As I lay here on the verge of sleep I can hear the edge of Kampala begin to wake up. Dogs muffled barks are in the distance as African crickets begin to fill the night with music. The night here contains some peace that I know nowhere else, besides possibly Smith Lake. But for some reason there is stillness to the night. Time slows down.
Anyways, the past few weeks have had a strange element of time attached to them. One moment the days seem to creep by, and then the next they have flown so fast I am losing track of the weeks.
Just last week Sozo got a little younger. Vanessa is the newest member to the Sozo family and she just turned four years old. She is Vivian and Victoria’s little sister (who are in house 1) and a few of us drove out deep in the village to get her. Daudi knew the situation was bad. Not long ago, their mother had another baby who was two months old. The baby girl was left outside and was later found dead covered with thousands of ants. I know that is a disturbing image, but it is the truth that I can’t tear my mind away from. The grandmother begged us to take Vanessa because she knew that Vanessa’s mother could not care for her. Now we have Vanessa, who is extremely sweet. The maternal side of all the girls is emerging as they care for her. Night number one her sister Victoria read her stories as she fell asleep in her new home.
Childlike faith is something I pray for often and feel like I seldom grasp. Even though I rarely see it in myself, this week I have seen it. He would probably hate me sharing this story but since I am pretty sure he won’t be accessing my blog anytime soon AND it brings glory to God, I am going to share it;
The other night Esau, the oldest Sozo boy in house 1, came to me as I was spooning rice and beans onto my dinner plate and he invited me to eat with him and a few of the boys. Greatly accepting the invitation, I walked outside and sat on the concrete with my back against the outdoor kitchen. We ate in silence. Next to me was a boiling pot of an unknown concoction. The smell was truly one of the worst. In Uganda you don’t just find dog food at the convenience store… instead they put all the leftover food and spare bones, add some dead minnows, and boil it to feed the dogs. I could barely eat my rice and beans because every bite I took somehow tasted like the boiling bones and fish. Esau noticed my face and moved it. Good man. Anyways, we began to talk a little about our favorite things in life and they began to quote their favorite Bible verses. The other boys walked off to do the dishes and Esau and I sat with each other just us two for the first time in a while. He looked at me with genuine eyes and began to speak words that simultaneously broke my heart and filled it with joy.
In his broken Ugandan English he said, “Every time… I remember the days we were at Mercy Home… I know how great God is.” His unprovoked words struck me in a way I didn’t expect. Instead of digging for more I remained silent and let him say words it sounded like he had held in for a long time. “When I was there my mind didn’t work properly… but now I am in Sozo my mind works properly and now… I know God.” I can’t describe what I felt but I could tell his heart was pouring through his words. He continued, ”I know others that don’t know Him… and I promise… I will tell them.”
I have never had children, but for that moment I could understand a father’s proud moment of a child that finally understands who God is.
Did you know that in the entire gospel of John, John’s name is never mentioned? Whenever a story arises that involves John he does not refer to himself as himself, he merely states a fact he knows, “the one Jesus loves.” That strikes some as arrogant, but it strikes me as great humility. I don’t believe John is trying to elevate himself over the other disciples by saying he is loved most, but I think he is attempting to practice Jesus’ display of humility by writing for the sake of Jesus and not the name of John. I pray for that purity in heart mixed with Esau’s childlike faith.
I hold a firm belief that as soon as I fully truly surrender to Christ, God has been penning the pages of my life scripting an incredibly divine story of many miracles pointing to His greatness. I know He knows that His amount of writing sometimes overwhelms me. Usually, when a new chapter opens the preceding one closes. Somehow that doesn’t seem to be happening. Open doors after open doors grow the plate of excitement and responsibility. It seems as if God is writing a dialogue of many separate stories that will one day come into beautiful harmony. I see the pieces slowly coming together. Many individuals, visions, a school, land, and story after story with miraculous twists and turns. Only God could orchestrate this all. The symphony is building and every small piece has to play a part. I often try to figure it out and end up with a headache no further down the road than where I started. I’m again humbled at how small I am and how little I understand. I guess that is where trust comes in that this Book keeps talking about.
Today is the two-year mark from the bombing we experienced in Kampala that claimed many lives. I remember back and am thankful for the night that God spared my life. For what reason… I still don’t know, but what I do know is that my work is not yet finished. The last pages in my life are still unwritten, and every breath I take is for a reason. Due to that traumatic experience, I have seen the fragility of life and I will now live every breath as if it truly has purpose, not merely consuming air.
To read the blog post I wrote two years ago, click here - July 11 Kampala Bombing