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.


-Macy-

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."

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

mb

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!!

Artie:

Dad!
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


Rusty:

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!!!!


Macy

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!

Mb

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.

napkins
cold drinks (still no ice, but at least cold)
women wearing makeup
knees being shown
a grocery store
cheese
grapes (which were fifteen dollars)
a light switch
hot water
a fan
high speed Internet
indoor shopping
place mats
a salad
lattes
us not being the only white people
johnny cash playing on the radio
a radio
stairs
soap dispenser
paved roads
houses instead of huts
a sink in a bathroom
mirrors
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!!

Mb

Friday, May 27, 2011

Practicing the Presence of God here in Uganda!

Since our first weekend here in Uganda we met Beatrice in the neerby town of Karuma (where we walk 7miles to get our food for every week)...Jesus basically shined a light on her, not in a literal way for clarification, but in that she is one of the few people in the town that can fluently speak English.  Getting to know Beatrice over the past 3 months led us to meeting and becoming friends with her sister, Agnus, who lives in the same town. Agnus has led us to several people who needed prayer for healing so we have gotten to do that with her over the course of our time! She had invited us to go "pray with her" at her church for several weeks but always deferred the offer until this last week. We walked the distance early Sunday morning and entered the village consumed by the booming sound of African voices in passionate, powerful prayer! It was awesome! Almost scary because it was so driven....anyways it turned out to be our friend Agnus, who basically is one of the heads of her church. She led us in prayer for Uganda, for the redemption of Karuma, for the eradication of witchcraft in Karuma and for the healing of the parts of the body that are sick. From there we went into worship, which Agnus also led, and it was then that the girl infront of me and Macy and another girl a few seats to the right of us started convulsing. From my OneThing and WorldMandate experiences I obviously assumed these people were jerking in the Spirit (which was so tangibly there) and maybe just being filled. Then the convulsions started, the girls fell back onto the floor and started kicking and screaming at the top of their lungs. This obviously wasn't normal for my Baptist, Waco, Tx background and Macy's Southern Baptist, Henderson, Tx background... so we started stepping back from the event to keep from being hurt by they girls flailing limbs. The Ugandans weren't the slightest disturbed...they were keeping with the rhythm of the drums as they danced and sang the songs while they stacked up chairs and tied the girls legs together to keep from injuring themselves! Again...it was ridiculous! Macy and I were literally staring in awe of what was taking place before us...but no one else seemed to be bothered. The church began casting out the demons that were manifesting in these girls, still keeping rhythm mind you, and the girls were carried outside to finish the process while we continued worship. Things became humorous to us by this point! Minutes later they came back inside, dusting themselves off and sat right back down as if nothing had happened. By the end of the service the pastor called out those who have been fighting demons to come to the front and get delivered. This process was as common to the Africans as the alter call for Americans! Obviously as they, it was three girls getting prayed for at his pointnow, were getting prayed over for deliverance they began to manifest the demon. Again the convulsions, the tieing of the legs was happening (if you have ever seen a rodeo where they rope the calfs...its basically the same process) and by the end these girls were delivered! They stood up at the front and gave their testimonies...all three of them didnt know of Jesus, didnt know how they even got to the church... even one of them said that she contracted the demon a few months ago while she was getting water at the well, because the demon had been living in the water. Praise Jesus, by the end of the service they all gave their lives to Jesus!! And it doesn't even stop there... as we left the church to get our weekly Coke at a gas station/ bar/ restaurant a friend, named Herbert, we have made who works at the shop came and sat down with us to tell us that he has noticed something different in us. He has been between Islam and Catholicism his whole life and has never been able to stick with either one so he had given up until the week before when we invited him to our church at Restoration Gateway and he had come. It was his first time to a protestant church and he proceeded to ask us about who Jesus was and what made us different and how he can see God as a Comforter but didnt know where his place was in Christianity because he was never very good at following those other paths of faith. We got to share the heart of God with him and that what he sees in us is the joy of Christ and how he desires so much to have relationship with each one of us....and basically the Gospel...it was glorious! We are meeting with him this upcoming week to answer questions he has and talk with him more about who Jesus is and what he came to do! So please please pray for our time coming up with him! 

