Sunday, September 26, 2010

what i really learned in uganda

This is my first "guest post".
It is from my daughter's blog; we live in all we seek
She was in Kampala during the World Cup bombings there and
has so insightfully tried to make sense of it all.

uganda [thoughts of faith + provision]

in the early part of the summer, i (amanda) had the great opportunity
to spend a month in kampala, the capital city of uganda.
i was there as part of my studies towards a masters degree in
international development from eastern university.

[my amazing cohort + our disaster relief professor, francois]

although i didn't have many chances to venture out from the classroom, what i did manage to see was a beautiful country, full of boisterous people ("you are most welcome to uganda" was a popular greeting), bright clothing, eager smiles & delicious coffee. it was quite a contrast to cambodia, where people tend to be a bit more reserved, shy smiles are the standard greeting & the temperature is 20 degrees F hotter!

but the trip will always be tied with sadness in my memory. while i was in kampala, a terrible suicide bombing attack took the lives of 74 people, including aid worker nate henn who worked with invisible children, a group working to end the use of child soldiers in uganda. i was within 1/2 mile of the bombing & heard the bombs go off, although i thought they were fireworks at the time - how strange to be so close to such violence & yet so unaffected.

the experience gave me a lot to think about.

firstly, i was really thankful to be with a group of christians. we spent the next morning praying for the situation together & it was a reminder to me that we really are supposed to be praying without ceasing (1 thes 5:17), together as the Church & that i don't do that enough.

it was also a reminder that Satan really does prowl around like a roaring lion seeking destruction (1 peter 5:8), which doesn't mean i should be fearful, just that i should probably pray a whole lot more.

& finally it was reminder of something that i think i have been learning throughout these last two years in Cambodia (& that has really broken a lot of my theological presuppositions)

-- God doesn't promise us earthly safety & security & sustenance --

He promises us His presence & He sends the church into the world to provide earthly & spiritual sustenance & to work for justice & the oppressed (isaiah 58:6-10 & matthew 25:34-40), but those are signs of His kingdom that is here, but that is also not yet here & the "not yet here" part means that babies in cambodia will die simply from lack of proper food & babies in canada will have complicated breathing problems & even that i could be watching the world cup & be killed by a bomb.

i know that seems like a simple lesson, but when i draw from my own life & experiences, i see a God who always blesses & provides & so its hard to line that up when it seems like God doesn't always do that for others. but I know that God is so much bigger than my own experiences of Him & that i am called to be joyful & grateful for what I have, without ever thinking that God has promised me anything that I have, apart from His presence in the middle of the muddyness & messiness of life & death.

because in the end, God doesn't protect anyone from death, but He does offer us life that is greater.

& (aside from qualitative research, cross cultural studies, micro-finance, disaster relief & advocacy)
that's what i really learned in uganda .


Christine said...

For as young as you are, you have the insight of a person with generations. I appreciate your writing ability but I love your soul! Hold onto your beliefs and pass them down to your children, just as your parents did. You will never foget this time in your life.
You have been in my prayers and will continue to be.

Mary, I'm in overwhelmed by how you and Jim have raised all of your children. Amanda is and will be a light where ever she goes. Thank you for having her as a guest.

Diana Ferguson said...

Great, Amanda!!! Such a blessing. Remember about my brother over there in Cambodia.

dee dee said...

What insite you have... thank you for sharing it with us today. I will pray for you as your mission field continues to expand.
Dee Dee

Crickit said...

This is a great post by Amanda. May God continue to use her as his vessel in this far away country.

Betsy Brock said...

thanks so much for hosting Amanda here! What a wonderful changing and so many good, insightful thoughts.

Just a little something from Judy said...

I just read through your latest posts and I really enjoyed each of them. This one from your daughter Amanda's heart was so inspiring and will leave my thinking about her and what she wrote for a long time. What a blessing she must be to you. Thank you for sharing posts through your beautiful blog.