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RECENT READING

I have been reading an old favorite of mine and this book just seems to resonate so loud and clear for me.  My hope and dream as a leader is to help people understand the reality of what we are called to be as followers of Christ.  Here is a quote that really stings (or it should) and quite honestly, it should be a wake up call for all who read it!  Check it out:

 

“Christianity has become our Shawshank, and our redemption will only come if we find the courage to escape the prison we have created for ourselves.  Risking everything to live free is our only hope – humanity’s only hope.

     Jesus is being lost in a religion bearing His name.  People are being lost because they cannot reconcile Jesus’ association with Christianity.  Christianity has become docile, domesticated, civilized.  We have forgotten that there is a kingdom of darkness stealing the hopes and dreams and souls of a humanity without God.  It is time to hear the barbarian call, to form a barbarian tribe, and to unleash the barbarian revolt.  Let the invasion begin…..”

By:  Erwin Raphael McManus

What kind of revolt is he talking about here?  A revolt of Love unleashed on a humanity that currently does not reflect a Love for humankind on a consistent and regular basis.  We are so deceived it is not even funny.  Legacy Church will be doing a couple of series in the next few months that will hopefully be a clarion call for our little team to become Barbarian Guerilla Lovers of humankind.  In February we are doing a series on racism and bigotry titled “Color Blind”; in March a series on Relationships centered around The Food Network; and then in April we will be kicking off a series centered around a book called “Guerilla Lovers”. 

If you live in the Lehigh Valley, hope to see you there!  Peace and One Love!

Full Uganda Report

It is my hope to have a full journal up and posted on our trip in by the end of the week barring any crazy things happening!

Life is kind of getting back to normal.  Been a hectic 3 plus weeks.  Good to be back in the saddle again!

Peace and One Love!

Richie

emotions spill over

love fully abounds

in children’s arms

we are wrapped

by the warmth

of His Love

Oh.., the tears of the Uganda Sun

fighting it back

resisting the flood

yet it comes

overwhelmed and numb

The vacancy filled

by loving smiles

Oh…, the tears of the Uganda Sun

heart now seared

by warm embraces

and heartfelt departures

with truth revealed

in their eyes

we see Him

Oh…, the tears of the Uganda Sun

Written at Entebbe airport on 7 Jan 10 after leaving the kids and staff of Lead Uganda

By:  Richie Merritt

PROSE FROM UGANDA

LOOKING FOR YOU

Looking for you in all I see
It’s so hard to view…
In the midst of the pain & the sorrow.

Yet…, I see your smile
In the faces of the children;
As I look for you in all I see.

Looking for you in all I see
In a world that is…
Full of darkness and trouble.

Yet…, I see your light
In the eyes of these children;
As I look for you in all I see.

Looking for you in all I see
Through the lense of…
poverty, need and malnutrition.

Yet…, I see your spirit
In the voices & music of the children;
As I look for you in all I see.

Looking for you in all I see
In order to ease…
The compassion oozing from my heart.

Yet…, I see you in this place
Through your words & these people;
As I look for you in all I see.

Quick verse written on 02 Jan 2010
On the road from Kampala, Uganda to Jinje, Uganda

DAY 1 – 29 Dec 09

ARRIVED ON 29 DEC AT 11:OOPM AT NIGHT; AND WE WERE GREETED BY THE STAFF AND TWO OF THE CHILDREN. WE HAD SANYU AND ISAAC WITH US, SO SARA (SONYU’S SISTER) WAS ONE OF THE CHILDREN WHO RAN UP AND GAVE SANYU AND THEIR UNCLE STEVE A BIG HUG OF HELLO!

WE THEN TRANSITED TO KAMPALA FOR ABOUT AN HOUR. THE MAIN ROADS HERE ARE NOT TOO BAD BUT VERY DUSTY. THE INTERNAL CITY ROADS AND SUBURBS OF KAMPALA, YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE IT UNTIL YOU SAW IT HOW BAD THE ROADS ARE AND HOW CRAZY THE TRAFFIC IS. YOU DO NOT AVOID POTHOLES HERE BUT YOU AVOID GULLYS! SERIOUSLY, THE RAIN RUN OFF HAS DESTROYED MUCH OF THE ROADS.

