I didn’t realize that this was the plan, but we went on another Safari today.
This time it was by bus instead of boat, so we saw more land animals (lions, warthogs, kob [Ugandan antelope], buffalo, and even cows). It was fun and it was pretty exciting (Bill and I got in trouble for going towards a tree to get a better picture [when we stopped to let people go to the bathroom] because there was a buffalo somewhat near the tree and they are aggressive).
Near the end of seeing the animals (right as we got to the designated area to get out), my camera died. I was a little frustrated because there was an acacia tree that I could finally walk up to and get a good picture…which I might have since my camera died right after taking the picture, but I’m not sure. However, because of what happened next, I was glad it did.
They then took us to a small village at the end of the path used for the safari.
Graham made a point of reminding us to make our time there, brief as it may be, about the people, not about photo ops. I really appreciated this, agreed, and left my camera in the bus since it was dead anyway.
However, once we were done spending the time with them and got back on the bus, one of the older children (probably under 7) showed up with a box of a cookie/cracker type product labeled “Digestives.” I’m not sure where they came from (perhaps one of the other busses of people that was there), but soon after he showed up, he was surrounded and kids did all they could to get their hands on these (which resulted on a good amount falling to the ground).
Because of this chaos, a man in the town had to step in and grab the box so that he could distribute them more effectively. When I looked out the back window and saw him trying to do this (in great difficulty, as the children’s appearance and reaction to the seemingly unattractive food portrayed extreme poverty [as did the houses made of sticks, mud and scrap metal]), my first though was, “I wish my camera wasn’t dead so I could take a picture of this.”
“…I wish I could take a picture of this.”
Not these people, not the pain and suffering that my friends that I have gotten to know are going through, but this: the pitiful image that was before me.
Am I that great that I have cause to pity others because they are hungry? Am I that great that I have cause to judge their desperation because I have never known it regarding food or possessions?
Who am I that I might pity or judge?
Not to mention, as I’ve been reading about fasting for the lesson I will teach on Thursday, I have learned that many times that we think we are “hungry” it is simply because we eat so much that our stomachs are like spoiled children and ask for much more than they really need. I can’t even slightly imagine their state of hunger.
After realizing this, I asked God for forgiveness as I had just prayed for the team the night before that we would not pity anyone we encounter, but instead that we would see them as God sees them and love them. Eloquent prayers mean nothing if actions contradict.
Later on, we made our way to ABIDE. We met all the guys, got to see an awesome skit, and then our team left.
Almost immediately after they left, we were taken to our hotel to settle in and then we headed to (one of the) Daniel’s home that we might go door-to-door and evangelize.
This was something new to me as we mainly see Jehovah’s witnesses doing this in the United States.
However, I saw the reason. I saw Jesus speak to the people that we encountered through the timing as well as through the students that I was with.
I found that despite all my “training” and education, in the moment, if I’m not “prepared,” I can be incredibly lacking in tact.
I think it’s actually that I was trying to depend on myself instead of the Holy Spirit as if I could actually change someone’s allegiance from the world to Christ all on my own.
I am incredibly glad to be able to be on this trip and to be able to see all that God is doing in and through this ministry and I pray that God will be able to use me and to move in me as I have seen Him work in and through these students.
Pray for our safety, our heath, and our hearts as we spend the week here as three students staying in a hotel near ABIDE in Uganda.
We are blessed.