Saturday, October 17, 2015

Where God Takes These Shoes....

For the past week, I have been getting up early every morning and going into the heart of a township called Kabalagala.  I always take a boda (motorcycle ride) to the heart of the city and then I walk back.  Kabalagala is a busy place with thousands of people doing thousands of things.  The ride there is always an adventure and the walk back is double the adventure that the ride is.
When I first started doing it, I always received very strange looks.  Now I am met with waves and smiles and greetings in Luganda.  I walk from shop to shop and place to place and person to person, talking to everyone that I see and working through language in great hopes of developing relationships.  When I go out, I always speak Luganda, even when it is awkward, I push through the discomfort in hopeful expectation of gaining friendships and lowering walls.
Today was a beautiful mix of fear, risk and glorious reward.  I left the house early and caught a boda ride with a man named Samuel.  Samuel is a good driver and wants to earn my trust.  I've used him before and while the ride is adventuresome, he does not take unnecessary risks.  At first Samuel called me Mazungu.  This is not a bad word, it simply means white person and is simply a descriptor. As we exchanged thoughts and stories, I quickly became "ssebo" which means sir.  As I ride with him these days, he calls me "mukwano" which is friend.  I'm discovering to my delight, that the familiarity of presence and the investment of time makes the difference between effectiveness and ineffectiveness.
Today, as I was walking the 8 km back to my house, I began again to engage different people in conversation about everything.  There was a sense of astonishment that I would care to hear from them about their lives.  I stopped and talked with street cleaners and learned their names and then called them by their names.  All at once I was enthralled with the idea that these people (who virtually no one will talk to) were uniquely woven together by God's hands.  They matter so much and this just gripped me.  Their expressions, their smiles, their work, their troubles, all of this matters. Some of asked me why I am taking the time to walk all of these streets.  These people have infinite worth to God and if I can express that in some way, I'm going to.  Moreover, I love it, even when it's uncomfortable.
As I walked I heard from proud fathers, distraught mothers, people fighting disease, people fighting family, cancer, poverty, hope for the future, grief for the past, the power of Jesus name, the stereotypical business man and the gratitude of some.  I was invited to tea with Muslims, I was told to be vigilant for my safety, I was smiled at, waved at, loved on, preyed upon and prayed over.  I was almost run over twice, almost fell in a ditch and yet I laughed with countrymen who allow me the privilege of being Jesus to them in their country.  There is no where I'd rather be.
During my breaks away from school when I am not preaching and teaching, I am preaching and teaching with my actions.  This is why Father has led me here and I can't imagine being anywhere else.  God continue to glorify Yourself here through our family.  While a fight rages on here, You have already won the war.

Pastor Nathan Metz and Pastor Stewart at the new AGC library dedication.  Nathan and I have a heart for the future of the church here and how it replicates.  Very proud of my brothers!

Our new guard dog, "Biscuit"

My office

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