19 June 2011
Back in month two in El Salvador I got really close with our translator, Carlos. He had no computer, email address, or facebook. I helped in setting up the last two and one of my teammates donated her computer to him, so he was set! It has been such a blessing to be able to keep in touch with him, learn what the Lord is doing in his life, and to continue to be encouraged by him. Since that time I had been praying that the Lord would provide someone in my path who could use my computer and He was faithful in providing someone who didn’t ask for it, but humbly accepted it in Cambodia.
All of this to say that I was very happy and blessed to be able to donate my computer, but it has made blog writing more of a challenge. Especially this month, since we don’t have regular internet. So, I am now at the internet cafe in town and will try to crank out a blog, but I am not sure about the quality since blogs are not always the best when they’re forced. So, without further ado…
I preached a sermon this morning. I preached basically the same sermon last Friday but I felt that the Lord was calling me to share this message again. I based sermon on Colossians 2:8 which states, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow or deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” I focused a lot on “hollow” and “deceptive” philosophies in this world. The hollow philosophy being the idea that you will be happy or contented when … (fill in the blank). Until we learn to be contented where we are, we will continue to be striving for more. As for the deceptive philosophies, it is the lies of the world that promise fulfillment through the things of this world: money, success, food, sex, drugs, alcohol, relationships… I was deceived by the philosophies of this world but have come to find that Christ is truly the Living Water.
From June 6-16, we worked with Pastor Joseph at his primary school and his church. I was blown away with how much I love these children. I found myself in whatever spare time I had going down to be around the children more and more. Some of my teammates have expressed that they are surprised that I never mentioned how much I enjoyed kids…and that’s because I didn’t realize that I did. Pastor Joseph has adopted around 20 orphans who are still in school and living at his house and I have fallen in love with so many of them. I really believe that the Lord is expanding my heart for children and orphans in particular.
Last Saturday, we had a “play date” with the children from the school. At first I didn’t like the idea of scheduling about seven hours to play with a bunch of children. I know I am only 24 but I find my energy runs out much faster than these little ones. However, I loved it! i was able to play futbol – typically an automatic bonding point for me – with a bunch of the young guys and was able to “prove” myself via my futbol skills.
Last Friday, I went with a group of three others to another part of Mukono and we were each paired with someone from the church to do door-to-door evangelism. I got paired with Pastor Lawrence, the pastor of the church we were visiting, and the two of us set out to evangelism. It is not my favorite thing. I have never done door-to-door in America, but I imagine it would be much different. In Africa, everyone is willing and usually excited to welcome visitors in their homes and it’s not too difficult to share Jesus with others. I was noticeably uncomfortable about this at first and shared my reservations with Pastor Lawrence but he was very kind and gave me tips on how to approach others. We ended up being a great pair. Though I didn’t convert anyone, it’s not my job to. I simply shared my story, shared time importance of Christ in my life, and allowed others to ask questions or ask me to leave – however they responded was up to them.
It did end up being a good bonding time for me and Pastor Lawrence and he shared that he was blessed by being able to hear my story and I can say the same for him. I ended up returning to his church last Sunday and it was again a blessing to see my new friend and brother in Christ. Shannon, our squad leader, was with us that day and ended up preaching the sermon and Pastor Lawrence was the translator. At a couple points I had to translate Shannon’s English into English for Pastor Lawrence since he wasn’t used to her Michigan accent but apparently had no trouble understanding my Minnesotan accent.
On June 16, we packed up our bags at the guest house we were staying in, got in the van, and traveled less than five minutes down the road to Pastor Sarah’s house. She is allowing us to stay with her and work with her ministry until June 27. We will return to be with Pastor Joseph for June 27-29 and then it is off to Tanzania. I knew that I was going to see those children again, but my heart was still saddened as we hugged and said our goodbyes.
Our first day with Pastor Sarah, we went to several of the elderly church member’s houses and “shared a word” (we seem to be asked to “share a word” a lot on this trip – I am starting to find that can almost mean anything). These old men and women were so filled with joy that you couldn’t help but leave their homes smiling and praising the Lord.
Yesterday, I went to my fourth wedding of the race (1st – Guatemala, 2nd – Malaysia, 3rd – Kenya) and helped decorate for the reception. This wedding was a riot and I will be posting videos at some point so you can see for yourself. All I have to say was hands-down this was the most entertaining wedding I’ve ever been to.
I met an orphan at the wedding and only knew him for a couple hours and my heart was melted for him. I’m telling you, the Lord’s doing something in this heart of mine! It was hard to say goodbye!
And then I preached this morning. The blog has come full circle so it must be time to end.
P.S. I titled this blog because I am learning that in many ways Africans are very different and that we have a lot to learn from them. I was going to spell out all the ways that we are different, but I am going to trust you to be able to read between the lines.