Sunday, September 13, 2009

a year on...

I've been watching lord of the rings recently, and something about the last movie stuck with me. at the end, frodo finishes writing about his story, and he says something to the effect that, once you've experienced something, you can't go back, but it stays with you even after it's gone. I've been feeling that. This summer, for those who don't know, and for those who still read this, which i'm doubting is very many, seeing as how i've not posted in over a year, i went to Hong Kong. It was a good experience and it reminded me, overwhelmingly at times, of Uganda.

It has stuck with me. I'm missing the red dirt and the smiling faces of Eastern Africa. There is something about the people, the place, that just calls to my heart. ever since i've come back stateside, i've been restless, and it's because i know that there's a whole world out there, waiting to be ministered to, waiting to hear the Gospel.

Where are we, the Church, what are we doing to bring this about. Are we sitting comfortably on our hindquarters, not being the hands and feet, are we ministering here? where and what are we doing? For those of you in Uganda, I love and miss you, and i just want to challenge everyone to get out there and minister, here... there or anywhere. praise God and love people with your lives!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

parting is such sweet sorrow.

This is my last post from Uganda... for now.

My last month or so has been filled with excitement and a bit of danger. 
I went to karamoja, and ministered to the people there. There are still very primative and still resort to violence and cattle rustling. It was an exciting experience being among such people. They are very similar to the Masai of tanzania and kenya. They drink blood/milk mixture and still practice a lot of ancestor worship/witch doctor stuff. It was a good time and the word of God was well recieved. I felt like i was really in africa. I know that sounds silly, but Kapchorwa is so nice and temperate, being on the mountain, that you start to forget you are in Africa, and you imagine that you are in tennessee.  Funny huh? So, after all of that, i went back to Bukwo again, which was an experience all on it's own. You should ask me about it! It was a strange trip, riding in a tiny clown car with no brakes, no tyre tread, and a broken suspension up and down a mountain will always leave you with a story. Imagine a full 6 hour car trip, pushing a 3-cylinder engine/suzuki up a mountain, having four flat tyres and no brakes... so yeah.

I'm heading home on monday... tomorrow is my last full day in Uganda. It is a strange thing to say.. "i'm heading home" when i've felt like this is my home. It feels like i'm leaving my home to go . . . HOME?!? If that doesn't make sense to you, you're on track with how i feel. It makes me think about how our life on earth, as Christians, is. We are living, we are interacting, making friends, making differences, making mistakes... you know, the usual. But throughout all that time, we are just passing through, on a pilgrimmage. We are not really home. Not yet. How often do you forget that you are only visiting, and that your home is far better?  A renewed heaven and earth, full unity with God and no more pain and heart-ache. Home sounds good to me. How about you?

See you all soon. 

Saturday, June 28, 2008

In Uganda, plans change as quick as your underwear

Here's hoping you're in the habit of changing your underwear!

I'm gonna be home soon. quicker than i imagined it.

I'm in Kampala today.

I'm broke.

I had a hamburger yesterday.

I am not crazy.
yet.

and i've been running round in circles for a few weeks.

Life of a missionary.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mountains

 

 

I’ll start off with a quote.

Francis of Assisi – “Lord, what is this mountain?”

I read his book and heard that quote and it floored me.  Lord, what is this mountain. Wow. But, Francis is referring to a challenge. A mountain is a challenge. For Francis, his mountain was poverty. It was this struggle with wealth and poverty. If you know of Francis of Assisi, you’ll know that he humbled himself to the point of renouncing all physical wealth. His struggle was putting wealth into a proper place. It was Francis’ mountain.

Our lives are filled with mountains. Like, “I look to the mountain, where does my help come from.” I’ve encountered mountains in my life, and some valleys. The mountains are those spiritual challenges, when we have no choice but to seek after God. Our mountain experiences are when we have such challenges that faith, hope, God’s mercy, Grace, love, compassion… all of these things become realities because we are dealing with struggles day in/day out, when prayer is more than just prayer. Meditation on God is like a breath of air to a drowning person. Those times in the mountain, God is palpable, you can feel his presence. You have to deal with his mercy, because without it, you would not be able to survive. His grace becomes something more than clich├ęs because without his grace, you would not be able to tackle the mountain ahead of you.  So, I’m sure, at this point, you can agree with me that Francis is saying something remarkable, “Lord, what is this mountain?” Lord, I simply can not accept this challenge on my own. I need your help, I look at this mountain and only your help will free me. I’m oppressed, I’m dragged thru the mud, I’m down and out and without you, this mountain will finish me. Lord, what is this mountain? So, look to my time in Uganda. There have been challenges with sickness, with people opposing the Gospel, day in, day out, challenges. But, when you come to the other side of the mountain, you are stronger; you have a clear mind as to what to do to make this mountain easier for other pilgrims.

I wouldn’t trade this mountain for the world.

So, during the mountain time, we have challenges that make faith come alive. We grow stronger, we fill up, we are being molded and fixed by God. So, let’s go to these mountains. Lets tackle the mountains with God. The valleys? Who has ever asked “oh Lord, what is this valley?” That’s silly. Valleys, those are the times when we are doing it all on our own. They are the times when we start to grow comfortable, when we feel fine with the world. It’s the base camp experiences that refresh us after a mountain, and prepare us for the next mountain, but the valley, the base camp, that is not the place to stop. We can’t stop because we are comfortable. It must be continuing to the mountain.

