Whitney Lassie • Marybeth Sudan • Macy Phenix

Whitney Lasse • Marybeth Sudan • Macy Phenix
Restoration Gateway, Uganda

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rats and RIDICULOUS healings!!!

For about the past two weeks I have been saying, "I need to write a blog"... so, here it goes. The past week has been filled with so many incredible stories. Some are funny, some are just incredible acts and testimonies of our Maker. I will share a few with you...

First and foremost, for those of you who do not know, I AM ENGAGED!!!! I am so excited, and this time is so hard apart from the incredible blessing that I call my fiance. (Jarrett Davis is the man. He came with my family to visit me here in Uganda. We went on a safari in Kenya and got engaged there.... it was AWESOME.) Everyone at RG has been so excited for me. Therefore the topic of marriage has been a conversation that we have been discussing lately. Here is a little cultural 411 from the Ugandans on marriage... The other day we were having a conversation with Godfree, the headmaster of the school, and he made the comment, "so I heard that American women don't like to be called fat..." (This may seem a little strange to you, but here in Uganda calling someone fat is a compliment. It means that you are "wealthy" and "beautiful" to them.) We explained that it was true as we discussed the difference in culture. We then learned from Godfree that in Uganda there are many tribes that purposely try to make their women REALLY fat before marriage. In these tribes, they lock the bride-to-be in a hut or house for 1 to 2 months and feed her HUGE amounts of very luxurious food. They feed her meat, bread, sweets, and all sorts of food to faten her up for her husband. In these tribes they actually hire someone to bathe her to prevent her from having to do anything but lay around and eat. He said they lather the women with oil and lotion to prepare her for the special day.... Oh how different our cultures are.

Now for a funny story. This morning as Mary Beth and I were cooking breakfast, little did we know what was about to occur. You truly never know what to expect in a day in Africa. We were fixing our coffee, when we heard a scurrying on the floor. Within the next moment a HUGE black "thing" was running across the floor. This creature, otherwise known as a rat, quickly ran straight into Mary Beth's foot and then began to run circles around us as we danced and screamed across the room. Within the next moment, MB and I were screaming and standing on top of two chairs with the rat nowhere to be found. You will be happy to know that within about 30 seconds of this occurrence, Ashley, and two of our security guards were at the door ready to protect us. So, if you can picture this incident, it was quite a sight. What a wonderful way to start your morning here in Africa. T.I.A.

Beyond the shocking cultural differences and rat incidents, God is so good. He truly just amazes me. Three days ago MB, Ashley, and I traveled to visit a friend and worker at RG. Her name is Amida. She works in the garden and bricks. We have gotten very close with Amida since the beginning of our time in Uganda. She is an incredible woman. When we first arrived at RG, Amida was one of the women that we connected with the most. This past March we visited her house to pray for her husband, Francis. We have written about Francis before on the blog.... a quick re-cap for those who have forgotten: Francis is Amida's husband who has been very sick with liver failure. When we visited him in March, Francis could not even stand because his bones were so frail. He was so weak that even sitting up to talk with us was very painful. His stomach looked like that of an 8-month pregnant woman, but his legs, face, and arms were skeletal. We prayed fervently with and for Francis's healing, and at the time saw no answer... Amida and Francis moved houses after our second visit in March, and we were not able to visit them until three days ago. When we reached their home, we were escorted into the hut where Francis was resting. I truly cannot even begin to tell you the joy that rushed through my heart as Francis stood up to his feet to greet us at the door. He did not look like the same person. I couldn't believe my eyes. His stomach was at a normal size, his arms were strong, his legs were no longer skeletal, and he actually had a somewhat chubby face. I could think of nothing but how incredible is our God. He hears the prayers of His children. For the past few months, Francis has not had the money to receive the proper medical treatment from a hospital. He has only taken a few small pills, and he has prayed. You have prayed, and we have prayed. WOW... This man was healed of liver failure because of prayer. He was healed because GOD IS SOOOOOOO GOOD. We stayed at their house for a few hours. We talked about life, his family, God's provision in healing him, and we read through Mathew 5 and James 5... We discussed that God hears the prayers of the righteous. He says in James 5 "the prayer of the righteous is POWERFUL AND EFFECTIVE." How true is the word of God? How incredible and blessed am I that I am able to see it with my own eyes. So I want to thank you for your prayers for Francis. You have taken inheritance into this man's life. God has heard you. He hears us, He hears Francis, and God says YES!!!

