The Waiting Game

God asks me to wait so often that sometimes I wonder if He understands the concept of time. Then I remember He created it. Do you every feel this way? Jeff and Christine Stanfield, who have served as missionaries in Kenya and now Uganda since 1990, have experienced similar feelings. Read on for an update and life lesson from Christine as she explores the idea of God as our gardener.

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Photo credit: Christine Stanfield

We moved to Uganda late in 2012. In February of 2013 we planted two starts of lemon trees. We asked, “How long does it take for lemon trees to bear fruit?” The answer we received was, “Usually 4-5 years here.”

That sounded about like forever then. However, we were delighted to discover in the spring months of 2017 that our lemon trees were blooming. “Don’t get too excited,” we told ourselves. “The trees may just bloom this first year and not yield any real fruit. But just imagine NEXT year!” Yumm, we could almost taste the lemon!

We have been thinking a lot about first fruit. We are about to complete our first term (two years) in the position of Country Director of WGM in Uganda. We feel like first fruit times. We had our scraggly spots through the term. We were cautious about the beginning.

To read the rest of this story, visit the Stanfields’ ministry blog.

ACT: Meditate on the idea that God’s plan for you at this moment could be to wait. God asks so many things of us; and oftentimes, when He asks us to wait, we can get impatient. Today, ask yourself, “What can I be learning about God? How can I grow closer to Him while I wait and look forward to what’s next?”

Broken and Thrilled

Story and photos by Christine Stanfield, missionary to Uganda.

My heart is broken. My soul is thrilled. My heart rejoices. My soul feels crushed. All of this happens every Tuesday afternoon as I gather with other volunteers and women in this community. While women come I assess blood pressures, answer questions mamas ask about their pregnancy or other health concerns, hand out Mama Kits, greet their young children and I pray. During the meeting we offer praise and worship, we share God’s Word together and we pray.

Looking at their surroundings it could be assumed the women gathering here have nothing. But when I am with these dear ones, my heart is broken and my soul is thrilled. My heart rejoices even as my soul feels crushed. And just when I think I have seen it all, THIS HAPPENED on Tuesday…

As the opening announcements were being given and ladies straggled into the gathering, one very pregnant mama stopped to talk to the leader. In turn, the leader shared with me that one of the mamas who comes regularly gave birth within the last 48 hours. All was well with the mom and babe until about 24 hours later when the mom wasn’t doing so well. She was transferred to a hospital.

The leader reported she had just been told that mom has nothing with her in the hospital. Her husband is in prison. She has no baby clothes. She has no food for herself and no money to use to meet any of their needs. This is not an uncommon scenario for these women. The leader said the mama who told her of this dire situation wanted to know if they could ask the women gathered to contribute to help the mama in the hospital. I agreed with the leader, “Yes! Let’s give these mamas a chance to be blessed through giving.”

The announcement was made. The ladies stood and prayed together for the mama in the hospital and for her tiny newborn. They prayed earnestly, with sincerity, asking God to intervene and meet that mama, one of their own. My heart was broken but my soul was thrilled! I could almost feel the breath of the Holy Spirit.

And then, they put what they had into the offering cup.

They gave, and not just a little. These precious women collected nearly 40,000 Ugandan shillings (just over the equivalent of U.S. $10)! Amazing! My heart rejoiced in their generosity even as my soul felt crushed with the weight of what they would be going without in their own homes in order to help give life to the mama and newborn in the hospital. I could almost hear the angels rejoicing.

On Tuesday afternoons my heart is broken. My soul is thrilled. My heart rejoices. My soul feels crushed. And I can hardly wait until Tuesday comes again.

ACT: Have you considered becoming part of the great stories told on the MissionCentral blog? Get connected to WGM Mobilization today to find out how you can serve in Uganda or other countries around the world.

 

A Dream Come True

The passion burned inside her and she knew what she must do. She was going to become a nurse. People needed her, and she knew she had to do something about it. Do you ever feel that dream, that burning passion pulling you to serve others? Read more to learn about how Christine Stanfield, missionary to Uganda, took her passion to be a nurse and not only achieved it but also let God multiply it and mold it into something bigger than she first imagined.

Jeff and Christine Stanfield

Last week I renewed my nursing license. We drove across the city to the office of the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council. On the way I reminisced through my childhood dream, my dream of being a nurse one day. I wanted to help people.

June of 1981 my dream became a reality. I graduated from nursing school. November of the same year I received my official registration (RN) from the Oregon State Board of Nursing. Hooray! I worked as a hospital nurse for nine years in Oregon, learning much and helping many people. Through nursing I connected people to Jesus. I loved my work.

Little did I know that ten years later I would become a KRN; a registered nurse in Kenya. My dream multiplied. I was Christine Stanfield, RN, KRN. My avenue for helping people multiplied as well. Oh, how I loved teaching nursing students, in Tenwek School of Nursing, how to help people. My students helped more people than I ever could as just one nurse. They connected many people to Jesus. I loved my work.