Great Great Great things are happening here! We have seen healings, demons casted out and lives transformed....and its only been three months! God is moving here in a powerful way....the beautiful thing about Africa is that the Holy Spirit is so much more understandable and received than it is in the States....so spiritual warfare is all over this place! Its a battle field and its a glorious day getting to be in the midst of it when you know that you are on the winning side! Literally! Its unreal!  Would we be a people who walk in the Spirit who truly live out Love and who speak Life over ourselves instead of rationalizing evil in this world! Let us walk out harmoniously in the love of God!  Be encouraged by the work that is going on here! Please pray for us and for the people of Karuma! 

Lubanga Ber (God is Good)
mb

Thursday, May 12, 2011

TERMITES for LUNCH

So I just wanted to let everyone know that MB, Whit, and I ate termites (a.k.a white ants) for lunch today. I don't really know what else to say besides T.I.A. (this is Africa). We were invited to lunch by one of the children, so of course we said YES!!! Little did we know that we were having a Ugandan feast which consisted of mashed cassava (pretty much mashed potatoes, which was WONDERFUL), white ant balls (a mashed up glob of termites that had been boiled), and beef (which tasted really good if I could think past the REALLY disturbing image of the raw meat from the market. The image: raw meat sitting on a piece of muddy wood with about 1,000 flies swarming around it. Not to mention the uneatable, bloody, cow head resting beside the meat.) The termites actually tasted a little bit like bacon, so you can think about that next time you go to IHOP. Lunch ended up being wonderful though. We were able to talk with the house mom, Josephine, for a couple hours. It was such a time of laughter, joy, and friendship.... I am beginning to feel more and more connected with these incredible men, women, and children as each day passes. What a blessing and answered prayer.

I wanted to update you on a HUGE praise from last week. Mary Beth and I walked to Karuma last Saturday for our weekly trip. We ran into a boy, named Dennis, on the road who had a HUGE swollen eye. It was swollen shut. He told us that he had been whipped, and that is why his eye was hurt. We prayed over him and went our separate ways. The next day, which was last Sunday, Dennis randomly showed up at Restoration Gateway with a completely healed eye, less than 24 hours after our prayer. Praise the Lord for He is a healing God. He is working in this place. He hears a prayer in faith and is quick to answer it. Thanks for your encouragement, love, and prayer. We are so thankful!!!!

-Macy-

Sunday, May 8, 2011

We LOVE our MOM's

Devo-
SOOOO it is Mother’s day and I am halfway across the world from my mom. I just wanted to say a few nice things about my mother, who I love VERY MUCH!!! My mom is an absolutely INCREDIBLE servant. Many of you have probably never met her, but if you have, you know that this is definitely one of her gifts. She loves to give. She constantly gives of her time, money, encouragement, cooking skills (she is a REALLY AWESOME cook), and anything else you would ever want or need. She is an incredible comforter. She is the type of mother who always knows the right things to say and the right time to say it. I know I can approach her with any issue, problem, struggle, sadness, or who knows what, and she will wrap her loving arms around me and comfort me with the perfect words. She has been an incredible comforter these past couple of months. I have been walking through just about every kind of emotion (loneliness, sadness, homesickness, feeling worthless, useless, purposeless, and a million other things) but she has been so faithful to call and encourage. She has been so faithful to pray, send emails, letters, goodies, and send constant love my way. My mom is a woman of humility. She serves, never to be seen or praised. She serves with a heart of humility. She serves the Lord, not man. I literally could probably write a novel about how incredible blessed I am to have a mom like I have. I hope and pray that I will grow to become a woman like her. Happy mother’s day!!!! I love you and miss you very much mom!!!
-Macy-

