Tim and Jill Way

Adventures of the Way Family

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Hey friends! Thanks for checking in with us. We hope you stop by from time to time and read our latest stories and thoughts from the Way family, the Tulsa Boiler Room, and our mission in Uganda. God bless you!

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Uganda 2011

Posted By on August 11, 2011

Rebekah and I had a truly wonderful trip to Uganda, and we are so grateful to the Lord and to each of you who supported us and prayed for us.  Thank you!

While Rebekah spent the first days at Acacia Tree Baby Home, I had the great privilege of being part of Simon Kisaka’s wedding.  Simon was my roommate at ORU, and the person who is responsible for my ever going to Uganda in the first place.  In the summer of 1989, Simon, our friend Jason, and I went on a two month mission trip that forever changed the course of my life.  Now, so many years later, it was beyond amazing to be back in Kampala with Simon, celebrating his wedding.

After this, Bekah and I joined our friends Taylor and Ashley Hankins and headed west for Masaka.  While there, Rebekah, Taylor, and Ashley spent time with the kids at Jireh Childrens Center, which was started by our friends Benjamin and Jacque Kintu.

I meanwhile had the chance to spend two days with the leadership team I have worked with since the year 2000.  We had sweet times of prayer, discussion, dreaming, and planning — as well as laughter, fun, and sharing memories.  We believe that God spoke to us about moving forward with our dream of equipping leaders and planting churches throughout the villages of Uganda and beyond.  Already this small team of simple but determined men and women oversee more than 100 churches between them, and are equipping and discipling many new leaders.  They also continue to be passionate about reaching the lost and taking care of orphans.

Furhter west, in the village of Kansenene, we visited Pastor Israel’s home.  Partnering with a group of friends in the Netherlands, he has built a clinic and a school for this remote community, and also has started a thriving church.  It was fun to spend a couple of days here, teaching and encouraging this beautiful congregation.

I have included a couple pictures from the trip below.  The first is Simon and Irene, and the second is Bekah and I at the equator with Ashley and Taylor.  In order to see more, you can go to our album on facebook.

Desire

Posted By on August 11, 2011

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. — Matt 6:31-33

Last night I was listening to a Keith Green song, and I wept as I heard him sing these simple words: “Oh Lord, You’re beautiful; your face is all I seek.”  Your face is all I seek!! I am coming face to face with the frightening truth that my desire for Jesus and His Kingdom has some serious competition.  I desire many things.  Comfort.  Entertainment.  Safety.  Friendship.  To be loved and accepted.  Food.  Good coffee.  Privacy.  Respect.

For the pagans run after all these things.”  Why is there such lack of power in our witness?  Why no raging fire in our holiness?  Such meager fruit in our service?  Why such little true intimacy in my relationship with Jesus?

Seek first the Kingdom of God.”   I am convicted that my desire is simply too weak.  Or perhaps too diverted.  I desire many things.  Jesus told Martha that only one thing is needed (Lk 10:42).  One of the things that I love about my friends and brothers in Uganda is that their entire lives tend to revolve so much more simply around Jesus and His mission.  Perhaps it is because there are fewer distractions.  Or perhaps it is because they take His words more seriously.  All I know is this:  I want to know Him.  I want to bear fruit for His glory (Jn 15).  I want to turn my eyes away from the many things that do not matter — the mere shadows — and look more intently on what is real and true.  Jesus.

Oh God, increase my desire for you!

Uganda

Posted By on May 4, 2011

Rebekah and I are planning to go to Uganda this summer!  We are looking to be there from July 20 – Aug 2.  While there, I will have the opportunity to meet with the leadership of the ministry Jill and I planted there by God’s grace.  This is a time of transition for them, and we all feel it necessary for us to spend some time together as we look at the way forward.  I will also have the opportunity to visit, encourage, and share God’s Word with some of the pastors we trained over the years and their congregations.  These are men and women who often serve Jesus under very difficult conditions, and it is a joy to be with them and join hands in God’s work.

