Tag Archives: Prayer

Ezekiel’s Journey

“Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” Psalm 25:4-5 (NLT) Pixabay

Miracles of Living Hope

Marilyn Uhl will be the first to tell you that establishing and running Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya couldn’t happen without God.  She will also tell you that the longer she’s in Africa, the stronger her faith grows.  Marilyn has seen God work things out in strange and powerful ways when even she didn’t believe He would.  “I don’t know why we don’t have total faith because He never lets us down.” she reminds us.  “He might not answer us the way we want or when we want, but He always has our good in mind.”  The Living Hope journey continues with true stories of the miraculous ways God is working in the lives of Marilyn and her students.

Eziekiel’s Journey

Most of us cannot imagine living in the world that Ezekiel was living in during the post-election violence of 2007.  His whole country had erupted into tribal warfare, corruption was rampant, and no one could be trusted. At the time, Ezekiel’s parents were teaching their children the family business of preparing alcohol to sell to customers. It was a dangerous business, not one suited for children; but was the means of survival for them all.  Thankfully, Ezekiel’s parents also believed in the importance of school, so he had attended elementary classes and was excited to enter 7th grade with his friends, but… a brutal attack changed everything.

Ezekiel’s family lived in a mud and grass hut on land bordering another tribe.  It would be that tribe who would take everything from Ezekiel.  The tribal leaders decided they wanted the land the family owned and so in the dark of night, they surrounded the small home and set the roof on fire.  Ezekiel’s father was the first to confront the trespassers.  He was killed immediately.  His mother then ran from the home and Ezekiel watched in horror as she was dragged, screaming into the bush never to be seen again.  As the roof of the hut began to collapse, the children had no choice but to leave the “safety” of the hut, too.  Miraculously, the attacking tribesmen weren’t interested in the kids. With fear propelling them, they scattered into the pitch-black night.

Separated from what was left of his family and with no way to communicate with his brothers and sisters, Ezekiel decided to try and make it to his Uncle who lived on the family home place. It would be a long, hard journey.  Ezekiel was thirteen and his life had been violently ripped from him.  Getting to his Uncle was the only way he could see to start a new life and so he began to walk. He walked all day and hid himself along the road to sleep at night.  He walked and walked and walked some more all the while trying not to think about how hungry he was. Terrorized by the memories of what had happened to his family, exhausted, with no food, no money, he continued to put one foot in front of the other.  Ezekiel will tell you that he didn’t know Jesus at this time so he wasn’t praying, but hope still arrived in the form of a rumbling sound behind him.  He knew the approaching truck would take him into town.  In a split second, just as the truck passed by, Ezekiel leapt onto the back of the semi and held on for his very life!  Once on, he knew he couldn’t safely get off until the truck came to a stop; so there he was, a young boy, weak from hunger, clinging with all his might as the truck made its way over bumps and around curves in the small hope that he was on the final leg of his journey to a new life.When the truck finally arrived at its destination, Ezekiel literally fell off the back. He’d held on to the truck for so long he could hardly stand.  It had taken him two weeks to get to this point and he was exhausted, but from deep within, Ezekiel found his strength and finally made it to his Uncle’s home.

Ezekiel settled in and returned to school.  He was informed that he would have to repeat Grade 6 but he never gave up because he knew that education was important. Ezekiel moved on to High School.  He hadn’t been able to pay the fees but the teachers let him attend until he could get the money.  At the end of the second term Ezekiel still was unable to pay and so the school sent him home.

In the time Ezekiel had spent with his Uncle, he’d come to know and accept Jesus as his Savior.  As time passed and it looked like school wouldn’t be possible, Ezekiel’s Uncle reminded him not to worry, but rather to pray. And pray he did.  One evening Ezekiel’s Uncle went with friends to a wedding.  While traveling back and forth his Uncle learned of Living Hope High School and the help they provide for students who can’t afford an education.  Hearing this, Ezekiel’s prayers increased.  Waiting was hard but he knew his journey wasn’t over.  January turned into April and finally Ezekiel was asked to go to Living Hope for an interview. He soon received his admission letter and found himself a student at Living Hope High School. Ezekiel was dedicated to learning as much as he could both in his subjects and about the Bible, all the while thanking God for the miracle of continuing his education.

Ezekiel’s journey was difficult.  It was long.  It wasn’t the one he’d ever planned to take, and yet, he is right where he’s meant to be! He graduated from Living Hope High School and now is studying Dentistry at the University.  Ezekiel says he was lost, but God found him and step by step led him to his future. He now plans to use his skills as a dentist to give back to his community. More than that though, it is Ezekiel’s greatest hope to tell everyone he meets his story about God and all that He has done; inviting them (and now you) to join him on the miraculous journey that leads to everlasting life!

