By Thursday, things are really into a routine. I have to admit the internet has a hold on us that makes me laugh. We have all but given up the wireless signal we enjoyed in our rooms the first few days and pace ourselves to a routine that means we stand dressed and waiting for the internet office downstairs to open at 8am, slip in for a stretched 30 minutes of face to screen time with our electronic friend. Then pull ourselves or each other away for our 8:30 meeting, conveniently in the dining room, so we don’t waste an extra minute. Then when the meeting is over, we can race back to the internet room for a few minutes before getting on the bus at 9:30am. In our defense, because reading this makes me feel like we need some, it takes about 10 minutes for the AOL sign in screen to appear and another 5 minutes to get to the mail. FACEBOOK seems to be a little quicker, and I have seen the attendants in the room logged on to it every time I’m in there. When we return at the end of the day, some dash from the bus, at 6:30 or so, trying to catch loved ones to Skype before your work day begins, or checking in for a message from home. With 8 mamas in the group, I guess we feel like we need to make sure someone is holding down the fort at home.
Everyone was able to make the trip to Kakiira yesterday. I have to admit, that if you all would stand down my hallway in the morning to smile and greet me like the women and children of Kakiira do when we arrive, I do believe it could help with some might powerful work at home also.
I was first up yesterday, teaching on “the woman caught in adultery”, John 8. We have spent extra time each day talking about the setting and the characters in the passages. The adulterous woman, caught “in the act” was dragged into the temple to stand before a huge crowd and accused. The purpose was to trap Jesus, but we looked at the situation from the woman’s point of view. Humiliated, vulnerable, exposed, in her worst moment standing before the public and her sin was announced. She knew what the law said and that her death by stoning was eminent, people watching may have already been holding the rocks in anticipation, their eyes fixed on her shame…and Jesus, without speaking, allowed the crowd’s own conviction, to take them away. Then he offered her grace and truth…perfectly balanced.
Instead of the death she deserved, he gave her new life.
I challenged them to identify both with the adulterous woman and then with one standing in the crowd, stone raised, yelling, accusing. Women in Kakiira and women in America share the same tendencies…we can be so harsh on our sisters rather than coming along side them to enable them the grace and love to change. We’d much rather raise our brows, whisper, withhold relationship, than support them through becoming different. In our small group discussions each group seems to have its own personality and direction. Mine wanted to know some simple truths like “if someone doesn’t forgive you do you still go to heaven?” “Do they still go to heaven?” “How do you protect yourself from rumors?”…then “how old are you?” and then amazed, because for heaven’s sake working outdoors and so hard for so long…they look much older than their years. They wanted to know what I ate, what I put on my face, if I plowed the ground and did digging.
We had three afternoon sessions, two young girls came into sing for us. Friday the kids will come in to sing “Jesus loves me” and “I’ve got a river of life”.
I spent the lunch time, with ½ tube of hand cream, began walking around the room and putting a tiny bit on each hand that was offered. 200 women and probably 75 children wanted to try the “grease” and had never seen such a thing. I showed them how to rub it in and then came upon the last woman who looked to be nearly 80. I have no idea her age, really, but she was tiny and calloused and her eyes were weak, but bright. I just felt God leading, so I sat down on the bench beside her and slowly took one hand, and then the other, put cream in each one, and began to rub it in, massaging it into her palm and then each finger. It was a moment I won’t soon forget. We had no common words, just this gesture. She hung her head watching the whole time and when I was finished, she looked at me, smiled and nodded. When I got up to leave, I noticed that about 6 of them women close by had been watching and smiling. “Bless you” one of them said, and I pray that it was some tangible way for them to know that we are their servants and that they can be tender to one another. How God will use that image for them, I don’t know, maybe not at all, maybe it was just a gift for me. We try so hard to capture each scene on our cameras in order to bring every part of Uganda home with us, but I fear the best will have to remain images on our hearts instead.
Yesterday it sunk in for most of us that we are leaving soon. The only thing that makes it easier is that I leave here to visit my Ruth. One of the staff members got a map for me and I can see where I am going. Some of the rest of the group will be travelling North as I am traveling west and we will meet in Entebbe to fly home. I met a woman last night from Uganda and familiar with the Compassion projects, she has suggested I take Ruth a dress, shoes and some “panties”. I haven’t seen the latter here, and I think I will forego asking my Ugandan driver to help me find some ladies “panties”. Until tomorrow….
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