We are here in Tororo, teaching a conference on Marriage for three days.

[From Gail]

We have been here for two weeks now, and I am finally falling into the rhythm of things here in Africa. It sure is different from home.  Traveling all over the place on muddy and rutted roads during one of their several rainy seasons and coming to our destination to find smiling and welcoming faces.

As Bob has written, we had a week on Buvuma Island teaching the different subjects that will be tested in June.  Some of the students have caught the ideas and will probably do well on the exam if they study. Others will have quite a bit of trouble as education is often unavailable in such isolated places – so the study skills of many are minimal. There are some who cannot read, and I don’t know how they will prepare for the test, which is why the Institute provides a non-exam level certificate AND an oral exam. However, every student has opted for the exam, so we will see…. Still there was an atmosphere of excitement about the upcoming graduation. Quite a big thing to be happening on Buvuma Island! We are proud of their consistent attendance.

Now we are in Tororo on the east side of Uganda and have begun a three-day Marriage Conference. The first day went very well. I think Bob taught some concepts that surprised the people. One of the topics we spent some time with is The Blessing. This is an Old Testament idea that has been passed down through the centuries.  Fathers blessed their children and they then blessed their children and so on. But now, in 2018, we as the church seem to have lost this gift that we all need.  To know we are loved by our parents, that they have hopes and dreams for us, that they are proud of us, these are the things that gladden our hearts.  Without our parents’ blessing, we search in all the wrong places to get it, and with all the wrong people to find that acceptance and love. I think if our parents had known or understood this, they would have gladly given the blessing. Even in the U.S., It seems a lost gift.

 

But just because we might not have been blessed in this manner doesn’t mean that we can’t go to our real Father and receive the love and acceptance and encouragement He has for us. He is just a breath away.  As we learn and mature in our relationship with Jesus, it then is our responsibility to pass this blessing on to our spouse and children. They are just waiting, even if they don’t know how to ask for it. We can bless our family any day, any time and often.

So, what do I mean, “give a blessing?” How would I do such a thing? Mostly, it is praying, usually out loud so that your blessing can be received, but even silent touch is effective in communicating that you love and accept someone. The added element that can be very meaningful is to place your right hand on the person’s head.  It seems so simple and yet, as Bob has prayed for me like this when I have been troubled or afraid, My spirit is calmed and I can relax and go on with whatever had disturbed me.

So, there you have one of the things we are sharing with our Ugandan friends. Eyes were opened all around, and when they practiced it with each other, spouse to spouse – wife’s hand pressed to her husband’s heart and husband’s hand resting gently on his wife’s head, hearts were shifted in this small room where we are gathered. Something spiritual was transferred from the throne of God into this physical realm in the hearts of those receiving the blessing.

And Blessing on you all, for this is what you were called to – 1 Peter 3:9. Thanks for your love, support and prayers!

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