I am overwhelmed by His power, His goodness, His grace, His miraculous hand that reaches down and shows His majesty in countless ways. I am truly blessed. T.I.A.


Monday, August 15, 2011

The enemy comes to lie, to cheat, and to steal.

As you can imagine the longer my time seems here the more my heart gets rooted into the people of Uganda. Most specifically into the children here at Restoration Gateway. We have had our share of healings in the classroom, of prayer nights and talks of evangelism…

We taught the children about Russia and prayed for it during our "Pray for the Nations" morning and now some of the children are overcome by the fact that there are people that don't know about Jesus in Russia. With such great concern they confronted me and Macy one day and said "Auntie, is it true that there are people in Russia who don't know about Jesus?" we said yes and that there are several countries who don't even know the name of Jesus. Then sweet Ojok Morris said very matter-of-factly "Well Auntie, then Im going to go and tell them about Jesus." 

…and as I have written to you before, these children themselves could be the choir of angels that meet us at the gates of Heaven. The children here know God so well and yearn for him in ways that I wish I could claim for myself. But as I see them grow more and more into men and women of God, I see the schemes the enemy is laying out for these children. The more they press in…the more the enemy attacks. Honestly, I love it! I love love love getting to walk with these children and confidently laugh in the face of the enemy. I love that I have been given the privilege and the honor to disciple these children! To teach them what it means to walk against the flesh and move more into God….to teach them that we are already on the winning side and that's why we can walk in confidence, free from fear (which is faith in the devil) into the love of God and away from the enemy's lies. I love that Jesus chose me to be a part of this! That he would even call me worthy enough to take inheritance in these lives! Our God is an almighty, gracious, loving and kind King! Wow! Please be overwhelmed with me in his goodness right now! This would probably be an appropriate place for a "Selah."


I want to give you a testimony of everything I just described through a story of our sweet girl, Akot Miriam. 

Miriam is 13 years old and as fire-ry as all get out! She is just about as full of sass as one could be….and  I love it! It is actually because of this sass that we decided it would only be appropriate for me (one of the same breed) to disciple her. Well, over the past several months she has been dealing with chronic bed-wetting. In its duration it has obviously become more and more of a problem. Her house-mates and even others had started mocking her for it and there was even an instance of her being attacked because of it. Everyone became disgusted by her and would avoid her, remarking that she was "unclean." Obviously when it came to our attention everything that was happening we sought to address it. On Sunday afternoon Miriam and I went for a walk to talk through some things. As we were walking I asked her the simple question "Do you feel loved?" She told me she didn't. When I asked her who didn't love her she told me a list of people. I then asked her if she felt like there was anyone who did love her…she said "yes" and gave me a list of the people who she knew loved her (mostly just adults and her three aunties and Jesus). I then preceded to ask her why she felt like these people didn't love her. She told me it was because she "susus" in her bed (this is "pee" in their language). At that we began talking about why she thinks that she wets her bed every night and from there I asked a few more questions…

let me first interject and say that the questions the Lord led me to ask and the wisdom and patience he gave me in speaking with her is SO unbelievably of him! If you know me, you know that my natural giftings do not include compassion or wisdom!

…after we went through a series of questions and answers, it led us to the key player of the whole situation. When I asked her what she thought about every night before she goes to sleep she told me she thinks about "the people who have died." When I asked her who that was she told me it was her mother. She said her mother didn't know Jesus and that right before she wets the bed she has the same dream: she is blinded, not able to see anything but that she will hear her mother's voice calling out to her and telling her to "susu." 

Immediately I recognized it as a demonic attack. Only a month before she had come to me and told me about the spirits she would see in her room every night and from then she learned that she had authority over any demonic presence….so we spoke into the dream as the enemy's assignment. I told her that the enemy wants to lie to us and make us believe wholeheartedly even the most unconventional lies. And that the enemy wants her to feel unloved, undesired and dirty. But that is NOT who she is. And that he was using this dream to make her wet the bed so that the people around her would respond in a way that "proves" to her that they don't love her. But it is all a lie. Because she is SO loved! We then prayed together and we got to cancel out any attack the enemy had planned on her….especially in her sleep. 

Well on Thursday, when we got back from a trip to Kampala, I asked Miriam if she had wet the bed since she spoke against the enemy's lies and she told me that she hasn't done it since!! 

