I am living and working in Uganda with Amazima Ministries, but my eyes are set on eternity.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Texas Hold'em Missionary Style

I’ve been here a while now and am getting the hang of things. I no longer need to be babysat, which is nice. I can get from here to there and am starting to feel comfortable. I will hopefully get my own place tomorrow which means furniture and actually feeling like I can unpack. I’m excited.

I ended up with eight boys in the program. To be honest that is fine with me. As any teacher knows, the smaller the class the easier to teach and make sure all students are progressing and learning the material. Originally I thought I was going to end up with twenty. It ended up being much smaller because we have restrictions on who can join. To be in the program they cannot be in school, must be 15-25 yrs old, speak English, and have some basic math skills.

The eight that I ended up with are amazing. I’m an idiot for doubting whether God would provide me with a group of boys that I can handle. There doesn’t seem to be a bad one in the bunch. I have started teaching from 10 till 12:30 each day. It doesn’t seem like much, but as a teacher I have only had to make 1 hour lesson plans that I can repeat. As we progress I assume that I will start extending the time and especially once we start building we will have longer days. Right now I’m getting a feel for their ability and knowledge. So far we have been practicing our measuring and math skills as well as some problem solving. I am excited to see how they are opening up. Throughout the entire process I hope to teach them to be men of God. I honestly don’t know their spiritual status, but I hope that I will be able to impact them in an eternal way. Please pray for me. Being a real man of God can be difficult in Uganda, just as it is in the States, but for different reasons.

One of the weirdest adaptations I’m making is that I am most valuable for my knowledge and not for my work ethic. Dad has done an amazing job in teaching me how to work. If there is one thing I have relied on most of my life, it is that I will outwork the other guy. It is a bit different here. Generally speaking I am wasting my time if I try to do manual labor. There are thousands of Ugandans that are able to do the same grunt work (often times better). So if I flew here to dig some holes I wasted a trip.

Aid and development projects are so different than I ever imagined. They do not need handouts or people to come here to hold babies or build structures. There is an insane unemployment rate here, which means there are tons of people just waiting around to get paid to do any of these things. From my limited time here, it seems that the best organizations are the ones that use locals to accomplish their goals. Obviously, I’m not an expert on any of this, but I am praying that more of the international community (including myself) will better understand the situation and provide educated support that will make lasting changes for the people.

Katie's kids and their monkey

Katie's children have been such a blessing to me. Although, at first I am kind of standoffish, I am deep down a really social being. It has been nice knowing that just a short walk away there are 13 children excited to see me. I have yet to meet their mother, but I know their Father and it is apparent that they are loved immensely by the joy and kindness they exude. Man, I love big families. Growing up I always loved my uncle Paul’s family. The diversity of personalities and how each individual brings different characteristics and blessings to the family as a whole is awesome. If I had the time I would love to describe how each of Katie’s kids has made me laugh or brightened my day. Since I do not, I will just say that they are all awesome. I sat here thinking about the previous sentence for about 10 minutes trying to decide how to sum them up. It can’t be done. So you are left with just the word awesome. Sorry.

Hope you all are doing well. I am praying for you all. Getting away from America’s distractions has allowed me more time with God which means that he is hearing more and more about each of you. I hope you don’t mind.

I forgot a couple of other things. I got roasted on Saturday at the program. I somehow was assigned to dish out rice to the three to four hundred kids and happened to not be in the shade. It was great fun, but I ended up with the ultimate farmer’s tan sunburn. I need to get used to the sun sometime, I guess.

I also won 14,000 shillings in the local missionary Texas Hold‘em game. Hah. Seriously. On Saturday night four local missionaries, Tyler, and myself got together to play some cards. It was lots of fun and good fellowship (I can’t believe I just used the word fellowship). Unfortunately 2,000 shillings = 1 dollar so I only won 7 dollars, but hey, I felt it was a good first showing.

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