Where is your mountain?

Or are you chilling in base camp? Getting out of shape, growing a beard and long hair(mitch hedburg). Base camp is worthless if you don’t ever climb the mountain.

“Lord, help me climb this mountain.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

a slight musing on various themes

A delightful musing, on a completely unrelated note.

Books, music, poetry, flowers, love; My thoughts have been fixed on such things in the past few days. I have been in Kampala for a week and a half. I was, until yesterday, fixed on the renewing of my Visa. Now that the task has been fulfilled, I have a few days of leisure before returning to Kapchorwa for the second half of my adventure here. It's strange that one of the first actions that I took on arrival to Kampala, two weeks ago this thursday, was to go to a bookshop. It was on friday. I was dropped off at shop-rite, one of the few "supermarkets" in Uganda. I walked for perhaps three kilometers to get into the center of town to a bookshop "Aristoc." I proceeded to buy some books. They have a very small selection, but, fortunately, they have the "classics." I purchased a few books for a discount price of around three dollars a book. then, i went to another bookshop and procured a long sought-after book "St. Francis of Assisi" which i could not recommend more highly. But, I digress, Books. one of the first instinctive actions, upon the ability to procure such things, was to buy books. And what books i did buy. bram stoker- dracula, dostoyevsky- crime and punishment... etc. chauncer, milton and a lovely book on 18th century poetry.
I read, within today, just, crime and punishment. all i can say is "wow." that is a powerful book. I can't believe i read it all in one day, a day devoted to reading, and in the end if it, i am left free to muse about what I have read. 

books

I went to a charity concert the first saturday here. It was great. one piano, one person who entertained us for an evening, there was also a gospel chorus. The pianist played Liszt, Chopin, and a number of others, from memory! he was incredible. He has been studying at the royal school of music in London for years and is just preparing to graduate. I had the distinct pleasure to speak to him at length after the concert. There is something, as i muse for the umpteenth time, in music. (whilst at the moment, i listen to switchfoot) It is not that it pacifies, or that it entertains, or relaxes, or constricts, or aggrevates, although it has all of these abilities, but it is the fact that it, when properly done, has a profound affect on the spirit. imagine, for a moment, good music. now, i'm not talking about the latest "trend" music, but really, truly, fine music. Music that you can listen to over and over again, without growing weary of it. i know of some, sometimes it is classical, romantic era music, but other times it can be contemporary. For example, right now i'm listening to an album, which, by conservative estimations, i've perhaps listened to more than two hundred times. I'm not joking. But, have i grown tired of it, in the four years that i have had the album? by no means, I find that it gets better with time. It has ministered to me in so many different times of my life. There is something about truly good music that goes deeper than the ear, further than the brain. Something within us is revealed. It's like, without this music, without the song "twenty-four," there would be a part of my life that I didn't truly understand. Because of this music, this song, I know myself better, i can come to a true understanding of who i am. Does this resonate with anyone else, or am I the only one who feels this way about music?

music.

I've been reading poetry and i find that when i read some poetry, it is like looking at a beautiful picture or landscape. Poetry is great. Reading poetry gives one a better understanding when reading the psalms.... check it out.

poetry

in the past week, i've run into flowers often, for the first in a long time. at a restaurant, i found a fresh lily on my table. it smelled simply intoxicating. it was beautiful. White, peppered with yellow pollen, and opening up to the world. Flowers are splendid, and testify to a creator God who simply loves his creation(including Us!!)

flowers.

I've decided not to discuss this last one. I have found God's love too amazing for words. I can't discuss nor describe, at the moment, because words are so empty in comparison to His Love. The Love of God is often a point of contemplation for me, but I could think about it for the next sixty years and not come to a firm conclusion. It is simply too amazing to be simplified into words. Even the most eloquent poetry seems base and vulgur in comparison to it.

God loves.

Monday, May 26, 2008

a note on ugandan governmental policies

have you ever gone to the post office and thought that the service was slow? or the DMV/secretary of state? I think that american government run buildings operate at their own wavelength. I thought it was bad in america. Being raised to dread waiting more than thirty minutes to get something accomplished. How about Ugandan government?

My visa renewal process:
monday: went to ministry of internal affairs (aka ministry of redundancy) they asked for seven different forms and printed documents and such.
Tuesday: returned with all the forms and documents waited 30 minutes, they took my passport told me to return on friday.
Friday: returned. was told i needed a "special pass" went to cashier, got a bill, went to bank paid bill. 1 hour. was told i needed a receipt for bill, another hour. returned to ministry and again handed over passport. told to return on monday.
Monday: went to ministry of redundancy, closed, was told to return later.

sitting in coffee shop, waiting to return.

one week, and a lot of walking. sait la vie.

So, next time you wait an hour to get your liscense renewed, thank God you are not in Uganda!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

simplicity

So, i've been trying to learn simplicity. I've been walking most of the time, since being here. I'm learning to take food for nourishment, not for pleasure, to love deeply and share with those in need and to hold nothing back for myself but to realize that all i have has been given by God, entrusted to me as a good steward. 

So, because of all of that... i've decided to start making my own clothes.

can anyone teach me how?

.... seriously.