Do You Wear Glass Slippers or Running Shoes?

Run the Amazing Race with me!!

Run the Amazing Race with me!!

“Sherry,” you say, “it has been a long time since we heard from you. What is going on?” Well I am gonna tell you. It feels like I have been running since the beginning of summer and someone told me the other day it is fall. May thru June we went to Uganda; July 4th weekend, we closed the Heart To Hand store in Murray; moved the store back to Mayfield; opened the store the middle of July; Nelson started school in August which means running here and there for football practice and games as far away as Princeton, KY and Paris, TN. Nelson was accepted to play basketball with the Atlanta Playmakers and had a tournament in Atlanta, GA the last of August; basketball practice just started at school. On top of all that, I had contracted a stomach bacteria that lasted for seven months. So we begin another round of running to and fro. Will I ever see the finish line?

I began thinking about running this race and realized we all should be running the race for Jesus. “Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NIV

Our amazing race began in 2001, going overseas to do mission work in Africa. When people heard this they got a glamorous picture of what it would look like. They imagined me holding orphans and seeing amazing places, but they never imagined the hard stuff. So there we were in this beautiful country called Uganda; where the dirt literally sticks to your skin. The kids act as if you’re their older sister. And your nickname is now Muzungu.

What’s so hard about that? So here’s the hard stuff.

The Race is a lonely place:
On our amazing race, we had some friends who were supportive and encouraging. But after month two, month three, and month four, the number of friends that we heard from dwindled down. It is as if our closest friends had forgotten that we were alive. We realized that doing missions overseas meant being alone or feeling lonely. It meant that God is the only true friend that will be there to listen and talk to 100% of the time.

The Race means missing big occasions:
On our amazing race, Richard’s grandchildren were babies and now they don’t know him. I had two young nephews who are grown men now. It is hard because sometimes we felt that we were missing out on significant moments in people’s lives. But then we realized that people missed out on significant moments in our lives as well; the day that 30 prisoners got saved, the day that an entire family was lead to Jesus, the demon possessed man foaming at the mouth at the mention of Jesus’s name, the first church service held in the newly constructed building at Trace Creek Mission with over 600 in attendance, the day a baby was born and mom asked us to name him.

The Race means no alone time:
On our amazing race, we were with people 24/7. At first it is awesome because you need someone to talk to about this new adventure in a different country. But once you get used to living overseas, all you need is to be ALONE! Your sanity now relies on earphones and earplugs. You can’t take a walk without having to have one other person with you. You can’t read your Bible without the church in front of your house blaring their worship music at all hours of the day or the mosque down the street reciting the five prayers at dawn, noon, afternoon, after sunset, and at nightfall over a loud speaker.

The Race means loving people:
On our amazing race, love is hard. Sorry to pop your bubble about love, especially when you don’t initially click or “like” the person. We realized that there are many personalities and people in the body of Christ and you have to learn to love. We learned to get over our flesh that wants to seclude ourselves from those people and instead put out our hands and introduce ourselves.

The Race means not being there:
On our amazing race, our families had gone through hard times. Times that I wanted to be there to listen, talk, hug, cry, and to understand. Two of my cousins died, one from a gastric bypass operation leaving behind a wife and child, one from an accidental overdose, leaving behind three children, my maternal grandmother passing in 2006. I saw things unfolding from half way across the world. I couldn’t reach through the screen and hug my Mom when I knew things were too much for her to handle. Sometimes I couldn’t even make the phone call (no network!!) needed to make sure that she was okay or tell her that I loved and missed her.

The Race means awkward moments:
On our amazing race, there were a lot of awkward moments. Those moments sitting in the Land Rover and the body odor of 10 people is so bad that you throw up in your mouth or that small child whom you were holding decided to puke on you five times. There are times when you shake hands with someone only to wonder was that “poop” on their hands. Oh, help me Jesus, where is my hand sanitizer!!! There are times when eating in the village and you hope that was just a piece of gravel that you chomped on in your rice and not your tooth but you swallow it and smile.

The Race means dying daily:
On our amazing race, I learned that it is not about me. It is about serving and empowering others to become leaders. It is about discipleship, patience, and love. It is about giving room for someone to step and lead in the areas God has gifted them.

I have counted all these things as blessings because they have refined me and drawn me closer to my Father. God is bigger than I imaged. His love and heart for the lost has changed me from the inside out. I had plans before this amazing race, I had desires for my life. It has been rewarding to think back and challenging to think forward. God is giving me peace about my next steps and showing me how to trust Him.

