My name is Rachel Carson, and I am a recent Louisiana Tech graduate and first year teacher here in Ruston. I have been coming to Temple since the moment I got to Ruston as a freshman in college; I loved Temple so much that I even worked at the church for three years as one of the children’s ministry interns. I am so blessed to have had the support of Temple and many members in my seven-week trip this summer to Uganda.
I spent this past summer in a very small village where I was one of three Caucasians. With my freckles and white skin, I was incredibly popular with the kids who were constantly trying to rub my freckles off for me. Every weekday, I taught in a school about half of a mile down the road from where I stayed. I taught second and third graders English, grammar, spelling, and composition and worked with special needs students in the first grade, building a foundation of basic knowledge and skills that they could build on as they grow up. Every weekend, my partner and I helped teach between 200-300 children in Awana every Saturday and in Sunday school every Sunday. It was incredible to me that the stories that were so drilled into my head as a child raised in the church were so new to these children who had not been exposed to scripture as I had been. As we acted out these stories and the children cheered when Goliath (me) crashed to the ground after getting struck by little David’s stone or when we used pictures and drawings to tell of how Noah trusted and obeyed God and built the ark in spite of the ridicule of others and they listened wide eyed and completely engaged, my eyes were opened to how privileged we are to have such easy access to scripture. As quick as the touch on a screen, we can have the Bible pulled up on our phone. I’m so grateful to have learned this and many more lessons from the hilarious and precious kids I worked with.
Although my summer was full of incredible moments like these, I also witnessed firsthand the effects of living in a fallen world. I watched as people got sick, watched as some got increasingly worse, watched people experience loss of loved ones, and watched as people lost homes and businesses because of corruption, and was often asked of God’s purpose in all of these things. As I prayed with the mothers who lost sons to diseases, children whose siblings were growing weaker each day, and parents who were losing their small income rapidly, I had to remind myself of what an awesome and sovereign God we serve. I clung to Romans 8:28 as I encouraged fellow believers that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” I know God’s purpose may sometimes seem unclear to us, and often did this summer, but I also know we serve a faithful and loving God who is already healing those hearts and lives affected by heartache this summer.
In the weeks and months to come, I ask you to pray for the children in Kamonkoli, Uganda, that God would prepare their hearts for the work he is already doing and will continue to do in them. I also ask you to pray for the teachers and adults that are pouring into these children weekly, and in some cases daily, that they would be encouraged in their own walk with Christ to persevere in spite of the hardships they encounter so often. Finally, I ask that you pray that God would continue to move not only in Kamonkoli, but around the world and that college students, young adults, parents, everyone would be sensitive to the call He has given to go and make disciples.