Thank You

Thank you to everyone who gave of their time, money, prayers, encouragement and of themselves to not just help me get to Uganda but to join with me in bringing the Gospel and power of Jesus’ love to Gulu, Arua, Kitgum, Kampala, Entebbe, Sipi Falls and anywhere else in Uganda we visited.

There’s so much I could say, but there wouldn’t be enough words to express just how thankful I am. To you. To the people of Uganda. And to my Jesus. I was radically transformed. My life was not just changed for 8 1/2 months, but forever set on a different path. It was life-altering.

The people of Uganda were radically changed. We had testimony time each morning as we started our day together as a team. Our faithful team administrator, Becca Lemons, would write down the testimonies of what God was doing in Uganda. Just while we were there, over 446 people prayed to receive Jesus and 142 of those were Ugandan’s leading Ugandan’s to Jesus.  We saw over 253 headings and over 21 deliverances (basically includes all other random “God encounters” such as freedom from nightmares/demonic oppression/alcoholism, restored relationships, miraculous financial provision, etc.). It is not about statistics but about people experiencing the love of Jesus. That happened. What an awesome God we serve!

Want to know the greatest part? God is not finished. The best is yet to come. Your prayers paved the way. This journey could not have happened without your support financially and prayerfully. I challenge you to not stop praying as our team has left. Continue to pray for the people of Uganda to continue to pursue Jesus and for those who don’t know Him to meet Him and for those held in bondage to be set free and for families to continue to be restored! He is ready to keep moving, but He is also ready to continue to move with us through our prayers.

As I write this, I have made my next move – to Waco, Texas. Ironically it is a more difficult move than Uganda was. But, you want to know the greatest part? God is not finished with me yet. The best is yet to come. 

He is faithful. He is with us. He is never leaving. He is so full of the most amazing love that any of us could ever know. Embrace every moment with Him. He’s so worth it.

Covered by His Grace,

I Miss Africa.

I miss Africa.
I miss the people. They welcomed with such genuine hospitality.
I miss the children. They were so innocent and full of joy and love for all.
I miss the culture. Those moments of being so humbled at the way they love me and show me without realizing it what it looks like to have the heart of Jesus. They give out of their need and not out of their want. They know what true sacrifice is, so then they know what true joy in sacrifice is and what true joy is when God provides.


I miss Rita Joyce who dared to dream dreams with you while she boldly proclaimed the Gospel.

I miss Patience who clung to your every word because it is what brought her life.

I miss Rosemary. So gentle, compassionate and hungering for more of you.
I miss Harriet who is so full of life and love for others.

I miss Florence who knows what it means to choose you and to choose trust no matter her circumstance.

I miss Joyce who so compassionately shared the love of Jesus with those at the hospital.

I miss Geoffrey who never missed an opportunity to encourage others.

I miss Patrick. He is a Timothy. He chose you and he never misses an opportunity to bring someone into the presence of the Father.

I miss Dennis who is so full of passion and devotion to you.

I miss Allan who just wanted all of you even if it meant leaving behind his old life.

I miss John who served us with such humility and joyfulness when we came in to his restaurant.

I miss Ida who always was giving of herself and her things. She never passed up an opportunity to bless someone through provision.

I miss Winnie who was so overwhelmed and amazed at the love of the Father and that He is Love.

I miss Churchill who tends to the children of the church so faithfully, gently and lovingly. He lost his earthly father, but now has the opportunity to know you as his true Father, more than most of us ever will. And through everything in his life, his faith never wavers.

I miss Paul who is so full of faith like a child and lets his faith and love for you determine where he goes, not his age.

I miss Gloria who is real, talkative and a good friend. She wants everyone to feel loved and noticed and they do when they are with her.

I miss Stanley who so boldly and faithfully walks in the power of the Spirit and jumps at every opportunity to share your Gospel.

I miss Agnes who so gently and firmly took care of us like a grandmother. She is steady always.

I miss Eunice who is always ready to give a hug, ask, “How is the day” and laugh with you.

I miss Simon Peter who is full of genuine kindness.

I miss Sunday who is faithful and committed.

I miss Simon Peter 2 who is quirky and always joyful.

I miss Lawrence who receives a gift from You with such humility and even at an old age is ready to learn more because he hungers for more of you daily.

I miss Richard who is living out what it means to be a man after your own heart and daily walks in boldness because he knows who he is in Jesus.

I miss Samuel who laughs with such a deep, hearty laugh because he is so joyful. He is humble and wants more of you.

I miss David and Janet who so beautifully father and mother those around them and who willingly give up all to follow you.

I miss Miriam who so gracefully made herself willing to be used by you because she has your heart for the people of Gulu.

