When Africa Pierced My Heart (Part 5)

First, for those who followed the previous entries – my apologies.  This final post was supposed to be published months ago, but it was saved instead of published.  Oops.  Here is the post…

2017-05-02 12.43.18While I was in Uganda, I had the blessing and opportunity to spend one day ministering in several mountain villages (like Arapi, Gabari, Duku, and Oyo).  What an incredible blessing!

Getting to them was a challenge though.  We piled into the Land Cruiser and headed off – down “roads” that would challenge the toughest vehicles.  But as Jacob wisely stated, “There are people who need to hear about Jesus.  Let’s go!”

We drove as far as we could – to the first village – and then got out and hiked into the jungle to the other villages.  We parked next to the structure used as a church building (more on that in a minute), hiked quite a ways, and then worked our way back – stopping in each village.

2017-05-02 15.12.56In each village we had the opportunity to share testimonies, encourage the new Christians in their faith, and give clothing, medicine, and other supplies.  I had the joy of bringing a LOT of clothes made by our Hemmed in Prayer group at First Baptist Church, Pascagoula.  They have made and distributed thousands and thousands of dresses and other clothing around the world as a mission and to aid missions.  And the gratitude expressed was unforgettable and heart-wrenching.

After 95 miles or so of hiking (OK, it might have been less – but it didn’t feel like it), we made it back to the first stop.  When we had arrived earlier in the day, there were some people already inside the church structure worshiping – basically it was posts with tarps.  But when we got back, the place was packed – and they were worshiping God.  No, really – they were worshiping God with ALL their heart.  It was amazing.

2017-05-02 16.02.03I was blessed to have the opportunity to preach before these wonderful brothers and sisters on being salt and light.  They were eager, receptive, and so kind.  And though a major storm was creeping up on us, no one wanted to leave.  The joy was palpable.

And their hospitality was matchless.  Though we saw (what we would call) poverty everywhere, these wonderful friends sacrificed to provide a feast for us.  They had rice, cabbage, roots, goat, and more – wonderfully prepared and even more wonderfully shared.  It broke my heart to see what they gave for us.

It pierced my heart.

When I think about that day in particular – the traveling until we could drive no further – and the hiking until we could go no more – Acts 1:8 came to my mind.  To me this was the ends of the world.

But it is in the center of God’s heart.

I am back home now, but my outlook is not the same.  I look around me, and my heart breaks.  We American Christians (in particular) are SO concerned about what we want – what we have – what others can do for us.  But I had the opportunity to be with many who had SO little in comparison – while having SO much.  The kindness, compassion, giving, openness that I experienced was incredible.  And I pray I can go again to do something more.

What about you?

When you look at your own life, what are you doing for Christ?  What have you really given up for Him?  What are you willing to do to share His hope – at home and to the ends of the world?

What pierces your heart?

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