Sunday, September 4, 2011

Heading Home

The One In Oregon

The early morning darkness is being punctuated by the whistles and songs of various East African birds.  As I listen from the comfort of my bed, the cool morning air encourages me to draw the sheet up around my neck and enjoy.  Sleep disappears.  Thoughts of the day occupy my mind.  Thoughts of the next three days compete.  Wednesday Pam and I will be at our home in Oregon.

But three days is a lot of time!  There are things to do, people to see, and places to go.

Jesus Life Church ... This is our spiritual home here in Uganda.  Our spiritual family here is pretty unique from the cultural expressions of church here in Africa.  We are a community of believers discovering and displaying the glory of Jesus to one another.  Many of our closest friends, family , and associates are a part of this community and we enjoy living life together with Jesus.  Jimmy and Helen Kiwanuka are our spiritual leaders and they are experiencing some major transitions as they equip and encourage us to bring the glory of Jesus to one another.  Today is our last service with them.  Pam and I will be expected to share our hearts with them.  We anticipate prayers and commissions over us as we return to the States this week.

Simon - new acquaintance brings Pam a live gift
Simon ... This young man turned up on the steps of our veranda last week.  Schools return to session tomorrow and students are looking for school fees. I've never met this student, but has seen me on the streets.  After some direct communication about the nature of relationships, Simon must have seen that there is value in wanting a relationship with someone rather than just attempting to get something from that someone.  Yesterday he showed early with a gift for Pam and me and spend several hours with us ... sharing breakfast, cleaning the dishes and kitchen, and hanging out with Sami and Robert.

Ismael on the right  with his first truck
Ismael ... is a for hire truck driver, a Muslim, and my friend for more than two years.  His younger brother, Godfrey, has converted to Jesus, but Ismael has been moving at a much slower pace toward Christ.  He knows that I love him and when he stopped by last Wednesday he found me in a men's meeting.  He gave them permission to pray for him to keep moving toward Jesus.  Pam and I gave him a small loan to help him finish buying his own first pickup.  He has already paid back half of it.  Some of my born again friends have yet to make a single payment on their micro loans.  He promises that soon he will give his life to Jesus.  When he came by on Saturday to show me his new truck I finally figured out he is concerned about his Muslim wife also converting to Christ.  Pam and I plan to have them come and share dinner with us when we return next year.

Adela with new student Robert
Adela ... This young husband and father is the man who produced the 9 songs that will be on the No One Like You album the Dove Voice Band recorded. He wanted to come to Jinja and stay a night with us so that he could become better acquainted with us. We love his heart for the Lord, for his work, and for those with whom he works.  His visit also afforded us opportunity to discuss and confirm a 14 month apprenticeship for Robert.  I've talked long and hard to several dozen young men about the process of becoming men.  Pam and I want to participate in the process.  This arrangement is a delightful part of that.  Robert will begin his apprenticeship and tutorial training with Adela in about ten days!

Jeff and Sera
Jeff & Sera ... Perhaps no one feels more deeply the reality of us leaving Africa than these two who are our African son and daughter.  We expect them to be a big part of our last days here as they want to have as much of us as they can ... and we them.  They are showing up every evening for some time with Mom and Dad.  Jeff took the chicken home with him last night.  His family will enjoy it this evening!

Sami on top ... Robert from behind
Preparations to leave ... we are cleaning, packing, and storing many of our things as we prepare to leave.  This work nudges us into the reality of leaving one home to enjoy the other one. Next year we will turn around and do the same thing from the other one.  Some of those who are aware we are leaving are coming by to say goodbye or request one more thing before we disappear for several months.  Their visits provide an opportunity to take breaks from our work, but to also be encouraged by what we attempt to do here as they express gratitude for our relationship with them.  Sami has been with us for about three weeks.  His work interest is in the IT field and he loved to tell me that he was in "college" as Nate Robertson equipped him with computer knowledge.  He and Robert have been a bit help in taking down the tent, packing, and moving heavy items for Pam.  This morning they are up early, washing the vehicle "one more time" in these "last days."

Loose ends ... dangling relationships ... seeming random events ... they all add up to our final days here in Uganda 2011.  Our Father has exposed us to a lot.  We have experienced spiritual warfare like never before. We have been blessed and God has used us to be a blessing.  One more satisfying experience in Africa shared with the Lord.  Now we are ready for an adventure from our home country ... just about!  There are still a few places to go, people to see, and things to do.  See you on the other side.

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