Have Too Much
What follows is a brief
excerpt from Rev Mike Hesse's email to Immanuel Church while he was in Uganda on
a 30-day mission trip. I thought it noteworthy and through it God
revealed some things He had been forming in my mind.
Tuesday, 15 February, 9:00p
Earlier, Thad Cox had accompanied David on a similar journey into the heart of the congregation. There he had run across a number of people in dire poverty who had virtually nothing to their name. He had been so moved by what he had seen that he found and donated money to buy a foam pad, sheets, a blanket and some used clothes for the four most critical households. It was our privilege to accompany David and several parish elders as they delivered these simple gifts to these folks. Our first stop was to see
Zedekia. He is a widower living by himself for several decades now since the death of his wife. He used to be a leader in the church, but has been overcome by illness and infirmity. Now in his old age he lives by himself in a mud hut. He has no bed and sleeps on banana leaves which also serve for whatever cover he might have. He is a man shriveled by the effects of some illness which has settled in his chest. He can hardly speak. But he praised the Lord for all that he had. He fell to his knees in thankfulness as we handed him the mattress and accompanying gifts. Very moving.
Our next stop was to visit George and his wife Jessica. We found them sitting outside a little mud hut which the Christians had built for them. George has leprosy and has lost all his fingers to the disease. He is blind and cannot walk, but with effort pulls himself around the twenty or so feet which now mark the boundaries of his existence. He married Jessica in 1949 and they have lived together since. She is very frail and was so ill during December it was thought she would surely not survive. She cannot hear. They, too, had no bed, no blankets and only the rags on their backs. When we presented them with the gifts he clapped his stubs together and wept huge, streaming tears as we sang
"tukute." He, too, had been one of the leading Christians in the parish before the leprosy overwhelmed him. We held his hands and prayed for him and his bride.
Our third stop was to visit a lady named Hannah. She is called "an old woman" as a sign of respect having been another one of the great women of the parish in her younger days. She is now confined to a mat of banana leaves in the entrance of her hut and could not rise even to greet us when we entered. She is being cared for by her daughter (I think) as much as possible, but there is no such thing as a retirement home around here. We prayed with her as she held her arms up in thanksgiving to the Lord with what appeared the greatest of effort. For the first time in perhaps years of living this way, she will sleep tonight on a foam pad on the dirt floor of her mud hut, between soft sheets and covered by a warm blanket. The depth of deprivation which I saw today makes our street people seem wealthy.
Our last stop was to share the gifts with another "old woman" named Samali who is also confined to her mud hut by lingering illness. When we entered she sat upright. A significant woman in the community she sat with a difficult grace and offered to share her tiny dinner with us as is the custom. We declined with the excuse that we would have difficulty driving through the woods if we let it get any darker. She, too, will sleep warmly and comfortably in clean clothes for the first time in a great while.
Each stop we prayed and sang and shared briefly. Each stop provided heartrending blessings as we saw so little mean so much. Their number here is legion, but at least five people saw their lives eased a little by the love of others.
I give thanks to God for Thad Cox. A former vice-president (I think) of El Chico Restaurants, he lives here at Grace House a poor man among poor people. Every gift he receives he passes on to those around him. He has a short patience quotient which the Lord is healing, but one of the biggest hearts I have seen in any one. He is pouring his life out not as a visiting dignitary, but as a man who lives among the people he loves. He is, as Forrest says, the biggest bang for the missionary buck we've seen. I pray God bless him with health and every blessing in return.
Love to all of you from all of us. Keep those prayers coming. Know you are in ours.
I was very moved by Mike wrote of his visits to the former church leaders and in their plight. They have very little, worldly wise, to show for their efforts in fighting the good fight in the Kingdom of God here one earth. We on the other hand have
too much, and still we jealously guard our retirement funds and such, therefore we have much to be ashamed of. As he said even the street people
in this country have more that most do in Uganda.
What impressed me the most in what he said was what he did not say. He did not mention seeing any form of depression, as was the case when we
too were there. yet, they seem to have much more than we do in so many ways. They are victorious even in what we see as horrible conditions. Shame shame on us. In Christ the victory is His and we too shall indeed have the victory with Him. But alas, I do not see the evidence of this in the western world. I see much of the opposite. Much depression and sickness possibly brought about by what is not happening, a victorious walk against all odds, such as what
Mike is witnessing there first hand.
I see this as a great lacking on our part. A lacking of a victorious walk and to that of a lacking of great expectation. As such, I believe it has become a great hindrances in the Christian community of true believers, of which we profess to be part of in this country.
We walk in great sickness
in a decaying society of fools. We are behaving like ungrateful children, spoiled by our own indulgences and a refusal to see the truth. I am guilty, I confess and ask God's forgiveness for my wrong attitude. I am ashamed by what I have. Not because it is there but because I can't even properly take care of what I have and still want more. Instead of accepting where God has me I get depressed and down trodden, and sickness abounds. I pray
that our Uganda team brings back the wonderful gift that they have seen there... help us too find such a victorious walk.
During the early church people KNEW if only the shadow of an apostle passed over them, just as it was with Jesus, they would be healed. They KNEW!!!
Even though we have an "Expect a Miracle" sign up in the back of our church we still are hindered by only hoping and meagerly expecting things to maybe happen. WE ARE WRONG! We need to preach and live the VICTORY! No where did the scriptures speak of failure or disaster unless it was in the form of punishment for our own wrongdoing by God.
If we find ourselves being punished, thanks be to God, He loves us. We need only repent and accept the punishment as His love and walk it out. But, never should we be downtrodden or UN-victorious.
I have seen this dark cloud slowly descending over the Christian believing community even in our own church and staff. I believe it is not, even if we try, a discipline from the Lord, but Satan's angry attempt to cloud the minds of the willing Saints here on earth. WE MUST LEARN TO REJECT IT AND STAND UP IN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUE VICTORY, NEVER ACCEPTING ANY FORM OF DEFEAT OR DEPRESSION OR PESSIMISM!
This cloud hangs even over our corporate witness these days. I hear and see it everywhere.
Though we are down trodden and should not be for He has already won the victory.
The answer is simply put, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus... Help me. Help us.
We turn to you for our guidance and strength.
Note: For an interesting correlation click here.