Luana-
My mom... only one word is really applicable: ridic! (that's "ridiculous" for those who aren't with me on the abbreviations). When I say that my mom is "ridic," that constitutes a myriad of things of which I would love to share with you. I love my mom's giddiness! She is the absolute best at receiving phone calls and hearing my stories that everyone else would consider silly but mom always gets equally excited with me! She will let me tell tidbits over and over again just because I get so excited talking about them and she gets just as excited hearing about them! Its the greatest thing! Mom is such an incredibly humble servant. I am continually charged by her actions that are minial to her everyday life but to me stick out to be the greatest acts of service. I pray that I would inherit this gifting because it blows me away how she loves people so well, without any resentment, judgement, condemnation.....she sees people the way that I believe Jesus sees us. And that is a gift unlike any other! I love love love that me and mom share so many hobbies and interests! I love that we can sit on the floor in the quilt room covered in fabric and just be ecstatic with the endless possibilities that surround us! I love your passion to create and to use what you create to bless us! Mom, there are literally thousands of things I could say that make me love you so much, but in the end just know that I LOVE YOU and that I could never want, expect, or even imagine a greater mother than you! Happy Mothers day!!
Your daughter, 445


MeMop, 
HII!! I wish I could be there to give you a hug, to go on a run with you, then go to starbucks with you with a piece of dark chocolate in our hands. I LOVE doing errands with you, Mom. I love Cheap Thrill's and garage sale runs. I have a lot of fun with you! My favorite thing about my mom is that (well, now that I think about it there are a lot of favorite things) she is so understanding. I can tell her anything and she will understand how I am feeling. My mom is super compassionate and is so good with people. Mom, thanks for being excited everytime I call or see you! I can always say you are my biggest fan, because I really believe this is true!! You are so encouraging. I really appreciate that. I have learned so much from you, Mom. Your love for people, your compassion, your understanding heart, and your encouragement are all things that I hope I can have one day. You never meet a stranger, and you are gracious to everyone...this is such a wonderful quality. And for sure one of my fav things is that we both can't get enough parmesean or popcorn. I LOVE you, Mom. You are so special to me!!! 
Whitney

I hate rats

SOOOOOO you never really know what each day will hold here at Restoration Gateway. Last week was for sure an unexpected surprise. The children are out of school for three weeks. They are on “holiday” and will begin school again on May 23rd. Since the children are on a break, many of the moms are getting time off too… So for the past week, Whitney, MB, and I have been substitute moms for one of the houses. Little did we know what kind of adventure was to come…

Our first night, Whitney and I were the moms for house two. Mamma Florence left to visit some of her family and we were in charge of the children for the night shift. We arrived at the house around 7:30 pm to all of the kids (eight to be exact… there are four girls and four boys in each house) eating dinner. Our night began with two rats being caught in a mousetrap all before the clock even turned 8:30. When the trap would snap the kids would run over to it, show everyone the dead rat, open the trap, twirl the dead rat around by the tail, and quickly reset the trap. Needless to say, this was only the beginning of our night. We put the kids to bed around 9:00… When I say “put them to bed,” that means that we told all of them to get into bed… they all ran into their rooms, stripped down naked, and climbed into their beds. The cutest thing and probably the best part of the night, was the kids each said their prayers out loud before falling asleep. What a wonderful sound!!!

Well Whit and I finished setting up our bed in Mamma Florence’s room. We climbed into bed, tucked in our mosquito nets, and tried to fall asleep to the sound of what seemed like a stampede of rats running above us. Before falling asleep, a rat ran out from under Whitney’s bed. So we opened the door to let out the rat, however, another one ran in… this went on for several hours. Around 3:00am Whitney and I awoke to the sound of a rat climbing through the window…we shined our flashlight onto the window just in time to see the rat jump from the window onto Whit’s mosquito net. About thirty minutes later, a rat climbed up Whit’s bed and was simply resting only inches from her head. Needless to say, sleep was not really experienced for either of us during the night. We ended up switching to a house 5 for the rest of the week. We couldn’t handle the rats!!!

We are staying in house 3 next week. You can shout out a little prayer that the rats would not be a problem… it would be greatly appreciated!!!! Just wanted to update everyone on our rat attacks!!! T.I.A.

