Sunday we got up a little earlier than usually because we had a long drive to get to the church we were going to, about three hours of driving. By the way, there is only one road that leaves Mbale that isn’t totally torn up and it’s the road to Kampala. That is not the way that we were going. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a great road. It is tarmac but even then it has its share of pot holes!!!!!! All the other roads are really bad. I’m talking about really, really bad. Sometimes when we get four or five miles out of town they will tease us with a couple of miles of a little better road but it’s just a tease, before long I’m playing what I’ve come to call “butt and head”. That’s where I bet on which is going to hurt the worst, my butt or my head!!! My butt from bouncing up and down on the seat or my head from bouncing off of the roof of the car!!! Now the deal is that my butt bounces more but it has a softer landing spot than my head. So, if the road or the driver is not too bad then it’s the butt. If the road is really bad or the driver is feeling a need for speed (like 20 miles an hour will fulfill that need) then it’s going to be the head that loses, or wins depending on how I’m betting with myself. Just a word of warning, if you ever play this game with the driver, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT let him bet on the head to hurt the worst!!!!!!
So that’s what I was looking forward to on Sunday morning after going to bed with my back hurting. I tried, I really did try, to come up with a reason to not go but my back felt some better so if I tried to use that as an excuse I would have kind-of-sort-of-but-not-really lied. Still it was too close to trying to scam a Bishop!!! So, I did my best to man up and off we went with me whimpering to myself about all sorts of stuff; reasons why I should be still in bed taking it easy on my back, my butt, my head and some other stuff that I was making up as we bounced along. I really did try to take to heart that it was going to be a three hour drive and not a four hour drive but I confess that I was having trouble with that whole idea. If I had known what I know now, I think that I would have lied and let God just kill me if He wanted to. It would have put me out of my misery after all!!! Again, I was really tried.
Two hours in I was beginning to get the idea that no one was sure how to get to this church. My first clue was when we stopped to ask for directions and nobody had heard of this church, but we did have the name of a village that it’s close to, maybe. Me, I was not so sure that we weren’t lost, which it turns out that we were really close to being lost. About 45 minute later, a boda boda guy came racing up from behind us and pulls us over to tell us we are going the wrong way so we need to turn around and follow him to where we want to go. After questioning this guy, we figured out that he had no more idea than we did at this point where we needed to go. He was just trying to figure out how he could get some money out of us for “helping” us. Now I was wondering how getting us somewhere we didn’t want to go was going to be the kind of help that we would be willing to pay for!? TIA.
We were traveling on the plains which were really flat and a lot of the time the grass was as high as the car. This was not a problem because there isn’t much to see until you get there, wherever there is. Finally, after what started out to be a two maybe two and a half hour drive that was now at about the four hour mark, we reached somewhere that was close. Just a little farther and the pastor of the church, on a bicycle, found us. I don’t think that we found him. We finally arrived at Kabirayi ICCEC church which is out in the middle of a field. This church used to be located in the village but someone burned it down. In spite of that, they are still hanging in there. It is pastored by Joseph Okello and Pastor Abramham Okol. They are a very poor church in this world but a very rich church in the kingdom of God. They have a small mud and grass roofed building that is also used as a school. To get to the church, we drove a mile to a mile and a half out into the grass of the plains, followed a path through grass taller than the car, and then along the edges of fields of maze and beans. Once we arrived, we were greeted with singing and dancing!!!!!! The poorest of the poor but filled with the greatest of joy.
This group of Christians is so musical it’s unbelievable. They play an instrument called a Akong. It’s a stringed instrument that comes in different sizes so they make some serious music. I made a video with sound. (Click here to view on youtube.) As we began worship I was really feeling the need to repent about my attitude this morning. When I finally did, I enjoyed the great worship with this church full of brothers and sisters. The church was packed plus there were children and a few adults standing outside. When I got up to preach, I had to be careful not to step on some young children that were sitting at my feet. The Lord has many ways to humble us. This felt like the best sermon that I’ve preached since I’ve been here. If I had begged out and stayed home I would have missed so much.
We were asked to pray for a new born at the giving of the child’s name, which a big deal for them. This beautiful new born was named Alan which total freaked me out. I mean the “you’ve got to be kidding, no way, fall out of your seat” kind of freaking out. My first spiritual farther was named Alan and was one of the greatest lovers of God that I’ve ever known, which is what I preached on. The Lord gave me a word for this humble new mom. I explained about my spiritual farther and what a great man of God he was then I told her and the church that God would raise up this child to also become a great lover of God!!!! The whole church went wild clapping and the women making this sound that they make.
Now you guys that know me know that now I was really freaked out. That’s not something that I do. Left to myself, I would have missed out on all of these many blessings. I wasn’t holding on to the Rock very well but it seems that the Rock had hold of me this morning to kept me from being washed away by my own stuff. He always provides for us even when we are not wanting Him to.
The ride home was still long and I played another round of “butt and head”. The Bishop seemed to feel a bit of a need for speed so it was a tie, both my butt and hurt pretty much the same. Thank the Lord for Aleve and Tylenol!!!!