Saturday, April 16, 2011

From Treadmill to Kenya and Back

Last January I went to the exercise room to work out before the Covenant Midwinter Pastor's Conference began. I was surprised to see a very long time friend of mine, Tom Melander, on the treadmill. I took the one next to him, never realizing that it was a definite divine appointment. (It would be great if every exercise session was a divine appointment, wouldn't it?)

Tom is the new Missions Director for Arvada Covenant Church. His daughter Kelsey, one of my daughter's best friends, is also in Uganda doing AIDS research. Tom told me that he and his wife were going to Uganda to visit Kelsey and that he was interested in viewing some projects in Africa while he was over there. So, it was the perfect opportunity for me to tell him all about Seeds of Hope, our missio for educating Sudanese orphans. He seemed interested in pursuing more about it, and we both realized that Nakuru, Keny and Kampala, Uganda were in fairly close proximity.

One thing led to another and Arvada Covenant Church decided to sponsor Seeds of Hope for their Vacation Bible School. They are going to raise money for a grinding mill for the village. This further motivated Tom to pursue going to meet the children and visit our compound, the home base for the children when they are out of school, as well as a place for those who visit from the Sudanese village when they come.

Amazingly, our family came to Denver for a family wedding, and we ended up staying in Tom's home when he was in Uganda. It was perfect because it continually reminded me to pray for what God was doing a full continent away!

God was so present in the visit. Ghak, our wonderful Lost Boy in Kenya, picked Tom and his wife up, and gave them a tour. He took them to meet the children and he showed them the compound. But, even more, 3 other Lost Boys took them to dinner.

Tom and Margaret were privileged to hear the stories of 4 Lost Boys who are now giving their lives to help their villages in Sudan. They were so moved by the stories that they are committing themselves to join them in their work. Margaret actually said, "The Lost Boys are the future of Sudan." I had to agree as I watch how Arok lives sacrifically to help the children of Seeds.

God gave me one last gift in all of this. I ended up staying in Denver an extra day because my Mother was hospitalized. My sister had planned to pick up Tom and Margaret so I went with her, and we were the first people who heard the awe inspiring report of their visit to Uganda and to meet the Seed's children.

This story only serves to remind me that God can take a simple thing like exercising on a treadmill to turn it into a fully blown God story. It's a gift to walk these stories out!

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