Saturday, October 5, 2013

Push Comes To Shove

Anticipation.  It was effortless.  The day demanded it.

After tolerating more than 20 hours of confinement with other cramped airline passengers, the liberation was an appreciated transition.  Uganda has become home for us and more than simply a venue for work.

The launch of the day was escorted by the fresh breeze off of Lake Victoria and the divine orchestration of African birds.  Fresh pineapple and watermelon, espresso for Pam and bacon (not common in Uganda) for me, helped fill the time as our anticipation grew.

Little did we know that the expectant and hopeful atmosphere we enjoyed would be seriously threatened before the day retired.  Push would come to shove.

Pam and I said goodbye to Oregon on October 1st and hello to Uganda on October 2nd.  It was the first time that we celebrated Pam's birthday in Africa.  Officially we celebrated her birthday, on the 2nd, for only two hours.  But unofficially we intended to celebrate the following day it with three of our African children, our driver Peter, and two special friends, Dale & Daurelle Chapman, from America, who now live in Kampala.


Pam with son's Robert & Chris
Peter is in the background
Over coffee we heard testimonies from Robert, Peter, Chris, and Rebecca as each reported on what transpired in their lives while we were back in the States.  Excitement built with each story of the goodness and grace of God to bring each of them to an increased level of growth and development.

As the day wore on we decided to celebrate Pam's birthday with an early supper at Cafe Javas.  The manager was as excited as we were and, without our knowledge, had the kitchen prepare a birthday cake for one of his favorite customers.  Food was ordered and we expressed our thankfulness to God for a safe return, His goodness and grace to us all, and the joy of relationships.

Aunt Daurelle & Uncle Dale with our daughter Rebecca
Before the cake was delivered, Pam discovered that her purse had been stolen off the back of her chair.  The wait staff, other customers, and all of us determined that the thieves were two men seated nearby who ordered only coffee and a Coke ... and who were now nowhere to be seen.  We agreed that our prayer was the ideal time for them to pick Pam's bag.  Our efforts to locate these two men in the mall or driving out of the parking lot were fruitless.  Pam's bag was gone!

As we listed the missing items for the police report we were amazed at the number of valuable things that small bag contained:

  • Pam's USA passport
  • iPhone
  • iPod
  • Noise reduction headphones (my birthday gift to her the day before)
  • Columbia Bank debit card
  • American Express credit card
  • keys to our house in Jinja (and, of course, a business card with our address there on it)
  • $700 cash
  • notebook which contained important information
  • Pam's cosmetics

The winds of change threatened to steal our joy. The cake never made it out of the kitchen. The manager refused to let me pay the bill. The atmosphere attempted to change our focus from the goodness and grace of God. On the surface the experience seemed to be circumstantial.

However, in the unseen world Pam and I knew that we had been shoved.  This was not our first transition from the comfort of family and friends in Oregon to the challenges of God's assignment in Uganda.  By now we were aware of the relentless nature of spiritual warfare.

We shoved back.

We are committed to being who God made us be and being that in Uganda.  No weapon formed against us will prosper.  The enemy meant the theft of Pam's purse for evil, but God has made it good.  We informed the enemy that he had been an effective, though unwilling and resistant, servant of God. He had confirmed that we were meant to be here in Uganda.

What a way to begin 8 months of ministry in Africa!

Uganda does not need Paul and  Pam Hunter. But, the Spirit of the Lord is upon us.  Uganda needs the anointing of the Lord.  His anointing is upon us to bring good news to the poor, comfort to the broken hearted, proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed, to inform those who mourn that the time of the Lord's favor has come. (Isaiah 61 ... the scripture the Lord gave me in my scheduled bible reading the day before we left the United states)

6 comments:

  1. Well once again, Paul, your message is timed precisely for us, and with the point of impact being do we "react", or "respond". We just got back from the most jaw dropping amazing vacation of my life. Wyoming is a state that I have dreamed about visiting since childhood. All due to a life changing book called "The Christmas Horse" that I read when 9 years of age. When you experience the beauty and glory of the Lord through His creation it fills your cup so full that you can hardly contain it. due to the overflow in your spirit. We entered back into the intense spiritual battle of the prince of the power of the air over our area. We could feel such a different spiritual climate the minute we entered Oregon, actually. Being tired, knowing we had to empty the 5th wheel, and (by the way) not wanting to do that, we were barraged by darts and arrows of the enemy immediately. Made terrible decisions ( I will confess my part), and instantly visited the enemies camp and entertained his thoughts...ugh....Reacting to thought after thought, until at last!.....recognition of the real battle. Prayer of repentance, collecting thoughts back into the mind of Christ, we shall unload, and once again take up residence where the Lord has us for the time being. The enemy of our soul is such a joy robber and he obviously takes great delight in his mission. He is, however, the defeated one, and by praising the Lord, we will once again enjoy the joy and presence of the Most High God! He has the victory. Ours is minor and petty compared to your loss Paul and Pam, but we will pray that God will take and make for good. Love you, and thank you for the encouragement.

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  2. Wow, half way through reading this story I am abruptly interrupted by two of the young guys here at the mission. It was a good interruption, they wanted to know where that scripture is that says God gives us "Beauty for Ashes", I locate it at Isaiah 61:3. They go away and a minute latter I read your quote from Isaiah 61. Yahweh is so good. I called them back and shared what had happened and showed them your quote from Isaiah 61. They were amazed and started praising God. You never know how God uses you. Even the little things bare his fingerprint.

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  3. That's my post above. Nolan the potter.

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    1. Great Nolan. We are looking forward to receiving you here in Uganda on Wednesday at Hotel Sunset in Entebbe! Can't wait to live some life with you here in Africa!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your journey Paul (and Pam). Praying for provision in every way as you lean into His presence and care for you. I pray also for those thieves (I used to be one years ago) that they will encounter the profound reality of God's truth and grace and that this theft will be a trigger point for them to surrender to the authority of the Lord and find transformation through Christ. Keep fixed on Him!

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    1. Great advice John. Pam's iPhone is being tracked by the police and there is actually some hope that the thieves, or the person who purchased the phone from them, will be caught. We wonder what will happen with them if we encounter them as we present the reality of God's love for them. Loving the journey.

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