I miss Mekala who even as a 12 year old wants to embrace what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. She is one who gives generously and freely because it’s been freely and generously given to her.

I miss Innocent who does everything as if he is doing it for the Lord. Joyfully, faithfully and 110%.

I miss Diana who never wants to miss an opportunity to laugh and dance before her Jesus.

I miss Mary and her friends in P7. They let you in that day. If even for a moment, they were bold enough to let down their walls and let you love them. Your love has been forever stamped on their hearts.

I miss Lawrence and his willingness to step up and lead, yet his humility in learning.

I miss Moses who is so full of passion and joy for you. He understands the simple truth of the Gospel and lives his life from that place.

I miss Stella who chose you one day in the Market and then humbly chooses you every day.

I miss Paul, aka Big Fish, who diligently, steadily shepherds his flock.

I miss Ronald, his willingness to help and to unashamedly proclaim Jesus to others. He had a humility that was rare in their culture.

I miss Habakkuk and Benjamin who left a life of alcohol and self-fulfillment for a life of hope and fulfillment in being loved by the Father. They sharpen each other better than any people I know.

I miss Christine who welcomes every person no matter their age or condition as she sits down to spend time with them, honor them and love them. She mothers better than anyone I have ever seen.

 Lord, there is no book that has Rita Joyce’s picture on the front or Christine’s story inside its pages. Richard is not being called to speak at huge conferences. To the world they are anonymous. But to you, they are heroes. They are faithfully and passionately advancing your Kingdom in Gulu-town. And what is beautiful is that they do not do it for the fame or recognition. They do it because they are radically and outrageously loved by you and all they want to do is return that love. Thank you, Lord, for the blessing and honor of letting me meet them. You did not need me to go to Africa and join with them, but you let me and for that I am forever grateful.

Lord, I pray, I can love with the passion, boldness, confidence, grace and reckless abandon that these heroes of the faith do every single day.




Honor Dinner (pt 2…finally)

Attempting to eat the white ants, which is a favorite snack for the Ugandans. Yes, it is a real insect

Part 2 of the Ugandan Honor Dinner is finally here! This post is more to share about each Ugandan and finally put some faces to different names. As I mentioned before, the night of the dinner we took time to share about each person and honor them. I did not disciple all of these people, this was a joint effort from all 16 people on our team. As I share, I am simply sharing the little bit I know about each person.

(In the above picture, Emily attempted to eat the white ants that our cooks, Agnes and Eunice, had cooked for us. She didn’t like it. If you look close enough, you can see it flying out of her mouth.)

      Rachel and I with our friend Patience

Patience is a beautiful, gentle and strong woman of God. We met her at the University in January and had the joy of discipling her and seeing her grow so much the last four months we were there. One day we waited on God to see if He had anything to say to us, and Patience heard nothing. She was frustrated because she wanted so badly to hear God speak to her. We came back a week later and she said, “I sat on my bed after you left and told God I was not getting up until He spoke to me.” (We were in awe at her determination to not discouraged and to meet Jesus in new and radical ways.) God spoke to her and He spoke promises and His love over her. We had the honor, blessing and joy of seeing some of those promises fulfilled before we even left Gulu. Patience loves to laugh and is so eager to learn and desperately hungry for the love of Jesus. She is absolutely beautiful.

With Joyce and Dennis, who are brother and sister

I met Joyce and Dennis at church. They have known Jesus for a while and have been instrumental in helping the church grow and in advancing the Kingdom of God in Gulu-town and surrounding villages. Joyce is one who dreams so big with God. Nothing, and I mean nothing, stops her. She reflects the heart of God so well as she desires so much for every person to know the love of the Father. Joyce is bold and gentle as she proclaims the gospel, but also takes time to hold the hurting children, no matter how dirty they are, and to spend time with those who just need a friend. She started a hospital ministry that I was able to help with for the last few months of being in Gulu. A team from the church makes food for the patients who have no one to feed them. As the food is being prepared others are in the hospital sharing, loving and spending time with people. Once the food is ready, we each grab a plate and sit down and spend more time with the patients. People are getting up and walking out of the hospital from being healed, others are healed only in their hearts and falling in love with Jesus as they remain. What is amazing is that these people in the hospital are from all over Northern Uganda. So when they leave, they are taking with them something powerful – the amazing Love of Jesus.

Rachel with two of our security guards, Simon Peter and Sunday

Simon Peter knows how to be a friend. He is always willing to sit and talk and laugh with people. He made himself a part of our family while we were there. He is hungry for more of God and Justin was blessed to be able to disciple him part of the time we were in Uganda.

