I was going through all my reasons why I don’t want to go to Uganda for the 2019 Youth Ablaze conference. I give the same reasons each year. When I hear myself telling whoever is listening at the time, even I get sick of myself.
Here’s why I don’t want to go.
- It is not my mission field. Atlanta tech is my mission field. I’ve never been a “go on missions” type of guy.
- I don’t need the added stress of a big trip after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- I don’t want to do all the fundraising necessary for Youth Ablaze to be a success.
- I don’t want to put together an entirely new curriculum to fill a week of speeches.
How’s that for a list!
I was at lunch with my friend and annual Youth Ablaze supporter Shawn Holtzclaw just yesterday. He asked me, “Are you going to Uganda this year?”
I immediately launched into all the reasons why I’m thinking of not going.
Shawn asked me, “You go through this process every year. Why do you always cave and go?”
There are two reasons.
First, I tell people who are in my stage of life how important it is for a husband and wife to find a common mission in serving God and others. As newlyweds, there is the common mission of building a life and family together. Then come the kids which creates separate missions of providing and nurturing. After the kids grow up and move on to live their own lives and make their own way, there is a need for a new combined mission for husband and wife.
Uganda and Youth Ablaze is that mission for Kathy and me. It is something we do together. We speak on different subjects but serve the same audience. We work on our ideas for our talks together. We complain how hard all this is, together. We pray together. We are there for each other in this work.
Second, the trip removes us from everything we know. We are truly together. Just us. We prepare for our talks. We are picked up and delivered to the venue. We give our talks. We come back to the hotel. In between these activities, we are with each other. No TV. No kids. No grandchildren. No other work. No distractions. Nowhere else to go. We are just together. It is an amazing time of renewal for us and our marriage.
“So you are going again this year, right?” asked Shawn.
Upon hearing his rhetorical question, I knew the answer.
“Yes!” I said. “Kathy and I are going to Uganda to speak at Youth Ablaze 2019.”
Kathy had a much better reason to go.
I told Kathy what I told Shawn. She said, “But there is an even more important reason.”
Kathy explained, “When we go to Uganda, God is clearly present. He is right there with us. We both feel his presence. We know it. This does not happen anywhere else to us.
“The spiritual battles are real. We experience them. We pray for protection. Jesus shows up and saves us. There is no barrier between the natural and supernatural at Youth Ablaze. That’s why I want to go. I want more of God. I want to be right there with Him.”
I realize how selfish I am. It was interesting when Kathy and I were talking about this trip that she said, “When asked to do something this big, the first thing we think about is ourselves.”
Look what God does at Youth Ablaze.
All the money, preparation, presenting, and prayer results in life change. The wonderful young men and women of Uganda are given a message of hope and inspiration. Though they have nothing, they walk away from the conference filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
They leave filled with the knowledge to leave poverty behind. They go on to become leaders in their villages and communities. They leave knowing God loves them and has chosen them to lead their nation to greatness for Him!
That’s big! And that’s the reason we are going.
Are you interested in joining us in making Youth Ablaze 2019 a success? Do you want to be a part of changing lives, changing communities, and changing nations? If so, email me and we’ll talk.