I must say I was not looking forward to another long drive. But I was looking forward to getting home and seeing my family more. So Ben and I started for Kampala at 6:15am Kigali time. We got home at 7:15pm Kampala time. But you should know by now, I know I certainly do, that Kampala is 1 hour ahead of Kigali. So we spent 13 hours of clock time minus 1 hour of time zone difference on the road. For the mathematically challenged, that is 12 hours of driving.
Ben and I saw lots of grass and trees. It really is beautiful but also very sparsely populated. But this means you get to see 3 monkeys like we did. No, Ben and I were not 2 of the monkeys. We had a border crossing, stopped at a museum for a short break and enjoyed the wonderful vistas, and even stopped at the equator for a break. It was a long and grueling trip, but WE MADE IT HOME. Praise God! We enjoyed our trip and were blessed by what God is doing in Rwanda.
Of course there are pictures below. Be sure to check out the last picture.
I give a thumbs up to that view!
I told you the vistas were wonderful. God knows what He is doing.
On my second Saturday in Uganda, I was going to ride the boda-boda (or simply boda) into Kampala to do some shopping. Bodas are motorcycles that gives a person (or a person & a TV, a person & a chicken, or up to 5 people) a ride to the destination of choice. They work like a lot like taxis.
Being unfamiliar with how to get around, a Ugandan friend was coming to meet me and help me navigate the system. We were going to meet at the boda stand and ride one into town. Getting there first, I had some time to waste. So I sat down on a bench with some Ugandans. I immediately tried the two phrases I knew in Luganda. Laughter ensued. My Lugandan was not polished. Well, it still isn’t but now I have more phrases that are unpolished.
Fortunately, the guy closest to me spoke English and so we chatted. He asked me how long I had been in Uganda and if I liked Uganda. I told him that I love Uganda and have only been here for one week.
As we talked he inquired as to why I was in Uganda. Now I could give the extended version but time and language barriers prevented this. So I told him I was there to proclaim the gospel. It was at this point I volunteered that the good news about Christ coming to die for our sins and offer forgiveness to those who would believe in Him was worth sharing.
That was it. We eventually got to introductions and I found out his name was Sula (this is my best guess at spelling what I heard). I asked him where he went to church. Turns out that Sula is Muslim. I thought I was talking to a Christian all along. But my quick and inserted mention of Christ and His victory switched from teaching/encouraging to evangelism in my mind.
I had prayed for opportunities to share the gospel in my time leading up to coming to Uganda. I expected sermons or intentional times of outreach to be those opportunities. But God is much more savvy than me. He provided an opportunity in an unlikely way. Here I was with time to waste. Turns out the Lord can turn my wasted time into invested time. Pray the Lord would convert Sula. Also pray that He would enable me to continue to be bold in investing time in the gospel.
When I was in 7th grade I was asked my favorite song for a class project. While some were saying “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice I was saying “Amazing Grace.” Now mind you I wasn’t very spiritually inclined. After hearing others’ answers I wanted mine to be “Ice Ice Baby.”
Now that I am more spiritually inclined, “Amazing Grace” is still my favorite hymn and song. It is simply beautiful. The music, lyrics, and memories all move me. I want the song played at my funeral. But please play the John Newton old school version. I do not care for free chains or other choruses added into it. I can handle them but I want the plain jane version. It was the plain version that was played as my bride walked down the aisle on our wedding day. Needless to say this song has some significance for me.
Why are we discussing my favorite song? Today was my first Sunday in Uganda and we spent it at Zana Community Presbyterian Church in Kampala. Believe it or not, the first song of the worship service today was “Amazing Grace.” About a verse in and I look at Brooke and she has teared up. I was moved by this. It was God’s reminder of His amazing grace.
Looking back on all that transpired in order for us to get to Uganda shows God’s grace at work. Raising support – God’s grace; Having our second child – God’s grace; Getting ordained – God’s grace; Having needs met after quitting job – God’s grace; getting to Uganda with all our bags – God’s grace. His grace has sustained us and enabled us to take this bold step for Him.
I know God’s grace has gotten me thus far. Now my flesh wants to take over and do the rest from here. But this would be disastrous. Perhaps the song itself is a good reminder for me:
“T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far… and Grace will lead us home.”
I need God’s grace every second of every day. It is free and available. It flows like a sprinkler on a desert lawn. I often reject it and try my own way. It takes His grace to overcome my rejection. I am thankful He gives His amazing grace to unamazing people like me. And I am so glad He took spoke this gentle reminder to me today that the amazing grace that has gotten me here will be the same thing that will carry me on.