It's 6:37 am and the sounds of dogs barking, roosters crowing, and exotic birds making their uniquely native sounds, fill the air. People are already beginning their commute to work, many on foot, and the sounds of their feet shuffling down the road have awakened these animals from their slumber.
When we arrived on Wednesday, Anna was at the compound waiting for us and helped to open the large iron gate that protects the Stevenson's residence. It was so good to be able to wrap her up in our arms and give her a long hug. Unfortunately, however, she informed us that my maternal Grandmother died the day before while we were flying to Ethiopia.
My grandmother was a beautiful woman, kind and loving in so many ways. There was one relationship that she and my grandfather had that stands out as I reflect on their lives. Nancy and Leroy were talked about often, and if you didn't know them, you would assume that by the way my grandparents talked about them that it was a typical example of friendship between four people. iIt wasn't unusual for my grandparents to either go to their home for an evening of cards or for all of them to go out to eat at the American Legion or some other place.
I don't remember exactly, but I think it was a car accident that changed Nancy and Leroy's future, causing them to live their remaining years wheelchair bound. Grandma and Grandpa took it upon themselves to help them in a variety of ways with physical activities that they could no longer do. They would take them to doctors appointments, the grocery store, but did so without ever making Nancy and Leroy feel like objects of charity. They were friends in the true meaning of the word. When it became more of a challenge to meet them at the point of their need, Grandma and Grandpa didn't back away, but continued as friends as if nothing had changed in their relationship.
I remember the times that I was around Nancy and Leroy, and in spite of their obvious handicaps, they clearly enjoyed life. I would like to think that this was due, at least in part, to the gracious way that my grandparents served them as friends.
As we serve in a village just outside of Kampala for the next 2 days and then again next week, I would ask you to pray that we can serve people who have great need, with a grace and humility that demonstrates the genuine nature of the love of Jesus Christ. I don't want these precious souls to feel like "objects of charity" but rather to know that we love them regardless of any differences that exist. I would also ask that you pray that their infectious joy for life would rub off on us.
It's easy to slip into a prideful way of thinking here in Africa when we sit before a plateful of food that doesn't inspire us, or as we work out the lingering effects of jet lag. We can so quickly be deceived into thinking that we are making great sacrifices when we don't have the conveniences of home, like a toilet seat or a shower whenever we want to take one.
Help us Holy Spirit to remember that it is in your power, not anything that we have done, which enables us to experience any measure of success. As we desire to help people see with their eyes as well as with the eyes of their hearts, remind us of who we are in light of who You are, and also Whose we are as we go out today in the name of Jesus, and the power of The Holy Spirit. Give us grace and peace and joy so that people will like what they see, and, as a result listen to what we say about you God. May you receive all glory and honor and praise!
Blessings, P. Roy