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Tension

There are many different types of tension that I am thinking of behind this blog post.

One of which relates to cultural differences that are had to get used to. As I write this, I am sitting in a little lofted restaurant and there is only room for three little groups to sit here. In this kind of setting in the United States, people might be talking, but if they were listening to music or watching something, they would use headphones. Some people sitting by me are listening to the radio loudly from a cell phone…something incredibly common here that has been wearing at me for a while now.

Another tension is being so close to the end of the program that some students are more focused and dedicated, and others are beginning to check out. As a leader, at times it’s hard to not checkout when students do because it seems that there is no point if they don’t care, but I’ve done my best to encourage them to finish strong.

There is also the tension that obviously comes from being in close proximity with people of different personalities constantly with small pockets of breathing room and alone time. It’s hard to be a peacemaker when you’re under pressure and stressed out, but it’s what we’re called to. Realistically, Jesus was the ultimate peacemaker under the ultimate pressure…can we really complain about our stresses? I don’t mean that quite so literally…we can complain about our stressed and God does understand, but we need to remember that he truly does understand to a level we will (thankfully) never experience ourselves.

However, within all of the tension, there is much to be thankful for and much that God is doing to help.

The program is coming to an end and although there will be more stress with missions far away and such, there are pockets of relaxation. I get to take a short trip with Lesley to Rwanda tomorrow for the weekend and visit some friends, and after the program ends there is time to rest.

I am excited about getting home and seeing everyone, doing our little tour through the states we’ve lived in, and of course getting married, but this is where God has us right now and I’m okay with that. I do want to be home quite often, especially with Lesley, but I am thankful for my time here.

God has blessed me so much with a fiancee who encourages me regularly to be as invested as possible in the program in our time left, although it occasionally is at her expense. I am also very thankful for fellow leaders who understand the difficulty of being in a different town (though the same country) when we will be married in under 5 months. My roommate and fellow leaders and amazing and the students I work with are incredible as well.

God has blessed me with some pretty incredible people in my life. Thank you for being one of them, whether you’re from home or you’re here with me 🙂

God bless you.

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Life is Changing…

Although this is not about my travels alone, this has been the result of where God has brought me. I posted it in my personal blog but figured that many who read my travel blog and support my mission would be interested in reading about this: http://carlchomko.wordpress.com/our-story

It’s the story of my fiancée Lesley and me.

Enjoy 🙂

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We Have Arrived! Wet…but Safe!

We are in Kabale. This is crazy.

My mood has been a bit dampened (pun intended) by the fact that one of my bags which had all my clothes in it and a few books got soaked. Things could definitely be worse though, but please pray for the Spirit to give me joy and for my attitude to stay in check. I have so much to be thankful for and this isn’t really that big of a deal.

Thank you for the prayers for the safe journey, they have been answered! Please continue to pray for us as we start classes at this location on Tuesday!

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Actual Moving Day

Today we are actually heading down to Kabale. Please pray for safe travels as it’s a pretty treacherous road from what I’ve heard! I’ll try and do an update this weekend about the Kabale house!

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Moving Time!

Man…what a week.

These guys are awesome. Let me just put that out there. The Mbarara house (where I’ll be on Wednesdays every other week) and the Kabale house (where I’ll be moving to tomorrow), they’re both great.

Tomorrow morning at 10am I will be traveling with the Kabale house leadership team and 10 of the ABIDE class of 2013 to our house. This trip has much construction and I’ve heard that it tends to be around 2.5 to 3 hours and a “fun” journey. Please pray for safety and heath on our journey as we near our place and get excited for classes starting up on Tuesday!

Today we visited an Anglican church, a pentecostal church and then at night went to a church’s night of prayer and worship (which I was able to help lead). The churches in the morning were both interesting in their own ways and good in their own ways and the worship night was a huge blessing…especially to be able to help lead. This was a perfect close to the week and I look forward to all ahead of us.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support! God bless you!

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Feeling 100%!

Thank you for the prayers! Your prayers, the fruit of the earth (mango, popo [papaya], and passionfruit), bread, water, and rest have made me well. God is good!

Now my prayer is to receive less mosquito bites! 🙂

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Feeling Better For Now

Hard to tell for sure if I’m better or not as I just ate a piece of bread as the first thing I’ve eaten since lunch yesterday (it’s 8:41am here), but I think the sleep, prayer, and lack of feeding whatever bothered my stomach has helped a ton. 

Working on re-hydrating and working my way back to eating little-by-little. Had a plain piece of bread and I’m feeling alright, about to give a banana a chance!

I think I ate too many raw groundnuts (g-nuts) despite warning from my friend. Lesson learned. Raw stuff like that…no thank you.

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Sensitive Stomachs Beware

Just threw up a ton and am not feeling so well. I would love some prayer.

God is good…this world really sucks sometimes though.

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“Welcome to Uganda.”