Rebekah will be returning to Uganda for the first time since our family moved away six years ago.  She hopes to connect with a few old friends, and also visit some places that hold special memories for us.  She will spend some time helping our friend Robin Hancock, who runs a baby home, and will serve at Jireh Children’s Center, where orphans are cared for and the poor are given an education.

I also will have the great joy of participating in the wedding of my former roommate in college – Simon Kisaka.  His wedding is taking place in Kampala on July 23.

If you would like to help us financially to make this trip possible, please go to our donations page.

Reynosa

Posted By on May 3, 2011

By God’s grace, I had the amazing privilege and joy of traveling to Reynosa, Mexico with three friends from the Tulsa Boiler Room, from March 24-28. We went as a scouting and prayer team to check out the possibility of sending a missionary there to begin a missional and discipleship community. We are very encouraged.

Emily Sengel lived in Reynosa for a year and a half as part of a team lead by Zach and Kelly Tietsort, missionaries from Believers Church. About a year ago, they pulled out of Mexico and returned home. Since that time, Emily has become a valued part of the Boiler Room community. Over the past year we have seen the Lord continue to grow the dream in her heart of returning to Reynosa to again live and share the love and truth of Jesus.

The focus of Emily’s mission there is a walled in city block known as “the Zone of Tolerance,” or simply Boystown. Everything within these walls is governed by the Mexican mafia, and prostitution and drugs are legal and open. Emily’s heart is for the women who are trapped here, staggering through life in a haze of drugs and alcohol and sex and bondage. She has come to see the heart of Jesus for these women, and has found beauty in this dark and ugly place.

While there with Emily in March, our team had the opportunity to meet Flora (not her real name). For 31 years, Flora lived a life of prostitution and drug addiction. Emily met her in Boystown several years ago, and they became friends. Before moving away from Mexico last year, Emily knew that Flora had left Boystown to check herself into a Christian rehabilitation center – but nobody had much hope. She had done similar things many times before, only to end up back in Boystown soon after. But this time things were different.

When we met Flora, we encountered a woman filled with joy to the point of bursting. The first thing she wanted to do was share her testimony with us. She told us how she had known about Jesus before, and that she knew Kelly and Emily were praying for her, but she wasn’t interested. Eventually, with life full of suffering and despair, in desperation she went to the rehab center. The first six months were awful, but at that point she had a vivid dream in which the Lord showed her that she is a new creation. From that moment on she has been following Jesus.

One day while we were there, Flora went into Boystown with Emily and Laura, another of our team members. Inside Boystoown, she approached the women and passionately told them how Jesus loves them. She told them how she also used to be in the same situation as they, but Jesus transformed her life, and He can do the same for them. It was beautiful, and the answer to countless hours of tear-filled prayers.

More than anything I could express, Flora’s story captures what we are dreaming for Reynosa and Boystown. We long to see many former prostitutes and former alcoholics and drug dealers and pimps rescued from destruction by the power of God. We long to seem them ablaze with the love of Jesus and, filled with compassion, going back into the darkness to bring others out. The Boiler Room is committed to raising up a team to live incarnationaly in Mexico with Emily and labor there with God in His great work of redemption. We would really appreciate your prayers as we seek to hear and obey what the Lord is calling us to.

Pray for Kampala!

Posted By on May 1, 2011

Riots in Kampala! Opposition leader brutally arrested!  Security forces patrolling the streets! Protestors violently suppressed! With the events of the past months in nations like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and others, such news doesn’t even faze us.  But… this is Kampala!  And suddenly, for me, it’s all personal.

I had my first experience of Kampala, Uganda’s hectic and vibrant capital city, in 1989.  Though I was in a haze of exhaustion and adrenaline, the images of that first day are ones that will probably always stay with me.  At that time, Yoweri Museveni was an idealistic revolutionary, still consolidating power after a successful coup brought him the presidency three years before.  He was wildly popular.  Hope, long dead, had sprung to life in many hearts – hope in a new type of leader; a new way of governing that would bring freedom and dignity to a people long oppressed.  And now, some two decades later, thousands of angry Ugandans are protesting his regime in the face of another revolution gone awry.

