HARVEST ACADEMY: In the beginning…

Tr. RebeccaTr. AngellaTr. DoreenTr. CathyTr. DianaTr. Johnny

When Chris and I decided to homeschool our children in 2010, I had no idea the kind of journey I had just subscribed to by saying yes to that call. With all the doubts and fears, I took the leap of faith to instruct two precious ones at home with an understanding that I was committing to two children for the next 12-15 years of my life. How wrong!

Warning signs began to show when I had friends express interest in entrusting their children with us in the homeschool. As you can imagine, I would not hear of it. At the time, I felt like two children were ENOUGH! Four hours a day of questions, energy, life and exploration with a two year and a five year old daily was enough to make me break sweat without a jog! Lemuel is always experimeting with anything ranging from collecting insects, creating mixtures of harpic, jik, dissolvved soap, perfume, omo, and baking powder, small time hiome made bombs from the black substance on a matchstick, electrical experments and anything else he can land his hands on. And he has managed to recruit his meticulous and organised sister into the mix. To imagine that I can multiply that by 20, 50, 100, 200 or more students with time was not a welcome idea. At all!

But God has this incredible sense of humor. Being heavily involved on leadership team, I was very aware that Worship Harvest had a plan to start a school in response to the fifth global giant: Illiteracy. Every time our Lead Pastor Moses talked about it, I got extremely  agitated with conviction to step up to the challenge: Lead the education part of the church vision. As if that was not enough, for about a year every time I arrived at Worship Harvest Naalya for garage, a swarm of children run to me automatically. If they arrived later than I did, they came to me to say hello before they settled in their seat. Well, eventually I said yes and the journey began.

Today, I look back on 2014 in amazement at how far we have come. I did respond to the call to think beyond our two-student homeschool and chose to believe that God indeed knows the end from the beginning. For the next three weeks, I will be giving you a sneak peak into the world through the eyes of some of our students who make me absolutely proud. I am forever thankful that I said yes to the call to Harness the Greatness in every child and raise them to be leaders that transform their communities.

To begin with, I would like to celebrate the amazing laides and one young man who literally gave their lives, time, resources, sweat, tears, homes, name it to set this ball rolling. They were there in the beginning when we ferried saucepans, plates, cups, buckets, and all kinds of kitchen equipment to keep in the office because the kitchen itself was not ready. They were there in the beginning when all of us did everything-recieve children, go to the bank, go to the market fo shopping, cook the children’s meals, wash dishes, take them swimming (all of us apart from the chef went along), cleaning our three calssrooms and so many other activities involved in setting up a new school. We have weathered all kinds of storms together and we have shared intense joys together as well (I will never forget the kitagururo dance we had in the office on the last day of the first year!)

Rebecca, Angella, Doreen, Cathy, Diana, and Johnny: You are my superwomen and superman. It would have not been the same without you. I am absolutely proud of you. You have made Harvest Academy shine and this story can never be told without your names being printed on the very first pages because you were there….. In the beginning!

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Today I celebrate 24 years of an active vibrant relationship with the lover of my soul, my best friend: Jesus Christ.

It was one afternoon in the Bweranyangi G. S.S.S Old Dining Hall (ODH as we dearly referred to it) when I could not deny the tenderly strong urgency in my heart to walk forward in response to the call to nearly 600 girls to give our lives to Christ. A group of born again boys from Ntare School were concluding a play about Jesus with the actor walking to the edge of the stage with arms stretched out towards the audience. They had excellently displayed the sacrifice Jesus went through on the cross just so we could be reconciled to God. The image that stays with me to date is the scars of the nails that were driven through His hands.

I knew in that moment that I needed to walk forward. There was a witness deep within that truly “Jesus Loves Me!” My response to the call was not one of the fear of hell, but rather one of the beloved who suddenly comes fact to face with the magnetic power of love. Like the Shulamite, I could hear His voice drawing me to Himself, inviting me to come away with Him and I was totally taken.

