Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A REAL missionary day

As a missionary whose primary role is support for other missionaries, I sometimes don't feel like a "real" missionary. I teach missionary kids, but I also enjoy having more "front line" missionary duties at times. I love going for walks in the village making new friends who speak only Luganda, and praying with and for them. I know that making disciples in the classroom is just as important as making disciples among the orphans at GSF and the people in the village. But I am thankful that since we live at Good Shepherd's Fold in Buundo village, I am able to be a part of what God is doing in all three of these areas. 

Last Saturday was more of a "front lines" missionary day for me. There is a family in Buundo that we have been getting to know over time. The grandmother, Jaja Alice, has had some health problems and has been away receiving health care. I have been trying to talk with the family in my limited Luganda and their limited English to see if I could go visit her. After several conversations I arranged to take one of her granddaughters, Rebecca, and go to visit her on Saturday. At least, so I thought. I planned to drive, pick up Rebecca, drop David and my children off to go swimming with some friends, and then continue on to the "hospital" to see Alice.  As I wrote in a previous post, we need to hold our plans with open hands. 

When I arrived on Saturday morning, Rebecca needed to bathe and get herself ready, so we sat and talked with the family. I was learning about how they are related, I think. Here the words for son and boy are the same, as are the words for daughter and girl and other such relationship words. So it is not always clear what someone is meaning. Once Rebecca was finished washing, she began washing her two children and getting them dressed. I figured that meant they were coming along too. So when they were ready, I said, "Tugenda." (We are going/ Let's go.) At that point Rebbeca, her 2 children, 2 of her brothers, her sister and her nephew all climbed into our 8 passenger van, along with my family of 6. 

After dropping off David and my kids to visit with friends, I continued on with the family to find Jaja Alice. After stopping and having several conversations in Luganda, a woman got into the vehicle with us, and directed us toward a place where she was staying. I had expected to find her in a hospital of some sort, but she was just staying at a place that just looked like some rooms in this village. I did not see any medical equipment or personnel. I was very confused about why she was here. This place is almost an hour's drive from our village of Buundo, and there are several hospitals between here and there. I was asking about the doctor, so they called her to come speak with me. 

I had brought a Luganda Bible with me in case Jaja Alice could read, but she cannot. No one else in the family said that they could read, so I decided to read the Bible in Luganda to the family. I chose a few passages that I thought might be encouraging to Jaja Alice and would clearly present the gospel to the family and friends around. I didn't understand many of the words that I read, but I was able to sound them out. Sometimes various members of the family would repeat certain phrases. 

Then they told me about a man who was very sick who was staying in a room there. We went to visit him along with the family. At first I thought he was a relative, but I found out later that he was just another patient. He seemed to be not far from the end of his life and in much pain. I prayed with him in a combination of English and a few Lugandan words, and read John 3:16 and a few Psalms to him in Luganda. I don't know if this man knows Jesus, but I believe that God can use His Word to either draw people to Himself or to encourage His children in difficult times. 

I realize that with my limited Luganda and my limited cultural understanding, I don't know what to do in many of these situations. But I am trusting that God can work even through my weakness. And I am thankful that His Word will not return void. Please pray that God will work in the hearts of the members of this family, and that He would give us wisdom and love to know how to best point them to Jesus. 

Side note: I like to include photos in my posts, but I didn't feel like it would be appropriate to take photos that day. Even as I wrote, I was careful about which details to share. I want the focus of my writing to be what God is doing and teaching me, not the brokenness or what I am doing. I hope that you will be encouraged that God is at work, even in the midst of my weakness.

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