This weekend we have made a trip to Hoima, Uganda to see Jim’s friend Henry. This is the young man that Jim helped to get freed from prison where he had been incarcerated for 2 years. He had been falsely accused of murder and had spent 2 years in jail, awaiting a trial. We loaded up in a 11 passenger van and took off Saturday morning for the 4 hour trip to northern Uganda.
Yesterday, when we arrived, we went to Henry’s house to meet his family. His mother surprise us with a LARGE traditional Ugandan meal. It was so humbling as they entertained us with sodas, fruits (bananas, papayas, tomatoes), carrots, rice, meat and soup. They spent well more than they should have for us as “honored guests”. We have learned that you eat what they give you as to not eat, would be a sign of dishonor. So we stuffed ourselves. We got tickled because Henry’s brother, Kegan, kept giving us bananas until the whole plate was empty, then he had his sister bring in some more! Luckily, they were quite tasty! Jim, Henry and Tango (our driver) went to look for cows to buy for Henry’s family. They had cows and chickens in the past, but the family was forced to sell them while Henry, his brother and his father were incarcerated unjustly. So some of Jim’s friends had taken up a collection and sent funds to replace the cows, plus more! While they went, we spent some time in Hoima around the markets.
We stayed in the Hoima Resort Hotel on Saturday night and got to experience our first night without AC. In addition to this, there is a church next door and I think that they held services all night. I am not complaining, I am just giving you the reasons that I did not sleep very well last night, giving me time to think.
Today, we went to worship with Henry’s church. Jim, Henry and Tango went out to seal the deal on the cattle and that left the rest of us at the hotel for a few hours (more time to think). We have really enjoyed some “down time” as it seems like we have been burning the candle on both ends since we arrived. Kegan and Herbert, Henry's brothers, were intrigued by the games on our iPhones and iPads.
Some sleepless time last night and some lazy time this morning has allowed me to really think through a question that God has raised to me in the past couple of weeks. Does God really need us in Uganda? I know, this is probably a little late to be asking such important questions. We have already arranged to be gone from the clinic for 6 months. We have pulled the kids out of school. We have sold our house and rented an apartment in Kampala for 6 months. We have purchased plane tickets and purchased a 6 month visa. After some deep thought and prayer, I have come up with this answer:
God does not need us in Uganda!
I fully realize that there is a significant need for medical care in all of Uganda. There is even more of a need in the rural areas. But God does not need us in Uganda!
I think that I have the medical training and experience to provide medical care to kids that would otherwise not receive it and suffer when they shouldn’t. But God does not need us in Uganda!
People back home have graciously begun to help us fund the mobile medical clinic and make our calling of providing medical care to rural Uganda a reality, but God does not need us in Uganda!
We have made many friends and we love the people of Uganda. As a group, they have welcomed the crazy muzungus from Oklahoma with opened arms. We have felt at home and at peace with our recent decisions. But God does not need us in Uganda!
We have been working to learn the local language and are happy with the progress we have been making. But God does not need us in Uganda!
So if God does not need us in Uganda, what are we doing here?
I guess that I should have talked with Jill about this realization before I shared it with you, but I thought that it was important.
I read a book recently called “It’s not OK with me” and it’s sequel “Is it OK with you?”. The author helped me come to the above revelation. She also helped me to see that even though God does not need us in Uganda, He loves us enough to let us share in what He is doing in Uganda. The Holy Spirit is off the leash in Uganda! You can feel it palpably when we talk with the people of God that we have contact with. You can sense the Holy spirit in the worship services that we attend. What a blessing to be able to use the medical skills that He has given me. What a blessing to form relationships with the people of Uganda. What a blessing to feel the prayers and support of our Christian friends in the US as we get to share in God’s work that He is doing in Uganda.
You know what? God does not need you in Uganda either. He is so big, that he doesn’t need any of us. How awesome is it that he “tolerates” our shortcomings, He loves us and allows us to witness the things that He is up to and join Him where He is working as tools in His hands.