-macy-

Thursday, April 28, 2011

treasures...

One of the best things about being here, for me, is just being with
the kids. Playing with them, cooking with them, walking with them,
sitting with them--doing whatever they do normally in a day...these
are some of my favorite moments. It is in these moments that they
become more like a friend than a student or a child. I love getting to
know each personality within the 64 children... seriously, it’s the
greatest privilege to get to hangout with these kids! Another one of
my favorite things is that me, Mace, and Auntie B (Mary's Ugandan
name) try to pray for one child each day. As we lift them up to the
Lord, praying for salvation and deep walk with Jesus, God often times
gives us a prophetic word for them. It is so exciting to hear the
words that HE says about his children...these incredible kids aren't
orphans to Him...they are constantly on his compassionate heart and
constantly in his loving thoughts. These kids are his jewels, his
treasures, to display his grace and glory. I am so honored and
thankful to get to be in their presence on Earth, because I know they
will be treated as such great royalty in Heaven.

Here are some of the things we have heard from the Lord about some of the kids:

David--Will be a warrior for the Lord, just like David in the Bible.
He also will have the traits of a gentle and quiet spirit, like that
of Jonathan, David's best friend.

Linda--She will be a woman of compassion, eager to listen to people
and help them through her servant's heart. She will change lives
because of this compassion.

Shalom--God sees her and knows her coming and going. She will grow
into a great leader in Uganda--whether that is in the government or at
RG.

Patrick--Though he will be a quiet man, he will be the father of many
children who will spread the name of Jesus.

Francis Maleka—He will be a man who stores not his treasures on Earth
but in heaven. Also, God revealed that Francis has a spirit of John
the Baptist—he is a strong leader who is called to live independently
but powerfully.

Jonathan--He will walk deeply with the Lord. Though he may not be a
good speaker who leads people with his words, he will be a leader
through his deep walk with the Lord.

Francis Ogwang--He will be a man who speaks out truth even when no one
else believes what he is saying. (There is a picture of him speaking
to a great crowd about the Gospel, and though the crowd isn't
listening, Francis' faith is growing, and he is strong.)

It is so exciting to be in the presence of these kids who are future
leaders and world changers for the Kingdom of God. We serve a Great
Redeemer...

Keep praying for them with us!

whit

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rat Attacks and a Russian Missionary

SOOOOO I am alive… Just in case you were worried. I am horrible with communication, BUT I am going to try to be better. Thank you so much for your prayers, encouragement, emails, and support!!!! They are so needed and so appreciated. Thank you so much.

So I have a couple stories for you… First we will start with a few T.I.A. (This is Africa) stories:

As many of you know, we are currently living in a mud hut. With this mud hut comes many new T.I.A. experiences one of them being RATS. The night before we moved to the mud hut was our first rat encounter. We were calmly sleeping when around 4:45am I awoke to a rustling sound coming from Whitney’s bag. I shined my flashlight onto the suitcase only to see plastic bags moving. Then all of the sudden I saw it, our first rat encounter, stuck in the top mesh part of the suitcase. I quickly woke Whit and Mb up so they could see the commotion. We zipped the rat into the mesh only to see it quickly chew through the mesh, jump out of the suitcase, and run somewhere in the room. This was only the first rat encounter.

Thankfully for the first month in our hut, we encountered no rats, however, this is now history. A night ritual consist of:

1. Praying against rats, snakes, lizards, and cape buffalo

2. Tucking in mosquito nets to prevent easy access for rats

3. Falling asleep

4. Whitney or I waking up around 4:00 am to the sound of rustling somewhere in the hut

5. Trying to fall back asleep

6. Shining the flashlight all around the hut in search for the rat

7. Repetition of this process about 3-4 times throughout the night

Needless to say, rats are now an issue (last night Whitney awoke to a rat watching her sleep on her bedside shelf).

