What Faithfulness Looks Like To Us

2020 has been more different than any of us ever imagined. Even with things slowing getting back to normal our life just feels different. Fortunately, this year and its changes and challenges were no surprise to God and He has been slowly preparing us for years for these weird days we are in. And we know that He is also using this season to prepare us for the next one. He is just faithful like that! It has been helpful for us mentally and spiritually to remember this simple truth and reflect on how His hand has been weaving our days in to this special life we get to live. Let me give you a couple of examples…

House Groups at Jinja Town Church

With the lockdown of churches here in Uganda we have been streaming Jinja Town Church on FB. It was the best option at the time but everyone is missing the community that gathering for church on Sunday creates. In an effort to serve our church better we are introducing home groups to Jinja Town Church. This past month I have been able to help 9 groups begin meeting through out the week in different areas around town. I send out a short video each week summarising the sermon from Sunday along with a few questions and discussion points. Every group spends time praying for one another, enjoy fellowship together, and take communion. We have already had 4 people give their life to the Lord and so many others are being encouraged weekly by these gatherings. It is fun to see how the Lord is using our past experiences and skills we learned leading Small Groups at Ridge Church to serve the local church and meet people’s needs here today. 

Msumba Spanky

One of my roles at Jinja Town Church is to help share the preaching responsibilities and give Msumba (Pastor) Smooth a break. He is a great teacher and speaker and spends lots of time each week preparing. It is my pleasure to give him a breather every few weeks. Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to preach and finish up the sermon series “Storms”. I focused on Ps.91:14-16 and the promises the Lord gives us in those verses. Going through storms in life is inevitable, but God is faithful as we pass through them. Preaching is something that I am having to grow in but it has been a good outlet for me in processing what I am going through personally and what the Lord is doing in my life. Through this time of studying and preparation I was reminded of all the storms the Lord has brought me through and the promise that He is forever present with me. Here is the link if you would like to listen. https://web.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=2454100358232168&ref=search

Doing Life With People Gives Life

One thing the Lord taught us years ago is how important it is to live life with other people. We were created for community and the Lord calls us to help carry other people’s burdens. This takes work, it takes time, it requires vulnerability and it sometimes feels heavy, but it is so worth it. Not only do you get to see the faithfulness of God in your own life, you get a front row seat to see Him at work in others lives. God has used the people in our life so many times to encourage and bless us. It is our hearts desire to be that for others. When we were moving to Uganda we knew that the Lord wanted us to serve the people of Uganda, but we also had a desire to care for those in the expat community. We make an effort to connect with the people the Lord puts in our path and enjoy this journey together. It just makes the valleys and the mountain tops better.

Jinja Sweat

We love connecting with people from all over the world, hearing their stories and looking for ways to serve them and Jinja is full of so many people from so many different places. Our home gym, Jinja Sweat, was birthed out of this desire to build community and healthier bodies. We knew that accomplishing these two things would help others in becoming healthier emotionally and mentally too. We had no idea that during this crazy time our small gym classes would meet such a practical and real need. We have had so many people tell us that more than anything Jinja Sweat has helped them to stay sane during this time and even helped to fight off depression. That folks, is what you call a win! We have 2 small classes, 3 times a week, on a dirt floor, under a tin roof shelter, with minimal equipment, but the impact on people’s lives in spectacular. We are seeing more and more how creative God is in His plan to use our lives! Lara and I both experienced the power that exercise and attempting to eat healthy foods can make in your life just a few years ago. If there has ever been a time that we need to prioritise some self care to reduce the stress of life, the time is now! I am so grateful for the opportunity I was given at Carolina Sweat to get my fitness coach license and learn how to teach group fitness classes. Those skills are hard at work these days and are making an impact on so many!

Be Encouraged Friends

Even if this season feels weird, wasted, different and frustrating, please know that God will use it to prepare you for whatever is next and whatever is next is even better!