The voice of my beloved!

Behold, he comes

Leaping upon the mountains,

Skipping upon the hills.

My beloved spoke, and said to me.

‘Rise up, my love, my fair one,

And come away.’

My beloved is mine and I am his.

He feeds his flock among the lilies”

Song of Solomon 2:8, 10, 16

 

24 years later, the first words I heard from the lover of my soul this morning were;

“Remember throughout today that I love you. Meditate on it. Think about it. Reflect on it. I love you.

So if you meet me today, chances are rather high that I will be singing the old powerful Sunday school song:

Yes! Jesus loves me!

Yes! Jesus loves me!

Yes! Jesus loves.

The bible tells me so.

OPERATION: MIND THE BINUSU

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A lot has been said and written about wealth and financial resource but I find one story in Genesis chapter 41 quite intriguing. This young guy named Joseph has been through hell on earth and back. He thought he had a glimpse of his bright future but the dreams disappear in thin air when his brothers sell him off into slavery. A glimmer of hope – gaining favor while working for Potiphar for whom he had interpreted a dream – is cut off when Potiphar’s wife accuses him of attempted rape.

To cut the long story short, Joseph winds up before Pharoah from yet another prison; again to interprete a dream. God honors him with an opportunity to speak incredible wisdom to Pharoah, the kind which eventually saved the nation. By what I believe was God’s ordaining, Pharoah appoints Joseph second in command to himself ensuring that he in charge of implementing this directive.

What follows is nothing short amazing!

47 Now in the seven plentiful years the ground brought forth abundantly. 48 So he gathered up all the food of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities; he laid up in every city the food of the fields which surrounded them. 49 Joseph gathered very much grain, as the sand of the sea, until he stopped counting, for it was immeasurable.

Genesis 41:47-49 (NKJV)

Can you imagine that scenario?

The one common thread in all financial literacy programs is the need to set aside a portion of one’s income for investment. This recommended percentage usually varies on average between 10-20% which allows one to have room for meeting daily needs. Three things stand out for me in Joseph’s story;

  1. Joseph recommended a 20% saving and a specific period in which Pharoah was to follow this saving plan.

34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. 

  1. Joseph had a specific system in place for the saving plan.

35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 

  1. Joseph had a specific reason for the saving;

36 Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.”

I do believe with all my heart that there is a place of such abundance that it is no longer necessary to count. However, we need to recognize that there are years of counting behind the scenes. Years of faithfulness with the resources God gives us, whether a little or much. It is true that there are fundamental disciplines we need to observe in order to reap the best, disciplines like tithe, first fruits and giving. That said, there is a place of faithfulness, consistency, and sheer discipline with our finances. Many of us will listen to teachings on finances and get quite excited. We will go for that seminar, read the book, listen to the preacher, play like cash flow with friends, etc. We leave determined to put into practice whatever it is that we learnt from the experience. Then after a few days, weeks and months, we lose the gusto for different reasons.

Here are a few questions to ponder on from Joseph’s story;

# Do I have a specific percentage you are setting aside for saving?

#Do I have a specific period during which I am going to be saving?

# Are my reasons for saving very clear?

# Do I have systems (however basic in place which I am following? Who am I accountable to? Who is overseeing this project (accountability), where does the money go (bank account?) and how often?

22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain,
Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.

23 Be diligent to know the state of your flocks,
And attend to your herds;
24 For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.
25 When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself,
And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,
26 The lambs will provide your clothing,
And the goats the price of a field;
27 You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food,
For the food of your household,
And the nourishment of your maidservants.

Proverbs 27:22-27

 

#MIND THE BINUSU

HELPER: The Power of Womanhood

Bride and Groom

Over the years I have grown to love attending wedding services because every time I do, I get a refresher on an element concerning marriage. Last Saturday, July 1, 2017 I attended the wedding service of one of the young girls Chris and I have been discipling closely for the last six months. Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi both officiated and preached at the service. He is one of those personalities whose demeanor calls for attention even before he opens his mouth so needless to say, I was all ears.