WE ARRIVED AT THE HOUSE ABOUT MIDNIGHT HERE IN KAMPALA (4PM EST) AND WE’RE GREETED BY CHILDREN RUNNING TO THE CAR AND JUST HAPPY AND JOYOUS TO SEE US. THE HOUSE BY AMERICAN STANDARDS WOULD BE SOMETHING YOU MIGHT SEE IN APPLACHIA OR SOMETHING SIMILAR. WE WERE ALSO GREETED BY MS. MONICA (THE MOM OF THE HOUSE) AND MS. ZERINSA (THE GREAT COOK!) ANYWAY. WE WERE FED AN EVENING MEAL AND THEN HEADED TO OUR HOTEL (THE NOB HILL HOTEL). AGAIN BY AMERICAN STANDARDS IT WOULD BE A 1 STAR OR LESS, BUT WHEN I LOOKED AT WHAT THE KIDS WERE STAYING IN, I WAS NOT WILLING TO COMPLAIN AT ALL!

WENT TO BED A BIT OVERWHELMED AND EXHAUSTED. A LITTLE SAD TOO, CUZ I COULD NOT TALK TO MY BRIDE. OH WELL.., GOOD NIGHT ALL!

DAY 2 – 30 Dec 09
THE CHILDREN – IT AMAZES ME TO SEE THE JOY IN THEM AND THEIR SMILES DESPITE THEIR OBVIOUS DILEMA AND THEY KNOW THAT THEY ARE SO MUCH BETTER OFF THAN MANY OF THE OTHER CHILDREN IN THEIR COUNTRY. LOTS OF LAUGHING, LOTS OF STORIES, DANCING (AND YES WE HAVE PICTURES OF NICOLE BREAK DANCING! LOL!!)

I WILL HAVE PICTURES, BUT THE SIDE STREETS AND BACK ALLEYS ARE SO DANGEROUS TO WALK AND DRIVE ON. THEY ARE BASICALLY MUD SLIDDEN ROADS; WITH DEEP GULLEYS, ETC…, IT IS REALLY DUSTY AND THEN MUDDY.

WE ATE SOME FOOD TODAY THAT WAS LIKE MASHED POTATOES THAT WAS MADE WITH PLANTAINS CALLED MATAKOO, AND ANOTHER MADE WITH CORN MEAL. YOU MIX IT WITH BEANS AND MEAT AND IT WAS QUITE TASTY. KIND OF REMINDED ME OF “PO” FROM HAWAII BUT IT HAD FLAVOR THAT WAS GOOD. THEY KILL THE CHICKENS ON THE PREMISES AND COOK THEM FRESH; THEN THEY USE THE GUTS AND SO ON FOR THE GARDEN AS FERTILIZER; THEY GROW THEIR OWN FRUIT ON THE PREMISES FOR THE MOST PART.

THE KIDS PLAYED SOCCER ON THE GROUNDS TODAY; MAN THESE KIDS ARE TALENTED AND HAVE A TON OF ENERGY. THEN WE GOT TO DANCING AND NICOLE PUT A SHOW ON FOR THE KIDS DOING THE WORM AND BREAK DANCING ON HER HEAD, ETC… IT WAS QUITE FUNNY!

KRISTEN IS THOROUGHLY ENJOYING THE FOOD AND IS SO ADVENTUROUS! (NOT!)

WE HEADED OUT TO TOWN WITH LAWRENCE – HE IS THE SILENT WARRIOR YET A VERY HUMBLE MAN. WE TRAVELED THROUGH SOME OF THE CRAZIEST TRAFFIC I HAVE EVER SCENE. THE DRIVING HERE IS WORSE THAN ANY AMERICAN CITY I HAVE EVER BEEN IN. I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE TRAFFIC LAWS – I WOULD DIE IF I DROVE AROUND HERE. (LOL!!)

