'No Problem My God Is Able' (painted on the door frame of a home in the Wakiso district, Uganda)
In the summer of 2013 I travelled to Uganda to work alongside Show Mercy International. Show Mercy provides support for orphaned and abandoned children. Their strategy is to remind these children of their value and raise up a generation of “change agents” who will positively impact their own nation. With this in mind I joined a team led by Chris Overstreet, who is a friend and an outreach pastor at Bethel Church (Redding, CA). In March of this year I am heading back to work with Show Mercy again. This time I’ll be leading a team from DreamHouse and bringing my oldest child on her first missions trip.
I wanted to share a journal entry I wrote while in Uganda to give you a feel for what we’ll be doing. I hope one of you reading this is impacted and consider coming with me to Africa to share the love of Father God and the life of Jesus Christ. It will be an amazing time together.
Excerpts from Friday - August 16
Breakfast / Had a chance to sit with Reyna (another team member). After sharing our hearts about ministry and the day ahead I encouraged her that she could hear God in many different ways. Later in a team meeting she shared with the group at-large how much our conversation impacted her. The revelation was now Reyna’s to share. ”God's first language isn't English, Spanish, etc," she told everyone. "He speaks in may different ways". She's got it.
I shared with the other team leaders that I was specifically believing today that God was restoring marriages and uniting families. Last night I had a negative dream and in it my wife and I had a problem that couldn’t be reconciled. It broke my heart. As I woke up in my bunkbed in Africa, thousands of miles away from my family, I breathed a sigh of relief that this was just a dream. I've learned that God is always doing the opposite of that which is anxious and fear driven. He is perfect peace so knowing this I realized that my fear driven dream revealed some promises for the day. As I told my teammates this Chris O. challenged me to take a chance in the marketplace and release this truth. "Scott, you should totally open air preach today and invite anyone who wants prayer for their families to come forward for restoration, peace, connection and wholeness." I hadn’t considered doing that. Now Chris had challenged me to take what I knew in the spiritual into the natural. Oh my!
After Breakfast / We went into town and half the team went to minister at the clinic while the rest of us went into the market. I was with the group headed into the market and had an interpretor just in case (much of Uganda speaks in English). I walked around smiling and making contact with the grocers there. I came upon a woman who had recently been treated for ‘jiggers’ (chigoa fleas that embed eggs in the crevices of exposed feet and toe nails). She gave me permission to pray for her and I reached down and grabbed her big toe speaking wholeness over her. She thanked me and after spending a few minutes with her I got up to go deeper into the market.
I saw a kind faced older man sitting down. I introduced myself and shook his hand. I shared with him that Jesus loved him to which he replied “This is unfortunate for me because I am a Muslim.”
“That’s no problem” I told him.
“My mission is to tell you that Jesus loves you”. He very kindly told me that he thought of Jesus in a "different regard " than I did as a Christian.
“It’s already too late”, I responded back. "I've delivered the message from Jesus, 'He loves you'. Soon you will know for yourself that this is true.”
I continued telling him about the power of Jesus' love. I told him to expect dreams in the night where Jesus would reveal himself to him. He asked if I would be returning to the market. He said he needed time to consider the things I was sharing.
"Today is the day of salvation and I can't promise you tomorrow. Can you make that promise?" I asked back knowing this moment was quite possibly my last with him.
I looked him in his eyes and stayed with him affirming him and sharing the kindness of Father God. He allowed me to pray for him after initially refusing. During our prayer time he points to his chest and tells me that he has a bad heart. I started speaking blessings over his life and commanded his body to be renewed with strength. I reached out and put a hand on his chest and then to his leg which felt weak and wiry under my hand. He brought his other leg nearer so that I could lay my hand on that one too. By the end of my prayer he said that the next time I saw him he may be "born again”.
At this point he was more than intrigued. He was in an outright good mood telling me "I will go and consider all you have shared with me." I felt like I should move on and noticed I was starting to attract attention.
As I began to walk away a man in his late twenties was listening and walked over to me. Within a couple minutes he tells me that he used to be “born again” but one night while staying at the house of the pastor who was discipling him the pastor attempted to molest him. It was obvious by the hurt in his eyes that his heart was bound up by unforgiveness towards his former pastor. I told him that I was a pastor from America and wanted to stand in proxy for this man that had betrayed his trust. Right there I confessed the sin of a man I had never met and stood before him as if I was the pastor who had done this to him. Tears started to flow down his face.
