Africa Day 4

In an attempt to keep from getting sick, I decided to just have yogurt for breakfast and skip lunch. We have the blessing of going on a Safari tomorrow and the last thing I want to be doing is running for the bushes knowing that lions are wandering around. I hear they can sense weakness. I suspect a massive case of parasites would certainly give off the scent of weakness. Hanging over the side of a boat to hurl into a crocodile infested river just can’t end well.

Today was the standard lunch of rices, potatatos, somes sort of banana nut mush, meat from a goat that was killed yesterday and today we took it up a notch. There were fish heads. It basically looked like the crime scene of a murdered fish. I so took a picture of it. I so did not take a bite of it. The lady across from me was eating it like crazy. She basically was treating it like a big cookie with lips.

We went to the HIV Aids project today in a suburb of Kampala. What a damnable disease. I can not wait until the moment when we see “death and hades” locked up and thrown into the lake of fire. Jesus himself will do this. Death in and of itself is an enemy. It is defeated. Not just yet, but with our resurrection, along with the resurrection of my brothers and sisters here in Uganda who have already succumbed.
This was by far the most intense day for me. I don’t say that lightly because every day has been intense in a sort of ascending order.

There is a semi cryptic passage in Luke where Jesus tells us that the pagans make friends with their money and that as believers we should be just as wise as they are, making friends for eternity. I got to see it first hand today. In the context Jesus was talking about using our money to give to the poor, and specifically that we will make friends for eternity.

Some of those are folks we will have the benefit of meeting this side of heaven. Many of them are folks we won’t be able to meet this side of eternity. Jesus said that they will be there to greet us when we get to heaven. What a picture. There will be a welcoming party of folks from Haiti, Africa, TN, etc all welcoming those of us who have heeded this promise of Jesus. I don’t know if they’ll have signs or blowing streamers or whatever, but they will know you and I. I’ve seen these folks here in Uganda when they’re happy and let me tell you it’ll be a hoot.

Today I got to make two young friends named Blessed Hope and Rebecca. I met them and was able to introduce myself to them as their sponsor. Shannon and I and the girls will be sponsoring two young girls from the HIV Project here in Uganda.

Looking at pictures last night I really struggled since I was actually here in Africa. I was actually going to the facility where these 10-15 children represented in these pictures were going to be. I would see them face to face. It sort of had this heightened sense of urgency and at the same time a sense of agitation.

I was not born particularly lucky and so I know the feeling of being the last one picked in gym class or the one that never got picked at all. I know what it’s like to grow up poor (although not on this level) and to not get the things or to do the things that others got to do. I know what it felt like to get turned down for government programs that were the difference between us being able to buy groceries or not. I do not however know what it is like to be chosen to have my life transformed by a complete stranger.

I was remembering all of the kids that I met at the University and the one thing they said over and over again was that they were “so happy” when they were chosen. What of the ones that weren’t?

What possible criteria could I use to pick a child from a picture and a couple of paragraphs? Was it the smile? Was it the age? Was it the number of children in the family or the level of need? I didn’t sleep much because I was asking the question of how close does this come to playing God. I get to pick who will have the winning ticket today and who doesn’t.

As is usual in my over analytical mind, I found peace in the scriptures and in the Lord and not in me trying to “figure it out”.

It hit me that I’m not playing God. I’m “being” God to these children. Don’t freak out. (I swear I’m not one of those “little god” theology guys) Hang with me on this thought.

If I am in fact the hands and feet of Jesus, then I am being Gods presence, essence and provision to these children. In that situation it sort of makes sense that I ought to involve Him in the process. The promise of the New Covenant is that He would write His will on our minds and heart. (Jeremiah 31). So I prayed about it, and went with what is on my mind and heart.

It is above my pay grade to know why God led me to these two girls. My new friend James who was an LPD student said yesterday that he had felt often “who am I” that he would be chosen. But he found solace in the fact that God makes these decisions and he would rest in that.

I have often asked myself the question of where is God in these sucky situations. It hit me for the first time today that I’m asking the completely wrong question. The question is where is the church. We are the hands and feet of God in the earth. We are the body. We are the implementing arm of His will.

He can make it rain turtles. He made it rain bread and desert chickens for the Israelites. For some strange reason that is beyond me, He chooses to not make food fall out of the sky these days. He instead implements a system that relies completely on you and upon I.

I know most of the folks who read this blog are already on this same page and so I don’t mean this in any sort of a “preach to the choir” mentality. Mostly it’s just me trying to put words to my thoughts and trying to articulate what is going on inside of me. If nothing else it’s cathartic to me personally.

I saw the church this week first hand. Not an organization. Not a building with an excellent location and lots of programs to keep the members happy and going down the street to another church who suits their desires better.

What I saw this week was The Church as is it intended to be. Working in Uganda to transform the lives of tens of thousands of children here. (I think I heard the number 50,000). I saw the local church (which is what Compassion partners with) be what God ordained it to be. He ordained us to be His body not on a metaphorical or spiritual level only but on a quite literal, hands on, street level kind of way.

These projects were local churches reaching into their communities to make a difference to a people who had absolutely nothing to give them. When you make no dollars, 10% of zero is zero. It was not asked of these children if they were member or not. It was not required for them to have perfect attendance or to sign some moral code of conduct to get accepted into the process.

There is a need in front of them and they are doing everything they can to meet it. Sounds like something I want to be part of.

Sounds like God.

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