He spoke about five attributes of love from the famous 1 Corinthians 13 but what struck me hard was a reference he made to the story of creation of man in the book of Genesis. He brought to our attention the fact that Eve was brought to Adam, literally on a silver plate. This was after God declared in verse 18 of chapter 2;

“It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.

The quotation threw my mind on a journey of reflection over my role as a helper. Unfortunately the word helper has become synonymous with a “less than” connotation and yet there is such power in the role. Something else we seem to skip over is the fact that following closely is the little yet powerful word “comparable”. The dictionary meaning of the word “comparable” is  a person or thing able to be likened to another; similar. This implies that the woman is likened, akin to, equivalent, similar to the man. In their creator’s view, the women are in no way less than the men. That said, at the point of her creation the woman’s role was crystal clear! To be a helper.

What does this mean for you and I? What does that even look like in real life? A good place to start is to examine your husband’s life purpose. Then find ways in which you can compliment and support him in order to make him shine in his purpose.

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.” Proverbs 31:11

I find that when I embrace my role as a helper to my husband (aide, teammate, coworker, associate, colleague, partner, right hand woman), there is an indescribable surge of power in the home! My husband is gifted with thinking big picture while I automatically think details. I cannot begin to tell you how many times we have frustrated each other in conversation because as he is painting the big picture I am busy interrupting with the details which disrupt his trail of thought. And then I end up being angry because in my world, I am thinking he is being irrational by not putting all the details into consideration before he goes off into his dream world! However, on the times I have chosen to think of myself as a helper, it has been so peaceful and productive I wonder why I do not stay in that mode all the time! In such a case I would listen to his incredible ideas without interrupting, give it a few hours and then get back to him with the same idea put under the microscope of my excel tendencies. It always works. I am more pleasant and he is willing to listen!

“Her husband is known in gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.” Proverbs 31:23

Being your husband’s helper does not make you less than him. On the contrary, in this role lies the real power of womanhood. Just imagine your husband shining bright and deep joy knowing that even when they may not acknowledge it, you contributed heavily to the product the world is experiencing. And the beauty is you too will shine in the process.

HELPER! The Power of Womanhood.

 

 

 

 

WHAT DO YOU SEE: The Power of a Name

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“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.

19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.

Genesis 2:1, 19

When my husband and I were preparing for the birth of our children, we went through great lengths to find names for both these precious people. We went on the internet to find names that described what we were feeling in our hearts about them. For the firstborn, we were based our decision on the fact that firstborns in the old testament bible times were dedicated to God. Hence, Lemuel– Hebrew name meaning ‘Dedicated to God’. Then came the second child. As we pondered on what she would be called, friends of ours visited us and jokingly mentioned that since both parents are worship leaders, this child should be named Worship. And boom!!! The idea settled in our hearts and she got to be named Sinza – Luganda word meaning ‘Worship’. In the years that have followed, I see a continuous fulfillment of their names daily. At the age of 11, Lemuel is serving as an instrumentalist on the church worship team, he is mindful of people, justice is important, volunteers once in a while with children’s church, is innovative, has never broken a bone (even when they say boys will be boys, they will break bones)and many other things.  At 8, Sinza is singing soprano on the music team, writing songs, does vocal and lyrical practice independently, and is leading people older than herself.

God invites us to co-create with Him. He did not need Adam to do the naming because after all, the work of creation had been completed. But then, He goes ahead and brings each living creature to Adam ‘to see what he would call them’! It almost feels like a test of sorts to me. It seems as if God is checking what Adam’s perspective and thinking is concerning the creature. The last part of verse 19, confirms that He (God) is posing a question to Adam, ‘What do you see?’;

‘And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.’

