Monday, January 19, 2015

America: An African Boy's Perspective 15.

I must say your prayers for us over the last couple of weeks have been encouraging. We feel closer to making a final decision  now, keep praying for us and hopefully, we will have news about our return date by Tuesday evening next week; watch out for it.

It can be frustrating waiting for something that you don't have control over. You just keep praying and hoping and wishing. That has been and is still the case regarding when we are to return. It becomes even harder when you know that your call of duty is somewhere in Uganda, and yet here you are, still somewhat stuck not having the right answers. But blessed be God who gives us continuous encouragement and hope through His word and His body; without God's encouragement, i wouldn't be at peace at all.

However, in the midst of all this, the Lord keeps opening small windows of opportunities to serve; and serving Him excites me more than anything else. About a week ago, such an opportunity opened up for me. My "bestie" called me up one evening and asked me what my day looked like and whether i had some time. I always have time for him because he has a special grace of getting me happy and talking. After about 7:45pm, he picked me up, told me to pick a shovel and we off we went. I didn't know exactly what we were going to do this time around, but i couldn't ask because i didn't want to ruin a surprise; if that was what he was planning. I got a small tour of a large green house here in Grandrapids and later on, i was given an opportunity to drive on snow in that green house's large parking lot! I had never driven from here before since i don't yet have my drivers license; so, this was exciting, driving on snow was different from any other condition i have ever driven under! Felt strange and exciting at the same time and all the time, i was chuckling and laughing like a baby!

But, that was not the main thing. He told me there was one of his clients that he had seen that day that needed help. He had gone to give a routine service when he noticed that this old man, who is condemned to a wheel chair, needed help with his drive way. He couldn't come out on his wheel chair because the driveway was clogged with snow and his kids lived in a distant State. He thought that the two of us could provide some help by going in there and shovel all the snow and drive away so that this old man could wake up to a surprise in the morning! I was happy that he thought of me to help. I had never shoveled the snow before and this particular night was snowy and cold, but i felt this was a worthy cause to put my fears aside.
We arrived at our address and parked the car some distance from the house and armed with our shovels, we quickly accomplished our task. I actually enjoyed doing it! And with each shove that i made, the fear kept going away. Because of the liberation from the fear of snow, i was able to treat my mother-in-law to some jumps on the snow a few days later even though i was only wearing shorts!

After finishing up our mission, we went to a nearby McDonald's restaurant and had a meaningful discussion until the waitress politely told us they were closing. On the way home, i kept thinking how the Lord always looks at us when we are in different needs and situation that we can't help ourselves with and how He sends His angels and others to help us, i thought about my own life and the numerous times when things were out of my control and someone always happened to do something about it and the joy i always felt after each intervention. I hope that old man was happy to wake up and find his driveway clear; i hope it brought a smile on his face and i hope he was able to wheel himself out, even for a few seconds.
Over the years, i have come to believe that each act of kindness that we do, is a seed that we stand to reap from later on in life and if it's not us who will reap from it, then our children will. I hope to be able to do more of such acts this year and i hope you will continue to do the same too, because love conquers everything. 

I am already thinking about my last blogpost as the day for our departure keeps drawing near and i hope to share about my surprises, my joys and my struggles while in the land of the free. This should wet your appetite for that post.

However, since today is Martin Luther King Jr day, i thought i should leave you with one of his quotes that suits the writing and here it is, think and act it out. Bless you.
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'
Martin Luther King, Jr."

Monday, January 5, 2015

America: An African Boy's Perspective Part 14.

After going for a great breakfast at the Westsider with an uncle and then proceeding to the gold place to get some golf equipment and having some great shots at the indoor golf range, we later connected to the live global 31st/1st service that evening and rejoiced when it was declared that 2015 is our year of Triumph; i and my wife, there after drove to my favorite Steak House; Outback to join the rest of the family for the New Year's Eve traditional family meal. We later had games and prayer time until after midnight here with our Ugandan friend and his wife, and other family members. Everything was as good as it could possibly be. It was the best 31st of December day i had ever had. The next day, we were joining the mother-in-law, other family members and friends in giving out lunch packs to the homeless people in down town; yet another big day to look forward to.

