Greetings from Uganda and Happy Holidays!
We are now three months in and starting to realize how little time a year is. In Africa everything is built on relationships. That combined with the slow pace of things has shown us that mission work is full time work. We are considered short termers and from our US perspective a year is a long time, but seeing things on the ground has shown me that a year is limiting on what we are able to do. They tell you to come with no expectations so that you are not let down. When we first started I think we had big dreams that we would reach the world. Realistically we know we wouldn’t. We often think of mission work being God’s work on others and that is true, but a lot of it is God’s work on us.
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
Coming from America we tend to see things through our ‘murica’ glasses. We are a proud people and believe that we are right on most things and our ways are best. Missions has shown me that may not always be the case. I used to think you could just give money and that would fix something. In many cases that does not fix the problem and in some it makes it worse. The lost and the hopeless don’t need your money they need you. Christians can’t just sit and give money to a charity and assume that it will give hope. It doesn’t. Handouts may relieve something, but they do not fix it. Want to help the poor? Then get in their lives and find out what the real issue is.
I have also seen that there are no super Christians, only broken ones that know they can’t do it without Jesus. It is humbling to see people who you feel have it together admit they feel on the verge of breaking. Then they cry out to God to help them. The Christian walk isn’t meant to be alone, nor is it meant to be perfect and without problem. The Christian walk is meant to be with the body. If you are a believer and you don’t take your brokenness and show it to your fellow believers then you are missing out something special. Find a small group or a few mature believer friends and open up to each other. Don’t keep that sin or flaw secret out of embarrassment, let them know you struggle and you need Jesus. Then pray and watch him show up. This is for guys and girls. I have come to see that I need strong Christian guys in my life. We need each other. Ladies you need a mature Christian lady in your life or at least a Christian that is trying to grow. We were not made to go at it alone.
The biggest thing I have seen is there can be no compromise with the Gospel. A big problem in Africa is syncretism, which is the mixing together of two different belief systems. Here it is Christianity and animism. You will see many here call to Jesus yet they still hold to spirit offerings and superstitions. Or you will see people tell you that Jesus will meet your needs and then they will proclaim that you will be well or you will have money. Then it doesn’t happen. We have this back home too. Go through your facebook feed and see all the Christians that talk about horoscopes or healing crystals. Those that ask for prayers and then two days later are threatening to beat on someone. Jesus said to follow him. He said foxes have holes but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. That you have to hate your father and mother, that you have to give away your possessions. There is no compromise in the Gospel. Are you a Christian? Then you have to leave the old things behind. You can’t keep being who you were. Health problems? Go to Jesus only. Kid problems, relationship problems? Go to Jesus only. You can’t split with your spouse over an issue and say that is what God wants. God wants you to fix it. Go to Jesus. The Gospel doesn’t change because Jesus is the cornerstone and he does not change. His standard does not change. We need him.
So what’s new?
Things have slowed down some as schools are now out on break (think summer vacation). They will be out until February. Many of the kids will go home to their various towns and many kids that have gone to school out of town are coming back home. I have started a bible study at church with S4s (high school seniors). We are looking to start one with the S6s who will be going to University in September but have not been able to get together with them.
Our house has battled viral fevers and stomach bugs. For at least the last three weeks at least one person has been sick with something. Usually things are gone in a day or so. Tylenol, ibuprofen, and other meds are available in the pharmacies in town which is handy.
We also had our first major injury. Rory was climbing over the porch railing and fell off and hit his head on a rock on the ground. He had a good size cut in his forehead. We rushed him over to Dr Paul and Dr Helen who stitched him up on the front porch. Did I mention our team members are awesome? That same night we had, what I believe, was a tarantula in the house.
We have missed our family a great deal over Thanksgiving. Seeing the pictures made us homesick and long for home. I can imagine Christmas will be the same. It also showed me that America may celebrate everything as the holiday that there was any kind of celebration was Independence Day and it was minor celebrating.
We were blessed before we came to have the one time and monthly support to cover living while we are in here. The one thing it does not cover is extra expenses that you can’t predict. If you are looking for somewhere to give money please prayerfully consider giving towards or work here. It covers budget shortfalls, car issues, medicines, and other expenses. You are a big part of the work here. The support link is at the top or you can contact me by email if you have questions.
- For good health in our household. Im tired of people being sick.
- For Rory’s head to heal up well and with no infection.
- For us to abide in Christ at all times.
- For our ministry work.
- For the upcoming youth camp.
- For Sara as she looks for ministry opportunities.
- For the Karamojong and Kotido as a whole to seek and find Jesus.
- For the Church of Uganda.
- For our families back home who are missing us and for us missing them.