Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Life is about the "Snails"

At 5:00am this morning I woke to sounds that I thought was the beginning of World War III. I quickly sat up in bed, not fully awake, hoping the attacks weren’t near us, when I soon realized it was merely thunder. Not just your average thunder though, but real African thunder. There is a serious difference in American and African thunder. This thunder here shakes the earth, knocks out the power, and extremely frightens peacefully sleeping Americans…. I mean… I was fine…. It didn’t faze me… But I bet Jay was terrified. Yea…

The saying, "When it rains, it pours" could not be more true here. It literally pours. I have a new definition of pouring now due the monsoon like rain that swung through Uganda today. I think I even saw a few cats and dogs falling from the sky. It is as if it hasn’t rained in decades and the cloud's seams finally burst from the pressure of years of stored water. But it rains like this often during this time of year. “Rainy season”. Since it feels like a sauna here year round, Uganda doesn’t have our typical Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. It is Wet, and it is Dry, and it is always hot. Two seasons. Right now, it is clearly Wet. On the way back to our apartment Patrick maneuvered his Camry through muddy rivers that used to be streets. Once, I honestly thought we wouldn’t make it out of the lake we drove into. I could feel the moving rocks through the floorboard. That is no exaggeration; we could honestly feel the dirt road scraping the bottom of the car. Jay and I exchanged nervous glances and eventually exhaled when we made it out. Just with another new experience to add to the growing list.

I have found many things to be different here. Everything is very good, but very different. While walking through the “Super Supermarket” (that is really the name… clever), there are not many brands or packages that I recognize. I am longer conditioned to the pictures on the packages to know what to buy. I now have to read the labels. Vegetable oil, peanut butter, cereal, and even ice cream all have unfamiliar names and labels. I have recognized two labels so far. One was Betty Crocker Cake Mix. Which by the way, Jay and I successfully made the first cake of our lives today for Patrick’s birthday. It was actually pretty good, and they all had positive things to say about American cake. The other label I recognized is Axe deodorant, but judging by my surroundings… I think we may be the only customers.

Jay and I also determined that there is no “5 second rule” in Africa. This conversation came up while walking to church Sunday morning. Jay’s recently peeled banana fell to its death into the Ugandan dirt. I found it much funnier than he did at the time. I quickly joked, “That’s still good. Five second rule man!”. But after examining the dirt and other unknown objects clinging to it, he decided it was not the best idea. So now, the new African food falling rule is, “catch it on the bounce” and it’s still good.

We are heading back to the Mercy Home tomorrow to go visit the children and bring them food. Again, thank you to everyone that is helping support us and making this possible. Every time we go it is another incredible experience. God always moves through these children, who have literally nothing but love God in the purest form. Inspiring and heartbreaking are words that don’t even do justice. We are hoping to do more and more as time goes on, and discern what is God’s next step. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. I will post more pictures and videos soon.

God has revealed so many things to me while only being here about 12 days now. Mainly it is to appreciate and invest in our relationships. Life is not about what we worry so much over. It is not about our jobs, salaries, the next promotion, or the next wanted possession on our list. It is no longer about climbing the ladder of success. Life is about the people we share this short time on Earth with, and how we use the blessings we have been blessed with. The other day, Patrick and I were deep in a work project in the middle of the day. His four year old daughter, Martha, ran up to us and shouted in her British sounding English, “Daddy! Allen! Come see the snails I found!” I glanced at Patrick almost expecting an irritated expression and time with Martha be pushed off. But it was different. He smiled. We stopped, put our work project on pause, and walked to admire the three snails Martha found in the driveway. We so often miss the sweet moments of life when we are so entangled in our frivolous worries. Scripture tells us do not worry, God will provide, as long as you seek His Kingdom. I have now experienced God’s provision. God is faithful. He always has been, He is today, and He always will be as long as I trust in Him. Overall, Life is about Loving God, and Loving others. Sounds familiar hopefully. It hasn’t taken me long to realize that while being here. Life is too short to miss those moments and not follow the perfect plan God has laid out for us. We are not promised tomorrow.

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