Not Knowing

There is a fullness by the end of the day after multiple meetings and listening to peoples’ stories.  Listening happens in the moment, but often the seeing comes later.  It’s the timely answer to prayers for wisdom and discernment when needed.  Until then, there may simply be a not knowing.

Not knowing what each day will hold . . . (Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”)

Monday – Crossing a bridge not knowing if it will hold up, privileged to drive a couple of hours to meet a long-time friend (a college student 12 years ago,  now a married man with 3 children and a demanding legal job), privileged to wait for about an hour of his time, and privileged to reconnect and encourage each other.  He was the one listening to a story that really began before the last September 2017 visit – a story full of gaps and unanswered questions about a  Bible school student who appears to have been forgotten in prison for 16 months, seemingly falsely accused of the murder of a man who owed him some money.  A few are looking for a way to help, believing he’s innocent, apparently set up by the victim’s family.  This old friend is willing to make time to meet with another legal friend who may be able to help.  There may be some unknowns to this story, some small possible evidence of possible guilt.  For now, there is a lot of listening and a not knowing . . .

Tuesday:  Arrived to the Association meeting, not knowing it was not an association meeting, but a very long, long, long meeting about how to evangelize.  There are some disadvantages to not knowing . . .

Wednesday:  Not knowing I was going to be asked to preach this Sunday, pictures taken of some pages from a commentary come in handy!  And, youth conference leaders are preparing to buy beans in bulk for food for the big youth conference in January.  Buying beans soon will cut costs because beans are cheaper in the Fall than in January.  Seeing the cost of not knowing the cycle of growing and harvesting beans.

Thursday:  Pastor Charles is training some of the leaders in the Association.  Teaching Bible study methods to men not knowing what to look for as they study is valuable to the local churches. They learned the importance of looking for repeated words, how to examine the verses that encapsulate the idea – verses before and after, to give a summary of the passage in their own words and to talk about the context prior to and after the passage.  Not knowing what Pastor Charles was doing, I was encouraged at the training and growth taking place.

Friday:  Often I awake to a sudden “seeing” of what I heard the day before.  This time it was the words of Pastor David explaining he was leaving early to attend to a burial for a young woman near his village – she left behind a 5-month old baby.  One of Pastor David’s daughters is trying to help care for the baby.  Not knowing what to feed the baby if there is no mother’s milk, she is offering porridge to the baby.  The baby is not doing well.  Now I know what to do – purchase formula and some bottles and do my best to explain how to use clean water (water that has been boiled), clean bottles, and how to measure and mix the formula to feed the baby.  I saw this bring health back to a baby’s life in a village a few years ago.

Today:  We plan to drive to Paidha.  Not knowing how long it will take to plant the peanuts in the field before we leave – the peanuts must be planted because of the timing of the rain.  It may be about 2:00 . . . about-ish, maybe, but sometime today . . . or evening.

Knowing God is faithful!  So thankful God always knows and His timing is always right.  So thankful He provides insight and wisdom and discernment when needed.

Planting and Firsts

Seeing Pastor Charles and some of the men he is discipling again is one of the highlights of the trip!  In arriving, there is a sense of urgency as they have been waiting for the rains – they are here now!  They  have come late, so the time for planting is NOW!  It’s a privilege to be able to work alongside them.  This time – planting onions (a first) – thousands of onions!  A good long day of working side-by-side provides rich opportunities for conversations and camaraderie.  Not to mention the first-hand experience and deeper connection to so many New Testament illustrations of fields, gardens, gardener, soil, plants, planting, seeds, growth, weeds, plows, yokes, harvesting, etc.  Bible passages come even more alive and active while working in the fields.






Two days later Pastors Charles and David were together for the drive to Kitgum, a town to the north, where we would all facilitate a couples’ marriage conference – a first for the church in Kitgum.    This time planting seeds of truth in hearts – the truth of God’s word.  Two of the topics requested were How to Love Each Other and Finances (doesn’t sound too different from home! 🙂 )

  1. How to love each other – allows for teaching about Christ’s love for and relationship with the church as an example for husbands and wives and their relationship with each other (Ephesians 5:1-33); and, as in a marriage, the church’s distant relationship with Christ can be a result of forsaking their first love for Him. (Revelation 2:4)
  2. How to manage finances – at the core, and before even beginning to discuss finances, must be honesty.  Without honesty and openness together, there is no unity.  Three of Jesus’ disciples, Matthew, Mark and Luke, quoted Jesus as saying that a house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:25, Mark 3:25 and Luke 11:17). (Much silence was noted in the group here).

There are so many cultural differences that at times it seems impossible to know where to start; but with God’s word, it is possible to quickly get to the heart of how He designed us through Christ to love  each other and live together.   What a privilege to see this first-hand!

As the conference came to a close, the rain began to fall and poured all the whole way back “home”.   Joyful thankfulness for the rain!

Many Miles Away

I didn’t really need “Find Friends” to tell me that Hal is 9,280 miles away, but I couldn’t resist testing the app!  🙂  So, how long does it take to travel 9,280 miles?

On Thursday morning at 7 am we left for the Sacramento Airport.  On Friday afternoon at 2:30 pm I received Hal’s call he had just arrived at the Red Chilli in Kampala – 31 1/2 hours drive and fly time combined.  No wonder being able to stretch out on a bed to get some sleep is so welcomed!

Thanks so much, friends, for the prayers.  All baggage arrived in tact, morning French press coffee helps with  alertness to study and prepare for talks, American dollars were all exchanged, and when the vehicle was picked up it was running well!  Off to a great start!

Prayers are appreciated for more travel.  Tonight at around 11 pm (9 am in Uganda), Hal will stop to pick up a case of Bibles and then start the 5 to 6-hour drive up north to Gulu.  We are grateful for each of you who are on this journey with us!