Today, I am reminded that despite all of our(my) planning and trying to control things, there are specific actions that must be taken or we(I) will be left behind.
On my previous 3 trips to Uganda, I had either been a “tag-along” with another group, or a father trying to get his half naïve family across the ocean to start a 6 month adventure. This time, however, I had been more involved with planning and budgeting the clinics and ground game when we are in Uganda. I also was involved with inviting others to join us and acting like a “host” or tour director of sorts. Reminding of team fees, immunizations, special things to bring and remember etc.
We had the following part of our 2013 team over to our house last Friday night: The Treat Family (David, Kimberla, Jonathan, Jakob, and Kali) and Kyle Mueller (Along with his parents Mark and Sandra). Jill and I went through many things that we would be doing in Uganda. Some special things to remember, amounts of money to bring and such like that. Before dinner, I went and retrieved a few things out of my safety deposit box.
1.) A $100 bill to remind the team that to exchange US dollars for Uganda Shillings, they will need newer than 2006 $100 bills.
2.) A color copy of their passport to carry with us but not risk losing our passport.
3.) 2 Passport photos, in case we need them in Uganda for a governmental document.
4.) An international driver’s license.
5.) A PASSPORT!
Every time that I talked to one of our team this week and before we left the church in Duncan this am, I had everyone confirm that they had their PASSPORT because this was a “deal breaker”. Well as it turns out, the passport that I had out for show and tell on Friday was mine, but I thought it was Jake’s. On Thursday night, I gave Jake this passport and had him put it in a special place so that he would not lose it. He is coming to Uganda with the Gash family in 2 weeks. I did not want him to be without his passport because……..say it with me “It is a deal breaker”. So Jake tucked it away in his suitcase that stayed in Duncan, and he went to drop us off at the airport. It has been said that Jake favors me, but when I got to DFW and looked at my passport, the 2009 picture of Jake in the 7th grade did not look that much like me. That is right, after all of the harping and warning of “deal breaking”, I am the one that shows up at DFW with Jake’s passport and mine sitting safely in his suitcase 150 miles away and 90 minutes until check in cut off!
I hate making rookie mistakes. This is my 4th trip to Uganda and I fly internationally pretty often, but this was a rookie mistake. So as I am driving back to Oklahoma with my tail tucked between my legs, I had some time to think. To think about the Due Unto Others team soaring in the air heading to Africa without me. They are GOing to Uganda to do God’s work, and I am going home. If I had been a color, it would have been purple. Half red from being angry at myself and half blue from being left behind. I had spent hours planning and helping everyone to be ready to GO, but I failed to take the action required (Pack the deal breaker). Color copies of my passport nor my son’s passport would suffice.
I get to join up with the team 24 hours after they get there, as I will take the same flights on Saturday. As I was on my “Purple” drive home, I started to think about how God requires action of us. Many different actions are “expected” if we love Christ, but there is one action that is a “deal breaker”. We have to accept Christ and the grace-filled gift that he gives us through the cross. It is absolutely imperative that we tell all of those that you are “leading” about this action and pray that they take it. Today was bad enough getting delayed to Uganda, but I can’t imagine what it would be like on the day that I am called home to stand at the great ticket counter in the sky and the Attendant say “Sorry, you do not have a PASSPORT because you did not take the required action. You will be left behind”!
God has a way of reminding me who is in control and that all of MY planning is no good unless he is in the middle of it. Take action! Make sure your authentic passport is ready. You will not be able to use a facsimile or your family’s, you must have your own!Jay