I have learned a deeper meaning of relying on Christ to be my strength, friend, shoulder, trust, and love I need. I wouldn’t ever trade all of this hard stuff for the comfortable stuff of my past. I am a different person now because of the hard stuff and I am never going back.

Forever changed baby! The Glass Slippers are Off!!

I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mothers or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30 NIV

WHAT DAY and YEAR IS IT?

OHMYGOSH. We are still here, still breathing, I think. So sorry for the long unexplained absence. We are perfect, happy and nothing is wrong.
We have been soooooo busy here in the states and then before I knew it we put up the Christmas tree, put the lights on it, and listened to a Christmas CD – once – and then unexpectedly it was 2015.
TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN. WHAT!!
Then I suddenly let this blog sit here for a couple of months and I feel like my first post back should be EPIC. Groundbreaking! Earth Shattering! … And I didn’t have a post and so I didn’t write anything and thus began the endless cycle of non-posting, increasing pressure and unhappiness, because I would love to blog everyday and not be weighed down by my own invented pressures.
But here I am ripping off the bandage and I have nothing Epic for you. I know how boring it is to listen to someone talk about how busy they have been; like you are not busy. (But not too busy to read this blog!! Thank you!)
The truth is we have been super busy working on projects for the NAMULESA ALL GIRL’S CHRISTIAN SCHOOL in Uganda. Last year we were still gung-ho on building an 80-bed orphanage, but after crunching numbers (oh what fun!!), it was not realistic for us to support and fund this many children along with staff expenses. Our finances have been cut due to the economy, so our board unanimously voted to turn the building into a girl’s Christian school. The school will be self-sustaining because of school fees. And we will be the only All Girl’s Christian School in a 4 district area. Along with the construction of the school, we have been reconstructing a building that is at Trace Creek Mission. We are moving a pastor to this mission and he and his family need a place to live. Pastor Joshua, Alice (his wife), Eve, Faith, Joy, Sherry and their newest, Richard.(I wonder where they got the last two names!) We are reconfiguring the building for them to live in and adding a pit latrine.(see pic below)
We will be returning soon to Uganda. Richard will continue with the construction of the school and we both will get back to our first love of evangelizing. Since we started the orphanage, it seemed that all our time went into it and we realized that our first love was missing. So we will be evangelizing, discipleship training, and conducting pastors and ladies conferences. Oh the fun we will have!! We are super excited. We already have conferences lined up with our churches and everyone is waiting for our return to Uganda. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 states: In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
Here in the states, we moved our store (Heart To Hand Resale Clothing) to Murray, KY in July 2014. Business is progressing and tax season is upon us, (preparing year-end taxes is always enjoyable) and then we are busy bracing ourselves for the Spring/Summer season that starts the middle of February.
Anyway, I wanted to let you know what’s going on in Uganda and here in America. I hope you stick around and take a look at our blog. I really like you being here. If you’d like to be notified when there are new posts, just follow our blog and you will get new posts via email! Isn’t that just so fancy!
I have missed you but can you tell me how can it be February 2015 already, where did January go????

Evangelizing We Will Go

A team member witnessing to a local village woman,.

A team member witnessing to a local village woman,.

Fred was a medical student. He was stricken with the dreaded scourage, consumption. The physicians advised a trip to the mountains. During the first few months among the Rockies he improved rapidly, and hope and ambition flamed anew; but it was only a brief respite from suffering before the final collapse. Lying in a Denver hospital, he was visited by some consecrated young people, who sang and prayed with him. He yielded himself to Christ, and the peace of God filled his heart.

They brought him home to a little Iowa city to die. The day after his arrival the pastor was summoned to his bedside, where the young man related the circumstances of his conversion. The pastor said, “Then you are not afraid to die.” “No,” he said, “not afraid, but not ready.”

When asked why he was not ready, he replied: “I have done nothing for my Master. I have won no souls for him. Could I have six months more to live that I might bring some souls to Jesus, and thus not go into his presence empty-handed, I would be satisfied to die. I am not afraid to die but not ready.” Just then the door of the room opened, and the dying boy’s father, an old, white-haired man who had been absent for home and had not seen his son since his return came in. The old man was not a Christian. Then occurred a pathetic scene. The young man threw his arms about his father’s neck, and drew him down upon his knees at the bedside, urged him to give himself to God, and then, with shortening breath, uttered such a prayer of intercession as is seldom heard. The old man sobbed aloud, yielded to Christ, declared his faith, and the dying boy had won one soul for his Master. In a few hours he had gone into the presence of the King; but not empty-handed.

