Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mark Is Gone

But His Impact Remains
June 30, 2011

Pam, Mark, Paul
Sensory overload.  Yeah ... I think that would describe it.  Thousands of pedestrians milling around hundreds of taxis and bodas. Idling diesel engines.  Stationary mobile CD marketeers blaring their music through maxed out speakers.  Endless honking horns.  Lights and sounds from the heart of the Kampala, the capital city with a population of 7 million!  Yeah ... sensory overload.

After Peter's full day of driving for a short term mission team working with Robert Sityo at Fountain of Hope Schools, he arrived at our house to eat some leftovers and load us, along with Mark and his luggage, for a normal jaunt to Entebbe.  Mark's KLM flight was scheduled for a 11:20 PM departure.  The first hour of travel was typical as we cruised by beautiful green landscape composed of sugar cane, corn, and tea plantations, forest ... and, of course, crazy taxi drivers and close calls!

What none of us planned on was a four hour journey! We got trapped in the worst traffic jam I've ever seen in Kampala. That may not be saying much, but Peter said it was the worst he has ever seen and that is saying a LOT!  Aware that a late arrival at the airport may result in rescheduled flight, along with an expensive fee, and serious adjustments in lodging and transportation, prayer began to fill the hearts of many of us.

We arrived at the airport in Entebbe with only 2 minutes to spare ... literally!  We were told at the security gate that Mark was left with two minutes to get through baggage scan, check his bag, and head for immigration for his exit from Uganda.

I rested my accelerated heartbeat which was had resulted from running from the parking lot, up the stairs and across the departure lanes to deposit one of Mark's bags at the security door.  As it returned to normal I embraced the reality that he was going to make it out of the country on time.

Mark is gone.  We are forever grateful for those who helped him come to Uganda.  His life, by example and by lip, has left an impact on us and many of our associates.  He preached in two churches, taught a class at a high school, lead discussions on discipleship, and touched dozens of lives through newly begun relationships.  His first words to us when he arrived 14 days ago were, "You don't have to entertain me.  I just want to live life with you."  That's what we did.  And we enjoyed it immensely.  Mark became a part of our lives in all of its facets.  Several people remarked how relating with him reminded them of me.  One person said, "If you meet Mark, you think he and Paul must have grown up from the same place."

Yesterday as Mark prepared to leave Uganda, I began to work on a short video gift for him.  It's my way of expressing my love to him and saying thanks you.  Hope you like it.

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