I know it’s one more place to add to an ever-increasing list of those desperate for prayer – but please pray for Uganda.

My last visit was almost two years ago.  I wrote this on my first morning back in the land that our family called home for nine years:

This morning jet lag had me awake at 4:00. When I was still wide awake at 5:00, I decided to get up and face the day. I walked outside and settled myself into a plastic chair on the verandah of the guest house where we are staying on Namirembe Hill — the ‘hill of peace.’ Sitting there overlooking Kampala, I reveled in the peaceful moment.

Kampala is a city of intense life. To me, everything is exaggerated — the joy is exuberant; the fear menacing and physical; the despair debilitating, but the hope relentless; the darkness and corruption and evil overwhelming; the light and goodness and love powerful. Oh Kampala.

Sitting in my chair, I enjoyed listening to the once familiar sounds of the city awakening. Traffic beginning to fill the streets — heavy trucks and impatient taxis already looking for passengers. Dogs barking. Roosters crowing. The mournful sound of the call to prayer coming from the mosque. The competing shouts and loud music of a Pentecostal church concluding the all-night prayer service. A baby crying. Oh Kampala!

A city of such contrasts! Filth and brutality side-by-side with beauty and compassion. Death struggling against life. Corruption and courage. Dark and light. I do love this city, and I found myself again praying for the Father to gather all His children and lost ones in the embrace of His love.

Oh Kampala!

Indeed.  Please pray for Kampala.  Pray for the light of Jesus to shine brightly here.  Pray for peace.  And justice.  And lots of grace.  Thank you.

Recent Favorite Kid Quotes

Posted By on January 13, 2011

MeHannah, stop talking.
Hannah
: I’m not talking.  I’m just telling you something.

Philip: (while playing with my hair):  Daddy, I’m just trying to make your hair not look like a girl.

Philip:  (with disappointment) Daddy, your muscles are kinda soft…
… and floppy

(with excitement)  … but look at mine!  They’re really hard!

Philip and Hannah had been watching a show about having a “special place.”..
Me
Philip, what’s your special place?
Philip
: On the couch, playing the game boy.
Me
: Hannah, what’s yours?
Hannah
Beside Philip.
Me
(thinking):  awwwww….  So cute!
Philip
Ewwww..  get away from me Hannah!

Philip:  Peter’s family night is the day the playoffs start!
Hannah
:  Ok, that’s just weird.

Hannah (as Mary) to the wise men (scowling):  The baby doesn’t need those things

Philip was playing a game (Loaded Questions) with the Boiler Room.  Everyone had to fill in the blank for this statement:  “The world owes me _________.”  Philip immediately got up and came over to me.  As I was thinking about how to explain this sentence to him, he whispered in my ear, “How do you write ice cream?”  (I love this kid.)

Jill:  What are you thankful for Hannah?
Hannah:  I’m thankful that my Daddy loves me.

And by the way… Hannah’s current favorite song?  “This Means War!” by Petra.

quiet time

Posted By on January 5, 2011

I need a quiet time with the Lord each day in order to make it.  I really do.  And, ummm…. so do you.  For much of my Christian life, I thought this whole idea was a real drag.  In fact, it’s been such a struggle for me over the years, that I feel somewhat hypocritical in writing about it.  So that’s why I need to tell the truth.  I used to hate the idea of having to get up early and try to pray and read the Bible every stinkin day.  Actually, I reasoned I could give myself a break on Sundays since I was going to church anyway, and there would be plenty of praying, worshipping, and Bible there.  To be fair, there were occasions when I sort of liked it.  There were seasons when it was better, and I would walk in the realization of how much I needed it.

