Saturday, July 12, 2008

When you are put down for your faith...

I don't think I really thought through what I would do when I was put down for my decision to go to Africa and I must admit that I don't think I handled it correctly.

Last weekend I was at a family party and my uncle insulted me in front of relatives I hadn't seen for 10 years! He told me that I was uneducated because I got my degree in the valley, he told me that Africa is a rich nation and that no one should give them anything, and basically told me that I don't know what I am talking about or doing.

I should have responded in love toward him but I didn't.

It bothered me that he was talking about something that he knew nothing about and it bothered me because ever since I have gone to Africa he has shut the door to his home to me. I should have told him what I believe and that God's opinion is the only one that matters to me but I didn't. The only thing I could think to do was defend myself, my education and my personal experience.

Looking back I know I didn't handle it right, he didn't get the chance to see my heart he only had the chance to see my defense system.

I have been thinking about it ever since. What I see now that I look back on the situation is that when you love someone so much you want to defend them against people that try to put them down. I realized just how much I love the people in Africa and how much I want to help them. I discovered just how much I want people to realize the reality of life there so that others may have that same desire to serve them and help them as I do.

Then I started thinking about my uncle's statement that Africa is a rich nation and we shouldn't help them and that got me thinking too... What makes a nation rich?

Is it money?
Is it love?
Is it faith?
Is it possessions?
Is it comfort?
Is it bank accounts
Is it retirement?
Is it careers?
Is it education?
Is it family?

What is rich?

If I have the opportunity to talk to my uncle again, this is what I would say... Yes, Africa is rich.

They are rich because:

God loves them

They are rich because:

They understand the frailty of life and that each day might be their last

They are rich because:

They don't base their life worth on the possessions they have or the vacations they take but on the worth they have in Christ alone.

They are rich because:

They can't rely on themselves to provide for all their needs but they must rely on God alone each and every day.

They are rich because:

They don't look at their watches when church goes too long but they rejoice in the time they get to spend with their Father.

So Yes...they are rich...they are rich in God alone and as my brothers & sisters in Christ, it is still my responsible to come alongside them and serve them because in reality...

  • The median age is only 15 years old
  • 1 out of 15 babies die in infancy
  • Only 66% of the population are literate
  • The risk of dying from Malaria, the plague, starvation, or infected food & water is HIGH
  • Only 43% of the population has adequate sanitation facilities
  • Only 60% of the population has safe drinking water
  • There are approximately 2.3 million orphans
  • 85% of the population survives on $1 a day or less
  • and...
  • less than 40% of Ugandans know Jesus as their Lord and Savior

So's okay if you put me down and it's okay if you don't agree, but I pray that you might see what I see and that you might open up your heart and let God & a compassion for others to creep in.

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