, 16 year old lives have contained more hardship and grief than many of us can imagine, but their joy and their open hearts and their receptiveness to love are some of my favorite things to talk about because it was so surprising to me, and such a lesson to me as I process things in my own life that leave me wanting to complain. I love your response- so true and such an important factor of the trip!ReplyCancel