Imagine my surprise when 21 years later God invited Jeff and me to join Him in what He is doing in Uganda. We moved to Kampala, the capital city, in 2012. For the first year I observed and I listened. I learned much. Then my dream multiplied again. I went through the process to be registered as a nurse in Uganda. Now I am Christine Stanfield, RN, KRN, URN (Uganda Registered Nurse). I don’t work in a hospital and I don’t teach in a nursing school. I still help the people God brings my way.

Sometimes they come to my door. Sometimes I go to where they are playing sports. Once in a while I give advice on medication dosages or clarify medical reports for people unpracticed in reading the medical language. I teach community health lessons, helping people know how to help themselves and others. I take blood pressures and pray with pregnant women as I hand out a maternity delivery kit, called a Mama Kit. I have many opportunities to give spiritual care, connecting people to Jesus. I help people. I love my work.

At a sports tournament (Photo credit: Christine Stanfield)

I had a dream and God multiplied it. I am a nurse. I help people, connecting them to Jesus. I love my work.

ACT: Take time today to write down or think about some of the dreams God has for you. Then sit in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what you need to do next. Give these dreams to God, and He will multiply them. God is waiting for you to ask Him. Who knows how many people’s lives you will impact if you let Him guide you.

Born into a Dark and Broken World

Jeff and Christine Stanfield serve in mentoring/discipleship and training/empowerment ministries in Uganda, Africa. In their recent Christmas letter, they retell the story of Jesus being born into this broken world. This is quite fitting for WGM to highlight, considering our theme for December is “Christmas around the World.” Read on to learn how Jesus’ story relates to Karen’s story in Africa and how we can bring Jesus’ light into the darkness of our world.

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“Jesus was born into a broken, dark and messy world. He brought Light into the darkness. He came as Truth but he experienced deceit and betrayal. Jesus understands our world. He knows the biases, brokenness, darkness and mess of this world. He understands, and yet, He stays with us. He remains Emmanuel, God with us. It is our privilege to share this Good News!

“Karen (not her real name) lives in a broken, dark and messy world. One Tuesday afternoon shechristmas-in-africa
heard God’s Word as Christine shared in a women’s group. Karen asked for prayer, then prayed to repent and accept Jesus as her Savior. A couple of weeks later, Karen asked Christine to pray with her that she might not backslide into ‘dark living.’ Christine and Karen prayed for God’s Spirit to give Karen strength to live God’s way in His kingdom. They asked God to help Karen find a job that would keep her busy doing right things and not wrong things. The next week Karen could hardly wait until the close of the women’s meeting to tell Christine she had just completed her first day at work, in a job Karen called ‘good.’ Christine and Karen praised the Lord together, thanking Him for giving her life and a job to help her. Karen is still in a broken, dark and messy world, but she is living in Light.

“Mary (not her real name) came to Kampala as a university student. Her parents are divorced, at least two of her siblings are addicted to more than one substance and Mary carries the weight of it all within her heart. In a small group offered by University Discipleship Movement (UDM), Mary shared her story. The others in the group offered her compassion and understanding, then joined Mary in lifting her family in prayer. Mary continues to find courage and hope as she learns more of Jesus and His redeeming love. Now she is able to share the Light of Christ with her family and others. Mary still interacts in a broken, dark and messy world, but she is living with Hope.

“Several Africa Gospel Church leaders participated in a training conference in August. The material shared correlates with the Community Health Empowerment (CHE) training WGM provides. Following the training in August, several leaders have shared with us the impact of living out God’s Word in their communities. AGC Pastor Gideon and church members went to visit a widow in their community. They shared with her and then gave her a kilo of sugar and a loaf of bread, saying they were sharing to show God’s love. The widow was so thrilled at this unexpected generosity that she ran out of her house, shouting. She told everyone who could hear what the Christians had done for her. This woman still lives in broken, messy circumstances but she has experienced Love.

“Pastor Hillary shared that members of his congregation worked together to clean up the local christmas-in-africa-2health center. The staff were very encouraged through the community participation and thanked the people. In addition, the staff promised additional clean-up to benefit the community. The people of this community still live where there is brokenness and darkness but they have renewed hope.

“Christine meets with the women’s group most Tuesday afternoons, partnering with others in sharing Jesus in a local community. We both participate in university ministries, sharing with students and leaders. CHE trainings and follow-up are scheduled throughout the coming year.

Bringing Light into a Broken World
“We are grateful for the opportunities we have to bring the Light of Jesus to the people in Uganda. Will you partner with us in prayer as we serve? Each of the ministries we serve in have needs for additional regular financial support as well as cash gifts. As you feel led, you can either send your contribution to WGM [P.O. Box 948, Marion, IN 46952-0948] or you can give online by going to the internet link associated with each account:

“We have the responsibility, the tremendous privilege of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in a broken, dark and messy world. Jesus, God with us, continues to bring transformation in hearts and lives. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Those who experience Him find new life, light and hope for all of eternity. Thank you for participating with us in bringing Jesus into the brokenness all around us.”