We were watching Courageous tonight as a leadership team when Matt got a phone call from his wife. When he came back he announced that their neighbor, who is a Christian from a Muslim family, came to ask for Matt to pray for her step-brother who was possessed by a demon. He invited any of us who were willing to come with. 

On our way there he gave some back story and explained that the family had recently had the same thing happen to a girl and she had recently died. This family is under attack. However, as Matt explained later on, the same door that we’ve gone into a problem with can be the same door we leave it with. 

As we walked to the house, Matt turned to me and said, “Welcome to Uganda.”

We arrived to a room full of people around a young man with no shirt on being held down by about 4 people (maybe more) who was trying to break free and had his eyes closed. Matt asked for permission to pray for him (from the family) and they gave permission. He began praying for the man and the others of us did as well and aided in holding him down. 

He opened his eyes (which he apparently would not do before) and acknowledged that Matt had demanded that he name himself, but throughout the times that he would violently try to break free, appear to have an invisible rope around his neck, or simply be limp and left alone momentarily but not able to control himself yet, he would not state it. Finally, he did say his name and it was his real name. Matt also was able to get him to say “Jesus is Lord.” It was then that we knew he was free.

Matt then explained to the family that Jesus is the only way that they can be safe from this demon and that they are clearly under attack. They all seemed to want to switch their allegiance but explained there was fear that they all might do this together but some might turn back, and if you know anything about how Muslims handle family members who convert to Christianity, you might understand their apprehension.

Matt assured them that if the demon comes back and they call for help, he will come.

I have never been so sure of God before this night. The demon looked in my eyes through this young man’s eyes and I felt no fear, because I know that no one has power over our God and that He is within me. 

The young man explained that there were two men he would see, one in white and one in black. The one in black was holding a rope which was around the man’s neck and the one in white was just standing there. Matt explained the man in white as Jesus and the man in black as Satan. He explained that Jesus was simply standing there because He has already done all He can do, it is left to the man’s decision now to choose to believe.

Thank you, God, for allowing me to see this and for strengthening my faith through this. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done here as it is in heaven. May we be Your vehicles and may the world know that You are above all.

Mukama Asiimwe (Praise God).

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The Journey There (2.1.13 – 3.1.13)

What could I possibly complain about so far? I’m sure I will have things that will come up that will tempt me to complain, especially being so influenced by the self-focused culture found in the United States, but so far…I’ve felt blessed.

As I reflect on what today has held so far, I’m cold (not hot) on the airplane, and drinking a Coke from Colombia (yes, that means there’s actually sugar in it and not high fructose syrup). That alone would be enough for me to be in a good mood.

The other factors that have contributed to this good mood and optimism towards this time spend traveling so far, have to do with the many people I have run into so far.

My friend Bek and I recently had a conversation about how the two of us cannot go anywhere without finding someone we know or someone who knows someone we know. I attempted to clarify that this only tends to happen in Illinois…but Jesse promptly walked up and told me he had just met my friend Katie in Minnesota.

God, surely in an attempt to further prove me wrong, brought several people along my path during my travels today. First, I ran into my friend Austin who is about to head back to the Dominican Republic and finish his last four months of volunteering with the Peace Corp. Soon after, I ran into Benita who is also from Trinity and is going to be studying abroad at UCU (Uganda Christian University). After walking with Benita and her friend Mary who is also studying abroad, I ran into my friend Renjie who was headed to Rwanda for a year and a half. What a small world!

I stand corrected, I know people everywhere…but I attribute that much more to God than I do to myself. It definitely helps with not feeling like I’m alone in this travel, especially as this is super far from home and I’ve never done anything quite like this before.

God is good.

–––

If you’ve ever traveled on a plane for as long as I did today (over these two days), you probably read through the earlier parts and realized I was fairly early in my travel. My legs were killing me and I started getting a bit stir-crazy about half way through the second flight. But, I made it!

It feels great to be back, but (as I’m sure they’ll appreciate reading) I really miss my parents. I’ve taken trips away from home before and I’m only really a day in but I know I have 7 months to go as opposed to other times knowing I’d see them in a week or so. They both wrote me really sweet cards and they made me cry. I definitely want to post my address when I know what it is, but I also feel like I’ll cry a lot reading letters…at least for a bit.

Don’t get me wrong, this is super emotional in a positive way also. I actually felt sentimental about the showers…if you’ve ever experienced a Ugandan shower, you’re probably worried for me right now! Matt asked me when we first went outside, “do you recognize that smell? Uganda!” and I replied that I did. I actually smelled the familiar smell that is reminiscent of ash when I first got off the plane and all I could do was smile and think “I’m here.”

Well…it’s 4:51pm at home as I write this (I don’t have internet at the moment so this will be posted later…) and it’s 1:52am here…and I’m getting up at 8am (Uganda time).

Goodnight and God bless!

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