A name is a powerful thing; a declaration of what someone, something or situation will be. When we receive children at birth, adoption or otherwise, God gives us a clean slate. Everything is else is set for the child – limbs, eyes, ears, nose, internal organs, etc. Only the name is missing! He is waiting to see what we shall name them; what we shall choose to declare over this child for the rest of their lives. Whatever we choose to name them is what they will be!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 18:21

God has given us the privilege of co-creating with Him in naming. Whether it is a child, an event, a health condition, or a situation; whatever you call it, it shall be.

 

A Call to Die

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“Right at the center of the word obedience is the word die: OBE-DIE-NCE.
Doris Mayoli
#FearlessSummit2017

God is calling us to radical obedience. This is a call to die. Dead people have no will, no thoughts, no preferences, no rights, no opinions to offer in an argument, no nothing! To say yes to this Call to die is To give up my own life that He will live His through me.

What does this look like in real life? This looks like giving up my own preconceived ideas of what my life ought to look like and embracing His plan for my life. After all, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

The beauty with saying yes to this call to die is a simple yet rather powerful factor called multiplication. Every seed knows that left alone in a beautiful center piece basket is not to maximize it’s already inherent potential. A farmer knows it is insanity to celebrate the kilograms or tonnes of seed he owns years in, years out! He must plant to get double, triple, times 30, 60 and sometimes 100 fold!!!

Is the call to die a risk? Oh yes it is!!! What if the rains do not come? What if the sun shines too hard? What if the pests come and wipe out my garden? What if the thieves come and harvest my yield in the middle of the night? What if the markets are not giving me the appropriate price for my harvest? What if? What if? What if?

But what if it the opposite? What if you succeed? What if the rains are just enough? What if the sun shines only when it should? What if you have the best season ever? What if He rebukes the devourer from your gardens? What if you get a bumper harvest? What if your seed yields 100 fold? What if the market gives you a ridiculous price for your yield? What if? What if? What if? You see, you will never know until your plant that seed!

This is a call to radical obedience, a call to die! To say yes to this call is to yield to the possibility of Multiplying yourself 10 fold, 20 fold, 30, 60 or even 100 fold. What would it look like to have a million people just like you? On this discipleship journey, we are called first to Come and see, then we graduate to Come and follow. Friends, we are no longer babes. The time has come. It is now time to COME AND DIE.

Let Go and Let God! Take a risk. Take a step of faith. Take that leap. Take that jump. It will be worth it. Yours will be one of those referred to as A life well lived.

Birthing the Dream

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I had been told that when the time came, I needed to be walking to and fro as much as possible. Being quite literal, that’s exactly what I did. On that morning, my husband Chris and I went for the routine morning walk in preparation for delivery. A pain kept presenting after every ten minutes but I ignored it. After all, it felt like the usual crumps accompanying the monthly cycle every woman goes through. This was not new at all! Of course Chris wanted us to go to the hospital immediately but I reminded him rather firmly that the experts said first pregnancy labor took hours, sometimes up to 48 hours. I was not willing to go spend my precious time in a hospital for all that time.

I paced the whole day up until about 5pm when I thought it a good idea to go to our good friends’ house and play piano as a way of distracting myself from the discomfort. (Laughable in retrospect!) Just before we left the house, my waters broke! Just like that. No words can appropriately describe the 4 hours that followed.  The baby was coming out, hook or crook. My husband drove like a madman through the traffic and I still wanted him to speed up. On arrival at the hospital, the nurse announced that I was going through what is called precipitated labor, the kind that progresses real fast from 0 to 10 cm dilation. With every birth pang, the strength that was going through my body is the kind Chris says could move a stuck truck! I remember during the delivery of our second child, I carried Chris and the doctor with both my hands off the floor!

On both occasions, after much sweat, screams, broken toilet seats, no more covering for privacy, midwife pressing my upper tummy to aid the child’s delivery, doctor’s orders, lots of blood, stitches, name it, the ordeal ended. Thankfully, it ended with a child in arms, joy indescribable from relief that it was finally over and looking forward to the fact that now I could sleep comfortably through the night. Well, details of what happens after in the next episode.