Although there have been many other T.I.A. stories, life is becoming less and less T.I.A and more like everyday life. This is one of the biggest answered prayers and praises for me. Today MB and I went to Karuma and had a WONDERFUL thing happen. We were able to talk to Beatress about the Lord and realized that she is a follower and believer of Jesus Christ. There was a miscommunication about her being a Muslim. She told us that she had been walking with Jesus since 1989 when she converted from the Muslim faith. This brought so much joy and comfort to us. Beatress is genuinely one of the most hospitable and joyful women that I have ever met. She is filled with so much joy, and even today as we were able to encourage her she told us that her joy is a gift of the Lord. She assured us that she was a sister in Christ and that she is filled with so much love because of Him. PRAISE THE LORD. Thank you so much for your prayers for her. Continue to pray that she would be a light to those in Karuma. She has many Muslim friends that she showers with the love of Christ everyday through her hospitality… We were not able to go see Francis today, but he is still very sick. Please continue to pray with us for his healing. He is such an incredible man of faith, and his family (especially his wife) is absolutely precious.

Another story from the past week… this will make your heart smile. Every Friday MB, Whit, and I lead morning devotionals for the kids before school. Our devotions on Fridays are focused on praying for the nations. Last week we prayed for Japan, and this week we prayed for Russia. We sang “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” and a song called “For God so Loved the World” then we showed the children a map and a few pictures of Russia. We talked about the religion in Russia and how there are many people who do not know Jesus there. About 4 or 5 kids prayed for the Lord to move in mighty ways in that country. Afterwards one of the boys named Morris came running up to me. Morris grabbed my hand and said “Auntie (this is what they call us), do only three people know Jesus in Russia?” I told him that very few people knew Jesus in Russia, and his response was, “Auntie, that is so sad. They need to know about Jesus.” I proceeded to tell Morris that maybe God was calling him to go tell them, and Morris looked at me with a HUGE smile and said, “Okay, I will go tell them.” I literally had to hold back tears of joy. God is raising up a new generation of leaders in Uganda. I truly believe He is going to call them to go all over the world to spread His fame and name throughout every nation. Continue to pray that the Lord would move in the hearts of these children. Pray that He would draw them near and raise them up to be men and women of His word.

A second heart-melting-wonderful story happened a couple of weeks ago in my class. We have been learning to read words from the “at,” “et,” “ot,” and “it” word families. We have been learning words like “cat, sat, fit, sit, hot, jet, pot, and rat.” One of the assignments that we did during class was to choose one word from one of these families and make up a mini-story of about 4 sentences and a drawing using the word. Most of the kids decided to write about a cat or a pet, but one child, David, wrote his story about a jet. This was what David’s story said:

“I have a jet.

I fly up in my jet.

I met God in my jet.

God sit with me in my jet.”

(On the front David drew a picture of the jet with him in the drivers seat, but on the back he drew a picture of the jet with him and God sitting together in the front.)

I almost lost it in class. My eyes filled with tears as I thought about how good is our God. How incredible are His purposes and plans for His children. How amazing is His divine plan to bring each of the orphans to a place of hope and restoration. He is pursing their hearts just as He has pursued mine. He has incredible plans for each one of these kids. I am so honored and blessed to even see a glimpse of His work.

Love you all VERY much,

Macy D. Phenix

Sunday, April 3, 2011

We are alive...if you were concerned

Hi everyone! Sorry it has been so long since we last posted. We have
been increasingly busy here, which is actually an answer to prayer.
So, Praise the Lord!

About 2 weeks ago, we moved into a new home at RG—a mud hut. It has
been a really good experience so far… and thankfully we have been
protected from any rats that we were told would nibble on our fingers
at night. (Almost every Ugandan we talked to said something about rats
inevitably exploring our hut and eating our fingers. Needless to say,
we were pretty nervous about our new home…) Our hut has three beds in
it, three shelves, and a bamboo mat in the middle. It has been a
really fun place to hangout in the evenings—doing one of our three
activities we can do post 7 pm (read, watch a movie, or watch your
comp load the Google homepage for 20 minutes). But truly…we are
thankful for it. The Holy Spirit is working in our new home, and we
are really grateful for the bonding and community the mud hut provides
us.

