Michelle Ochen (McCulloch) was a part of IGNITE Class 1 in July 2011 where she served in Uganda for 6 months. She has been a part of our Potter’s Field staff for a number of years. This past summer Pastor Michael flew to Uganda to marry her and the love of her life, Joshua Ochen, of Uganda. They plan to travel to Kenya to assist the Simpsons, our IGNITE overseers, with the Potter’s Field Kid’s program. Young married couples undoubtedly face many trials but this young couple has been through the ringer after just a few months of marriage. They have faced visa issues due to a corrupt political system in East Africa who want only bribes. Please take the time to read a compilation of Michelle’s recent ministry updates and emails to the Potter’s Field Staff in Montana, to hear her story of victory through counting on the faithfulness of the Lord in times of trouble.
“As I looked through my journal entry this month, I pondered an entry I made before our current visa trials began…looking back, we have been given a challenge by God to walk out what He laid on our hearts before-hand. Within a month that has brought us living in different temporary housings, constant commutes to the capital city, corruptions effects, and disappointments- we have been drawn closer to the Lord. His presence has been near and ever hear to our hears. We know He is at work in all things, with a far greater plan than just the present need. He prepares His children and loves us enough to grow us up in Him through the challenges of this life.
2 Corinthians 4, He uses our lives as empty vessels to display Heaven’s treasures.
What a profound reality to ponder – how it was in the dark places of prison and such that the Lord revealed beautiful truths and revelations of Himself to Paul, penned for the building up of our faith. We take for granted these concepts of grace, love, and more. Yet they were revealed through Paul to us in the trials of his walk.
Oh how we commonly run from trial and difficulty- yet it us in these earthly dark places that the Lord reveals His glorious light and truths. Close communion is found with Christ when the surrounding walls of life seem to cave in on us- it is then that we are shut up and safe with our God, as were they in the ark, as was David within hiding, as was Joseph in the prison, these dark places reveal the glories of Jehovah’s light.
Why do I run from difficulties? Is it not in the clefts of the rocks, that His face becomes most lovely? Why do I question when He allows a cave instead of a broad place? Perhaps He needs me near to hear His voice so dear… perhaps darkness is a gift to the child of light? For light shines the brightest when darkness closes in.
Dear heart, run not from challenges. Allow their coming when they knock, because they may be just the situations that welcome in your Savior’s presence, character, and ways to be made manifest to you in special ways. Ways that you would never of known if you stayed in your seat and ignored the night-time knock at the door. When trouble knocks, let our hearts take stock in who He is and who we will learn Him to be within the trials that come to us. God is good, that will never change, He stays the same in sunshine and rain.”
October 2, 2015
“if you only knew how it feels from this side…far from encouraging–feels like we are trapped and unable to do what the Lord is calling us to do. The enemy’s lies have been relentless, and are making us to feel that we’ve accomplished nothing in the Lords work in this time of waiting…like we’ve been wandering through a dessert. It’s been a hard month. We’ve been living out 2 backpacks for over a month now. Staying from place to place. Having so little to do as we’ve handed off all our ministry responsibilities to others. I’ve never been through such prolonged spiritual warfare of condemnation and constant lies from the enemy. The arrow of fear, and temptation to lean on our own understanding which gives no answers in this time. I’ve been asking Him to lay me on others hearts to receive encouragement in this time, I need encouragement in this time. I’ve been without many securities in my life this last month…no passport, feels like no direction, I can’t travel so Joshua has had to leave me 3 times to go back and forth to Kenya. Not having a place to call home to feel safe and wifey within, ya know? As I’ve asked the Lord to free me from the fears I’ve been facing, He doesn’t seem to remove them, only to remind me, as was Paul, pleading it to be taken from him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness”. Definitely a time of weakness, praying to let go of these fears and allow the power of Christ Jesus to rest upon me and in Him be found strong.
October 7, 2015
Things have grown worse in the visa situation as immigration now says they cannot find our file anywhere and there is no record of it. In a corrupt society that is code for “give us a bribe and we will find it” someone is hiding it. But God knows where it is. God knows we have stood in our integrity to not give a bribe through all of this…trusting the Lord to work a miracle on our behalf. They have held my passport now for over a month. The feeling of being stuck is deep. Tuesday we packed our bags together and headed I the capital, trusting the Lord to enable my passport to be released and we continue on to travel to Kenya together for Joshua’s U.S. embassy interview which is tomorrow 10pm Montana time. However, the Lord willed that I would return to Entebbe and Joshua continued on to Kenya.
Separated again, heavy heavy hearts, and feeling in the dark. But God…God has been near in speaking promises to us, we know There is no darkness to Him and He is at work. Don’t understand today, but walking in the promises of His word…
2 Corinthians 4 speaks of how we are earthen vessels to display Him to the world…then some versions read we are empty handed, persecuted, etc. but not forsaken…Hebrews 13…I will never leave you nor forsake you so we can boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear, what can man do to me? Clinging to these truths.
Yesterday was full of tears, the outcome of tomorrow with Joshua’s visa to US is in Gods hands but today, as a loving Father He has spoken clear to rest and trust Him to work. We do not know what to do or who we can turn to to help our situation….only Jehovah. Oh praise God for His grace and the access we have to Him! Abba Father! A beautiful cry when your heart is broken and confused.
Please remember and share these requests with the PFM family at morning prayers. They are felt and sincerely what I believe is holding us together in this time. We need all the prayer we can receive right now that our faith would remain strong and God would be glorified.
October 13, 2015
Praising the Lord as we received my passport back WITH the visa stamps. God went before us, softened hearts of officers again, and caused the office overseer to stop all work within the visa center and have everyone search until our file was found. Just before closing for the day, our passport was stamped and given back. God is good to those who trust and wait upon Him. 2 Chron 16:9. Thank you to everyone who labored with us in prayer!
We plan to head to Kenya within the next week.
We ask for continued prayers as the Lord lays us on your hearts, for Joshua’s visa to finalize in the next 2-3 weeks.
May the Lord bless you as your prayers have been a blessing and the reason for this wonderful testimony. Gods hidden smile is found in trials as we continue in prayer. He is faithful indeed, as we say in Uganda, “Atalemwa” HE NEVER FAILS.
-Joshua and Michelle