Monday, April 27, 2009

Our Last Sunset...

Well today was our last full day here in Uganda. It was a full mix of emotions as we said goodbye to some and hello to others. The hotel here invited us to hold a mini conference this morning for the local pastors and church leaders here in Jinja, that didn't get a chance to attend the conference last week in Kakira. So Pastor Scott and Pastor Jim each took two hours and taught the pastors on Preaching/Bible Interpretation and Biblical Conflict Management. About forty showed up and, once again, God did amazing things. The topic of conflict management really seems to be an untouched topic here, and so the pastors were eating it up. Now I've known Pastor Jim, my father-in-law, for about ten years now. I've known him as my high school chemistry teacher, my high school baseball coach, intimidating father of my high school love interest, and finally, intimidating father of my wife. I've heard him speak many times, but never like today. He went well over two hours, teaching the pastors all about conflict and how the Bible instructs us to create a culture of be peacemakers. The question and answer time started at 12:30 and didn't end until 1:30. He was passionate, educated, thought-provoking, eloquent, and for the first time (that I've seen anyway), he was emotional. Not that he's not all of those things all the time, but as I watched and listened, I couldn't help but notice how alive he was...more than usual. I was proud to call him my father-in-law, intimidating as it is.
We had a good lunch with Pastor Paul and his new bride, Margaret, and were joined by some other pastors that we've connected with in the past week. It was fun and we had a good time chatting and laughing for one last time. We left the hotel to shop, shop, shop. For a group of five adult men shopping on a foreign continent, I think we made our wives proud.
We finished the night by taking Moses with us (see previous blog), and heading down the street to the Sunset Hotel. The view of the sunset, from the Sunset, was spectacular. We dined and talked and watched the fishermen put out lanterns on the water to catch perch by twilight. I really missed my lady. I'm sure the others felt the same. Our last sunset did not disappoint as the clouds (which are always billowing and vibrant with movement and life), moved over the Nile, trying to choke out the sun. It was perfect. We're all a little weird right now. We're all so eager to get home and see our family. But I know that Africa doesn't really just go away from you. I can't even begin to sort out all the lessons and feelings from this trip. That's going to take at least a week or so to do. All in all, though, we are all confident of this: God far surpassed our expectations for this trip! I still cannot believe how He spoke and how He used us to teach them, and them to teach us. The prayers of all of you were certainly felt and I am so so so grateful for all of you who gave to make this possible. Because of your prayers and gifts, so many pastors learned for the first time how to properly study and teach the Bible, how to handle conflict in a way that glorifies God, how the Old and New Testaments speak of Jesus, and how God desires to do a great work in Uganda, Africa and the world. There were so many testimonies of God's power and God's work within the hearts of these men and women. And once I get my videos done, you can see it for yourself. But your giving and your praying did a great great work here for the glory of God!
Pray for us tomorrow as we travel. We will leave the hotel around 2pm and head to Entebbe. Our flight leaves around 10:20pm (12:20pm your time). So please pray for safe travels, health, and miraculously fast flights! And pray that we're reminded that God's work does not stop in Africa, it continues on the airplane, in the skies, on the ground in Amsterdam and Houston, in Los Angeles and in Ventura County, CA. For we are all missionaries, servants in the same Kingdom, for the same purpose and goal...the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!