Will you be praying these things for us:

  • Eyes to be open to the opportunities and people around us
  • Strength and energy to continue investing in others
  • Spiritual growth and deepen relationship with the Lord
  • Extra funds for a gym floor (Pavers, Not dirt)
  • Wisdom
  • Direction for Jinja Town Church during this time
  • Mental, emotional and spiritual healthiness
  • Spanky finished his Life coaching school and is now working on hours so he can get his International Certification

What a guy!

1176289_10151654099533616_807039967_nHave you ever meet someone who you are consistently amazed by? I have someone like that in mind. Mark. He is my immediate director at United World Mission, but he is much more than just a boss. Mark is a super hero! He has travelled to and helped set up ministry in over 80 countries, recruited 100’s of people to go to the nations as missionaries, started schools, seminaries, and training facilities on multiple continents, raised 1000’s of dollars for ministry purposes that he has simply given away. And did I mention he played a huge role in saving UWM around 20 years ago from completely going under and being nonexistent. This is the guy that pursued me for this role I have at UWM and this guy along with the leading of the Spirit of the Lord is the reason I took this “job”/ministry position at UWM.

It was exactly 1 year ago today that I meet Mark. I had inquired online about some mission trips and opportunities through United World Mission a week before. Mark emailed me and asked if I wanted to get lunch sometime the next week. I was taking a day off of work to hang out with my oldest son, Mac, and if someone wanted to buy us lunch, I was all in. I knew Mac wouldn’t care because we were meeting at a favorite BBQ spot. –  This is the same kid that told his doctor at age 3 that his favorite food was “MEAT!” –  We ate, talked about life and missions, and got to know one another for a little over an hour. By the end of our conversation Mark asked me if I would come work for him. I was completely surprised and quickly shared that I enjoyed my current ministry. “Thank you but no thanks.” That wasn’t the end of the conversation as I would learn over the next 7 weeks. This guy saw something in me and the more we met the more this passion for missions would build inside of me.

Now after working with Mark for over 9 months I can honestly say, this guy cares about other people! Not like some of us say we care about people but he actually puts it into action. Mark is one of the most selfless guys I know. His motto for his life is, “I help others succeed”. And he means it. I know I can tend to care more about me getting recognized or getting what I deserve many days, and in the 9 months that I have worked closely with Mark I have never seen that in him. I have seen the opposite. He goes out of his way for others…daily!

I count it a blessing and privilege to serve under someone like this! I know that I have much to learn and this is the kind of person and leader I want to glean from! He is a huge blessing to me. If you could take a few minutes to pray for Mark and for his family I would appreciate it! They have been going through a very long battle with his daughter’s health after she was strangled by her boyfriend on Christmas morning. Please take a look at his blog and Facebook to learn more and to find ways to be praying for them.




What can you start doing today?

Some of you may follow me on Facebook and saw an article that I posted earlier this week about missional living. The article suggested 8 easy ways to live missionally.  It sparked a brief conversation between a good friend and me. **Let me tell you first that this guy lives out his faith, missional living, better than most American Christians that I know or have heard of. He, day by day, is loving on and serving those in his neighborhood. He is relentless in-spite of how messy and jacked up it can get…and it gets messy up often!

His point was just that, missional living is not easy. While I agree with him, I also believe that each one of us can start doing something today that is an easy next step in living out Jesus. Practical ways of being His hands and feet, salt and light to the “world” around us.

The problem I see is how we, churchy people, label missional living as something radical that only missionaries do or those crazy people who move to poor neighborhoods and say they are called to do. When in reality (God’s perspective) we are all called to live missionally. I am NOT saying that we are all called to be missionaries or sale our houses and move into a low-income areas to start a church! No not at all! ~Well some of us are probably called to do things like this if we are to be honest with our self.~ But for every single one of us we are “called” to love our neighbors, serve those in need, and live in a way that will point others to worship Jesus.

My question for each of us is, “What is one simple way we can start living missional today?”

Take a look at this article then ask where, who, how can I begin being missional. I would love to hear what step you are going to begin taking today towards missional living! Let’s start a movement of love, love that is in action!!!

This is my fb post regarding missional living. you can read it by going to my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/spanky.rouse
This is my fb post regarding missional living. you can read it by going to my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/spanky.rouse