I woke up Sunday morning and the first thing that popped into my mind was the Great Commission, from Matthew 28. I'd like to say that Bible verses always come to mind first thing in the morning but that's not true. So I took that seriously. I read the passage and made some notes on a card, and off and on all day I thought about it. Our other talks had been Moses' last words, these were Jesus'. He tells His followers that basically, there is still a lot of work to do to bring the Kingdom to the nations, that they must now go and carry on. That fit with the day, remembering what God hath wrought . . but also exhorting the people of Bundibugyo to take up the joy of teaching, preaching, healing for the world's good and God's glory. And the commission is framed by two truths: Jesus is powerful, and Jesus is present (All power has been given . . I am with you always). By passing through the cross, through death, Jesus was able to assure His listeners that the Victory is sure. I think traditional African religion reflects much truth, but people need to know that no power of hell or scheme of man can come between them and God, and that God is not a distant or disinterested or neutral force. Powerful and present.
And I wanted to end with the idea that the testimonies of the day were proof that GOD LOVES BUNDIBUGYO. Some have written that the crisis of Africa is a crisis of confidence. So perhaps the greatest gift to give our friends would be point them to God's love for them. That all this testimony of schools started and students sponsored and diseases survived and churches planted and marriages saved, shows that they are not forgotten.
I did say all that, because it is true. But as I sat through the day, my perspective changed. From: God sent us to Bundibugyo, because God loves Bundibugyo. To: God sent us to Bundibugyo, because God loves ME.
What a gift, to have lived a full life in this place of in-your-face reality, of life-and-death drama, of deeper-than-culture friendships. I love these Rwenzori Mountains and our simple cement-floored home and our semi-farmish life. I love being right in the medical trenches day by day, hands-on in the struggle. I love these kids who call us "mom" and "dad" and whose lives have become intertwined with ours. I love the pass-through-fire-and-water strength of our team community.
So my last words to Bundibugyo came deeply and immediately from the heart. Not to be encouraged by what they've seen God do through WHM for them, but to be encouraged by what God did through them for me.