a type of culture or society
developed at a particular time and place
Thirteen of us were in Uganda in 2001 ... for the first time.
And, while we were there, 9-11 happened. We were far from our culture. We were far from the panic that resulted from the realization that our nation was suseptible to terrorist attacks at a massive level.
But, we were experiencing our own culture shock. A guitar, complete with new strings and hard case, had been brought to Africa with the intention of giving it to a church or organization. We were confident that we would know who and when we were to present it to as a gift.
Only one problem ... we discovered that there were few if any guitars in this impoverished nation and no one even knew how to play one!
The last day ... the VERY LAST DAY ... without ever seeing a single guitar in any venue in which we served ... and deep in the village ... we found a guy playing an old, beat up, with parts missing, guitar! God couldn't have made it easier for us to know THIS was where He wanted that guitar to stay.
But, we were not prepared for the chaos of gratitude that poured out from the congregation when my son, Dawson, announced that this guitar was a gift to these people. All bedlam broke out ... shouting, clapping, hooping and hollering ... dancing ... and a massive rush to the stage to embrace everyone on the team who would allow it. It was a "civilized" expression of gratitude. Imagining that sort of response happening in the West is ... well, just that ... an imagination.
We were stunned. Simply stunned by the exuberant expressions of gratitude that day. Only during some lunchtime conversation with the musicians did we get a hint of an explanation for that expression. The congregation had been praying for 8 long years for a guitar!
I haven't seen anything like it since. Until last Sunday!
|Pastor David & his church worshiping God with gratitude!|
Pastor David, after the team had greeted the church and shared with them, announced that the Lord had provided funds to attempt to purchase land for the church. None of us were prepared for the ten minute celebration that broke our spontaneously. Singing, dancing, shouting, clapping, praying ... it was all there ... everywhere! Many individuals wound up on their knees. Many had faces wet from tears. Heads were bowed low and lifted high toward Heaven. Hands were raised in worship of God the Giver.
Paul, the Apostle of the New Testament, wrote about just such an experience in 2 Corinthians:
Why did this small congregation of Africans have such a demonstrative expression without concern about who saw it or what they thought of it? They had prayed for resources for land for TWELVE YEARS! And, after having their prayers answered, they just had to worship God ... their way ... the civilized way ... the only way they knew how.
And, when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So, two good things will result from this ministry of giving --- the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given you. Thank God for this wonderful gift too wonderful for words! (2 Corinthians 9:11-15 NLT)
Overcome with a heart of gratitude
|Oklahoma Team with Pam Hunter, Peter & Assina Bukenya|
And, many of us also ended up with wet cheeks as we experienced God given gratitude and His glory. Stunned! It was an experience none of us shall forget.