Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Point of a Home

Home. So many people have different definitions for this word. Some that just make me laugh are...
A man's home is his castle
Home is where the heart is
A family makes a house a home

Now these are meaningful definitions, well maybe not the first one, but any way. The more I live out here the more I see the point of a home is fellowship. It is not about making a place were just a slect few enjoy its comforts. It is a place were doors are open, all are welcome, and where people feel the presence of the Lord. It is not a nice neat home with everything in its place. It is a place where the broken sit, the hurt find healing, and the weary know rest.

Countless beleviers see their home as "their space." The place their family finds rest and peace. But what if that is not the only thing a home should be use for?! I look at the scriptures and it clearly shows that Jesus used homes as one of the main places of ministry. He came for a meal or a place to rest His head but, so much more happened. People heard truth. He healed the sick. The broken were touch with the LOVE of their Father.

This concept, a home is a place of ministry, is something the Lord is teaching me. Out here people spend time together, they have meals together, and they come to check on you when you are sick. This all takes place in homes. It is a natural place people gather. It is a natural venue to speak truth to so many people around you.

Just look (a verbal look) at the complex I live in. There are four missionaries living in this building. Each of us have been called to a different role here in Uganda, but all of us use our home for ministry! My sweet neighbor across the hall has little ones from our neighborhood over all the time. They get to play, make cookies, and have her tell them how loved they are. Just today the little girls were in and out of her apartment. They were full of giggles and smiles. Daily these little girls help carry water, cook, clean, and look after their siblings. They love their times of just being kids in my neighbor's home and she loves having them over.

The couple that lives upstairs, open their home to any missionary traveling through Kampala. Just this last week they had someone stay with them because our AIM guesthouse was overbooked. They do this countless times a month. They care for the travelers, spend time getting to know them, and praying for them. Yes, the people coming through already know the King but they see their home as a place of ministry for traveling missionaries.

My door is always open! The Lord has touched my heart for missionaries coming and going and the ones that live right here in Kampala. This past week I had a missionary form South Sudan over for dinner. The couple upstairs came down and we all shared a meal. We prayed over our friend before he flew back up to South Sudan. Last month I had two sweet MKs over for a girl's sleep over! We had a blast! Watching movies, cooking, and doing nails. The other day a friend came over for coffee and to chat. She was thinking about a lot of things and it was a joy to sit with her and listen and then, pray with her. STer ladies are always in and out of my home. They come and enjoy a weekend away from ministry. They LOVE cooking and baking. The door is always open for them, and they know it.

I know this view of home and ministry was not there when I was in the States. God is teaching me, showing me, telling me through His word what a home is for. Daily I ask Him to show me more. I know there is so much more to learn. Daily I pray my home, the home He has blessed me with, would be use the way He wants it to be used.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What My Little Eyes Have Seen...

Oh, the things I seen living here in Africa. Yesterday was like most days for me office, getting things done in town, emails, office prayer times, emails, and so on. But, there was something unique about yesterday…allow me to explain.

The day before I got a package ship, which meant I needed to go down to the post office. So I was up and out of my flat by 8am the next morning heading to town. As I was walking down the road to the boda stage and I was praying one of my boda friends was at the stage. When going to town I prefer to have the same guy take me and bring me home. While walking I could see a few guys at the stage, normally they race up the hill and meet me, but not this morning. So I kept walking and then I was greeted by a man’s voice behind me. He said, “Eh, we go?” I turned around and it was my boda friend! He had been driving back to the stage from the other side. With a smile I greeted him in Luganda and we were off. We chatted a bit heading into town. Talking to the guys is my daily 411. They know so much about what is going on in town and all over. They also help me with my Lugandan vocabulary and Ugandan cultural questions!

Once we got into town we waved in and out of traffic to the post office. We got here and he waited for me across the street for me. Now, getting a package is a big deal! The package slip will tell you if you need to get it at the upper office or lower office, this one said it was in the upper office. Most people hate the upper office. You have to pay more to get your package and the customs guys have to look through the box. If the objects in the box are more than $50 (stated on the customs form the sender fills out) you have to pay taxes on it. But….I have made friends in the upper office. They greet me and I greet them! So it never feels like a task going to see them in the office. So, I paid for my box and was told to have the customs guy look it over, just like always. But, as he pointed to the customs counter his face looked confused. There was NO one there. I asked when they normally come in. He looked at the clock and said “by now.” At this time it was 8:30am. I said I would wait for them. What else could I do? I could not take the box home without them looking at it and I did not want to give the box back and come later. So I waited and I waited. Then I waited some more! An hour passed and I went and chatted with my friend. Asking when they would come. I told them I had a meeting to get to on the other side of town. They assured me someone was coming. Welcome to Africa I told myself. No hurry. So I waited some more. Finally the boss came. He saw no one at the customs counter…..lets just say he was MAD. He told me he is calling them. My Luganda is not that good but I knew he was not happy and they were going to have a hard time when they got in by what he said and his tone. The person did come and quickly looked over my box, as the bossed looked on, and let me go. As I walked out I laughed. I was over an hour late for my meeting, my boda guy was waiting for me, and I still had to get out of town (there is always a lot of traffic in Kampala)!

Once I got to the street and hopped on the boda I told whole story to my friend. He was laughing. “Well, you know” is all he could give as an explanation. I too laughed and replied with “Yeah, I know.” We were close to the end of the city and closer to being home. Soon after a round a bout I saw a boda that looked like there was blood on it. I told myself no, there is no way it was. Well the closer we got the more I was sure it was. As I looked at it I saw a cow head. Just the head! Then as we passed the bloody boda I was saw it was a whole cow in a bag with the head on top! You cannot get more African than this I thought! The guy was propably taking it to his shop to sell. Meat out here is call neyoma. I pointed and told my driver “neyoma” and he laughed and said, “YES!”

Town was unusual that morning so when I got back to the office and thought it was going to be a little more normal….I should have known nothing is normal out here! In the afternoon I walked over to the AIM Inn on the same compound as the office and saw a puppy sitting there. I took a second look. It was the same one I saw the morning before while driving to the office. He was so small and was going to be knocked (hit) by a boda. I kept driving because I told myself I could not stop for every animal I saw….I would never get where I was going if I did. Well, some how this little guy found his way up the hill and on to our AIM compound. The Innkeepers were talking about what to do with him when the cook, a lovely Ugandan lady, said she would take it. She had a dog put it was killed. She then took it and gave it a bath. One bath was not enough. This little guy was covered in bugs and dirt! I watched. She so lovely heated the water, rubbed him, and set him in the sun.

Now, I know God has called me to do “missions work” out here. But every now and then it is a joy to just LIVE a day out here. Truly just live a day where you see, hear, and do things just like your neighbors. That is what yesterday was for me.