No pity. Only Joy, Worship, Hard Work, Celebration, and QuestionsRich Stigall
by Trace Thurlby from Uganda
This morning, we made the 20-mile drive to Rukore (recently featured in our e-mail series “The Birth of a Village”). The last four miles were uphill taking us to an elevation 8,000 feet. Drums welcomed us and let the community know a church service was about to start. (You can listen on the video below to see how they compare to church bells.)
The drums attracted a lame man crawling to church using brick hand braces and knee pads. Late to our first meeting, I moved past and walked the 100 yards downhill on a narrow, winding path through brush. Later, as we prayed over the future site of the Rukore children’s village, I saw the man again. Scott Kice noticed him as well.
We talked briefly about the difficulty of a life crawling around the hills in Southern Uganda. I thought of Jesus healing the lame man, and as I stooped to introduce myself, I longed for this man’s physical healing.
The man’s name was Phillip. As I looked into his eyes I saw no request for pity; only joy (see pic) that most people long for. Phillip is an active member of the Church of Uganda, Rukore. He sings in the choir and is looking forward to supporting the new work of caring for orphaned and abandoned children. His joy in such difficulty stumps the temporal world and encourages me to look at how I face my challenges. Am I willing to crawl hand and knee on mountains to be part of what God is doing, or when things are difficult do I throw a personal pity party and sit on the sidelines? How about you? Who needs healing again?
Phillip and I joined the others in church for worship. How beautiful that was, and our day was only getting started!
The welcome we received in Kabale can only be described as surreal! A parade, a drum line salute, ribbon-cutting, tree-planting, African dancing, song, and speeches filled the next four hours (see video below of African dance). Of course, we had reason to celebrate! Our partners have worked so hard, and one can’t help but smile and sense the Holy Spirit when walking the children’s village and surrounding school grounds. The Father’s House in Kabale reminds me of Churchill’s description of Uganda as “the pearl of Africa.”
We received many thanks on behalf of those of you who have given to make The Father’s House Kabale a real family. We’re also grateful to you, as well as being grateful to God who takes what we give and multiplies as only He can! Still, I found myself overwhelmed by the love flowing from our church partners and the children they care for…I can’t help but wonder: where do they get this amazing gift of hospitality and why don’t I/we have more of it in America?
My heart is full as I review the day: Phillip’s joy, worship at Rukore, hard work, and celebration at Kabale. We can learn from our friends…and in other areas, hopefully, they from us. Maybe this is how God intended it…part of His plan to bring His people together? More tomorrow…