Friday, October 11, 2013

"Hurry Up and Wait!"

Family and friends of SHIM - waiting for something...

Sometimes life in Uganda forces you to wait...

A computer repair that should take less than a week extends into a month.

The "high-speed" Internet results in a 20-minute song download or no download at all.

Someone tells you they'll meet you in half an hour and an hour ticks by.

Church starts when enough people show up.

The random power outages postpone the Skype chat you were so looking forward to.

The mud and potholes slow down the journey by car or by motorcycle or even when walking.

You can rush to the lake shore to ensure you don't miss the boat and wait...for up to an hour before you see it.

It rains...this almost inevitably interrupts or derails any plans.

People here walk slower, talk slower, eat slower, plan slower, and often work slower. Let's just say, there is generally a slower pace here. ;)

One of my favorite phrases here is "Hurry up and wait" - often said sarcastically. ;)

Today I had to wait...and I wasn't happy about it. After retrieving my computer yesterday, with its new hard drive, I have been attempting to start, reload and download the programs I need. The "high speed" Internet was less than swift and resulted in high blood pressure and eventual resignation as dusk began to fall. I trudged home from the Internet cafe, pondering what God might be attempting to teach me with these frustrations.

I am trying to do good things here, so why do I seem to hit these potholes? Perhaps God sees I am greatly lacking in patience? Or I need to work on persistence?

Sunsets are always worth waiting for. :)

I think, however, something deeper is happening - a richer lesson that God wants me to grasp.

Waiting is not bad, it is actually good.

"Wait" is one of the words I believe God gave me for 2013. There are so many Scripture verses that contain the word "wait" that I didn't even begun to study them all.

Waiting seems to be a lesson God often taught David as evidenced in the Psalms. The shepherd-boy-turned-royalty knew some about it as he waited 10+ years to assume his rightful throne, while running and hiding for his life from King Saul.

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in His way, over the man who carries out evil devices!" - Psalm 37:7

"Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long." - Psalm 25:5

"Lord, I don't know if what I am doing is effective or worthwhile." His response: "Wait on me...wait and see."

"Lord, I am homesick and missing the people at home." His reply: "Wait on me...draw close to me."

"Lord, I am struggling with these temptations, challenges and frustrations." He tells me: "Wait on me...My strength is what you need."

"Lord, so and so is annoying and hurting me. His whisper: "Wait on me...I've got it handled."

Waiting forces us to stop, quiet our minds and hearts, and be more aware of God's abiding presence. 

Perhaps we need to slow down enough, to wait, to actually see Him at work. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Please Meet...


I wish you could see in person this remarkable young woman whom I have grown to love so much! Don't let her quiet unassuming nature fool you - God has great things in store for this girl! :)

Fauza in March 2010

I first met Fauza (pronounced Fow-za) when she joined the secondary school in early 2010, just a few weeks after I came to Uganda. Because of her good primary results, she won a partial sponsorship to study at Lingira Living Hope.

Initially, I had difficulty drawing information out of her. Being that I am SHIM's sponsorship coordinator, part of my job is interviewing and getting to know new students, and continuing to encourage and follow-up with them as long as they are in the program.

Despite her quietness, there was something about Fauza that grabbed my heart and I wanted to meet with her on a more frequent basis. So, sometime in that first year we started weekly discipleship sessions. We met only when she was at school and would break off during school "holidays." And then at times we couldn't always coordinate our schedules, but we did meet many times - in a classroom, under a tree or on a nice shaded piece of grass.

I spent part of this past Sunday with Fauza in what may have been the last time we will sit - just the two of us. Four school years have nearly passed and Fauza is busily preparing for her final exams which begin in a week. And in early November, she will graduate from the school. You wouldn't know it by her demeanor, but she is one of the top students and the best-performing girl of her class of 33 students. We have high hopes for her performance and I pray she can continue on to a good school.

When Fauza leaves Lingira she will go and live with her Aunt Selena in eastern Uganda, roughly three hours from the island.

Fauza last September, holding a "Certificate of Recognition"
for her academic efforts.

I will miss Fauza very much and our sweet times of reading and studying the Bible together, sharing about our families, encouraging each other with what God has been doing in our lives, lifting up our needs to Him in prayer. But I will miss the most seeing with my own eyes God work in and through this special young woman. In the past three and a half years, Fauza has grown and matured in remarkable ways.

She has passed through her own challenges. After her father died, her mother married a Muslim man who mistreated Fauza because of her Christian faith. At one time, she couldn't even live at home and was taken in by our own Pastor Samson, who spoke highly of her character and her need. Challenges with faith, sickness, with her family and her peers have only seemed to strengthen Fauza's commitment to Christ and molded her into a sensitive and silently strong young woman.

During her time at the school, she felt God ask her to step out and do different things - like join the choir, translate in church, serve as a class monitor, help with Sunday School. And as much as possible, she obeyed and went far beyond her comfort zone to serve her Savior.

She told me yesterday she has a strong burden to go back and teach the young children in the village church. She is also being drawn to show Christ's love in word and action to her "rough" Aunt Selena, a Muslim who has been hardened and embittered by hardship and rejection. While many people avoid this tough woman, Fauza sees someone who is hurting and needy.

Even though I will miss seeing Fauza several times a week, I told her we must stay in touch and I promised to visit her in the village.

I am excited to see where God will take her and how He will use this shy, innocent young woman to accomplish extraordinary things for His kingdom.

God does not choose the strong, bold or powerful. He chooses the obedient, willing and faithful. Fauza is an amazing picture of God's unmatched wisdom and grace.