This past week was frustrating, but an interesting challenge to all of us. First, we went to Aringa parish, up north near the Sudanese border. The area is 90 percent Muslim, 5 percent Catholic, and only about 2 percent Protestant. We only went for a few hours, and weren't scheduled to teach there, but we got to sit and talk with a few of the leaders of the ministries there and hear about what they do.
I wish I could type all that he said, but suffice it to say that it is quite obvious that I am such a baby in my faith compared to these people. As he was talking, I could hear the difference in the way he spoke of God, and how much trust and confidence he put in Him. He said, "To do ministry here, you have to fear neither life nor death. To die is to go straight to Christ, and to live is to serve." They're in the process of translating the Bible into Aringa, so we went to see their program office, which is sponsored by Wycliffe Bible Translators. We went to the home where 2 AIM missionaries were wounded, and were about a kilometer from where 2 were killed a couple years ago. Because of this, they haven't sent many groups up there to minister to those people, but this is exactly where the church needs strengthened the most. Many of the people can't read or write, and they need more teaching and encouragement. Seems to me that Paul and the early church would be going there, but to be quite honest, I don't know if I am in the place where I would be willing to go.
The past couple of days have been very frustrating because of problems with transportation. Vehicles are less than reliable here, and it's not as if we can just take someone else's car. So on Saturday we left our house at 3:30pm, about 8 hours late. We got to Vurra and taught the people who had not gone home already. The next day we woke up at 7 to wait another 4 hours until the car was jumpstarted and we could leave for the secondary school. Then we waited another 2 hours for the program to start. Needless to say, this was very trying on my nerves and in my frustration, I had many thoughts and reactions that definitely were not pleasing to the Lord.
Ministry for us here just looks much different than it does at home. At home, I am used to having to humble myself to serve by cleaning up after people, doing laundry for my parents, loving the person that gets on my nerves the most, or helping with a church event when maybe I'd rather sleep. But here, serving looks more like being willing to be treated as an important person you're not; to eat the goat's meat, greet people at 6:30 in the morning when you just woke up, let the 50 children gathered around to stare at you constantly, or continue smiling when you're being "officially greeted" for the 4th time. It takes patience and strength that I have to pray for each day, and sometimes I miserably fail. But we realized yesterday that we have been able to speak to over 10,000 Ugandans, and that is definitely no small opportunity. Please pray that God continues to strengthen and use us this last week, as going home becomes more and more of a reality.
Can't wait to see you all soon!