When my wife and I first went to live in Africa, we served under a mission that required us to sign a statement saying we would spend at least an hour in personal prayer and Bible Study every day.  When we first arrived in Uganda, it was incredible.  I lived with such a constant awareness of my need for help from heaven, that the hour-a-day was no problem at all.  I was being assaulted by all kinds of stuff that was so new to me, and I was desperate for God.  But as the months and then years went by, I got more comfortable.  I lost the desperation.  And horrible pangs of guilt would strike me once every year when we opened the mail and found the dreaded document from our mission – the renewal of the prayer covenant.  Guilt.  My devotional life could be summarized with a few words:  inconsistent.  guilt.  bland.  Yes, I’d sign the repulsive form – with genuine repentance and determination to do better.  It never lasted.

In Africa, I used to go on mission trips with my Ugandan fellow-workers from time to time.  It was crazy.  Inevitably, after experiencing a restless few hours of sleep because of the newness of the place, the fear of rats, or whatever, I’d hear the infuriating sound.  My friend (or friends) would be up praying.  And don’t think this was a ‘quiet time.’  Oh no.  We’re talking serious spiritual warfare, binding demons, crying out to God, singing, worshipping, intense, fervent, passionate prayer.  I’d look at my clock (4:00 in the freakin morning!”) groan, roll over, put whatever was serving as my pillow over my head, and try to get back to blissful slumber.  I was annoyed.  I’d eventually fade back out, only to wake up several hours later with that familiar companion rubbing it in – guilt.

Oh, but please listen to me!  Prayer is a beautiful gift to you from your Creator.  The Bible is an incomparable treasure.  And you desperately need to spend time with Jesus each day.  You know it with your head.  You’ve heard it dozens of times.  You’ve told others.  You agree with me.  But have you grasped it in the deep part of your heart?  It is true!  You need this.  Jesus Himself was all about prayer.  He was always trying to get away and hang with his Father.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  Mark 1:35

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.  Luke 5:16

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.  Luke 6:12

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.  Luke 9:28

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”  Luke 11:1

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”  Mark 14:32

God calls us to pray and read the Bible and fast and worship and all that stuff for a reason.  It’s not meant to be a drag or to constantly wear us down with guilt.  It’s because we need it.  I have a passion within me to know Jesus and to live for him and his glory.  It burns in my heart.  I really believe I’d do anything to bring it about.  But I know this from experience:  passions can fade.  They can lose their heat.  I don’t want to lose this passion, so I gotta feed it.  I have to fan it into flame.

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.  2 Tim 1:6  (NLT)

There’s some stuff that we need to fight to keep.  Our passion for Jesus is one of them.  Our desire for his glory.  Our determination for our lives to count for him.  Our longing for his Kingdom to come.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.   Matthew 6:33  (NLT)

Seek it.  Fan it into flame.  That’ why all this stuff – what we sometimes call spiritual disciplines – is so important.  It’s how we fan the flame, seek the Kingdom, feed the passion.  This is one of the secrets to maintaining steady, guilt-free, sweet quiet times with the Lord – to know why we’re doing it.  We’re doing it because we love him, we want to know him, we need it just to stay saved, and to keep the godly passions ablaze in our hearts.  Here are a few other ideas as to how to maintain a quiet time:

1   Be accountable.  D-groups are great for this, and have been a big help for me.  Confessing my failures and speaking out my goals truly helps me to be more consistent.  Find a friend or two to do this with.  Encourage and exhort one another.  Do not make excuses for each other.  Spur one another on!

2   Focus on grace, not guilt.  Receive God’s grace when you fail.  When you miss a day or two.  When you do pray but you don’t believe, or you do read the Bible but you don’t focus.  This is not a duty.  It’s not something God requires of you just because.  This is your food.  You don’t beat yourself up if you miss breakfast.  It just makes you extra ready for lunch.  Be motivated by hunger, not guilt.

3   Get inspired.  Read books about prayer.  Listen to audio teachings.  Find things that motivate and encourage you in prayer.  Fan the flame.