Sunday is faithful, disciplined and determined. He takes his job seriously and he fought for us and protected us so well while we were there. He also served our team and those around him above and beyond his job description. He is a humble, quiet man but he lives an honorable life of a servant to all those around him.

     The guys enjoying a favorite pastime

          Another favorite pastime – cards   

As we ate dinner and talked with people, there were times of just sitting down or going outside and spending time together. Ugandans love playing cards. It is most likely what you will find any of them doing when they have a free moment.

Justin encouraging and honoring Emmanuel

Then the moments of encouraging came. Each person individually was honored. Justin took time to honor Emmanuel who I never knew personally. I met him a couple of times but from what I heard he is faithful and supportive and passionate about people knowing Jesus. He also noticed the little ones and took time to pick up a kid, hold them and let them feel loved if even for a moment. He is only a teenager but he is greatly impacting his village with the love of Jesus.

Maegan and I with Florence once more

Florence taught me more than I taught her, I am sure of it. Her life has had amazingly good moments and it has had really tough moments, from being abducted by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) to being kicked out of her home with all of her children and nowhere to go. Yet she says, “The Lord gives and takes away. Blessed be His name. He is able to turn everything into good. So I will stand in faith and wait on Him.” She is a woman who taught me what it means to trust, to truly trust our Papa in Heaven. Florence continually gave out of her need to me and our team. She never missed a moment to bless us in some way with some type of food – even when she had gone days without it. It was not just us, even those who had hurt her immensely, she turned around and served meals to them when they were hungry. She understood what it meant to forgive no matter the offense.

Justin and Brittany with their friends David and Janet

Justin and Brittany met David and Janet the first month of being in Gulu and discipled them all the way through. They are married and own their own business. Through discipleship they grasped what it meant to have a personal relationship with the Lord that is filled with intimacy and love. Soon enough, they started their own small group led by them in their village and they are making disciples that are going out to impact the nation of Uganda. Every time I met them, they never missed a moment to encourage and say how thankful they were that God brought us all together. They were some of the most joyful and thankful people I have ever met.

              Rachel, Ronald, and Nathan

Ronald is a chef and in his young twenties and he is on fire for Jesus! There is nothing stopping him. Rachel and Nathan met him and before they could share their vision of being in Uganda, Ronald told it to them by saying that is what he wanted. So their journey started. Ronald uses his free time to tell people about the amazing love of Jesus and has started his own small group. He is a humble, passionate, and faithful man of God.

                      Jacob and Brittany

Jacob never stops smiling. He loves children and that is his ministry. He is hungry to learn more about Jesus so he can share it with these young ones and see a new generation rise up in Gulu.

            Sadie, Patrick and Maegan

Patrick was our adopted team member. He traveled with us to Kitgum each month and is now leading the church plant there. He is a humble, steadfast and gentle man of God. When we started ministering alongside him, he felt he was not good enough to share the Gospel. It was not long before he was the one walking up to people, sharing with them and then leading them through the prayer of salvation. Soon enough he began stepping into leadership roles and he did so with humility and grace. Patrick also loves to laugh and just enjoys every moment of life. I never heard him complain once. It was an honor to serve alongside him.

                    Richard and Tyler

Tyler met Richard at church just a few weeks after arriving in Gulu. After that, they were inseparable. Richard is 17 and wants nothing more than to faithfully follow Jesus. Richard was very timid and shy in the beginning but it did not take long for him to have the boldness of the Holy Spirit fall on him and he is a spiritual giant and warrior in Gulu, Uganda.

     Jon, Habakkuk, Nathan and Benjamin

Jon and Nathan met Habakkuk at the very beginning of our trip. He was physically touched by the Holy Spirit and walked away from a lifestyle of drinking. He brought Benjamin (also living the same lifestyle) to church. Benjamin was radically transformed. When Habakkuk started struggling with the life he used to live and the life he wanted to live, Benjamin encouraged him, loved him and challenged him. Habakkuk and Benjamin are faithful members of our church in Gulu and a perfect example of what “Iron sharpening iron” means. They both love Jesus and have a desire for others to know the goodness of our Lord.

                      Nathan and Paul

Paul is a student, a member of the church, and one of the most joyful people I met while in Gulu. I also taught him what “Cray-Cray” (shortened form of the word, crazy) meant the very first time I ever went out to share the Gospel with him. He is a faithful leader, eager to serve and hungry to learn more about Jesus. He started a couple small groups in Gulu and each week loved people through the hospital ministry started by Joyce.