DAY 3 – 31 Dec 09
READ SOME PROVERBS UPON WAKING – FOUND MYSELF READING THEM THROUGH THE EYES OF THE KIDS; I.E., WHAT AND HOW DO THEY LOOK AT THE PROMISES OF GOD? WHAT DO THEY THINK ABOUT PROSPERING AND HOW DOES IT DIFFER FOR THEM AND US? ADDITIONALLY, WHAT KIND OF THOUGHT AND PERSPECTIVE DO THEY HAVE ON THE SCRIPTURES IN GENERAL?

I FIND MYSELF WONDERING ABOUT STEVE TOO, AND HOW GOD IN HIS PROVIDENCE ALLOWS CERTAIN FOLKS PATHS TO CROSS AS THEY ENTER EACH OTHER’S STORIES. IS PART OF THE PLAN WITH STEVE FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE TO GET HIM TO SEE JESUS’ FOLLOWERS AT WORK? HE IS SURROUNDED BY CHRISTIANS IN THIS ENVIRONMENT AND BY MANY OF THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE COME TO SUPPORT HIS EFFORTS? IT MAKES ME WONDER A BIT, WHAT GOD IS UP TO?

ANYWAY.., LATER WE THEN WENT TO THE HOUSE TO MEET WITH THE KIDS AND TALK TO THEM. WE WALKED IN AS THEY WERE PRAYING AND THEY TALKED ABOUT EZEKIEL AND THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES – AND THEN KRISTEN, NICOLE, AND I TOLD OUR STORIES AND SAID THAT THEIR STORIES ARE PART OF GOD’S BIGGER STORY – AND HOW GOD CAN BE SPEAKING INTO THEIR STORY WHICH MAY BE SIMILAR TO OR LIKE THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES.

STEPHEN MAGEZI IS ONE OF THE WORKERS HERE AND HE IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE HUMBLEST MEN I HAVE EVER MET; AND HIS CO-WORKER LAWRENCE IS VERY SIMILAR IN NATURE. LAWRENCE IS THE DISCIPLINARIAN AND WORKER THAT HANGS WITH THE KIDS AND IS KIND OF LIKE THE BIG BROTHER/FATHER FIGURE. STEVEN IS THE ADMINISTRATOR/ACCOUNTANT OF THE ORGANZATION.

WE ARE HEADED INTO KAMPALA TO MEET THE FAMILIES AND SEE THE HOMES OF THE CHILDREN WHO ARE FROM KAMPALA. THE WAY THE PROGRAM WORKS, IS THE KIDS LIVE WITH THEIR FAMILIES IN THE CITY OR OUTLYING VILLAGES. THE ORGANIZATION WORKS AND SUPPORTS GETTING THEM INTO THE FINEST SCHOOLS IN THE COUNTRY. THEY FUND THEIR EDUCATION. DURING THEIR BREAKS FROM SCHOOL, THEY EITHER COME BACK TO THE HOUSE OR GO BACK TO THEIR HOMES. TODAY WE VISITED THREE OF THE CHILDREN’S HOMES. WE VISITED FREDDIE’S HOUSE IN A RURAL PART OF THE OUTER CITY. AND AS WE WALKED IN, WE WERE GREETED BY HIS MOTHER, FREDDIE’S BROTHER, AND SISTER AND A LITTLE BABY NAMED RAYMOND. THE HOSPITALITY WAS GREAT – THEY DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO MAKE YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE AND WELCOME. THE HOUSE CONSISTED OF APPROX. 3 ROOMS WITH OUTDOOR BATHROOMS THAT WERE LOCKED. THE OUTDOORS BATHROOMS ARE CONCRETE SLABS WITH A SQUARE HOLE IN THEM – BASCIALLY AN OUTHOUSE WITHOUT A SEAT. ANY WATER THEY GET MUST BE EITHER GATHERED OR DELIVERED AND ALL OF US ARE DRINKING BOTTLED WATER. WE AT SOME FRUIT AND BOUGHT SOME ART FROM FRED’S BROTHER PADDY AND SOME TRINKETS FROM HIS MOTHER AND SISTER. IT WAS A GREAT VISIT, BUT HOUSING IS SOOO MUCH DIFFERENT HERE FOR SURE.