Praise Jesus!! Praise him because he calls us worthy, he calls us beautiful and he has given us victory! He has given us victory over the enemy and he "laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming." Psalm 37:13


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

God is ALIVE and MOVIN

Well hello everyone. Just want to let you know that MB and I are still alive. I have had “write a blog” on my daily to-do-list for about a month now, and I am sorry that I have failed miserably to keep you updated with my life here. The good news however, is that I have been so busy I really don’t feel as though I have even had time to sit down and write a blog. I would definitely see this as a praise from the first two months of “searching-for-my purpose” here in Uganda. The Lord has been so faithful, and He has been moving in MIGHTY ways here in Northern Uganda and at Restoration Gateway. I am going to only skim the surface of all the Lord has been doing for the past month, but here are simply a few stories.

Here are a few stories from our class. About three weeks ago we read this book to our class called Jesus is My Special Friend. The book talks about how this little boy has many different friends, but his friends move away and fight with him. However, this boy has one friend who never leaves, never calls him mean names, never fights with him, and that friend is Jesus. After we finished reading the book we talked about how Jesus never leaves us. We talked about how Jesus is always with us and loves us so much. It was the most incredible thing to see their faces full of faith as they started shouting, “Auntie Macy, Jesus is here in this classroom.” One of my students named Linda said “Auntie, Jesus is sitting in my desk with me right here,” as she had moved to the side to make a place for Jesus to sit by her. Tears filled my eyes and my heart filled with joy as I knew Jesus was sitting right there beside His beautiful daughter. That same week we had another incredible experience in our class as the students started asking about the Holy Spirit. The Lord has been moving in power throughout RG and with the workers. My kids came into class and wouldn’t stop talking about how the Holy Spirit was speaking to their moms. They were saying “Auntie Macy, the Spirit is speaking to our moms and telling them that He is always with them. He is saying that He loves them and will never leave them…. Auntie we want the Holy Spirit to speak to us, will He do that?” We talked about how when we believe and invite Jesus into our hearts, we receive the Holy Spirit and He will talk to us and lead us in any and every way. That morning during our journal time (the kids write daily journals about random topics) we wrote down our prayers and asked the Holy Spirit to speak to us. One of the boys named Francis wrote: “god I love you. jesus I love you. oli spt wuld you cam in mia hart an tlk to me. cam in mia hart. i wnt to tlk to you.” (this translates into: God I love you. Jesus I love you. Holy Spirit would you come into my heart and talk to me. Come in my heart. I want to talk to you.) God is so good. A couple days ago during class this same child, Francis, had a headache. We decided to pray as a class that the Lord would heal him. We placed our hands on him as a class and a precious girl named Linda prayed over him, while the rest of our class prayed in one voice (out loud.) Yep, God totally healed him instantly. Headache = VANISHED and DESTROYED by the blood of Jesus Christ. The Lord is moving in our top nursery class. Another child named Ambrose, who is about 10 years old, is one of the most passionate prayer warriors that I have ever met. MB and I talked about how he loves Jesus so much and that we think he is going to be a man who spreads the Lord’s name across Uganda and the world. I told Ambrose about this later that day. I told Ambrose that he was a boy who loved God and that we thought he was going to be a great evangelist one day. With a shocked look on his face he said “me?” Later that day Ambrose came up to me and said “Auntie, next time you go to the village I want to come. I want to tell people about Jesus.” I love these kids. They are going to change this world. They already are. These are only a few stories of an absolute insane amount of testimonies of the Lord’s work here at RG. I am so blessed.

There have been a countless amount of testimonies of the Lord’s work in the villages outside of RG and in this area. The summer has been so busy with teams coming in and out, but the Lord is moving in power in Northern Uganda. A couple weeks ago a team from Antioch Waco came to RG to do church planting and evangelism in the area around RG. I went out with them a couple times and it was absolutely incredible. The Lord moved in mighty ways. We prayed over one man named Rapheal. We were praying for healing for his knee and his eyes, which could only see a short distance. At first, nothing really changed, but this past week I went back to his house and Rapheal was telling me and this other group about how the LORD had completely HEALED HIS KNEE AND HIS EYES. He was seeing with fully healed vision and he was able to dig and work in his garden without any pain. PRAISE GOD. This is one of many testimonies. My sister got here last week, which was absolutely the greatest thing EVER, and this past Sunday we went to a man’s hut named Francis. We arrived at about 10:00am and stayed until about 4:00pm praising the Lord, reading through His word, sharing Jesus with Francis’ neighbors, and seeing the Lord’s healing power work in FULL FORCE. God healed three children on malaria, two women of stomach and chest pain, a small girl who was almost deaf (she can fully hear now), and a boy who had a huge lump in his neck (the lump disappeared as we were praying). God is good. He is alive. We serve a living God. There is no doubt in my mind that He is living and active. There are lame children that are now walking, blind people who are now seeing, and the gospel is fully alive. I am so blessed to be a part of it. Praise the Lord.

