So, some of you may be dying to hear about things that happened while in Uganda. :P Well, now you'll get to hear some stories!!! Some are my personal stories and some are not, but they all are amazing stories of God's grace and mercy and love! :D
On our first day of hut-to-hut ministry, our fifth day in Uganda, my ministry group and I went walking just a few minutes away from our hostel. There we came across a mother, her three children, her sister, and another young woman. They invited us into their home, a very small house with maybe three rooms. They offered us sodas, which they paid for themselves. It was hard to say yes, but it was even harder to say no. We didn't want to offend them, but we didn't want them to spend their precious shillings on us!
We talked to them and offered prayers for each individual there. The mother, Barbara, has three sons: Johnathan, Joseph, and Jeremiah. Jeremiah is just a little baby, not yet a year old. Before we left, I asked if I could pray a special blessing over Jeremiah. God says that the kingdom of the Lord belongs to the little children. Mark 9:43 says "If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea." Jesus doesn't kid around when he's talking about children, no pun intended. Kids are pretty darn special to God! I felt led to pray for little Jeremiah and I will continue to pray for him, that he will grow up under God's wings of protection. :)
That same day, we had an unexpected street ministry opportunity because we were an hour early to a school. T.I.A.!!! :D My ministry group, more fondly and commonly known as a MIG, went and met the pastor of the village, a woman named Margaret. She took us to her church, which is a shelterhouse of sorts with fabric lining the walls and a dirt floor. I remembered a teaching tape that my mom was studying about the spiritual gifts from Romans 12:6-8. In that teaching, the speaker talked about a time when he went to a church in a very sinful community. He could feel the demonic grasp on the land around the church but felt God's presence in the church. So when praying, he would pray "for the church and the land the church sits upon." And every time he returned to pray again, he could feel the demonic forces retreating ever so slightly and the presence of the Lord growing! So when we reached Margaret's church and learned that witchcraft is very prevalent in that community, I couldn't stop thinking about that teaching and the results of the prayers. At first, I just walked around the perimeter of the inside, knowing I could get in trouble for being alone outside. But...I felt as if I was going to leave the ministry with the job "half-done" if I didn't, so I walked around the outside of the church, praying the same thing over and over. "Lord, bless this building and the land it sits upon. Expand the circle of light until it spills over into the next village, the next town, the next country."
Even though America isn't Africa, we still need these prayers! We may live in a more "Christian" nation, with more freedoms, but that doesn't mean we should "save the prayers for the less-fortunate". Prayer is for everyone. So pray for your church. Pray for your pastor. Pray for your congregation. Pray without ceasing. :)