Monday, December 31, 2012

Church


If you were to pass by the Mt. Zion church structure, you may not even notice it. This church started in the "Slums" of Nyahuka. It consists of branches of wood for the structure and tarps for the roof and walls. Wooden benches and the dirt floor add to the simplicity of the church.  But, if you were to attend the church service, you'd experience one of the richest moments of your life.  As the drums begin to come alive and the worshipers being to sing, the church transforms into a beautiful and breathtaking sight to see. 






Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Let the little children come to me



This morning I have been trying to put the finishing touches on the 4 week education/bible study series that I want to implement at the pediatric ward for the mothers. I was interrupted by a knock on the door. A child that looks around 8 years old stands at my door shirtless, gangly, and covered in dirt. He simply asked for “Tutex”, which means fingernail polish. This is an activity here in which both boys and girls enjoy. I wasn't really interested in taking the time to assist the kid, so I denied his request. A few minutes later I get another knock at the door, I ignore it knowing it is the same kid at the door. I resume editing my Bible study outline when I hear a third knock. I go to the door, greet the child again, and wait for his question. This time he simply points to his feet. He had a cut on his toe that looked painful and raw. My heart was instantly broken and I had the strongest desire to wash the child’s feet. I gave him a stool to sit on while I went to get a basin, some water, soap and a towel. I also grabbed the first-aid kit to clean his wound. I sat down, placed his feet in my hands and began to wash them. The water instantly turned brown and murky from the dirt which was coating his feet. I then proceeded to dry his feet with a towel. The kid remained quiet, no words exchanged between the two of us. Even as I clean his toe with antiseptic he doesn't even flinch. After I bandage his toe I introduced myself and find out that his name is Edwin. He thanked me in his broken English and then walked away.

Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me” (for the full text see Mark 10:13-16). This just happens to be the title of the Bible study that I was working on this morning. Ironic? Definitely not. Jesus likes to teach us lessons to grow us spiritually. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about how self-centered I was being. I needed that gentle and humbling lesson this morning. Even as I write this, Edwin has returned twice. Each time he has brought a new child with cuts on their feet, too. I gratefully greet each child and take the time to sit and clean their wounds. Joy floods my heart. Lesson learned.


Monday, December 17, 2012

"Wall of Love"

This picture is of my bedroom wall.  I am calling it my "Wall of Love".  As you can see, I have started to display pictures that my niece and nephew have colored for me. I also have added some cards that family and friends have sent. I have plenty of room for you to have a place on my wall too! Just send me a card (or even a box!) and address it to:

Alisha Risser
World Harvest Mission
P.O. Box 1142
Bundibugyo, Uganda
East Africa




Sunday, December 9, 2012

Knowing vs. Experiencing


A reflection from Dec. 1

Today I experienced all 4 seasons in one day.  It was as if time was warped like a ball of clay. It all started in the fall which consisted of pumpkin muffins and a cup of coffee for breakfast. Then it eased into spring cleaning. Next there was Christmas decorating, Christmas music, and paper snowflakes cascading from the ceiling. The room had turned into a picture that you would find in a holiday magazine. Even though it felt like winter, all of this was happening with the blazing sun beating down on Mundri, South Sudan like a hot summer day in South Georgia.  It’s a sensation in which I have never experienced, and am having a difficult time categorizing in my mind. I guess some things are never meant to be analyzed but only enjoyed. Some things never meant to be explained only experienced.

It is that way with a lot of other things as well.  The greater the experience, the harder it is to put into words that other people will understand. It seems like a story ends with only a fraction of the impact that it had on you when you experienced it.  A magnificent sunset, or the sky painted with stars, or even the smile of a little child who has just received a gift.  As hard as we try, it is never understood by the recipient of the story like that of the one who was able to experience it. 

It is the same way with Jesus.  You can be told about Jesus and can know all about the stories in the Bible. But, until you experience him, you won’t grasp the beauty and fullness of his love.  There is a difference in knowing and experiencing.  We are called not only to know Jesus, but also to experience him.


Commitment


Reflections from a few weeks ago while traveling...

Here I sit, beads around my wrists, no makeup on and wearing a shirt that I’ve had on for two days. My hair is a crazy mess and my feet are dirty.  Somewhere along the way I have thrown off the need for things that shine and glitter.  I have let go of fine clothes and fancy shoes.  Somewhere along the way I have embraced the life of a traveler.  A life that knows no permanent home.  A life of a missionary.  A life of surrender.  My home is in Christ.  Wherever I am at, He is also there.  I will never be alone.  A song called “Set a Fire” by Will Reagan says it best:

“There is no place I would rather be than here in your love. Set a fire down in my soul, that I can’t contain, that I can’t control. I want more of you God.”

People joke that I have commitment issues since I have lived in multiple states and never settled very long at one location. It is assumed that people who move a lot are running from things. Over the years I have realized that it is not a fear of commitment, but actually the complete opposite.  It is an ultimate and total commitment to Christ.  I do not run from things, but towards where God is leading me. I will go wherever He sends me.