We have been busy, here in Uganda. Over the past month, we have been on the road, taking medical care to rural Uganda, far more than we have been at our apartment in Kampala. Because of this frantic pace, we welcomed a couple of days off this past week. We’ve shown the Donica girls around Kampala, we have gone to the craft market, and we have visited with our friends from Ardmore that are in town with Watoto. Another group, from Henderson Hills Church in Edmond, arrived on Friday night at the airport. Another friend, from Jinja, was supposed to be on the same flight. Since we were off the next day, we decided to load up and make the 1 hour drive to Entebbe to greet them at the airport. On this current mission, we have made 2 trips to the airport, both in the past week. David has taken us the two previous times. This time, Jay felt like he could drive us there and back, so we would not have to bother David. David knows many short cuts around Uganda. He has taken us to the airport using some back roads to cover the first half of the trip. Jay, not wanting to get us lost, decided to take the main highway, all the way from Kampala to Entebbe. This stretch of road, is cleverly named, “Entebbe Road”.
We needed to arrive, at the airport, at 10:15 pm. So we left Kampala at 9:00, thinking that would give us plenty of time to not miss our friends. Even at 9:00pm, there was a traffic jam on Entebbe Road, before we could get out of Kampala. We were stuck in traffic, not moving at all, because of the obstacles (other vehicles) in our path. I was “driving” the stereo. Our van has a 1994, Toyota cassette, AM/FM system, but only speakers in the front. So we play songs with an iPhone, that is connected to an external speaker. I was playing a great selection of praise and worship, country & western, and some “classics” like “My Ding-a-ling”. It was dark outside, and my iPhone was lighting up the inside of the van. We had our windows down, as usual. All of a sudden, a would-be thief quickly approached the van and reached through our window, trying to take my phone. Luckily, I was holding the phone with both hands, as I was looking for the next song that I was going to play. As he reached in, I screamed and leaned away from the side he was reaching through. Jay and Savannah, both seated in the front, thought I was screaming because a bug came in the car. As Jay turned around, he saw the white shirt of the man as he was pulling his arm out of the window and running up the hill. As the guy let go of the phone, my phone came up and hit me in the chin. I bruised there and on my leg where I kicked the chair, flexing to preserve my property. We did a quick inventory, noting that nothing (and nobody) was lost. We closed all of the windows, locked the doors, and turned on the air conditioner. The thief came back down the hill and stood about 20 feet from the van. We thought of many things we could try to do for revenge. None of them were nice or practical. The traffic started to move, a little bit at a time. This man, and a friend, walked, almost next to our van, for about ¼ mile. At one time, he waived and mocked us.
As we thought through this scenario, we came to the conclusion that this ended about as well as it could have. No one was seriously hurt and no property was lost. If he had snatched my phone, there is no way that we could have retrieved it. If the thief had stayed with his arm in the van much longer, one of us could have been hurt, or we might have grabbed his arm and a physical conflict might have ensued. We were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic that was stopped. We had nowhere to go.
This little “lesson” got me to thinking. I will tell you what I was thinking, at the risk of you thinking that I equate my iPhone with “joy”. I started thinking of how this scenario looks a lot like the enemy coming to try to steal our joy. He waits for a time when we are distracted, even by things that are good, like Christian music. He waits for times when our defenses (like our windows) are down. Even more than that, I think that Satan waits for times that we are idle, blocked in or frustrated by obstacles, to try to steal our joy. If we had been moving towards our destination, the thief would not have been able to attempt the heist. By the same token, if we are moving forward in our walk with Christ, the enemy has a much more difficult task attacking us.
Joy is precious. I encourage you to keep your windows up, keep your doors locked, and keep moving forward in your walk with Christ. Keep a two handed grip on your joy and fight back when the devil tries to steal it!
Thanks for your prayers and support!