WE THEN VISITED JOE CHAMBALA’S HOUSE. HE LIVES WITH HIS UNCLE AND HIS COUSIN AND NIECE IN AN AREA CALLED THE BARRACKS. THE LIVING CONDITIONS HERE WERE VERY CLOSE QUARTERED AND NOT A LOT OF ROOM FOR LIVING OPENLY. THE AREA IS A KIND OF MINI-SHANTY TOWN BUT WITH BUILDINGS IN PLACE. NOT SURE ABOUT RUNNING WATER, ETC… HE DID HAVE A REFRIGERATOR AND A TV AND WE WATCHED THE ENDING OF “I AM LEGEND” WHICH WAS COOL. RAYMOND HIS UNCLE IS A VERY NICE MAN AND DOES WHAT HE CAN TO TAKE CARE OF JOE WHEN HE IS AROUND. LAWRENCE – SPOKE VERY APPRECIATIVELY OF HIM TO LET HIM KNOW HE WAS THANKFUL TO RAYMOND. YOU COULD TELL THOUGH BY HIS DEMEANOR – THAT LIFE IS VERY ROUGH FOR HIM AND THE KIDS; YET HE HAD A VERY GENTLE SPIRIT AND FRIENDLY WAY OF CONVERSING.

WE AT LUNCH IN KAMPALA – THE PLACE IS A MADHOUSE. 3 MILLION PEOPLE APPROX. THERE DURING THE DAY. DIESEL FUEL EMMISSIONS IS WHAT YOU SMELL A LOT OF. OPEN AIR MARKET THERE IS THE LARGEST IN UGANDA AND WAS QUITE THE SCENE AND MADHOUSE. BIG 200LB BAGS OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES AND ANYTHING ELSE THAT THEY COULD SELL WAS TO BE FOUND HERE FOR SALE. ON MOST STREETS THEY ARE LINED WITH VENDORS AND EVERYONE (AND I MEAN EVERYONE) JUST TRYING TO MAKE A BUCK SOMEHOW/SOMEWAY. THE FOOD WAS GOOD, WE AT SOME FRIED BIRD AND CHIPS (FRIES) FOR LUNCH, AND THEN WENT ON TO DEREK’S AND HILDA’S HOUSE. DEREK IS WAITING TO HEAR ABOUT GOING TO SEMINARY AS A PRIEST. DEREK IS A GREAT KID WITH A GREAT BIG SMILE AND TENDER HEART. HIS SISTER HILDA IS ALSO A VERY NICE YOUNG LADY WITH A BRIGHT INFECTIOUS SMILE AND GREAT VOICE. WE WENT TO THEIR HOME AND HILDA FED US SOME WATERMELON THAT WAS DELICIOUS AND THEN WE CONVINCED HER TO SING A SONG. SHE SANG A WORSHIP SONG ABOUT JESUS THAT LITERALLY BROUGHT ME TO TEARS. YOU COULD FEEL THE LOVE SHE HAD FOR JESUS IN HER VOICE – IT WAS QUITE MOVING. WHAT MADE IT MORE SPECIAL WAS JUST THAT WE WERE SITTING IN A HOME THAT WAS MADE OF MUD BRICK AND A TIN ROOF THAT WAS NOT AT ALL THE BEST LIVING CONDITION IN THE WORLD – YET THE JOY IN BOTH HILDA AND DEREK’S DEMEANOR AND SMILE JUST MAKE ME WONDER WHAT JOY IN THE LORD IS REALLY ABOUT AND WHAT PROSPERITY IS REALLY ABOUT? I THINK I SAW BOTH ON DISPLAY IN THAT INNER CITY SHACK TODAY.

MORE TO SHARE TOMORROW ABOUT NEW YEARS EVE AND THE FOLLOWING DAY!

PEACE AND ONE LOVE FROM THE ROAD!

IHL,

RICHIE