“It is one thing to forgive but another to forget" he spoke while looking away.
I could sense his heart wanting to let go of the pain. I pressed him again to do what would set him free. "Don't let this opportunity pass you by.” Just a few feet away from my new muslim friend this young man opened his heart and said he would forgive.
He looked at me as if I was his former pastor and gently spoke out "I forgive you” and with his permission I gave him a big hug.
The team bus had now pulled up and I could see the others starting to gather to head back to the Show Mercy base. As I crossed the busy Ugandan road I saw a row of boda drivers (motorcycle taxis). These men looked imposing. It was as if I was looking at 12-15 Ugandan Steve McQueen’s. Each one sitting composed on his motorbike waiting for the next customer. As a unit they looked effortlessly cool.
I remembered Chris O’s charge to me.
“Scott, you should totally open air preach today and speak to the men in the market. Call them forward to see their families made whole.” Now was my chance.
No matter what fear I may have been feeling I couldn't let this moment pass. Without pause I pointed my attention to the boda drivers and started sharing about my dream. I spoke loudly to get their attention and told how it was God’s will for them to have a family that loved one another. God was here now to return thier hearts to their wives and He was the only one who could bring their wives into reconciliation with them.
One man yelled back at me and my translator said "he says he refuses to listen to you unless you speak Ugandan”. I was in too far now to be deterred and in that moment called anyone forward that wanted prayer. Four men got off their bikes and approached me. Like an amabassador there in the marketplace Patrick, my interpreter, introduced me to these men as his friend and we prayed together.
After lunch / We went on a walk to visit with several widows in the village. We visited with Joyce who is 102 years old. I was told she hadn't been out of her house/room for two years. Even two months or two weeks would be too long but two years... If this was true then we should do something.
It was someone's idea that I carry her outside to get some fresh air. Her family agreed and I carefully picked her up (with some extra help to make the ride smoother) and brought her to a shaded spot. We sang some songs and listened as she sang back to us in Ugandan. Before leaving we prayed for her and her daughter (who had a leg injury and was healed the next week fully when another group prayed again). My teammates ministered to the children there with hugs and lots of attention. After spending an hour there we went on down the road making some more house calls to the widows.
Dinner / In the evening I was able to talk with a few ladies on our team. We had a great meal and I had a chance to encourage each of them in their relationships with Jesus. The meal times are full of surprises getting to know people from around the world. Men and women who have gathered from Dubia, Austria, New Zealand, Romania and all across the United States to share Christ. What a privilege to be part of this wonderfully diverse team.
After dinner / We gathered together for a team meeting and debriefed about the day. Chris O. shared with our entire group that we would have a chance to prophesy and minister tomorrow over local pastors who would be joining us for a Leaders Advance. Show Mercy had put the word out to the local village churches and they expected around eighty men and women. Louisa, a teammate and Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry graduate, gave a short and powerful teaching on what it means to prophesy (to strengthen, encourage and comfort - 1 Corinthians 14:3). Some team members shared that they were wary of prophesy and felt totally incapable. Chris O. took time to emphasize that love is at the center of everything we do. Prophesy comes from the heart of God. We simply share His heart. I love the way Chris O. keeps the emphasis of ministry on love. That's it - we minister because He loves us. We are sharing what we've received.
That evening each group broke into small groups and we were able to minister to one another and practice what we just learned. There was a lot of breakthrough for everyone. Those that were nervous before were finding how easy it is to hear God's heart for someone. It's a joy to share His thoughts with others. I had some incredible words spoken over me that were right on. I can’t wait for tomorrow to see everyone minister in this new gift.
End of Day.
Show Mercy International works together with leaders in different communities walking alongside and helping them to reach their goals of advancement and positive change for their area. Team members who travel to Uganda, share their expertise and gifting with these leaders and encourage them in their goals and dreams.
Together, we are making a difference in the lives of many people, both in Uganda and the rest of the world. Consider sowing into this great work.
- Apply here to go to Uganda with Scott Crowder and team. Trip is from March 9th through the 20th, in 2015.
- Consider giving a one-time donation towards this trip (make note for ‘Missions’)