4   Pray according to the pattern Jesus taught in Matthew 6:9-13.  This could be an in-depth teaching in itself, but briefly it could broken down like this:

>    Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name: Approach God as your Father.  Meditate on this.  And then worship him. Lay your life before him as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1)

>    your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Surrender yourself to God’s will today.  Commit yourself to pursuing what he wants.  In praying for his kingdom to come, intercede for others.  Pray for the lost.  This is spiritual warfare.  Be fervent!

>     Give us today our daily bread.  Make your requests known to God.  He invites you to ask for what you need.

>    Forgive us our sins, as we also have forgiven those who have sinned against us. Ask the Lord to reveal your sins to you, and repent of them one by one.  Also consciously forgive anyone who has offended you.

>    And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. Ask for help to overcome sin today.  You know the areas where you are likely to struggle.  Get help from heaven!  Also pray against every scheme and attack of the enemy.

>   For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.  Amen. End with declaring and reminding yourself that it’s all his, and all about him.

Do this as a pattern, but be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  Don’t let your time with Jesus denigrate into a business meeting.  Be flexible and spontaneous as well.  Use the form, but don’t get stuck in it.

5   Journal.  A prayer journal has been a terrific help in my quiet times.  I pray and read the Bible, but I also take time to write out what’s happening within me.  I often do this as a prayer, but it’s always a different experience than a spoken prayer.  I write about what’s bothering me or what I’m excited about or what I’m learning.  I love to write what I sense God may be speaking to me, and what he’s been teaching me through a sermon or an experience or the Bible or another person or simply from his Spirit speaking in my heart.  I love this.

Ask God to help you.  He wants to help you in this.  He wants to spend quality time with you.  He wants to abide with you.  Keep asking him.  Don’t give up.  He will increase your desire.

A Family Thanksgiving

Posted By on December 16, 2010

A Family Thanksgiving. Early on Thanksgiving afternoon, Nathan and I pulled into Owen Park. It was pretty cold, but not too bad — probably around 40 degrees, with the sun shining. Jill had been here earlier, helping the set-up crew. She had just run home for a short break, and to get the rest of the kids. Nathan and I wandered around, greeting friends and meeting new ones. We walked over to the turkey frying area, where some men were frying and carving a ridiculous number of turkeys. The flag football game in the field was winding down, and sweaty dudes were heading over to find something to drink. I found the coffee, and Nathan got some hot chocolate. At around 3:00 all of us – around 150 people who were there at the time (a total of close to 200 people came at some point during the day) – circled up and prayed. And then we feasted like the richest people on earth. Turkey and potatoes and vegetables and rolls and cranberries and stuffing and sweet potatoes and on and on and on. And then crazy amounts of dessert.

Thanksgiving is a day to be with family, and remember all the things we are thankful for. But what about those who have no family? Some have been rejected, others have run away from abuse. Some simply have no way of getting back home, and are unsure if they would be welcome if they did. Many are bound by addictions, or hampered by mental illness, or have alienated themselves from friends and family due to their own actions. Still, Jesus calls out to them with compassion and grace. These are our friends who call the streets home, and who call the people they find there family. Holidays can be rough times.

For the last two years, some of my favorite people from the Boiler Room’s Thursday Night Bbq crew have hosted Thanksgiving in the park. Jesse, Rachel, Karissa, James, Katie, John, and many others worked and prayed and served countless hours to make it all happen this year. The heart behind this event is for the family of God to open our hearts and share the holiday with those in need, as Jesus commanded in the scripture above. It is a powerful visual invitation for people to experience God’s family and the love of Christ.

I truly can’t think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving. I loved sitting at the long tables, sharing the meal and the day with such a diverse group of people – suburban families like mine mixing with grizzled homeless men and a fantastic array of characters. It is the Father’s heart to extend His family to those whom the world often considers “the least of these” – homeless, addicted, poor, drunk, on the run, scared, sick, fatherless. All of these are precious to Jesus, and how His heart longs for them! There were lots of smiles and plenty of laughter and hugs and ‘God-bless-you-s’ and ‘mmm-this-is-good-s!’.

