Sunday, March 10, 2013

Real Love

Is the Only Love That Counts

Pre-med student Jared Schmidt
Funny how life's encounters connect so many elements of a person's life.  Years ago a retired Naval Commander called and said that he heard we take young adults into our home for communal living hoping to influence their lives.  He asked if his troubled and hyper active nephew ... whom we had never met ... could come and live with us.  He did and later I performed his wedding and today he and his wife have three biological children and a nephew they care for.

This same retired Naval Commander, Steve Winstead, now works in Uganda.  This year he came to Uganda with one of his pastors from Rolling Hills Community Church.  The pastor brought his 3 sons with him.  Steve wanted them to meet us in Jinja on their way to the north.  It happened that we were able to share a couple of hours with them over lunch at The Keep.

The oldest son, Jared Scmidt, sat next to me and across from Pam at our end of the table. He asked a ton  of questions and we talked and talked.  We learned that he had taken a term off from college as a pre-med student so that he could visit Uganda. He also planned to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  He told us he had a window of opportunity to change his return date to the United States if he discovered a chance to experience the medical profession somewhere in Africa.  It so happened that we were hosting a two week medical team here in Jinja soon after Jared climbed the mountain.  He changed his ticket, became an essential part of that team and shared life with us for two weeks after the mission was complete.  I discovered a letter he left for me the day we took him to Entebbe Airport to return to America.  With his permission I've reproduced it verbatim in this post.  I'm sure not everyone sees and experiences what Jared did, which is reflected in this letter, but it does represent one of the things we love to do here in Uganda. We love to have young adults come and share some life with us in the hopes of influencing and impacting  them.  I submit Jared's letter with humility and rest on the words of Solomon, "Let another praise you and not your own lips."  Thanks Jared for your kind, gracious, and forgiving words.

Papa Paul,

Getting a good smile out of his friend Raoul
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to remember back a month and a half ago to when my dad, brothers, and I drove through a dusty, busy town called Jinja to meet some crazy Muzungu named Paul Hunter.  With everything that has happened in the last 6 weeks, anything before that kind of blurs together and I become more and more dependent on my journal to tell me what’s happened instead of relying on memory alone.

I do, however, remember sitting by you and Mom at The Keep and thinking to myself, “these are what missionaries are supposed to be.”  I believe that as a general rule, young people seek and respond to ideas and people who are genuine.  We don’t want to be deceived or BS’d.

Praying for a burn victim with the medical team
Since coming to Africa, I've heard of and met “missionaries” who have very impressive statistics of converts, beautiful orphanages, and dozens of projects to show the legitimacy of their presence in Africa.  They send my BS meter through the roof.  I sat there at The Keep almost in a state of wonder as I heard about your relational intentionality that you guys bring to the people of this country

Since I was in elementary school I’ve wanted to be a medical missionary in Africa.  Through my life I've met dozen of missionaries who have said powerful words of encouragement to me and have helped me to define what missions work really is.  Sitting at The Keep that day, though, I realized what mission work meant to my life: it means relationship.  As I sat there I realized that Jesus never built an orphanage.  He never planted huge churches, or told people how many followers He had. He certainly cared for the orphans, widows, and poor (also came to seek and to save the lost), but all through the vessel of relationship.  It suddenly dawned on me that if my mission work is relationship, then mission work is not limited to a geographical location … it is a universal endeavor.

Relaxing at International Kampala Hospital
I've spent the last month seeing how you father the people of this county with a love that disarms and sterilized the ever-present orphan spirit.  Your guidance to the Island Boys, your tough love to the street kids, and even your friendship to Meddie have all had more impact on me than what I can convey through these failing, earthly words.

In just 30 days I've learned and witnessed what a consistent spirit of love can do  when God puts it into a culture of chaos and deception.  I believe from what I've seen that God has given you your One Big Thing, and that there is no better place on  this earth than Plot 80, Muvule Cresent, Jinja, Uganda that you live it out with every breath you are given.  Your words and actions inspire and drive me to advance toward God’s will, to anywhere it takes me, and to love every minute of it (good and bad) along the way.

Thanks for being open and used by God’s Spirit, not only for the people of Uganda, but for Mom’s life, Robyn’s life and for my life as well. Thank you for loving me, and thanks for letting me stick around for so long.

With all the Love, respect, and thankfulness afforded this earthly body by the Grace, and Sovereignty of our Lord Jesus Christ (People don't usually talk like that, I know, but in a weird way it kind of feeds me soul),


If you, or someone you know, would like to share some life with us in a developing nation, please contact me at   


  1. Fabulous "This is it" my spirit says this is what we must pass on to others the fragrance of Him.
    Amen and well Done


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