Monday, February 3, 2014

The Tree I Fell From

This is my Father, John Carlton.  You should be able to tell by some of the pictures displayed here where I get my fondness for the camera from.  This is a really neat story and before I share the interview, I want to give God the glory and thank Him for His reconciliation.  He is able to take what is completely and utterly shattered and make it whole again.  When I was younger, my dad and mom divorced.  It was difficult for me because I love them both very much.  My dad spent time with me, but it was never enough for me.  I never dealt with the pain of the loss and I went on thinking that I would heal.  Little did know that I went from hurting, to anger to being downright bitter towards him.  I'll never forget one time, I wrote him a letter expressing everything that I was feeling and not in a good way.  Unfortunately I can be a wordsmith and the letter was laced with verbal brutality.  What does the verse say, "speak the truth and forget the last the truth in love".  Had I received a letter like that from any of my children it would have shaved years off of my life.  I regretted sending it because I thought about James 3:9-10.  I was praising God out of one side of my mouth and ripping my dad apart out the other side.  I ached that I did that to him and I at last asked him to forgive me for treating him like that.  Little did I know what a beautiful thing that God would unfold before us.  Since that day, God has been working in my heart and in my dad's heart regarding forgiveness and restoration.  A thing that I thought God could never restore, He put back together and breathed His life into it.  I have delighted to witness God's great mercy and compassion for both my dad and I.  It is well with my soul that he and I are not only father and son, but brothers of Jesus Christ.  I delight to know that we will be worshiping God together both here on earth and in eternity.  I can see now that God had a plan for us and somehow He used what seemed like devastation to bring glory to Himself and reveal the beauty of redemption.  God is so good.
So without any further delay, here is an interview with my dad.

1.  What thoughts first went through your mind, when you heard that we were going to be going to the mission field of Uganda?

Dad:  I would say the first thing that went through my mind was the safety of your family.  Everyone has preconceived ideas about what East Africa would be like and my first thought was what could happen to you and your family.  My second thought was that you guys are passionate about your call to Uganda and that you were seeking to do God's will and that removes any need for me to worry.  You are in His hands when you submit yourself to Him.

2.  As missionary parents, the acceptance of the call on your child or children to go overseas can be a difficult one to cope with.  What is it that you are trusting in when you worry/anxiety come your way?

Dad:  I think of God's sovereign will.  It can be easy to view this through human eyes and be very concerned, but I just sense that you are seeking to follow what God is calling you to do.  He is sovereign over everything and if He wants you to serve Him there, you will and nothing will stop you until God is finished using you in that capacity.  He is all powerful.

3.  What makes you excited about us serving in Uganda?

Dad:  I think it would have to be your families interaction with the non-Western world.  I think it will be of great value to not just you, but your whole family to work with Ugandans and experience their culture.  You are getting entrenched with them in their culture.  Your family will make friends with the locals and those relationships will be of such great value.  I think it is so cool that you get to do this as a career, to go and love on Ugandans in the name of Jesus Christ.

4.  What concerns do you have about us serving in Uganda?

Dad:  I'm concerned about the lack of medical care.  I'm concerned about diseases and illnesses and all the things that can come from being in another country.  We are used to having the very best medical facilities right here and that may not be the case there.

5.  As missionaries, we carry the greatest Message known to man.  If you had an opportunity to convey a message to the people of Uganda, what would you say to them?

Dad:  I would tell them to heed God's word.  I'd tell them to grab hold of the love of Christ that can set them free.  I'd tell them that they can have life everlasting in Christ Jesus.

6.  What would you tell someone who would say to you, that no one should be going to Uganda because its too dangerous?

Dad:  Yeah, it can be, so can living here.  There is a danger in being complacent wouldn't you agree?  This gives you the opportunity to trust in Jesus minute by minute and day by day.  This gives you the chance to hold the things of this earth with an open hand.  That is really living right there.

7.  What would you like to say to the readers of our blog and supporters of our mission to Uganda?

Dad:  Pray for them, first.  Invest in what God is doing through them in Uganda.  Pray that they will be able to clearly and effectively communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ both while they are here and while in Uganda.  They really could use all of your support.

8.  What is your overall feeling about being a POM (Parent of Missionaries)?

Dad:  I am really proud.  I am really proud.  I tell all of my friends at church and all of my other friends that my son is going to give the Gospel in Uganda.  I"m just really proud.  I know how much you love the Ugandan people and how burdened you are for them and I'm just proud and happy to see that you are able to pursue this call.

So there you have it.  My dad just summing up what is going on in his heart as we continue this journey toward Uganda.  Every time I get to speak to him or have even a casual conversation, I am just reminded of how rich our Lord is in all that He does.  Our restored relationship is a testimony to the power of the Almighty God and His perfect plan for redemption.  Thank you again, dad, I love you a great deal and I am so thankful that God has put us here together for such a time as this.

Yesu Amala

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