STANDING OUT

A few months ago, I went to Murchison Falls National Park. Although I had been to a National Park before, I was young and didn’t quite appreciate the beauty of nature and more so how beautiful my Uganda was. So anyway, fast forward to last year, I realized that I had a real love for adventure and I wanted to experience more of the natural adventure that many Ugandans have boasted about. So, I set out to adventure in Uganda and my first stop was Murchison Falls. So we (I had travelled with a couple) arrived on a Wednesday early evening; I checked into my room which had a beautiful view of the river (Oh it was so serene and relaxing) I sat at my balcony and got lost in thought about whatever…I was lost in a world I didn’t know existed in Uganda. My thoughts were interrupted by a phone call from my friend asking me if I wanted to take a ride to Pakwach town with him. I thought, Why not? I mean prior to that day the only places I had visited in Uganda were Fort Portal (my home town), Palisa (Hubby’s home town), Tororo, Bushenyi (For a friend’s introduction) and Ntugamo. (I know, like how is it possible that in the whole of Uganda those are the only places I have been to? In this, my beautiful country?) So, I went to pakwach town, I even bought a stool to remind myself that I had visited. On our way back, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a big graceful elephant taking its evening walk (I guess). With its ears gracefully bouncing on its head. It was so beautiful and so close that the gentleman who was riding a bicycle stopped and started racing to the opposite direction. It was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever laid eyes on.

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During dinner, we were briefed about the next morning. How we had to be on the road by 6am if we wanted to see the mighty CAT and all the other animals. I was curious to see what it was that I had to get me out of bed for at 5am.

The game drive started as soon as we reached the park as we got a glimpse of some animals such as Uganda Kobs and waterbucks, some primates (very playful and somehow seems to always have some banana to eat), there were some animals that stood out for me. The ever so graceful Giraffe (I suspect it’s my favourite park animal) – it’s not only beautiful in appearance but also carries itself like royalty. Its long neck (even longer than Princess Bagaya’s) stands out even when it is sitting. (Yes I did see some giraffes seated, resting under the little shade they were lucky to find. No wonder we had to be there so early, before the sunshine became too harsh for them). We were also able to see the mighty gentle giants, the elephants, with their beautiful flappy ears and long trunks. AND THEN, the king of the Park, the mighty cat; the LION.

At the time we started our drive, our guide kept stopping and asking other guides who were returning if they had seen any lions and if so where? And even when we wanted to stop and take pictures of other animals, our pictures were rushed because we had to look for the Lion before it becomes too hot and he retreats for shelter. Eventually we found other tourists who directed us to where the lions were but apparently we were not allowed to go there because it was the danger zone. Our tour guide asked if we were willing to take the risk of being sneaky so we could take a closer look at them. You bet we were willing to risk it. The mighty cats were resting under a shade. We managed to see two of them. It was great seeing such mighty animals that stand out. On our way from the “danger zone” I saw the most fascinating thing to say the very least. A mighty snake was hungry and needed a good meal. We watched this reptile Strangle a young kob and devour it into pieces and then go to its belly. I could say that was the highlight of our trip. Scary and fascinating at the same time.

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There was something outstanding about the animals I highlighted. The giraffe with its long neck even when it is seated, it always stands out. The mighty elephant, gentle (when not provoked) stands out by just being present. It does not need to do anything. I need not talk about the Snake; The mighty lion has a reputation as the king of the jungle and its might is even referred to in the Bible that Jesus the son of God is often referred to as the “Lion of Judah.

It’s simply in their nature and yet we, human beings are far more superior.

I conclude by asking; “ Are you living a passive life; just existing because it’s not yet your time to die? Or are you standing out? Creating a positive impact on those that you associate with, or are you leaving no discernible mark on the people around you? Choose to STAND OUT TODAY.

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Make a decision to take a chance

At the beginning of last year, Jeremy and Bee3 (Our location pastors) sent out a note inviting a specific group of people who were interested in all round growth to apply and do gang 2017. They specifically wanted fresh graduates from university or at the very worst up to three years out of university. Of course this automatically disqualified me because I had been out of university more than ten years. (Yes I am still a youth) Right there was the first obstacle that made me consider giving up. However, I decided to give it a try and apply anyway, because what is the worst that could happen? The worst that could happen was getting rejected which would have been okay because I would have tried. I applied and in my application I made it clear that I had seen the requirements but I was willing to take my chance anyway. In less than two hours, I had a response thanking me for my interest and I was told I would receive some documents to fill the following day. Before I knew it, I was part of the Gang 2017 discipleship journey. Oh I was so excited. I wanted to experience that all round growth. I had been feeling stagnant for a while. I had just resigned from my job and to be honest I was not sure what next. I had taken a real gamble at life and I felt this journey was going to help me re-track.