Can I just tell you that everything in Africa is exactly how you
picture it to be? If anyone is wondering what a “mud hut” actually
looks like, it is probably exactly how you initially picture it. Look
it up on Google images…I’m sure you will find the most typical looking
African mud hut, and that is what we are living in. Mud for walls,
concrete for floor, and grass for the roof…and somehow, no
leakage…even in the most intense rainstorms. How have Africans not
figured out the convenience of a flashlight but have found the
cheapest, most efficient, coolest type of roofing for a home? I don’t
understand this continent.

On a more serious note…today, we walked to Karuma—the little town that
is about 3 miles from RG. Mzungus—or foreigners—stick out a lot in
this town, and everyone likes to come greet you (or stare at you) as
you are walking. It is really fun to be with the people that live and
work and play in the middle of Uganda. We have made a lot of friends
in the town, so it was especially fun today to hangout with different
people there. We had the privilege of going to the home of a lady who
works at RG and praying for her sick husband. Her husband, Francis,
has a liver disorder—something that would be easily corrected in the
US, but there aren’t resources here to help him. We walked into the
tiny hut, and Francis was laying on a thin mattress right beside the
door. He woke up and welcomed us, moving slowly to the end of his mat.
When he sat up I was amazed. He was much smaller than any of the three
of us; he was basically skin and bones. He also had a really big
belly, resembling that of an intensely malnourished child or the belly
of a 7 month pregnant woman. We exchanged a few words with him, but he
spoke very weakly. He knew we had come to pray (Mary Beth and Macy had
prayed with him last week as well), so he thanked us, and we began. We
prayed for God’s healing over his body, for him to know the love of
Christ more, and for him to be a light to people in his village
because of what God does in his life. After praying, Francis felt no
immediate relief, but he thanked us immensely for our prayers. He said
that he hoped God would agree with us for his healing, because he was
in very much pain. He told us that he maybe sleeps two hours a night,
and that he can eat very little because there is no room in his
stomach for food. His wife, Ameda, arrived home before we left, and
she also thanked us for coming to pray. Francis and Ameda are
believers, and they have faith that God can heal if he chooses. It
absolutely broke my heart to see this grown man sitting in front of me
who was the size of a tiny child. Francis was not only weak in his
physical appearance, but I sensed so much that he was weak in his
spirit, his hope, and his faith. He has been suffering for a long
time, and though he has a small bit of hope for healing, he is slowly
losing even this. Will you please pray with us for a miraculous
healing for Francis? Will you please pray for the renewing of his
faith and hope? And will you pray that he will put his treasure in his
heavenly homeland during this period of intense earthly suffering?

People in Uganda need hope. They need restoration. They need the God
of Life to blow over them like a cool, refreshing wind. Pray with us
that our GOOD Father will grant this country JOY again. A joyful,
grateful people are eager to receive the hope of our Savior and
beautiful God. Let’s join the cries of the weak, of the sick, of the
oppressed, of the lonely, of the poor, of the orphans, of the broken.
Our God is coming to save….let’s just pray He comes in power all over
Uganda very, very soon.

Much love to each of you!

here are some pics....sorry for the blog's defficiency
by the way....in this link are pics of the 7+ ft long cobra found and killed at RG....enjoy!
Whit

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hello from Uganda!!!

Hello Hello Hello from Uganda,

I really do not even know where to begin with trying to explain my time here in Uganda thus far… I first just want to begin with saying that GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME. I am learning what this means to trust in His faithfulness even when it seems like He is so distant.