“So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do?  Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.  When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’” Luke 15:3-6 (NLT)

copyright Living Hope High School, Bungoma, Kenya

For more information on Living Hope High School, go to www.livinghopehighschool.org

Murunga’s Miracles: The Secret Weapon

Miracles of Living Hope

Marilyn Uhl will be the first to tell you that establishing and running Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya could not happen without God. She will also tell you that the longer she’s in Africa, the stronger her faith grows. Marilyn has seen God work things out in strange and powerful ways even when she didn’t believe He would.  “I don’t know why we don’t have total faith because He never lets us down.” she reminds us. “He might not answer us the way we want or when we want, but He always has our good in mind.”  The Living Hope journey continues with these true stories of the miraculous ways God is working in the lives of Marilyn and her students.

Pixabay

Murunga’s Miracles:  The Secret Weapon

At times, Murunga still worried that he would wake up and the life he now knew would be nothing but a dream.  No longer would he be a graduate of Living Hope High School or a Hospitality Major in college. Thinking back to where he was just a few years ago to where he was now, felt almost too good to be true.

But here he was, on his detachment (internship) at the museum.  Murunga enjoyed the work and had so impressed the museum manager that he’d left Murunga in charge while he was away. Things were going smoothly until Murunga looked out the window.  What he saw sent chills down his spine and put fear in his heart.  FIRE! Smoke and flames rose from the grass down the hill from the museum and were headed his way.  Not knowing what to do, he picked up the phone and called the only person he knew he could depend on.

Marilyn listened to Murunga’s panicked voice on the other end of the phone line.  He quickly reported that he thought someone must have thrown a cigarette down and now the grass was ablaze.   She heard a click on the other end and Murunga was gone.

Not five minutes later Marilyn’s phone rang again.  The pitch of Murunga’s voice told her that the situation had worsened.  Words spilled rapidly as Murunga described what he saw out the museum window.  Not only had the fire grown but now the wind was whipping the flames in a path that led directly to him and the museum he’d grown to love. All he could think about were the ancient artifacts and precious pottery that would be lost, never to be replaced, if the fire reached the walls of the museum. Murunga needed a miracle and he needed it at that very moment!

Rushing outside, Marilyn found a large group of girls sitting together washing greens for supper.  She recounted all Murunga had told her.  They immediately put down the greens and with Marilyn, they began to pray together: some in English, some in Swahili, and still others in their own tongue.  They prayed fervently in unison, their voices becoming louder and louder with each word.

The ringing of Marilyn’s phone sent a hush through the group.  It was Murunga. In disbelief he announced that for no reason at all, the fire had died.  He couldn’t understand why the flames that had been furiously consuming the dry, brittle grasses had suddenly gone out.  His confusion didn’t last long however, as Marilyn explained that she knew why the fire had been extinquished; they had used a “secret weapon”…..prayer.

That day has significant importance for Murunga, Marilyn, and the students.  Not just because God provided the miracle of extinguishing the fire, but also because it was the first time the “secret weapon” had been used.  Oh, prayer is a regular part of the day on the Living Hope campus, but on this day there was nothing regular about that prayer!  Those Spirit filled words lifted to Heaven-when everyone was praying for the same thing, at the same time, and determined not to stop until something happened-changed everyone. They gained a new understanding that together, their prayers are powerful!

The Secret Weapon is now a vital part of life at Living Hope High School.  Murunga continues to learn much as he works in the once threatened museum. But the most important lesson he’s gained is the knowledge that God offers us great power in prayer; a power we don’t use often enough; a power that can put out a fire in a field and at the same time light one in the souls of those who accept it.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

copyright Living Hope High School, Bungoma, Kenya

For more information on Living Hope High School, go to www.livinghopehighschool.org

Commercials In My Worship Time?

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I’ve been on a quest recently to improve my personal worship time; to make it more meaningful and fervent. My goal was to take time (linger for the right reason) and create an atmosphere of thanksgiving, adoration, and prayer.  Because I love music I knew that’s where this special time with God would begin.  I don’t know about you, but praise music makes me feel about as close to Heaven as anything can.  I grabbed my iPad, hit the Pandora app choosing the Praise station and soft notes filled my room.  The uplifting words filled my soul.  My breathing slowed and my heart soared. “WOULD YOU LIKE TO IMPROVE YOUR BRAIN?” What was happening?  “TOUCH THE AD NOW TO LEARN MORE!”  Startled, I became drawn away from God by a commercial in my worship time! 

Now, thinking back, this wasn’t the first time I’ve experienced a “station break” while in worship.   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve created grocery lists, to-do lists, even written blog posts in my mind in the midst of a prayer. Have you been there? Or as I’m in a time of praise and thanksgiving, an unanswered prayer or unmet want vies for my attention changing my attitude in a moment. My wandering mind tends to be more focused on the propaganda of my life than it is on being in worship with the One who died to save my life!