Thank you all for your prayers. Continue to pray for the Lord’s power to fall upon Northern Uganda. I am believing for a revival to spread throughout Northern Uganda. He is moving. He is alive. I think that is all I have for now!!!! Love you all. - Macy -

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lizards in class

So you just never really know what each day will hold here in Africa. Like today, Mary Beth and I would have never thought that we would have to conquer a HUGE lizard in our nursery class .... but yes, this is just a normal occurrance for an African. This morning in our nursery class, I was calmly teaching our students about the letter blend "sl." We were talking about words like "sleep, slide, slap, slingshot" when Mary Beth walked over to the bookshelf to calmly grab a set of flashcards. Yes, a lizard about the size of my forearm and hand was resting in the bookshelf and on the flashcards!!! Mary Beth screamed and then all chaos broke loose. The kids were running around the classroom screaming, Mary Beth and I were screaming, and we left it up to a 10 year old boy to deal with the lizard as we stood on a desk. Needless to say, after the lizard jumped from the bookshelf, ran under my backpack and around the room, we finally got it out. This is our lives... T.I.A.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

We love you Artie and Rusty!!


Happy Father's Day!! I love you sooo much and am so proud, honored and blessed to call you 'dad'! Thank you for everything you have done for me. You have always been so faithful to support me in everything I set out to do! I am so thankful that we have been able to step forward from daughter to father, to friends! It is so true dad! I love getting to spend time with you, sit by the fire and just read with you or sit on the porch and have one of our "talks" which you are so sweet to endure! You listen to me (even when I'm talking a million words per minute and in twelve different directions) and you are so patient with me! You are so honest with me which I love! And thank you, thank you, thank you for being a father who I can trust. I have no fear in coming to you and honestly seek to be so transparent with you! I love you so much, dad. Thank you for being who you are and even choosing to be more like Jesus. I am so proud of how you walk so humbly...and in that I have seen Jesus transform you in the ways that we (our family) so need in this time! Your life is marked by the grace and mercy of our sweet Jesus! I Love you!

B., 445


Happy Father’s Day!!!! I love my Dad. I really don’t even know where to start with how incredibly awesome my dad is. There are so many things that I love and adore about him. One of the things that I have begun to truly love about my dad over the past few years, is that my dad is so much fun. He brings life and joy to almost any circumstance or situation. I LOVE family vacations and even just being at home with our family, and one of the reasons I love it so much is because my dad is so much fun. He makes me laugh unlike anyone else. If you know him, you can probably relate. He is the life of the party, an entertainer, and absolutely hilarious. Another thing that I love and cherish about my dad is his incredible work ethic. He is such a hard worker. He pours all that he is into whatever is in front of him, whether that be work, his family, church, or who knows what. He is going to give every ounce of what he has to make it the best. I love that about him. He is a supporter and encourager. He has loved and supported me in anything and everything I have wanted to do, whether that be soccer practice, or spending 8 months in Uganda. My father continually pours out love, encouragement, and support in every area of my life. He has pushed me and challenged me to be a woman of God. He has shown me through his life what it looks like to live a life serving the Lord. He has provided and lead our family with love, integrity, and ultimately to the feet of the cross. I am so thankful and blessed to have such an incredible dad. I love you so much. I wish I could be there for sing Happy Father’s Day!!! I love you dad. I couldn’t ask for a better father. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for me and our family!!!!


Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Friday, and I am unbelievably blessed...

For those of you that are unaware, Macy and I are teaching the 'Top Nursery' class. We teach from 8am to 1pm with a thirty minute break in between, at which time we all take tea. I have taken on the math portion of the class and Mace is teaching English (and extraordinarily well, you should know).  We are at the end of our third week teaching and we have absolutely loved it thus far! We have twenty students, all between the ages 9 and 12. (All the students have been placed at levels according to their understanding of the material, not necessarily their age. For instance, we have a fifteen year-old boy in P:1, which is first grade level. It's sad, but necessary!)