O ye to whom God has given the strength and vigor of manhood and womanhood, and who have pledged your allegiance to the Christ of Calvary, are you winning any souls for your Master? Or are you going into his presence empty-handed? What if in the judgement day it shall be seen that some souls who might have been saved have been lost through your neglect? What if it shall be seen that the crown of many stars which you might have won is given to another? And what, if in the great day of his appearing you shall be found, having gathered no sheaves and empty-handed? From the book, The Art of Soul Winning” by J.W. Mahood, Evangelist, 1901.

In 2003, we hosted a team of 13 Americans on a two week mission trip to Uganda. I had scheduled out every day from what time to eat breakfast, what village mission church we were going to, who was evangelizing and going hut to hut, who was doing VBS, who was going to do children’s church, how much bottle water was needed to what time to leave the village before it got dark and what time supper would be ready. On one particular day, before leaving for the village, I remember one young lady very upset and crying. When asked what was wrong, she said she was upset and very scared about speaking to people about Gods salvation. You see she had never witnessed to anyone before. She did wonderful that day after we all stood around her and prayed that God would put someone in her path so that she may show them the road to salvation.

So today, I ask you, when was the last time you led someone to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Will you meet him with stars in in your crown or are you going empty-handed?

Are We Too Busy For God

walk with god
When I was manager for a doctor’s office, I use to have a sign that read, “Organized People Are Just Too Lazy To Look For It.” Back then, I was organized. No, I’m not talking organized; I’m talking ORGANIZED. If pillows on my bed were not just so, I stand back and look at the bed and redo them over and over until it is perfect. The busyness of a doctor’s office left no time to constantly look for something when it should have been right where it should have been.

Over the years, I still like things organized. Since Nelson is in middle school and involved in sports, right now it is football, working at the Heart To Hand Store from 8:00 – 6:00 and then running to football games and then driving 20 minutes home, my day is busy, busy, and even busier when I get home. (One of the reasons I haven’t posted to this blog in a while….too busy!) I realize that sometimes busyness is regarded highly. Ambitious men and women are admired and rewarded for their dedicated focus on their careers. Mothers who juggle all their kids’ activities while caring for the home and pursuing an occupation are labeled “supermoms.” Overloaded students who run from school to sports to enrichment activities are promised bright futures for their efforts.

It seems we have fallen into this “busy bandwagon.” How many of us collapse into bed each night completely exhausted, only to get up the next day and start the race all over again? I know that I do. Maybe it’s time to step off this treadmill of endless activity and get some priorities corrected. I get so busy that sometimes I forget to grab my Bible, sit down with the Lord for a time of self-examination. We live in a fast paced society that there is simply more to do in one day than there is time to do it. But some people actually thrive on hectic lifestyles and over commitment. They find great satisfaction in completing every task and are eager to add more challenges to their day.

Let me say though, that being busy is not a bad thing. God has entrusted us with responsibilities like providing for our family, ministering at church, or serving our community. We are not to neglect these responsibilities but we must safe guard not to let them get in front of the most important things. We need to consider if our busyness interferes with the work that God has planned for us. Over committment can damage our relationship with the Lord. God wants us to have a close relationship with him but will our activities crowd him out? We need time with God by giving him our most precious commodity—uninterrupted, unhurried time alone in His presence.

Luke 10:38-42, we read that Jesus dropped by to visit His good friends. Martha was distracted with all the preparations while Mary was seated at the Lord’s feet listening to His every word. Martha was doing a good thing in serving Jesus but she lost sight of being still and listening to Him. As we all know, it is easy to become so busy doing God’s work that we simply have no time to be with Him. We can become too busy to set aside a quiet time to seek His direction for each day, we will have no idea if we are doing what He wants. If we are so intent on doing our own plans, we have no time for His.

The moment you commit to follow the Lord by slowing your pace down and doing things His way, will be worth the effort. We can overload our schedules to where the seams are bursting but the frenzy will end when we find the joy of an intimate relationship with Jesus and the absolute thrill of pursuing His will for our lives.

Starting today, let’s get off this treadmill and go for a long walk with God. Whatta you say???

 

Can We Get Too Excited?

Richie Wilkerson leading others to Jesus. He used his voice.

Richie Wilkerson leading others to Jesus. He used his voice.

