Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Chapter 22 - Update #4 - September 5, 2016

When you are 35,000 feet in the air, everything looks so small. For much of the trip during the day, all you see are pillows of white clouds that appear strong enough to walk on or take a comfy nap in! During the evening all you see is the blackness of night. As we break through the clouds to descend into Entebbe, it opens up to a world of color! Suddenly the whiteness of clouds is replaced with patches of brown and green that represent life giving crops.

I see the familiar dirt roads that bring to memory the many miles walked & driven on over the past 10 years. Villages appear with houses or huts that look so small I could almost reach out and pick one up in-between my fingers! I don’t think this route passes through Jinja, but if it did I imagine seeing our children waving saying, “We are waiting to welcome you home!”

I began to think upon my very first trip. I didn’t know what was in store for me. What would this new place hold? Why was God bringing me half way across the world? What did my eyes see back then when I peered out the window? A whole new world was opening up for me. I believe that my eyes became a window that saw straight into my heart.

From 35,000 feet, my call to Uganda became clear. Of all the places on the face of this large expanse of earth, God uniquely called me to a home in Uganda. His assignment for me is to a group of 32 children in a home in Jinja. It is to the family of God at the Hotel Paradise. In such a large world, God chose me to serve here. What an honor and privilege it is to call this home.

As I heard the familiar announcement, “Cabin crew prepare for landing,” my heart began to quicken. Out the window I now could see Lake Victoria which always signals we are almost home. I starting thinking about Godfrey who was at the airport waiting to receive me. “What too must he be thinking now? As we approached the runway, I asked myself, “What awaits us on this journey? What will God do on trip number 22?” I realized that as we touched down all I was required to do was step into it and follow His lead. He has everything in His hands. The miraculous was waiting and He would receive all the glory. As I put my foot on Ugandan soil, or airport terminal floor (soil sounds better!) I dedicated this chapter to the Lord. I was seated near the back of the plane so I was near the end of the lines for passport control.

The health check you pass through now is designed to physically check your yellow immunization card. That was a surprise to me. I was glad that the day before I left I got a booster shot for typhoid. Because I didn’t have my passport for a couple of weeks while it took it’s vacation without me, I didn’t know it was time for the booster. Whew! Covered!

Then came passport control. I have the uncanny knack of picking wrong lines. I pick a short line and it will inevitably turn into the longest line! I was just about the last person from the flight to approach one of the windows. I had been in the “Others” or “Visitors” line. But the “Ugandans” line had opened up so they moved me over to that window. I have called Uganda “home” so this seemed appropriate! We were fine until they had me use the fingerprint machine that is just a scan for the computer. The strange thing is, my fingerprints didn’t want to scan! The agent kept saying, “Push harder,” “It is easy,” “You have no fingerprints!” Still the machine just flashed a series of red lights (we’re looking for green!). I have never had a problem before! My thoughts turned to, “I made it all the way here and will be denied because my fingerprints now have taken a vacation!” Suddenly, the machine worked correctly and the lights turned a beautiful green! I was so thankful to see the “entry” into Uganda stamp on my Visa! As I walked away to collect my luggage I realized that episode was similar to what the enemy tries to do in our lives. He pulls out all the stops and tries to deny our entry to the blessings that God has waiting. Red lights can be flashing everywhere that feel like a dead end. Things in life sometimes don’t make sense. “You have no fingerprints!?” What?! Yet, God always gives the green light! When we persevere and don’t give up, our “fingerprints” will show up! Actually, His prints will be all over it!

As I pushed my luggage out to exit the terminal, I searched the crowd of faces. Immediately emerges the face of the one I was looking for ... Godfrey! What a welcomed sight with his huge grin! I know in that moment that I am in my Ugandan home. As we greet one another with a huge hug he then utters the familiar words, “Welcome back!” But then he said something that filled my heart... “You look younger!” Ha ha ! That was new! But you know that I loved it! We had a good laugh as that statement actually left me speechless. I thanked him and he said, “Younger is good! That just means He has added more years that we will have with you!” Don’t you love it!?
We were definitely NOT speechless on the drive. Godfrey had decided that it was better we buy the sound equipment today as we drove through Kampala. That way we avoid having to come back to Kampala on Friday, saving petro (gas), time and the headaches of daytime traffic. I wholeheartedly agreed to that plan if it saved us an extra trip!

