Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thunderstorms vs. Thieves

There is a verse in Revelation (16:15) where Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming like a thief!” and warns us to be awake and ready when He comes.  Now I have so much more context for what this means with thieves in the neighborhood and waking up to our guard dogs (Scooby and Frabbe) barking on different nights. Living in Jinja keeps me dependent on God- for physical and spiritual protection, for His strength to love others when I am tired, and for His courage to not worry about what others are saying since I am a beginner at the Luganda language.

On Friday night I woke up at 1am and the sky was exploding! I had just been dreaming of thieves invading so my initial thought was that they were blowing up our fence outside (which is not likely, and our night guard loves Jesus and is a “senior guard” which means that the thieves are scared of him and he has successfully killed thieves in the past). I woke Rachel up and we stared out at the sky with a couple of guesses at what was happening: a) Jesus is coming back b) a neighboring country is getting bombed or c) this is a storm unlike any we have ever seen. It turned out to be the last option- with no visible lightning streaks but enormous flashes in the sky and constant thunder rumbling in a strange pattern- BOOM… BOOM BOOM! I prayed with Rachel and my sister on the phone (it was conveniently afternoon in California), and the storm abated and we were able to get a little sleep afterwards. So grateful for God’s protection- “when I am afraid I will trust in Him.”

The next morning I was encouraged as I simultaneously Skyped with my brother in Cambodia and my family in California, and I got to read Mother Teresa’s Noble Peace Talk afterwards. She spoke about something that I have been learning in this community where noise and the presence of others is consistent: “Love begins at home and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put into the action that we do. It is to God Almighty- how much we do it does not matter- because He is infinite, but how much love we put in that action. How much we do to Him in the person that we are serving.” Rachel and I had been talking a few days before about the balance between resting and loving since we are often tired. Looking at Jesus’ life, I see Him pulling away to be alone and talk with God the Father. I see Him at other times walking through crowds and healing and feeding and speaking to thousands. I see that prayer was a huge part of His ministry, and that He let the Holy Spirit guide His life. So what I am learning is to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance and to weave prayer into my life, turning to Him for clarity in moments when I am torn between wanting to play guitar with the boys and sorely needing a nap. 

On Saturday, Rachel and I went to a Mzungu garage sale in Jinja (a bit rare to find here) and then visited the Amani Baby Cottage where about 50 infants and toddlers live who are orphans, who have been abandoned, or whose parents cannot care for them anymore. It was another moment for me of feeling broken hearted- wanting each of these little ones to have a home and to know they are loved. I was feeling the pull of their need for love but fully knew that I could not stay since I have chosen to be faithful to this house of 10 boys. I got to hug and smile at and pray for each little one, and then trust my Savior as I said goodbye so quickly afterwards. On the way home, I tried a rolex (“roll- eggs:” picture a fried thick tortilla with an omelet inside) and am quite hooked on this local delicacy.

And this morning we all walked to Calvary Chapel Jinja again. I got to walk with Balaam and Niragire on the way there and share the story of Moses and God setting the Israelites free from Egypt. All the boys have just learned that the stories in the Bible are real- they did not realize that Israel and all the places mentioned actually exist, but thought they were just fictional illustrations to teach us about God.

It is so powerful to see so many young faces in the church and to know the stories behind the kids that come- our boys have been through horrendous conditions and experiences living on the streets, and there are barefoot boys who are currently homeless who come since some of the women who run shelters in town are part of this church. (Check out the Street Child Blog for a new story about Balaam:

On our very rainy walk to church we passed an offering to demon gods on the side of the road that a witch doctor had left at a major intersection in town. It was powerful to remember that God is above all other powers and principalities and He makes the demons shudder, and to talk with the boys about this and then go worship together as the church. And then we all walked in sopping wet, and were surrounded by others who were barefoot, and in their one best outfit that they wear each week, and three little siblings (the oldest about 6 years old) who walked to and from church all alone and barefoot. My perception of ‘church’ is powerfully expanding here.

In football (aka soccer) news today: Street Child Project: 6 and Our Own Home: 3. We were a bit outnumbered but have some players with great ball skills (and the boys told me I’m a “good auntie” since I had some awesome blocks in defense again). And for a special treat I took 8 of the boys to the hotel next door to watch the Manchester United vs. Chelsea game tonight. Days here are so full with unexpected challenges and opportunities and things to learn. Even though I do not feel like I am changing, I know and trust that God is using this experience to change my life. 

Sneaking a picture with Calvin 

Our front door- a verse and a prayer

Rachel's beautiful painting in the living room

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