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Monday, August 13, 2007

Prayer and reality

Yesterday can only be described as :  full.  After the usual morning chaos of getting everyone up, ready, breakfasts and lunches to go . . . I headed to the hospital to try and see all 37 inpatients and organize those who needed food for Stephanie to serve, before coming back up to the community center for the Kwejuna Project food distribution.  We asked the Batstones to come and pray for the women in small groups.  It turned out that we had a record day:  164 women!  We used to think anything over a hundred was nearly impossible . . . My favorite part of those days is when mothers come from the HIV testing room with negative results on their toddlers, and we can rejoice together.  My least favorite part was asking one woman about her child as we registered her, and she got tears in her eyes when she had to tell me the baby had died last month.  That’s how it is, a sense of rescue tempered by the grief of loss.  Ruth Ann and Stu were troopers, taking over 20 prayer sessions.  They found the women and even some of the older kids willing to share their problems, their aches and pains, their anxiety about the future.  I find that in that situation as a fix-it doctor and a can-do American, it is challenging to believe in the reality of the spiritual transaction of prayer being of value in a desperate person’s life.  Meanwhile as Ruth Ann stayed on to speak and Pamela to organize the actual distribution of oil, beans, salt, and a small transport stipend (I told her that each month the challenge of the crowd increases, but she manages to stay amazingly organized and able to serve), I came back home to check on kids post-school and make a massive amount of bread for the next couple of days.  As that dough was rising we had a previously scheduled check-up for a team member who has been sick before going down in the afternoon to meet with the Barts and Pierces about some issues related to housing and transition at CSB.  We had just about finished that meeting when someone came with an urgent message that a baby had been dropped and “something was coming out of his head”.  Envisioning brains spilling through a skull we rushed back up to the community center to find a 3 month old twin who had slipped out of his mother’s hands in the transfer of babies with her other kid . . . But only a little lump of swelling, nothing serious.  Good.  At that point it was almost 5 and Scott had to go to Bundibugyo town to pick up someone trying to get here to advise us about solar power for the new ward, so I stopped by to check on the Gray family with three sick boys.  All had the same nasty GI bug that swept through other sectors of the team last week, but were beginning to improve.  We paused to pray for a reconciliation meeting Rick was holding with a couple whom we had nearly given up on, a real answer to prayer.  While we were doing that Karen rushed in to say come quickly, Michael is hurt, and it turned out he had a corneal abrasion from an accident with some pliers . . . He’ll be OK, but it did look pretty impressive when I bandaged his eye.  As they left I was delighted to notice that some mysterious angels had cleaned up my kitchen while I was gone in meetings, something that does not often happen to me, so I’m ready to keep our guests forever.  The evening was complicated by Scott as chairman of the board at CSB trying to deal with the solar power consultant and attend a good-bye party for the deputy headmaster Katajeera who is returning to school for two years for a Master’s degree.  Thankfully Scotticus the cook had chosen yesterday to invite Luke and Caleb to do a cooking lesson, so they contributed half the dinner, and by 8 we were all enjoying a fantastic meal with Donovan Graham and hearing about how much FUN he had leading a seminar that morning for Christ School teachers, on the concept of seeing students as beings created in the image of God, and how that impacts style and content in the classroom!

So, a full day, but one in which I sensed God moving in CSB teachers, in Donovan’s excitement, in Pamela’s hard work, in the massive response of women, in the heartfelt prayers extending love to them from the Batstones, in the preservation of Michael’s vision, in common ground in meetings, in hope of reconciliation in this Ugandan couple’s marriage, and even in the very Biblical joy of a good feast at the end of a long day.  Prayer meets reality on days like this.

1 comment:

Larissa said...

good heavens - what a day! Praying for you and missing you all.