We closed out the evening by getting in a circle and holding hands. By this time many had headed out in search of warmth and rest, but those who remained all had the chance to share what they are thankful for. Just like we do it at home. It’s good to be with family on Thanksgiving Day.

For more information about the ongoing ministry of the Thursday Night Bbq, go to www.thursdaynightbbq.com or write to: thursday_night_bbq@yahoo.com

Brookside 24-7 Prayer

Posted By on October 22, 2010

PrayerRm

We believe that God is once again calling us to fill an entire week with unbroken prayer, day and night. This time we are going to pray in Brookside, and we are very excited. Is it truly worth it to get up in the middle of the night to fill an hour slot in a prayer room? We think so. In fact, we’re totally convinced.

It feels like at this point I am supposed to promise that God will meet you there in a special way. That there will be miracles. That your life will be touched, maybe forever altered. That you’ll love it. That the sixty minutes you committed to will seem like six as you revel in the Presence of the Almighty, and you’ll wish you had signed up for more time. Truthfully, these things regularly do happen in prayer rooms around the world, and I believe they will in Brookside as well. However, I am making no promises, other than that your Father likes it when you pray, and He listens and cares. And that it really does matter. It’s important.

My experiences in prayer rooms have been varied. Yes, there are times that have been very special, where I’ve felt something tingly and wonderful. There have been more times when I’ve felt sleepy and wondered what I was doing, and questioned the wisdom of signing up for the 3 am slot. But I’ve come to this conclusion: The real reason for this whole 24-7 Prayer thing has less to do with me than with God and His Kingdom. It doesn’t ultimately matter if I had a wonderful time or a very not wonderful time. Jesus wants us to pray. You and I have been invited into something that is so much bigger than us. We can actually contribute to the establishing and growing of the Kingdom of God in our city, and the primary way we do this is by praying. This is freakin exciting!

So, come and pray with us. Wonderful things will happen. Lives will be changed. Miracles will happen. The Kingdom is near!

We are committed to filling a solid week with unbroken prayer, going from October 22-29. We’d really love for you to join us. If you are interested in this, follow this link for information about how to sign up: www.tulsaboilerroom.com/prayer. Also, invite your friends, churches, student groups, etc. To help you do this, we’ve set up a Facebook event. Find that here, and feel free to invite others.

God bless you!

Ruthie

Posted By on October 20, 2010

Recently some of the Boiler Room guys and I were sitting together on a Friday morning eating donuts and drinking coffee – part of our weekly routine. (As a side note, I just want to say that we do Church on Friday mornings at Daylight Donuts just as significantly as Sunday mornings in a pew – but that’s probably another topic altogether). Anyway, as we were talking about life and God and women, Ruthie walked in. Ruthie lives in the neighborhood, and we’ve known her for about a year. Ruthie. Ruthie is a character. She is probably around 60 years old, but honestly it’s hard to tell. She is often drunk or drugged when we see her, and she is always begging for money, and she always has a pathetic, sad look on her face. We usually hug her, pray for her, share some coffee with her, and listen to her stories. Sometimes we give her money, not knowing if it’s really a good idea. Sometimes we don’t, not knowing if that’s a good idea either. We like Ruthie. Some of our community have spent significant time praying for her, wrestling against the addictions and burdens that bind her. Before this day, it had been a few months since we last saw her.

But this day was different from all the others. Actually, I feel tears welling up in my eyes as I type this. Ruthie was BEAMING; joy glittering in her eyes and filling every word. She told us that Jesus has changed her. She confessed that in the past she had told us many lies, and had been addicted to drugs. She also told us that she had reached the bottom, and had even been put in jail briefly. But when she got on her knees and surrendered to God, He began leading her on a path to freedom. She has been sober and free from drugs for 3 months, and every word was filled with thanksgiving to God. She has a job. She has life! After she left, we all realized that for the first time she hadn’t asked us for anything. Ruthie is a new person. To God be the glory!