Every one of us has a dream, never mind that our gestation periods are quite varied. Irrespective of how long you have nursed this idea, when it is time for the dream to be delivered, that’s it. A couple of things in my experience giving birth to children seem to be a direct parallel to the process of birthing dreams. Let’s draw some comparisons.

  1. A sense of agitation. When it is time to deliver, a woman will pace, sit, stand, bend, lie down, wash dishes, scrub the floor; name it. Some even rearrange the house, cook, pack and repack the hospital bag that had already been packed for weeks! There is just a sense of agitation. Nothing seems to settle or satisfy.

Do you feel agitated? Do you feel dissatisfied? Do you feel like it is time to jump? Maybe it is time to birth that dream. You have brooded over the matter, prayed, perhaps even fasted and now, it is time to push it out!

  1. Accelerated progress: With some exceptions, usually when it is time for a child to be born, the body system is designed to go through the delivery in a certain time period. In fact, beyond a couple of hours, the doctors will recommend a caesarean. The waters break, contractions kick into play and the usually composed woman suddenly becomes something else! She is bold, courageous and ready for the event. She is ready to push!

Your system is ready. You can feel a surge of energy flowing through you. It feels like there is no mountain insurmountable. All the blocks in the path appear conquerable! Suddenly, there is an inner courage that you have not experienced before. Everything around you fades. Both eyes are on the prize: The birth of the dream!

  1. Ready helping hands: The waters have broken and the contractions have kicked into play. Everyone around is suddenly in emergency mode. The baby is coming. Even the most unfriendly neighbor will get up from their closed curtains and get the woman to hospital. A taxi man will re-route and the passengers will be okay with it if a woman gets into sudden labor.

When it is time for your dream to be birthed, there are people who suddenly come to your service. They will stop their own programs, short and long term, to attend to you personally in whichever way they are able to at the moment. Some of them will do things they have never done before but they will do it anyway. Some people you will know personally and others not! Whichever way, the helping hands will be available.

  1. Professional helping hands: She arrives at the hospital. The receptionist quickly queues her in, the midwife and doctor on duty are informed. She is wheeled to the labor room which was ready for an incoming mother. When it came to the delivery moment, both my doctors said to me, “Lynnet, now the midwife is going to do her job!”. When it was all done, the doctors returned to do the stitching.

God has put in place professional people in to assist the delivery process of your dream. These are the people who know the ins and outs of what it is you have been dreaming of. They know what you are about to go through and they walk you through the process. On both occasions, I had a midwife literally push over my upper tummy as I gave my final push to have the baby out! They are there to push that dream out with you and clean up whichever messes may come along with it!

  1. Happily Thereafter: The baby is out. Everyone is celebrating. Messages are going around announcing the arrival of the bouncing baby. Flowers pour in. Guests are coming in and out. However, the mother now needs to learn how to feed (first time mothers) and a sense of being overwhelmed sometimes sets in. Yes, there is the relief of carrying this huge bump around but again, it is not as rosy as she had imagined. Colic effects, immunization appointments to keep up with, waking up in the night to feed, and sore breast tips are just a sneak peek into what the mother is experiencing! And this is just the beginning!

The dream has been born. You are excited! What you visualized has finally become reality. You have registered the company. The office is open. Word is out there. You wrote the music, went to studio, and now the album is out. You started that business, church, school, farming project, etc. You posted on face book and friends congratulated you. You are confident this is going to work out! Then suddenly, you are faced with the reality of nurturing this baby crying for everything ranging from hunger, heat, cold, and soiled diapers. It cries for everything! And you are thinking, how did I get myself here? You have mixed feelings because on one hand you are happy and on the other, you are so overwhelmed with the responsibility!

Can you imagine this is just the beginning? We are only at the point of birthing the dream and yet there are still years ahead of us to nurture the dream to maturity!