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” Colossians 3:1-2 (NLT)

When I’m creating a new “personal worship time” instead of worshiping the Creator, thinking about things I have to do instead of thanking Him for all the things He’s done, or holding onto feelings that I shouldn’t instead of praising the One who holds me in His nail-scarred hand; my focus is on “the things of earth”…ME!

In the end, God doesn’t care if I have a new and improved worship time.  There isn’t a worship script He asks us to follow.  The truth is that worship isn’t about us at all.  Worship is ALL about God and who He is…..”setting our sights on the realities of Heaven”. 

“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth:  Worship the Lord with gladness.  Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God!

He made us, and we are his.  We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.   Give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”  Psalm 100

So let’s not just think about it; let’s play the music, sing the songs, lift the prayers, give the thanks, and Worship “for the Lord. Is. Good!” Oh, and those commercials?  There’s always the mute button!

Magnify

Uplift

Thank

Exalt

 It’s #livefreeThursday an today at http://www.tsuzanneeller.com the prompt is worship.

 

A Light in the Dark ~ A Living Hope Story

“No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” Matthew 5:15 (NLT) Pixabay

This is the fourth in a series of miraculous true stories about Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya.  Stories that share the divine inspiration and dedication to helping students of poverty, who once had no hope, reach their full potential.

When Marilyn returned to her storage building classroom she found things much as she had left them. The teacher she’d hired before she left and her freshman class welcomed her back. She embraced her role of teacher again right away. They spent long days together in the dark shed using every moment of daylight they could for learning.  The students flourished academically and they developed a respect and admiration for Marilyn.

Because the students and Marilyn ate and slept at Rehema Orphanage, she encountered the Director regularly.  He was an influential man who flaunted his position, wearing suits while those around him wore meager clothing. He owned a car while others walked for miles. His quarters were equipped with running water while the children in his care had to haul theirs.  Marilyn suspected he’d been the one to take the money she’d donated instead of using it for firewood. As time passed, the Director couldn’t hide his jealousy of Marilyn’s success.  He also made it clear that he knew about her bank account and he coveted that money.  The situation became so unbearable she knew she had to find a way out!

When Marilyn heard of an empty building down the road, she planned to leave with the kids in the dark of  night to find it.  Once again, God had a better plan!  “Unexpectedly,” the Director was called away from the orphanage in the middle of the day.  Taking advantage of his absence, Marilyn packed everything she could and with her partner teacher, led their 25 students away from the only home they’d ever known. In the light of the afternoon sun the students and teachers walked four miles until they came upon a long, abandoned, mud building. Peering through one of the many doors that lined the hut, Marilyn discovered it was much like looking into a cave.  The inside was dark and the air was damp.  There were no windows, no electricity, no bathroom, no water of any kind, dirt floors, with small spears of light piercing the darkness through holes in the old, rusty metal roof. What was she going to do?  A kind looking gentleman and a gruff looking, wild-haired woman approached the worried teachers and their exhausted students. After some negotiation, the old man and his wife agreed to rent the dilapidated building to Marilyn at a reasonable price. Unpacking began and soon the two rooms on each end of the building were designated as the dormitory rooms, boys on one end, girls on the other. The two middle rooms became classrooms leaving only a small space for each teacher.  School was back in session.

All was not smooth sailing, however.  Marilyn was on her own in an unfamiliar place, conditions were primitive, and she was now a teacher/mother to 25 teenagers. She was also receiving threatening messages from the Director she’d left behind.  He found subtle ways to instill fear into the students and teachers.  He attacked her confidence and caused her to doubt her ability.  Finally, when he went as far as sending one of his workers to lie in wait for the opportunity to run Marilyn off the road; she’d had enough!  She rallied the students and together they began to pray as they never had before, asking God to put the “devil” behind them! Those dark days soon faded as their prayers were answered and the threats stopped. The challenges however, kept right on coming. Marilyn was quickly learning that starting a school literally from the dirt up entailed much more than just buying books.  Basic things like pots and pans, mattresses, food, and kerosene lamps needed to bring light to their dark rooms, were just the beginning. Her dwindling savings account was a reminder of the enormity of this undertaking.  On top of that, the landlord was unable to make the needed improvements so Marilyn found herself building a latrine, patching holes, AND teaching the students!  It soon became clear, that if she was truly going to establish a school she had to have more space! Marilyn didn’t know how she’d find her way; but God had been her light in the dark many times before and she had faith He’d show her the way this time, too.

~copyright Living Hope High School, Bungoma Kenya

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NIV)