Miriam praying over Amy and Elizabeth

Miriam is a faithful leader in the church in Gulu and amazing woman of God. She is bold and passionate about people knowing the love of Jesus. She was already sharing with people before we got to Gulu so a few girls on the team joined alongside her as she went into the tougher parts of Gulu. I love this picture of Miriam praying over Amy and Elizabeth, because it is not about us giving to the people of Gulu, they had so much to offer back to us. It blessed us tremendously.

                    Everyone together

Uganda was amazing. Is amazing. But it is nothing without the people and presence of the Holy Spirit. My team and I were so blessed by these beautiful people and I know I learned so much more from them than they did from me. I will miss them immensely, and I will forever be grateful for the time we had together. They did and are still doing amazing things and it is all because they simply made themselves willing.

(I apologize for the extended delay in posting this.)

Ugandan Honor Dinner (part 1)

We have been so amazingly blessed with the people we met in Gulu, Lira, Kitgum and Lira. God has blown our minds, yet again. Ugandan’s are the most welcoming people, I think I have ever been around. They are so welcoming and love to sit and talk with anyone – for the most part. Striking up a conversation with someone is so easy. You just start talking to them and before you know it you can be in their home for a couple hours as they serve you dinner. I think this will be the thing I miss most about Uganda especially when you contrast it with the way American’s interact with each other.

One thing I am not a fan about with this culture is that people are not so easily honored or encouraged. Especially the women. So we wanted to take a night to honor our friends we have met. To let them know they are worthy of God’s best and they have what it takes to pursue Him and bring others along with them. We also wanted to cook the local dishes for them since they have cooked for us oh so may times.

I was in the kitchen with many others, because I love to cook. I realized, Ugandan dishes are not what I love to cook, but when you have 50-60 people planning on being served dinner you can’t just change your mind at that point.

We have two Ugandan cooks, Agnes and Eunice, that would prepare breakfast and dinner for us Monday-Friday each week. I did not want them cooking since the dinner we were preparing was for them. So I just planned on asking them questions all day. They helped me start the beans, dodo (spinach dish), cabbage salad, and sweet potato. It had been about 2 hours and I thought, things are going way too smooth right now (especially with my last name being “Taylor”). But I figured I would enjoy it while it lasted. Then it all started…

I went to ask Agnes and Eunice about what to do with the beans next and found out they had left early to enjoy the afternoon of not cooking – rightfully so. Then Sunday, our security guard, walks by and says, “What’s burning?” All the water had evaporated from the sweet potato pot and all the ones on the bottom were burning. We were too busy focusing on the beans that we never noticed.

See, Ugandans like either really salty or really spiced, flavorful beans. Well, we didn’t know what they used to add flavor. Everyone does it so differently. Then I realized, I never picked out the bad beans. So we were doing that as they were in a pot of water. Then we were told to drain them, but that was wrong because all the juice left – and a lot of the flavor we later found out.

Then Sadie comes in and asks where the rest of the dodo is because all she was given is just enough for about 5 people. So we had someone go out once for spices, once for more dodo and once more for extra sweet potatoes. The new sweet potatoes were peeled, but a couple of people thought they were bad so they dumped them all in the trash. So the extras we thought we had were thrown away.

That was the day leading up to the dinner. Then the dinner started and people felt free telling us how saltless the beans were, etc. Ugandans are really honest and direct at times. Gotta love it. At this point, we were just thankful to have food on the table. It ended up being great though.

The rest of the night was absolutely wonderful. We ate together, played cards and other games, then we took time to honor each Ugandan individually in front of everyone else. Something that probably never happens for a lot of them. My favorite part of the night was when we all took time to honor Jesus. I looked around the room as we were all cheering and shouting for Jesus – all 50 to 60 people – Ugandan and American. It’s a moment I will never forget and a moment that made everything worth it.

Jesus was so worth it all. He is more than worth it all.

*Part 2 will come soon with pictures, once internet allows, and small stories of some of the people we have invested in. So stay tuned*


The Story Continues…

Today is our personal retreat day. Debrief has officially started. As I was thinking back on the past year of my life and all that God has brought me through and done in me, I was blown away.

My roommates and I last year would always say how we wanted God to blow our minds. Well, He did. Once again.

I used to think I knew how the story should go: I would be married right now, with a nice job and settled down. But when I think about where I am now compared to where I used to want to be, I would have been miserable. It’s not what God wanted for me and it wasn’t His best for me and I’m so thankful He brought me back home to His presence.

I have always dreamed of going and doing something out of the norm. I love my home and my family, but I have always wanted to branch out from life at home or near home and do my own thing. Something deep inside of me has always hoped for more. For a year and a half before coming to Uganda my dream was to live here for however long.

