5"For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

-       Genesis 3:5-7

These past two and half weeks have just been so crazy, we have been so busy with so many unexpected things and we have just been spread pretty thin. About a week ago we had dinner with our friend Seth and hung out all night just talking and having some great quality time with one another. The next day we had a meeting with an organization called LADA, we are partnering with them to build 6 water tanks to provide filtered water for multiple families. Little did we know that while we were at this meeting we were being robbed. When we came home it was around lunchtime so we decided to go into town and grab a bite to eat. When I went and checked where I kept the money it was all gone. Collin went and checked where he kept his money and it was all gone too. All in all we had about $450 dollars stolen from us. You see we can’t use credit cards here or debit cards so we have to carry cash with us at all times.

Our first mistake was not reporting this incident to the police; we figured that there was no way that this person would be caught so why even bother. A couple days later I noticed that my headphones were missing, come to find out they had also been stolen. Another day after that we noticed that our key was missing, someone had gotten into our house and stolen our key. That day we immediately changed all of the locks in the house and changed where we hid all of our money. This whole situation was really unfortunate, it wasn’t the end of the world, but it makes you feel so uncomfortable knowing that someone can just waltz into your house and take whatever they like. Although this was just a bump in the road for us we decided to just surrender it to God and pray for the people that stole it all that they would use the money for good.

God really answers prayers, let me tell ya. Collin and I decided to go to church at the diocese on Sunday morning with our friend Seth. Seth was running a little bit late so we decided to walk to his house to pick him up, when we got there he was having a conversation with a woman named Apothia and she had discovered who broke into our home. Your first thought, you’re probably thinking heck yeah they did, that’s awesome praise God, but you know what the sad thing is……the person is a child, a 12 year old boy named Dickson. Guys, my heart has just been breaking for this kid every since I laid my eyes on him. Maybe I should be angry or upset and you know what, I am, but not at him, I’m mad at Satan and this brings me into what I want to talk about this week. Something I think that has been taken from us from the very beginning and that is innocence. Innocence is something that God has been laying on my heart a lot recently and I think there is a lot to learn from this situation and honesty I think that’s why its happened. A robbing of innocence is something that needs to be talked about because it happens so often and it’s hard to see it coming, but when its gone, its hard to restore it and get it back.

Walking around this town of Rukungiri here in Uganda has taught me so much about Jesus and the freedom we have in him. There are so many children here and every time you see them they scream MIZUNGU at you and wave like they have never waved before. They exude such a raw, true and authentic JOY. You can’t help but smile so wide that you feel like your mouth is going to meet your eyes. Even the adults here will drop everything just to say hello to you and wave. When you look at them they just all seem so innocent, so new and fresh to this life, they haven’t been tainted yet by the simple pleasures and lies that Satan tries to feed to us each and every day. Their innocence is beautiful, such a rare and fine beauty that comes straight from Jesus. This reminds me of Dickson, because when I look upon that boy I see a rough life full of bad decisions that is leading down a dark and dangerous path.

Dickson is an orphan, his mother died when he was young and she never told him who his father was so he has just been bouncing around from relative to relative trying to find his place in this world. Unfortunately Satan sent him someone who deceived him and stole something so precious and valuable and Dickson had no idea what was happening. He was deceived by a false love, a brotherhood, a friend that was using him to do wicked things and damage peoples lives. I feel that is how Satan treats all of us. We were all born innocent, heck Adam and Eve didn’t even know they needed clothes, God wanted us to live lives where we could be carefree and just bask in the light of his love, but Satan, that sneaky little serpent slithered his way in there and stole that innocence from Eve and he has been doing it to us every since.

I know that I have experienced this same robbing of innocence in my own life and if it weren’t for Jesus’s grace, love and mercy, I would not be who I am today and I would not be someone that moved to Africa to share the love of Jesus. The beauty in pursuing Christ is we have the opportunity to have that innocence restored because with Christ at the center of our lives we are made new. We are washed by the blood of Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross takes away all of our sins and we can be fully restored through him. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!!

Then there is Satan, still fighting and trying to make our brothers and sisters believe that they are not worth it and that they all should fall to the flesh because they could never do better. We need to go to battle for our brothers and sisters and ourselves. To quote Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” In Dickson’s case I believe that Satan got a hold of him at a young age and he doesn’t know anything different. Seriously, just seeing this child of God in such a dyer situation it makes me want to slap the Devil in the face, like 5 punches, straight in the nose. That wouldn’t’ do anyone any good but I like to think it might. 

In reality, my heart just breaks for Dickson, and he is lucky he stole from people who are compassionate because if he stole from a Ugandan, he would be severely beaten if not killed. Today we met him again and we were asked if we wanted to beat him, but the only thing we could do was pray for him. God gave us the opportunity to pray with Dickson and it was all I could have asked for. I’m asking that all of you who read this, can you just be praying for this young man? We were able to recover $100 dollars and the police are still looking for the rest, but I don’t care about all that. I just care about Dickson. I pray that his innocence is restored; he said he doesn’t believe in Jesus but he knows who he is and I’m just praying he invites him in. I pray that today God has met him where he is at and that Dickson wakes up hungry for some Jesus time.

There is nothing we can do for this young man at this point but God can do anything and everything. I know for a fact that our paths crossed for a reason and though they may have not been the best circumstances, I know my Jesus can pull good out of any bad situation. We just have to keep our eyes focused on him and he will make all of our crooked paths straight. To quote a line from one X-men, “Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.” Jesus can save us from forever and give us an eternity with him, we may run, we may fail, we may make bad decisions but there is nothing in this world that we can do that can keep us from Gods love. I challenge all of you to not get mad the next time something goes wrong, Collin just loves when I say this, but look at it as if God is trying to teach you something. Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. – Proverbs 3:12

We love you all so much and can’t thank you enough for your love support and encouragement; you are a blessing to us! Please be in prayer for us as we prepare for our team to come this week! God is already moving and working and I can’t wait to see his plan unfold!