June 9, 2011
My 90 year old mother amazes me. She never let the world of technology intimidate her. She emails me at least weekly and has even learned how to scan and attach photos to her emails. News from home is always welcome as the attempt to live on two continents that are 10,000 miles apart from each other is challenging. Some recent news resulted in sadness accompanied by good memories. Shirley Maycumber was a pastor's wife who Pam and I met while working at youth camps. More than 30 years ago she was one of a few who encouraged me at a time when I was young, arrogant, and stupid. She is now in Heaven and I desire to be an encourager to those who are just now learning to discover and display the glory of Jesus. At least I'm not young anymore!
And, I've discovered my assignment at this stage of my life. The mission to Western Uganda had tailor made purposes for each member. My motivation in it was not to find a place to preach or teach or administer the mission. It was an opportunity to live life with more than a dozen of the next generation and impart something of who I am to them. Call it discipleship. Call it mentoring. Call it parenting. Maybe when I'm in Heaven some of them will reflect on that time as when I encouraged them at a time when they were trying to find their way. People don't become who they are without the benefit of having others come alongside them.
During the last couple of days of the mission I began planning how I would write some blogs to update you on what happened. I still plan to write a few stories about some things that happened there, but my plans have been altered and delayed by relational mentoring. Because impacting the next generation is my assignment and I do it relationally, I have less control over my time than some. When people become the priority, some of the best intentions for work become secondary. This blog is about three of those people from the next generation.
|Sami doing early morning laundry|
|Sera and her Mom during her sick stay|
|At the clinic with her nurse|
|Sera's self appointed nurse at home - Blair!|
|Elisha of Bukeeka|
|Can you help me become a man?|
Relationships are consuming. They will postpone good intentions. They will disorganize schedules. They will test and refine. They will bring joy. I woke at 5AM to write this blog ... my first since being home for three days ... before the rest of the household emerge from their bedrooms. When the other members of our current house mates start rubbing the sleep bugs from their eyes, my opportunity to write you will most likely disappear. And, I won't mind in the least. Nothing would give me more joy than to know that my legacy was written upon the hearts of a few of the next generation leaders of this east African nation.
Several times this week, during reflection, I've felt so much gratitude for those of you who believe in me and what I do here in Uganda. Without your financial support and prayers I would never have the privilege, or be effective, in discipling these amazing young people that God has put around me. "Thank you" seems insufficient in expressing my gratitude, but it's all I have at the moment. Thank you. You are a gift to me. Thank you, Pam, my best friend and life partner, for embracing and joining me in this relational mentoring that we feel called to. At the end of the day we may not have all of our ducks in a row, but, hopefully, we will leave a deposit of the grace and goodness of Jesus in the lives of those He has blessed us with.