Tuesday, February 16, 2016

When Are You Flying Out?

Pray for Kampala

I remember about this time two years ago.  I was at work....outside......in the snow and ice.  I had a realization hit me while I was there that far surpassed the reality of that cold snow and ice.  My family and I would be in Uganda during election time.  I remember my mind raced to try to comprehend something for which I had no frame of reference.  What are elections like in Uganda? Look what happened in Kenya.  Could that happen in Uganda?  The what ifs poured into my mind like the non-stop flow of Chicago traffic on a Friday afternoon.  What would I be like then, God? Would I be a sufficient and trust worthy leader?  Would I have integrity and character in the face of looming doubt?  God are you going to make me into a man that can handle what this event could turn into?  The real millstone that hung around my neck was my belief that I am not adequate to handle such a situation.  These things plagued me all throughout my time in America.  I thought as I landed in Entebbe on July 31st, that magically, these fears would go away.  

Today, as I write this, I have the benefit of God's rear view mirror.  As I sit here typing this, there is a steady stream of loud campaigning going on, some of peaceful, some of it not so peaceful.  Yet I am completely at peace today.  The thing that I asked God was to make me into what I needed to be for the sake of my family, my WGM family and my Ugandan family.  God has done that very thing.  
This morning, I got up extra early so that I could go out and walk Kabalagala.  This has been somewhat discouraged as there have been many protests and rallies in this area and has been the scene of some fighting.  As I walked along, I noticed the palpable tension that existed.  In front of me, two vans supporting opposing candidates began to scream at each other which drew a crowd. Within moments it erupted into a shoving match.  I didn't stay around to find out what happened. 

Feeling as though this morning (two days before elections) might not have been the best morning to come here, I just happened to run into one of my friends who is a shop keeper there.  I hadn't seen her in a long time and the clinging tension I felt melted into relieved smiling.  We spoke for a while in Luganda and talked about families, work ethic and both our concerns for this election.  As we talked, I confided that I was uncomfortable that I had come there this morning and she laughed and said, "to be honest, I was feeling afraid as well".  As we walked back towards the action (only way I could get home), she asked me this question, "when are you flying out?".  When was I flying out?  "What do you mean" I asked.  She explained that she was used to the Americans and Europeans leaving during election time for the sake of safety.  For the first time ever, my resolve had completely peaked.  "I didn't come here to run away when things get tough, I came for life.....your life......because you matter to God and that means you matter to me."  I came off my tongue with the sweet assuredness of the Holy Spirit.  In that moment, I realized, I had the zeal for the freedom of Christ to be manifested in this place no matter the cost.  As we parted ways, she smiled and said, "thank you for growing here where God has planted you".  Ah, it is easy to be brave when you are growing where God has planted you.  

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