|Rev. Kimberly Burke|
I am once again honored to feature a guest post by Rev. Kimberly Burke, Associate Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Boerne, Texas. Rev. Burke is a recent honors graduate of Southern Methodist University/Perkins School of Theology, where she received her Masters Degree. This post is Part 2 of her impressions of her experience as a missionary to Uganda, participating with the Tree of Life Ministries. Click here to read Part 1 of this four part series. Part 3 is here.
I was overwhelmed the day of my first visit with the women’s ministry. I was greeted with singing and dancing, clapping and praising God. I had never experienced such raw joy, such unabashed gratitude. I began thinking these women had no problems. So in an attempt to get to know them, actually in an attempt to get over my nervousness of not knowing how to express such joy, I asked if they had prayer requests. It now seems like such a typical Methodist thing to do. But in the very back of the room a hand shot up and a beautiful glowing woman stood up and said please pray that I might be empowered to spread the gospel and the wisdom to do so. In that moment God’s words came flowing back to me…there are women there who want to spread the gospel. I was so thankful that perhaps I did have a reason for being here at this time and at this place and with tears streaming down my face I asked her to come forward and all 26 women gathered around. Those who could reach her laid hands on her and everyone another gathered in a grand spirit filled circle. I prayed with a power that was not my own, for God to anoint and consecrate this woman to service, to give her courage and wisdom, guidance and authority and the tears began to stream down her face as this white woman from the other planet with no real power other than to say the words she had longed to hear by the power of the Holy Spirit, flowed over her. And one by one their hands waved in the air to be prayed over and I realized in the midst of all of the joy I had just witnessed there was such suffering as I had never witnessed in one place. Women who had babies die in their arms, husbands addicted to alcohol (demons they called them), women who had lost husbands, one woman whose Muslim family had abandoned her because she was a born again Christian. Yet 17 women came forward to profess their yearning to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and to be anointed. To go forth on bare feet, down dirt roads, to places where the gospel has never been heard, facing danger of persecution and isolation. After confessing all of these horrible tragedies, many of which I realized could be cured by simple, ordinary things like clean water, antibiotics…simple ordinary things. These women yet again leaped to their feet to praise God! To sing praises, to dance and to laugh together. Their worries were seemingly carried away like a wisp of smoke from the very real conclusion that in the midst of it all God was there. They laid their burdens down and refused to pick them back up for tomorrow there would be more. This moment was fresh with joy.
(Go here to read Part 3.....)
Linking to Jen at Finding Heaven Today