The shadow of the banana tree leaves dancing on the courtyard wall, the guitar chords strummed softly in the house, the birds of different colors chiming in with the sound. The sun’s long afternoon rays lazily alighting the tile floors, the brush scrubbing rhythmically the mud away from their whiteness, the water dripping off the banisters, the smell of soap as an African man lays into his work.
I feel a sense of belonging finally. And freedom. I have missed that feeling like I used to feel on nights in Colorado in the middle of fields and sweet-sticky hay barns, a drum circle, and a kind of closeness to God and the earth I could abandon myself to. Isn’t that what we want? To feel alive? I wonder how often we feel it.
A woman strewn on the street with twin babies. Maybe drugged, maybe drunk. Someone had to tap her hand for me to press the shillings into her palm. Their baby faces scrunched in tears and their feet covered with sores. Maybe AIDS, maybe just neglect. I couldn’t talk to her, couldn’t tell her to move her limp body out of harm’s way. I wanted to take those children and put them somewhere safe. Maybe she came from the North, maybe these were the offspring of her enemy. Maybe that’s why she didn’t look at them as they cried. What can we do when there are so many we fail to save? My eyes unfocused with tears on the muddy street in Kampala, the people pushing me, the puddles flicking dirt onto my calves. The overwhelming need. Jesus must have felt it, must have seen the eyes full of demands, or worse—empty.
I think of how Jesus began his ministry. He went to the desert for forty days, alone. I think of the way Jesus used to wander solitary into the wilderness. When the crowds pushed into him too hard, when I imagine he wondered if he was really making a difference, the overwhelmingness of need threatened his spirit, he sought the shoulder of a mountain for refuge. Sought relief of the burden. Can we share in it? Can we leave the confines of church walls and see that we are but a few mis-steps away from homelessness. If we are not called to them—the forsaken of this world, then who are we called to? Jesus came to heal the sick, not to those who had no need of a doctor. There are so many good thing to give ourselves to, but what has God asked of us? That is the question.
We cannot know if we cannot hear. I’ve come to a time when there are so many things I could do, and yet knowing the thing to give myself to is much harder. There is a brokenness that takes place before a building. And building, time.
There is an African man I met. His name is Edgar. And he said he had a word from God for me. It’s not every day someone comes up to me and tells me that, so when they do, I take it fairly serious. That may sound kind of hokey to some, but when you feel your insides leap in response to what someone has said, you know its confirmation of a thing you already knew. He said I was the next. That sounds incredibly vague. But I understood it. Understood that I am next in line for some things God wants to do in Africa, in Uganda. He said a lot of other stuff too about the anointing on my life, which was pretty cool. And all of a sudden, it came to me, what my next steps were. I’m going to Jinja, which is the source of the Nile and I’m going to find the source of my life and to seek out the truth of my future. Because to work without peace, or to travel without fulfillment, isn’t what I came here for. Isn’t why Jesus came.
“You O mountains of Israel shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel for they will soon come home. For behold I am for you and I will turn to you and you shall be tilled and sown. I will multiply people on you, the whole house of Israel, all of it. And I will cause you to be inhabited as in former times and will do more good to you than ever before.” Ezekiel 36:7
And just for fun J
Things I’ve learned in Uganda:
If the driver’s don’t kill you the pollution will
Beware of hawks who like to build nests with white people’s hair
Mosquitos are racist—they only like mzungu skin
Using a lantern like Laura Ingalls Wilder is only romantic for the first day
Bring a lot of underwear because its not as easy as it looks to wash it all yourself
I really hate mosquitos, I mean want them to die. All of them. I’ll never get over the sound of buzzing in my ear. I’ve declared war on them. Literally, I just killed one.
Africans have never heard of watches
Apparently my parent’s dial-up connection at home is new-wave technology compared to here