Thursday, December 13, 2012

Image

To Real Substance


Edgar Baraire
Sincere.  Ambitious. Confident.  Misdirected.  Young.

He was impressive.  The delivery before 1500 young people was articulate and authoritative. His movement mesmerizing as he moved across the platform ... his native full length robe riveted my eyes on its vibrant colors. He moved gracefully from one end of the stage to the other, microphone in one hand and a Bible in the other.

It was hard to believe he was just 21 years old!  It was 2004.  His best friend, Jeff Kasigwa, was instrumental in helping us find a house to rent in 2005 and soon several young Ugandans were living among us.  The public platform is one thing.  Private living is another thing.  It was there that I learn that sometimes image is a cover for a lack of substance.

A lot has happened since then.

Our days of staying together revealed that Edgar was obsessive about ironing.  He was a real cloths horse and looking smart was among his top priorities.  I imagine someone had convinced him the clothes make the person.  He avoided menial and mundane tasks like the plague and looked for invitations to be on the platform..

Edgar's peaceful and prosperous farm
No matter.  He was young.  I wanted to see what would emerge from this young man who was passionate and full of fire with a microphone in his had.  His ambition at 21 was to be an apostle.  Implying to many here in Africa that it would result in spiritual superiority, respect, wealth, and high profile. The function  has not been clearly defined, but many are convinced that the title is status enough to open doors for financial opportunity and impact.

Edgar's next stop was bible college.  I recommend a certain training school that would blend classroom instruction with good hard work.  He chose instead to go to Glad Tidings Bible College in Kampala for two years in 2007 and 2008.  He was diligent to shine his shoes and wear coats and ties to class.  But he found that the sweating that really paid off was done during the chores that this college also required of their students    He also wondered about the professors who came to teach the Word of God in shorts and casual  open necked shirts.  Slowly his mind was being transformed.

Three day old calf
In 2009 Edgar had to move home to Western Uganda due to the death of his father.  His father had left a sizable chunk of land to him. From highly polished shoes to gum boots, Edgar has found his real calling.  He has more impact as a dairy farmer than as a wannbe apostle and is impressively mature now.  He has seen that it is NOT the clothes that make the man, but a transformed heart; the freedom that comes from living fully alive as a son of God.  The title is irrelevant.  The relationship with the Father essential.

I found myself on Edgar's farm this past weekend.  He had called Pam and me to Kamwenge to meet with the mother and family of the girl he has seen and wants to marry.  He was hoping that the mother would embrace the culture of the Kingdom of God rather than the culture of dowry and expensive wedding.  We  had a delightful time.  Janet's mother has taken care of her and her twin sister for their entire lives and she is born again.  She was so receptive to abandoning the culture of dowry and instead embracing the will of God for her daughter.  It was an amazing time.

At our request, the twins have returned to Jinja with us until around Christmas.  They have hardly been out of the bush where they have grown from .  They had never been to the capital city of Kampala until Monday.  They ate in a good restaurant and rode up an escalator.  They are now in Jinja with us with the blessing of their mother who wants us to give them advise and Janet premarital counseling.

Edgar with his fiance, Janet, and her mother
Edgar is going to make a great husband.  His farm is productive and growing more so.  He knows who he is.  He knows where he is going.  And, he knows why he is here.  No more flash.  No more image.  I'm so proud of him.

One of the great encouragements of long term relationships with the next generation is the pleasure of seeing quantum growth in their development.  We don't abandon those we work with, but some times we have to take a step back as they find their own way.  We intend to be there when the discoveries they make bring them stability, maturity, and genuine impact.


3 comments:

  1. Paul, great story and well told. Thanks.

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  2. What a great story! Always great to see Gods measure of success worked out into someone!

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  3. Thank you so much for the update on Ed-D-gar. May the King increase His Kingdom through His beloved son.

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