The 1st of January 2015 arrived so fast and there we were, dressed as warmly as we could since it was a cold day to be walking in town. I am always excited when it comes to doing charity work and this day was no different. However, by the time we were done, i was very angry, sad and emotionally upset. I wanted to run away to some hidden place where i could be alone to process things. Usually when i am upset about something, i want to be left alone to process stuff, but sometimes it's very hard to be alone.
Anyway, i was upset about many things. We saw people of pretty different races, so, it was not anything to do with race; but broken dreams. I was mad because i am certain each of these guys at one time had dreams, may be dreams of having a great family, of being a good parent, i don't know but now, looking at their eyes, these dreams were gone. I kept wondering when it all got out of control; could it be their parents? could it have been friends? I even got angrier when i thought about what these guys could have been; may be some of them could have been doctors, teachers, preachers, may be even worshipers, etc.

There was an 80 something year old lady who was walking with her walker; Uncle Dave and Aunt Anne who were with me encouraged me to run and catch up with her and give her some food. I did and caught up with her. I called out: "Ma'am, good morning". She stopped and turned to look at me and her face was beaming with a big smile as she replied my greeting. I went on to ask her if she would do with some lunch and she was glad to have food. She thanked me and said a blessing and she continued. As i walked back to my group mates, my steps were heavier; i kept thinking how her normal daily routine was. Did she have children? How could she have ended up in the streets? Such a sweet old lady, out in the cold, her life in the hands of others than in her own.
We also met another lady whom we offered food. She declined it and said there were others that could do with it more than her. She told us about some children in one of the shelters who could do well with lunch since these kiddos get food at 5pm. That heart of a caring mother was still big in this lady. She had compassion on others worse off than her, she cared more for these little kiddos than herself when she could have taken the food for herself. I couldn't stand going in to take the food inside because i didn't want to look at these children.
Most of the people we gave food had that thankful attitude. They were grateful for the food and always said "God bless you and Happy New Year!". At least somehow, they know God is always in it.

We also saw two cases of some people lying down by the road side. They looked very sick. One seemed to be getting attention from some cops while one was lying out in the cold and a lady (probably his girlfriend) was kneeling down by his side trying to give him some help.
I thought about how privileged we were to be inside a warm car and driving back to a warm house. These guys were out in the cold, waiting for the time when the shelters would be opened for them to go in later in the evening. How do they even get their treatment?

As i looked at these guys and knowing that the devil had robbed them off of their inheritance and futures, i got so angry with satan that if i knew where he was, i would have gone there straight to fight him. I also kept thinking about my own self; may be i could have ended up like one of them, had God not intervened and kept bringing the right people into my life at every delicate stage. I thought about all these people and how they each appeared and came into my life just at the time when things seemed to be getting out of control, and i prayed for them and thanked God for them. I kept wondering whether each of these guys had a privilege of meeting such people. Were they told the truth before their lives turned upside down? did they hear about His saving grace? Did they even have a choice in the events that led to their current state? How about these innocent children; born in the streets and raised in the streets, did they get an opportunity to be taken off these streets and given a home? I have little information on how things work out here, how the kids get taken to foster care and all that, so, all my writing is based on my own feelings. I have had contact with street children in Uganda, but not the homeless adults. So, that was quite an experience for me.

I know giving them food is great, but as good as it is, it's temporary. I am wondering whether some of these guys can be rescued and helped to get off the streets and lead normal lives, especially the younger ones. Could they be damaged beyond repair? Can some of them be salvaged?
I think this calls for us to share the gospel more and more and help people see the light before they are robbed off by the enemy in our own eyes. I wish there was a way for me to sit down and listen to these people's stories. May be if they had heard the good news of the saving grace of Christ before, may be one or two of them would have been rescued from going down to their current state. 
I am glad i am not them and can't imagine if i had to trade my life with any of these guys even if it was just for a day! I know i am very blessed and privileged; i can't complain about anything, this has given me a new angle to be even more grateful. I can open the refrigerator and see all these options of what to eat and drink, and yet down the road somewhere, someone is hoping and praying for what i already have in front of me!
From that day on, i have purposed to keep praying for these homeless people, i know some of them don't even have anyone intentionally praying for them; i will keep praying for the Father to rescue them and for His will to be established in the hearts of these men and women so that some day, even though they are homeless in the earth, they will have an eternal home in paradise; just like poor Lazarus.