Hello friends and loved ones!
I have passed the half way mark of my time of service in Uganda. Wow, so much to do and so little time left. I am still tutoring, teaching Sunday school, encouraging church leaders, partnering with Fida in reaching out to LRA former child soldiers, holding babies, and leading Bible studies.
I have just finished biking home from the bank. It has been my fourth attempt this week to withdraw cash and for some reason my debit card is being rejected. So I am living right now with less than $20 in my pocket and amazingly enough, the Lord provides every day. (I’m not saying there isn’t money, I just can’t get to it at the moment)... but I am starting to ponder more and more about what it means to live without money. I am stepping in to the shoes of my Ugandan friends for a brief period of time and here are some of my thoughts, or things I have witnessed:
1. The Lord has given me many meals to eat – provided by great friends and complete strangers. Whether I am attending a spiritual retreat in Kampala and eating with some of the national church leaders of Uganda, or if I am biking home from town and stop at a small shop that I often frequent and am handed a plate of posho and beans.
2. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink... Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:25, 27 I have heard a testimony of my helper that often her children are left in the village while she works and they encourage one another to not grumble against God for not having lunch, because God is good and He will provide for them. Can you imagine a 9 year old comforting a 3 year old, telling them that everything will work out fine?
3. What would I do if:
· I wanted to care for many orphans and the Lord kept bringing them to my gate. I only have a small place but the big house next to me is vacant at the moment. For some strange reason, I have access, but not the ability to pay rent. Would I allow those children to move into the home, unbeknownst to the landlord, because they deserve a place to sleep? Would I pray God miraculously provides money so that house can be rented honestly?
· I desired to go to school but had no way of paying the school fees. Would I beg relatives and friends for some money? Would I pray that a mzungu could sponsor me? Would I sleep with a man to make some cash? Or would I just spend another semester just sitting at home, watching life go past?
· I only had $20 left in my pocket and I saw someone who had a greater need than me. Would I give that money away knowing that I had bills to pay or no food in the pantry? Would I truly trust that God sees what I have done and reward my good deeds? I have a feeling that I would need to turn around and ask a friend for $20 to borrow... just starting a cycle of poverty all over again.
I have seen many Ugandans just live day to day, meal to meal. I am grateful that I have been able to help sponsor a girl for school, or give some neighbours corn meal and vegetables so that their children can eat. I am glad that I don’t even have to challenge my ethics regarding purity, theft, corruption, and money management. I am beyond blessed with a house, a bike, and a pantry.
My team-mates and I have been talking a lot lately about the cycle of poverty here in Africa. Why does it feel like poverty cannot be overcome? There are plenty of resources here. There are some hard working men and women, who give it their best, but just can’t get by. If you have answers I would love to hear them.
But Dad, I would love it if you could hurry home from vacation and help me solve this silly banking dilemma; it wasn’t fixed by midnight on Saturday as originally suggested. Just like the woman in Luke 15, I will throw a party when the lost coin has been returned to me. Cheers.