Today has been such an incredible day. Mary Beth and I footed (the African term for walking) to the nearest village, Karuma, which is about a 5-6 mile round trip. This is our third trip to Karuma. On our first trip to Karuma, Whit, MB, and I, were blessed to meet this really sweet lady named Beatress who owns a medicine shop in the village. She openly welcomed us into her store/house and talked to us for a couple hours about her life, family, and African culture. Ever since the first visit, we have been able to form a friendship with Beatress. We visited her last Saturday, and when we returned this week she was gone and her sister, Agnes, was there to run the shop for the day. After talking to Agnes for a few minutes we discovered that she is an incredible believer and follower of Jesus Christ. We also discovered that Beatress is a Muslim. We sat with Agnes for a little while and then felt called to ask her if she knew anyone that was sick who might need prayer. She answered yes and left to find her grandmother, but she returned with two people, Molly (the grandmother) and Joseph. We set up a little space in the back of the store and began praying over each of them individually. Molly was having pain in her knees and stomach, and Joseph was having pain in his ankle. We prayed, with Agnes, over each of them for about ten minutes, but there was no immediate healing that we were able to see, but God is at work. He opened up an opportunity to pray over two hurting people in the house of an incredible and beautiful Muslim woman who He desires to know and have a relationship with. He is at work in this village and He is at work in each of their lives. We are going to continue to pray that the Lord would heal them in Jesus name. This was such an answer to prayer because I have been continually praying that the Lord would open up opportunities to connect with the people here. I have been crying out that He would direct our steps and open up conversations about Him with these beautiful people. He did. He heard my prayer, and even if the result of our prayers for Molly and Joseph did not turn out the way we wanted or expected, He is still God. He still sits on His throne, and He desperately and deeply loves each of them. He loves Beatress, Agnes, Molly, Joseph, and me. God is so good.

Also this past Thursday evening, we had testimony time with some of the orphans. A few of them stood up to tell the stories of their lives before they came to Restoration Gateway. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever had to listen to, but at the same time it was one of the most joyful moments to know that the Lord brought each of them here. About four of the kids stood up to speak, and each of the children gave thanks to the Lord for bringing them to this place. Each of them gave thanks to God for food on the table, for a pair of clothes, for a bed, and for people who loved them and cared for them. One of the girls who shared her story is named Gloria. She is one of the most joyful girls that I have ever known. Gloria ALWAYS has a beautiful smile on her face. She is one of the leaders in the orphanage among the girls. Gloria’s parents died of AIDS, and after they passed away Gloria didn’t have anywhere to go. She would move from place to place trying to find food, shelter, and water. Other children would taunt her because of the death of her parents. She described being beaten by older girls for taking up too much space in their hut or asking for more food. She also described never being given clothes. When all of the older girls would get new dresses, they would say “why don’t you get your parents to buy you a new dress.” Gloria is only one of many. Each of these children has such a heartbreaking story behind them, but they are so joyful for the little that they have been given. God has His hand on each of these kids. They have been brought from a place of desolation to a place of love and restoration. How great is our God that He cares and provides for His children in this way.

So, here I am in Northern Uganda. Everyday brings new challenges and struggles, but I am learning that God is faithful and that He is always near even when I cannot feel Him there. He is using me even when I feel purposeless. I am learning to take one day at a time. I am learning that He will sustain and provide exactly what I need for each day. When I look at the big picture, I literally am overwhelmed with my own inadequacy and weakness, but God says that His power is perfected in my weakness. I am praying that everyday. One thing that He has continuously spoken to and over me during this past month is Isaiah 61 (especially v 1-3). It says:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.”

This is what He is doing in Northern Uganda. This is what He is doing at Restoration Gateway. I don’t know why the Lord keeps speaking this to me, but I know that I have no power on my own to even get through one day. God is at work. He is raising up these children for the display of His splendor. He is calling them by name to be the next generation of leaders in this country. I pray that I even get to see a glimpse of it. I pray that I am a vessel in His hand to be used here. Even though the enemy daily whispers lies of inadequacy and thoughts of my time here being purposeless, I know God is at work in this place and in me. I pray that I am clay in His hands. There is a song called, “Nothing I Hold Onto,” that I have been listening to on a DAILY basis. It says: “I lean not on my own understanding. My life is in the hands of the maker of heaven. I give it all to you God, trusting that you will make something beautiful out of me… I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open, there is nothing I hold onto.” This is my daily prayer and desire for this time. Thank you so much for all of your prayers, encouragement, and support. So blessed in SOOOO many ways!!! Love Love Love ☺

-Macy-

Wednesday, March 9, 2011