Well, today Macy went to Gulu with the Conally's (the new family that moved here at the beginning of May) and I took over our class for the morning. And really all this entry is about is the experience that I encountered this morning...

I walked to the school at 7:50 this morning to prepare a few things before class began. As I opened the door to the class room, all of our twenty students were dispersed in the class room with their eyes closed and some with extended hands, while one of the sweetest girls to exist-- Fiona-- stood at the front of the room and led the class in worship. No adult was in the room, no exciting song was being sung...it was just an old praise song that they knew. Every kid was singing in perfect harmony (something that I believe is just a natural gift for Africans....not once have I heard an African sing out of harmony!). Even as I entered the room no one looked up, everyone was so engaged in with the Lord it was unreal! I walked to the back of the room and joined in as quietly as I could and recognized how tangible the presence of God was in our classroom! After the song finished they all burst out into passionate, independent prayers that proclaimed so much trust in their friend, Jesus! As they prayed allowed I heard several different voices praying for Macy and I, others were praying for Restoration Gateway as a whole and the mom's of their houses!

Honestly, as I stood in the back I just started laughing to myself...overwhelmed with joy! I thought about how ridiculous it is that we concern ourselves so much with experiencing things in religion, elevating ourselves in our knowledge and even comparing our closest friends' walks with Jesus versus our own! And then there are the children. The children of God. The ones who Jesus himself told us to be like in faith. I was laughing because these children, who are just now learning English, are standing in this room...on their own accord... praising their sweet Jesus in English! Everything was so unbelievably simple! Their vocabulary is small, there were no instruments to create the atmosphere....only their hearts were there and their sweet voices as an offering of themselves in humble submission to their Savior, the only Father they have ever truly known. And the presence of God was SO there!

How simple it can be and how complicated we make it on our own.
Hope you are blessed by this in the way I was, have a great weekend!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The trip to the big city!

Update! So this past weekend Macy, Whickey and I ventured to the big city (Kampala) to send Whitney off to the States! It is has been so sad for Mace and I to say goodbye to Whick...we feel like a piece of us is missing and it has been even the tiniest bit awkward trying to do things as two instead of our normal three. So Whickey if you are reading this....know that you are missed!!

Well, in our "vacation" to the city it was quite a culture shock even though it is only four hours away from RG and Karuma. We never really understood how much of the bush we actually live in....but it is about as bush as you can go! Kampala had all of these things that to you are basics and I would guess that you don't even notice them in your daily life..but to us these things have been non-existent in the past three months.

cold drinks (still no ice, but at least cold)
women wearing makeup
knees being shown
a grocery store
grapes (which were fifteen dollars)
a light switch
hot water
a fan
high speed Internet
indoor shopping
place mats
a salad
us not being the only white people
johnny cash playing on the radio
a radio
soap dispenser
paved roads
houses instead of huts
a sink in a bathroom
and a million more things that I cant even think of right now!

And of course on this trip we had another AFRICAN EXPERIENCE...we rode Bodas! Bodas are motorcycles that serve as taxis here in the Ug. But let me start off with our night: Harriet, our African friend who works as the social worker here at Restoration Gateway, made the trip to Kampala with us. We separated ways during the day but met up Saturday night for dinner with her boyfriend and cousin. This was when the adventure began... we hopped onto a taxi (a van taxi) which in Africa they fill to the brim and we literally had Africans sitting on our laps! We took the taxi for a short trip to a Boda corner (which is just a group of boda drivers hanging out on a corner) and two of us hopped onto the back of one boda and two on another. In all honesty it wasn't as scary as I had imagined and am now almost fond of riding on a motorcycle (I'm sure my parents love hearing that! ) but it was for sure my first ride ever on a motorbike! Exhilarating! We rode the bodas to the restaurant where we were to meet the boys and it was called "Hakuna MaTata" (Lion King reference) where we had a very Ugandan meal of pork on a stick and casava, metoke and avacado. We felt like young Ugandan women hanging out with our Ugandan friends at our favorite restaurant on a Saturday night! We felt very much a part of the culture. It was awesome! It was for sure an unforgettable adventure!

All of Kampala was a great trip, but we are glad to be back in life here....as simple as it is I might have to say its the best place to be!!