Kitgum, Uganda

Therese Macfarlane – Where He Leads

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Therese was raised in Chiloquin, Oregon, a small town amongst the pine trees, mountains, and rivers. Fifth of 10 siblings, her family faithfully attended church every Sunday and her childhood was full of happy memories.

As a teenager, however, her faith was tested and she felt she could never measure up to the standards she believed God had placed on her, not having a real understanding of His love and grace. And at age 15, she began making some unwise choices. It was during this painful time that she decided God did not exist. For the next 13 years, Therese lived a lifestyle filled with alcohol, drugs and craziness. She describes her life as empty and meaningless, always searching to escape the pain inside and never able to find lasting relief.

Until the day she met Jesus – everything changed, dramatically. Her heart became filled; she knew a peace and a joy that she’d never experienced before. And she knew that she wanted to live the rest of her life following the One Who loved her. She wanted to teach her beautiful son Charlie and her family about Him. She began reading the bible, praying, going to church and serving God however she could. She ministered to women in jail, pregnant teens, and the children at her church. She served in Mexico on short-term trips, working with handicapped orphans there. And for 13 years has worked with at-risk youth, coordinating an outreach program within the school system.

In 2005, she heard of the horrible suffering and injustices faced by the Acholi children of Northern Uganda. She was compelled to respond. This verse (I John 3:17-18) spoke deep into her soul: “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

As God continued to speak to her heart, she came to realize He was calling her to go. This began the process that enveloped her heart, mind and life for the months ahead. She desires to follow the leading of God to become one of the Acholi community. To learn their language, learn their culture and build relationships with the women and children as she points them to their one true hope, Jesus. She knows very well that this is a journey she cannot take alone. She is forever grateful and in awe of the many loving family and friends (new and old) who have come alongside her to bring God’s love to this hurting and desperate people.

“So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time – houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30

Currently serving Uganda, South Sudan, and the USA