Our last night in Karamoja (Would like to put an em dash here but cannot find the keystroke on the Okken’s PC) I beat Caleb about 34-0 in Connect Four, we had a lovely dinner, and the children watched some freaky video of these scary looking kids singing Bible songs. I guess at the end of the day, the question is did we accomplish what we set out to do? I, for one, will be bringing quite a bit of work back to the States with me. Not so much the welding, that doesn’t email so well, but the website and the literacy materials, I will be trying to work on and send over. I think this question is one that the missionaries here are constantly asking, and constantly trying to answer in the affirmative. There are many challenges to the ministry here, and many false starts have been made in the attempt to be an effective witness to these people.
Yesterday, the staff went on a half-strike. They basically said they were all going home at lunch because the word got around that US Aid was going to be giving out free food up the road. And at first, it was so clear to me how backward the thinking of these people is, taking half a day from a job that pays very well and going to get 50kg of free sorghum when they could just be earning it here. But then I got to thinking, if In-n-Out was down our street giving out a week long all you can eat pass to their establishment, I wouldn’t even think twice about asking my boss to give me a half day. These people are way smarter than I am.
It becomes clear, though, that many of the socalled aid programs here are doing more harm than good. There is miles of fertile land that can grow perhaps hundreds of different crops, but it sits untilled because walking down the street to pick up aid food (which can also be sold in the market) is so much easier, stealing from the Mission is so much easier, begging off of your family is so much easier.
There are no easy answers here, and at the end of the day, the best that the missionaries here can do is continue to preach the Gospel and live out the Christian life as best they are able, loving their neighbors, doing good, honest hard work, and living in reliance on the God who provides all things to direct their ministry toward the good soil where it will yield a harvest.
Remember these in prayer as they toil. Remember also Chloe and I, who were able to meet with Bob and Dave on Saturday and discuss the possibility of coming here. The missionaries here were encouraged by our interest, and seem willing to put up with us (me mostly, they all like Chloe just fine). So we have some thinking and prayerful consideration ahead of us. Pray that God’s will would be known and that we will be given grace to serve wherever we are called.