There are still moments, despite the 3 years I have spent in
I had one of these moments last week. I was visiting a friend from church at her home for the first time. (Side note- my car is SUCH a blessing and allowing me the freedom of mobility to do things that I have been wanting to but not easily able to because of transport). Anyways, I had called my friend, Agie, because she had been telling me that she wanted some time to meet with me and speak about something. As I drove up to our meeting location, I fully expected to pick her up and take her out for a soda while we talked. But, as I have notice many times being here, people want me to see where they stay. So, I parked my car at the petro station and we proceeded though a group of houses, past the grazing chickens, beyond the boys practicing their dance moves, and into another section of housing that was squared off into a courtyard setting. I shook hands with 5 dusty little kids shouting, “Mzungu! Mzungu! Mzungu! How are you?” and ducked under some sheets hanging on the clothes line to dry. Then we had reached Agie’s home. She welcomed me and I entered in behind her, removing my shoes at the door. She dusted off a wooden stool for me to sit on, as she sat of a yellow piece of furry fabric below me.
With one hand out and the other hand touching the extended hand’s forearm, she shook my hand and said, “You are most welcome. Thank you for coming to visit me in my home.”
As we sat discussing the day and moved into deeper topics, I began to have my “cultural moment”. There I was, on the ONLY proper “seat” in the “house”, talking with this woman about a business venture to sell bags of charcoal. There I was, graciously welcomed into her home that was a single room, not more than 15ft by 15ft. Actually, the house had 2 “rooms”- the bedroom and the sitting room/kitchen area/play room- partitioned by a sheet hanging over a string. I was humbled. Lord, who am I that you would choose me to be in such a place and have the blessing of visiting this friend?
It was once her 4 children came in and greeted me one by one- the girls kneeling down and shaking my hand in respect, that I thought to myself, “So, where do the kids sleep? Surely not on the twin bed in the “bedroom”.” I then noticed the stained mattress leaning against the wall of the “sitting room”, ready to be put down that night for all 4 kids to sleep on.
Again, Lord who am I that I have anything of spiritual worth to encourage this sister of mine. She could teach me so much about contentment and God’s provision and how to live out the verse, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough worries of its own.” My friend Agie lives moment by moment with the Lord. He is the one who sustains her. He is the one who protects her and her kids. He is the one whose thoughts towards her are precious and more numerous than the grains of sand in the sea.
I will admit it was a bit overwhelming. To understand that God is near, in such material poverty, because my Ugandan brothers and sisters are rich in experiences that cause them to trust that the Lord is their Shepherd, they shall not want. I am grateful for these “cultural moments” because they open my eyes to the heart of the Father.