rotating header

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Journeying with Jesus

This was the theme on which Donovan spoke to us, or rather didn't speak much but led us into times of silence and reflection.  He prepared four evening meditations and four morning times of processing and journaling and listening to God.  These turned out to be the perfect framework for the work of the rest of the day, personal depth out of which to enter into trust and dream and plan and refine goals with the group.  We did some interesting exercises together to understand our unique gifts and affirm them, as well as consider our challenges and sins and pray for them.  The heart of the team time involved trying to narrow our focus to the main thing God was asking of our team in 2009, and here again Donovan's theme proved useful.  We built on previous retreats in which we had developed vision (destination) and mission (the road to get there) . . . by describing our current focus as method (the vehicle in which we will traverse this winding and muddy road this year).  
"By prayer and partnership, investing in emerging Ugandan leadership as we work together to  show the compassion of Jesus to the poorest".
This sense that God is calling us in all our work to invest in emerging leaders is not new, and has been a large part of the CSB purpose and our many sponsorships through schools of nursing, theology, education, medicine, etc.  But it was helpful as a team to consider our work strategically from this perspective, to pare down some draining but less productive activities, and to challenge each other to consider new ways to invest in people.  And to remember that we do not do this in order to make leaders powerful or wealthy, but in order to multiply the hands that serve the world.  Once we had committed to this method we were able to look at data from our diverse areas of ministry and discuss and apportion our 2009 plans.  
Meanwhile Bethany, former teacher of our kids and recent seminary counseling grad, worked with the team kids as a group and met with them individually.  And she was unexpectedly boosted by the availability of teacher Laura from Fort Portal, so we were well cared for.  The pruning loss of 2008 has hit the kids' hearts too, and we are thankful Bethany was able to join us in ministry to them.  All of this occurred in the spectacular setting of a nearby safari tented camp . . the word "tent" being rather a weak association for the tastefully laid out bedrooms on private platforms where porches overlook trees of monkeys or kob coming to a water hole.  One evening the whole team went on a game drive in two open jeeps, the cool breeze as the sun set, the scuttling wart hogs and the gruffly suspicious buffalo, and even an elusive family of forest elephants disappearing into the swampy reeds of the river's ravine.  The sheer relief of having meals served with candlelight and flare, of hearing nothing but birds . . it was very restful.
We are thankful for the many prayers which brought us through this time.  I struggled with a mild fever and bothersome respiratory infection and Scott was truly seriously ill with high fevers and shaking chills causing him to miss some of the sessions, so we are very aware that the peace and beauty and productivity came at a cost.  Looking back I see that all we asked for, we received:  the testimonies of our hearts confirm that God did show up, the amazing announcement on the last morning of a hugely generous gift from two of our supporters to CSB that had been delayed by our mis-management of communication came as a redemptive "Lord will fight your battle" moment, the synergy of our meeting times gave us a greater sense of unity, the kids had a great time, even down to the final detail that the one meal hungry Naomi spoke of longing for (lasagna, not very common in rural Bundibugyo) appeared as our final menu . . all of this once again encourages us to keep our eyes on the LORD and wait and see the things He will do this year.
It's a wild journey.

No comments: