December 8, 2013 has already come and gone…the only away I am assured it is really true is because the ABIDE house is so quiet now.
For over four months, the ABIDE staff has been investing of the lives of eight young women. Our vision is to develop students in Christian faith, character, and leadership. To achieve this, the students have lived together in one house, taken classes from Bible Interpretation and Spiritual Leadership to Business and Baking, led Bible studies in local high schools, gone on missions to each student’s home, and so much more. We have certainly seen God transforming them, just as we hoped. As staff, we fully recognize it is not us, but God doing the work…He has simply chosen us to be His tools in the process. We like to compare ABIDE to a garden. We do what we can to create the best, most fertile environment, with the Holy Spirit as our guide, but must depend on God himself to make the students grow.
Well, the first ABIDE for girls has officially ended, and we had a joyful celebration of its completion! Unfortunately only seven of the eight graduated. It was bittersweet because she was given an opportunity to join a university before ABIDE ended, and we did not want to discourage her from that, but didn’t want to see her go at the same time. Those last few weeks just didn’t seem the same without Barbrah around. Several times I would find myself thinking, “who is missing?” count the girls, then realize it was Barbrah who I was missing. I know she was missing us too because I saw messages and posts about missing us and congratulating her ABIDE sisters on Sunday.
The girls led a church service, we ate a big lunch, then we had the graduation ceremony. We were blessed to have several alumni come and celebrate with their first group of sisters. It was so good to see their support. Another blessing was the presence of Dr. Rev. Ben Tumuheirwe (Juna Amagara Ministries’ Executive Director) and his wife, Lilian. Lilian shared some encouraging words with the girls, and all of us. It has been her prayer since the beginning of ABIDE for there to be a day to include girls. It wasn’t until this past June that I discovered that since I came for the first time, in 2010, she had been praying I would come be a part of it! Our Guest of Honor, Mabel Twinamatsiko, also challenged and encouraged all of us with words from Isaiah 40.
The girls received certificates, study Bibles, and a CD of songs we recorded. We also gave them a starter kit for making jewelry like they learned in their classes. Hopefully they will be able to use it to earn some money or even start a small business. We also cut cake, like we do at any good Ugandan party. But these three cakes we had were made by the students, showing off some baking skills they have gained.
The day was beautiful and sunny. We didn’t know how we were going to find the resources to have a nice celebration since our account was looking pretty empty, but God provided abundantly at just the right time. I’m still not sure how it all came together, but it did!
Now the graduates have all scattered in various directions, ready to take all that they have learned as they have been discipled, and make more disciples. May God bless them and be glorified through their lives.
Take a look at some pictures from the day. Sorry I can’t label/explain each one…I’m writing this blog as I travel to Kampala, so I’m a bit limited!