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I went for my first Gang meeting and THEN!!! I made a decision that it was not the thing for me. Not at that time anyway; why? This was the Brief Bee3 gave us after our introductions (paraphrased)

“Welcome to our very first Gang 2017 meeting!! These meetings will be held every Tuesday at exactly 6:30pm. If you arrive a minute after 6:30 you will pay a fine of twenty thousand shillings. You are only allowed to miss a maximum of two meetings in each half of the year. Should you miss more than two meetings, you will be discontinued. We are going to read, read and then read some more. We will be reading a book every two weeks and we will be expected to write a synopsis and hand it in before the given deadline. There will be other assignments on top of the synopsis. Should you fail to hand in your assignments in time, you will be discontinued. You will be expected to travel to Nairobi for the ‘Fearless Summit’ and you will be expected to fly there. There will be no excuse whatsoever for missing the summit. Should you miss it, you will be discontinued. By the end of this Journey, you will be expected to be leading a huddle or better still start an MC (Missional Community). You will also be expected to have started a business…..” As I sat there listening to all that, I decided that I was not ready for that yet. It was going to be so time consuming and I didn’t have all that time. I had loads to do and a family to take care of. I had just left my job so I can spend more time with my children and this program was going to fail my entire purpose as it was going to take away all my time. So I made up my mind right there in that first meeting that I would not manage. However, after several internal battles with myself, I decided to go for the second meeting. I told myself that it was free exit and so I would leave as soon as I felt overwhelmed. I made a decision to take a chance with this thing because after all the real reason I wanted it in the first place was to grow “all round.” I decided to take a chance and go as far as I could and then leave when I couldn’t go any further.

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Fast forward, it was December and we were preparing for our finale dinner and the excitement among the “survivors” was enormous to say the very least. We had made it through and no I did not die and neither did I deprive my children of their well-deserved time. Instead I learnt how to value my time and use it better. I realized that I had more time than I thought I did but I just didn’t know how to use it. Now I am a better manager of this inflexible asset just because I took the chance. Ephesians 5:16 warns us to make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

You too must take a chance at that thing that seems to be too inordinate for you to manage at this very moment. Now is the time. Don’t let fear deter your journey to greatness. The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11 that; “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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Tomorrow or next year will not be any different so take your chance now, cease the opportunity and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Power in empowering others

This year has been a great year for me. Although I had so many regrets about things I should have known before, or things I should have done, I chose to leave the past where it belongs. In the past! At the beginning of this year I made a decision to join a leadership course that the funky facilitators called GANG. It is here that my life got transformed. I became cautious about how I spend the few hours I have in the day. I became mindful about the things I did. Was I adding value to myself by the way that I spent my days? I started to assess myself at the end of everyday. What value did I add to myself spiritually? What about physically? How am I looking after the tent I am in that is a temple of the Holy Spirit? I am I putting my brain to good use? How did I intellectually stimulate myself? Am I keeping in touch with my loved ones? Friends, family? What am I doing to improve my finances? Subsequently, I find myself challenging myself to spend each day better than the previous one. 

I know that I know that if the leaders God gave us in Jeremy and Bee3 were not so generous with their time and wisdom, my everyday would be as basic and planless as has been the last couple of yours. I am a better person because I have been empowered, I have been given confidence that I am good at what I do and I can be good at anything I set out to do. Because I have been given such confidence I have the conviction to empower other people. I do this because I have learnt the power in empowering. 

When Jesus Christ of Nazareth Steps in

It was the night of 23rd August. I was on my way back from Kenya where I had escorted my sister to her first real job. The journey had been smooth, the driver was steady on the road, generally I had no complaint. I was however a little worried that the driver might be too tired since he had been up since 4am and had been driving since 6am. We went all the way to Molo in Kenya and were now past Jinja on our way back. I kept offering to drive a few kilometers to allow him a power nap but he turned my advances down and insisted he was ok.

The road was clear of traffic and the driver stepped generously on the accelerator and I listened to my music as I didn’t want to dose off as I believed the driver was tired and therefore I had to be alert. As we bolted on the Jinja- Kampala highway, this truck just drove direct into the highway and as I saw our speeding car heading for it, I had but very little hope and all I could do was call on the name of Jesus. I screamed non-stop on top of my voice “JESUS JESUS JESUS JESUS…….” The driver was not breaking, the truck was not stopping, on our left hand side was another car and so we could not turn and just a few centimeters from the truck our car just STOPPED!!!! The truck got onto the road and parked on the opposite side. The car that was on the left hand side also parked. I sat in that car with the driver, both of us unable to say anything for at least five minutes. I was thinking about my little children that I had just talked to when I had just crossed over to Uganda assuring them that in the morning they would find me at home. I thought about my sister who had just dropped off at her first real job, I thought about so many things. Then I asked the driver “Seru, what did you do to stop this car?” He first kept quiet and then after a short silence he said ” I don’t want to lie to you, I did nothing. It was indeed your God that stopped this car”.

I called on Jesus that evening and He literally stepped in. The NAME OF JESUS IS POWERFUL.

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