Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Want to be Unstoppable

While in Uganda, Africa in May 2010 I had the great privilege of visiting Gary and Marilyn Skinner’s Watoto Church right in the heart of the busy city of Kampala, the war-torn capital of Uganda. It is an amazing English-speaking church where life, hope, grace, love and mercy are in abundance in the midst of despair, death, sickness and hopelessness. This is a church that truly welcomes the most desperate people to worship with them, openly sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only way to restore hope and dignity to the lives of the African people. 
I have heard both Marilyn and Gary speak in my own church at Wave on occasion and their stories and their hearts always move me to tears. Gary and Marilyn founded the Watoto Church back in 1982 and now over 22,000 people worship at the 20 different services located within 8 district celebration points across the city. Lives are being changed every day. 
Uganda has been devastated by wars, violence, severe poverty and lack of basic necessities. Every where you look in Uganda, you see people struggling just to make it through that one day. Millions have died from the HIV/Aids virus leaving orphaned children and widows wandering the streets trying to find a way to survive. 
During my visit to Uganda our team attended a Saturday night service at the Watoto Church located right in the heart of Kampala. Our bus arrived late to the church because we had been visiting one of the Watoto Villages, having lunch with our sponsored children. The villages are a result of Watoto Child Care Ministries, founded in 1994 and birthed out of the Watoto Church. Here families consisting of a House Mother and up to 8 orphaned or rescued children live in clusters of brick homes surrounded by schools, a nursery, open sports fields and lush farming land. All of their basic necessities are provided. Most importantly it is a safe environment for children to be raised without fear of being abducted and forced to serve as child soldiers as many in the village have experienced in the past. This is where the healing begins; where dignity and hope are restored. 
As we arrived at the church and were led to our reserved seats, the worship team was already leading the congregation in a song. I’ll never forget looking out over the people and seeing arms raised in worship. Eyes were lifted toward Heaven and everyone was truly lost in worship. The song they were singing was the latest from Chris Tomlin called “Our God.” When they reached the chorus of the song they were singing these words: “Our God is greater. Our God is stronger. God you are higher than any other. Our God is healer, awesome in power our God.” I was immediately moved to tears. Here were people living moment to moment, breath to breath but they were lifting their hands to God and acknowledging Him as greater and stronger than their circumstances. 
When they sang the bridge to the song I was overwhelmed. “And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us. And if our God is with us, who could stand against?” Such powerful words on their own, but when they are sung by a people who have known nothing but suffering, death and hopelessness for so many years, it was beyond powerful, it was awe inspiring. 

Often I have found it hard to worship because of some distraction in my life or a hardship I was walking through, but these people were worshipping with all of their hearts and all of their might while facing uncertainty and insurmountable circumstances every day of their lives. They have lost children, spouses, their homes, their jobs, and their dignity. They wake up every day and wander how they will obtain the basic necessities for that day like water, food and shelter. Yet they lift their hands and praise their God because they know they are unstoppable if He is for them and no one can stand against them if He is with them. 
I felt ashamed that I had ever complained about anything in my life and lifted my hands to sing at the top of my lungs with them and for them. I will never forget that experience. I pray that whenever I feel overwhelmed by things in my life I will remember that day and instead of complaining I will lift my hands in worship and remember Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
True worship is when we can lift our hands in the midst of trouble and still praise His name and honor who He is in our lives. It’s so easy to worship in times of abundance and plenty. I want to take a lesson from the African people and worship Him in all things and all circumstances. That’s what it means to trust Him completely and to see Him as our provider and our hope. We could all take a lesson from the people of Uganda. Nothing will ever stop me from worshipping the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I want to be unstoppable. 

Lyrics to "Our God" copyright by Chris Tomlin

Visit www.watoto.com to find out how to sponsor a child through Watoto Child Care Ministries.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome reminder. I too want to be unstoppable in worship. Thanks for helping me to remember to be focused in worship as in the other areas of my life. We can live life as unstoppable Christians!