Recently, Richard and I were told that when Richard speaks about the ministry in Uganda, that he gets too excited and that some in this particular church did not think it was appropriate. As I sat and I considered those words, a verse came to my mind, Luke 19: 28-40; the disciples getting the donkey, robes laid out, branches waving, people shouting with joy. Then the Pharisees, wanting Jesus to rebuke the disciples for their exuberance. Jesus responds, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Jesus was so great, the importance of his life and death so magnificent, that if no one chose to receive it, creation would burst forth and do it for all. (The trees in the field will clap their hands.)
The spirit of the Pharisees is alive in our culture today too. We hear it when culture says “keep your religion to yourself.” “Whatever you do, don’t be loud about it.”
Look back at the scripture. It had come time to be loud and exuberant. This had to be said and people who had been gifted by God to speak were shouting Hosanna. And the spirit of the Pharisees was hard at work, “Teacher rebuke your disciples.” And Jesus had one answer, “I tell you if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
If those who are gifted with the ability to speak remain silent, then those things that do not have the gift of speech will cry out. Creation will cry out in the only way that it can, all of creation will cry out if we remain silent, if we refuse to put our faith into words. Some things have to be said.
If I ask you what makes you angry, joyful, excited or passionate, what would you say? I get angry when I hear of a child being abused. When I hear about loyal love, I am deeply moved. An exquisite arrangement of words on a page fills my heart with passion. A story of someone’s heartbreak grieves me. Talking about Christ stirs me up. When coupled with Gods calling on our life, these passions point in the direction that deeply impacts people on a spiritual and emotional level.
Remember your purpose is not just about you, it is about what God wants to do through you. Therefore, if you ignore it or neglect what others say about you, your gifts, your passion, you are not only betraying yourself, you are betraying God, because He has called you to a purpose and wants you to walk in it – for others and for your own joy. Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” And then 1 Peter 4:14 tells us that “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” Thank you God!
God has walked our journey, known our lives, carried our sorrows, and forgiven our failures.
For those people in that particular church who said that we get too excited when we talk about what God is doing in Uganda, all I can say is:
All the colors of the rainbow.
All the voices of the wind.
Every dream that reaches out, reaches out to find where love begins.
Every word of every story.
Every star in every sky.
Every corner of creation lives to testify.
For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love.
I’ll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough.
With every breath I take
I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love.

(Testify by Avalon)

I Am An Isaiah 54 Woman? Are you?

With Mother’s Day being today, it would only be appropriate to share a scripture that I love and which is very near to my heart. Years ago, I came across this verse and applied it to my life.

“Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband, says The Lord.

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.”

You see I have never had children naturally. But I do have two adopted Ugandan children and am the mother of 21 children at our orphanage, Timothy’s Home For The Children. So when people ask: “How many children do you have?” I tell them that I Am An Isaiah 54 Woman.

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We Are Young

It’s hard to be young, especially when poverty expects that they will fail. Challenges of drugs, sex,  crime, and idleness tell them that this life is as good as it gets. Give them an opportunity to go to school, to express themselves, to be healthy, loved and you will see courage, beauty and pride rise from the rubble of defeat.

Children from Timothy's Home

Children from Timothy’s Home

David and Paul both love animals. If the boys continue to do well with their schooling, we will eventually see that they go to veterinary school.

David and Paul with goats

David and Paul with goats

Insanity??

childreninvillagepoorYou can stand at the filthy mud hut and look up at the remarkable clouds that dance across the enormous stretch of the African sky. There’s heartbreak and yet beauty at the same time. Weighed down by the insanity of this broken world, it is difficult to understand how the pieces fit. The same earth that holds the fragrance of a field of flowers can also occupy the stench of Wagari cooking (home-brew made with green bananas). This is Uganda and God is there.

Take 2 And Call Me In The Morning

Filling His Nets would like to thank Nick Hatton and Duncan’s Prescription Center for the medical supplies that will be for Timothy’s Home For The Children. Nick and Duncan’s does this for us every year and we appreciate it. There are bandages, triple antibiotic ointment, iron tablets, multivitamins, iodine, ring worm ointment, Ibuprofen liquid and tablets, Acetaminophen liquid and tablets, and about 40 bottle of cough syrup plus much more medicine. 

Timothy’s Home For The Children’s nurse, Jan’et  said all the children are healthy and no one has been ill for a long time. We are expecting the children to return from their guardians homes next week so I will not be surprised if some of them return with malaria, rashes, flu and runny noses. 

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