I look back and God has done and is doing all of this. God loves to dream with me and He loves to fulfill the purposes He has for my life. And I love that nothing is going to stop Him from doing that. Even myself.

As my heart has grown and changed with God this past year He has placed opportunities in front of me to pursue our dreams together. I have decided to move to Waco, Texas in July to continue working with Antioch Community Church. They have a year long discipleship training school that I will be attending.

It was a battle to decided this. As much as I wanted to branch out and “do my thing” I knew it meant walking away from other plans back home. It finally came down to God asking me, “Do you want all of Me and all I have for you?” I know that sounds easy to answer. Of course I want all of Him and all He has to offer. But I knew that came with a sacrifice.

“Yes, God, I want all of You. I want all that you have for me. I don’t want to miss out on one bit.” His response didn’t surprise me one bit, “If you want all of Me, then you must be willing to give me all of you.”

That’s all I needed. God was directing my heart towards Elevate and I knew that the next step in me pursuing all of Him was to attend Elevate. So the story continues to unfold and this next chapter takes me to Waco, Texas. I’m not sure how long this chapter will be…I guess until God decides to write another one.

I Will Seek His Face Until I See His Face

This post is more of what I have been experiencing in my personal relationship with God over the past two months.

What do you do when God feels so far away? You talk to Him but rarely hear a reply. You cry out to Him and no answer. You seek to spend time with Him but it feels like you are all alone? In the midst of this every day you are telling people how faithful God is and how He never leaves. You tell them how every time you speak to Him He is there waiting to answer you.

I have had the joy, yes the joy, of experiencing a different side of God this past two months. The hidden presence of God. Oh He’s still there, but I am learning what it means in Jeremiah 29:13 when it says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole heart.” He promises to be found by us, it’s just that sometimes we must look a little harder because He has something deeper for us. It does not mean that He has left us.

Therefore I have decided, I will seek His face until I see His face.

It has been really exciting having scripture become more alive to me. If I did not have the Word of God and trust and believe in the truth it contains, I would have given up long ago. There is so much life in His Word and so many promises that God is so faithful to keep and fulfill. So as I continue to seek Him, however different it may look at times, He speaks sweet and tenderly to me through His written Word.

For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things. Psalm 107:9

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you. Psalm 9:10 

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25

I can remember in the past when I would feel like God was far away from me, then I would just do my own thing until I started to feel Him again. How I probably missed out on sweet and intimate times with Jesus. If anything, not seeing, feeling or hearing Him immediately when I sit down makes my heart hunger for Him even more.

My soul yearns for You in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks You. Isaiah 26:9

Life really is not complete without Him. Therefore, I have decided, I will seek His face until I see His face.

Destination Disease

This is going to be more of me processing as I write. As we were taking the Lord’s Supper last night at Family Dinner, the Lord convicted me of what was in my heart. The past month has been the toughest month of being in Uganda. Honestly, it brought me to this place of, “I just want to go home. I am ready. I am done doing ministry. I need a break. A good break from this. How much longer do we have again?”

It makes me feel sick to even voice that, but it’s true. I was so set on going home for different reasons – to see certain people, eat certain foods, experience the joy and comfort of AC again, to rest, whatever the reason was. More than I realized, I was putting my joy in May 20th. If I can just get to May 20th then life will be great again.

Then I remembered Romans 8:28. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” God’s number one motive is my blessing. He brought me to Uganda for this length of time because it was divinely purposed by Him. (“And in Your book all the days of my life were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16)

The footnote in my Bible under Romans 8:28 says: “The ‘good’ in this context does not refer to earthly comfort but conformity to Christ (v. 29), closer fellowship with God, bearing good fruit for the Kingdom, and final glorification (v. 30).” I have clung to Romans 8:28 so often, believing, “Oh, one day my circumstances will get better. God’s going to make everything good so that it’s like a fairytale sooner or later.” Ha. It sounds crazy I know. But I was viewing this more from circumstantial fruit and not the fruit of deeper intimacy with Jesus and the reward of looking more like Him.

When I sit and think about it though, deeper intimacy with Jesus is FAR better than a life that “looks good” to others on the outside. That’s where true joy and goodness is found. I don’t want to miss out on any of that because I am ready for May 20th. There is still two more months of experiencing God’s goodness here in Uganda. And the truth is, I wouldn’t be able to experience it the same way as I would if I was in the States.

God, I repent and ask forgiveness for finding joy in other things than You and what You have placed before me. Give me a heart, joy and passion to love with everything in me so that I can finish the race well. I don’t want to walk one little bit of it. I want to run with everything inside of me. You are worth it all and I repent for even one moment living like You are not. I love you, Always and Forever and I say You are worth everything.