Godfrey had been dealing with a business in Kampala for over a year now. He was compiling the list of equipment that we would eventually need. This particular shop deals with many churches in the area. They are reputable and fair. They even honored original prices from a year ago, even though their prices have risen. Godfrey said in Uganda it is very important to buy from the right people. Godfrey knew that we were purchasing quality equipment. So many other places are selling imitations that end up breaking after a short time of usage.

As we arrived, the shop owners had reserved a spot right in front of the shop to park. This in itself is not an easy task. They actually lost the original spot to another driver, but another spot miraculous opened up. Godfrey said it is a rare jewel to find a spot in such a crowded place. Having the list ahead of time, they were prepared for us. They had three other items that were needed in order for the equipment to run properly. Because of the generous donation above and beyond the need, we were able to add those items with no problem. There were a couple of things the shop gave us to borrow. We decided not to buy the guitars right now and add that in phase two. But the owners wanted us to have a full sound lacking nothing so they insisted we borrow two guitars! We finalized the list and had everything that we needed and more.

Because I had just arrived I had not exchanged money yet. We walked to one exchange center but they closed the door just as we walked up! We eventually found another one that was still opened. I exchanged enough money to cover the sound equipment plus a little more. Then something happened right in front of our eyes. There is a whiteboard that has the current exchange rate for buying and selling. That moment the US dollar had an exchange rate of 3370. After the exchange, we were standing next to the whiteboard as someone came and changed the rate to 3360! That may seem like a small amount. But when exchanging thousands of dollars it adds up! God gave us more for our money just at the right time before it was lowered! That is the first time that has ever happened to me.

Since in Kampala, we also took care of purchasing the TV for the home. This is a gift given from all of the children’s sponsors. You can get much better prices in Kampala which is a big city. The owners of this shop brought over the man from another shop they trusted. We had already priced TV’s in Jinja. We purchased a 40” flat screen TV for the wall for the same price as a much smaller TV near home. God is so good.

As they began to pull all the merchandise and get it ready to load in the van, I found myself tucked in a corner on a stool. Close your eyes and imagine this with me. You hear the city sounds of Kampala busy with activity. Horns are “hooting” as Godfrey puts it! Cars are trying to squeeze down the two lane road, or make it three lanes depending on how aggressive they want to be. People are bartering on the streets trying to get those going home from work to stop. They are selling everything from food to shoes to clothes to household items to some things I am not sure what they were. Voices and laughter fill the air. Street evangelists are proclaiming the name of Jesus. Mocker’s voices try to be just as loud. In the midst of all of this, I sat in the shop, in a corner and I am overwhelmed. “Be still and know that I am God,” is going through my mind. These familiar words from Psalm 46:10 became alive to me. I watched as boxes labeled, “Yamaha” or “Pevey” and “Honda” filed past me. Honda was for the generator that is a beautiful red. I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful generator! Pevey is for the drum set that is a gorgeous maroon. I was so overwhelmed that I ended up sitting in the van after most of the items were loaded.

When I got in the van, Godfrey had turned on the CD player for me. I had to smile when these words from a song by Building 429 immediately filled the van, “There is no such thing as impossible. And nothing is unreachable when we trust the God of miracles. We know, we know, we know that there’s no such thing as impossible.” “It takes a little time, takes a little time, it takes a little time to see. It takes a little time, takes a little time, it takes a little time to believe.”

We left the shop believing nothing is impossible with Him. We were speechless that we drove away with everything needed for the crusade.

The drive at night is much more peaceful than dodging traffic. So peaceful I dozed off a couple of times. We would not arrived in Jinja until 10:30 pm (yes it means we missed the traditional chicken on a stick!) You will have to wait to Update #5 to hear what came next! 
Remaining speechless,
mama eydie kisakye 

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