First stop on this two-week tour: Baltimore, where 31 years ago I moved into the roach-and-mice infested dorms across from Johns Hopkins Hospital, walked halls that were home to some of the greatest scientists of the last century, peeled back formaldehyde-soaked grey layers of cadaver tissue and entered the world of medicine. In those sleep-deprived years of wonder and grit, my soul was tenderly cared for by the folks at Faith Christian Fellowship, where a young family took seriously the words of Jesus and moved into a troubled neighborhood to stake their lives on the hope that the Gospel could break down racial barriers, and heal streets torn apart by drugs and prostitution and many other sorts of dehumanizing violence. In my third year of medical school I moved into a house a few blocks from the church, and Scott and I worshiped there again in the two other years we lived in Baltimore, before leaving for Uganda and during our MPH back at Hopkins. Worship held hands with after-school tutoring, and decades later this tenacious counter-cultural signpost of reconciliation remains. In spite of a congregation that is largely poverty-level or students, they continue to support us and pray for us. We spent Saturday afternoon and evening catching up with our friends Pastor Craig and Maria, then getting to know a little better our hosts Ananda and Sahayini who chair the missions committee. Sunday we saw that though the faces have mostly changed, the Spirit remains the same. Wonderful music, a solid encouraging Jesus-filled sermon, and then a potluck lunch where those who were interested came to hear us speak.
Besides FCF, we were thankful in Baltimore to catch up with Ethan, a young man Luke’s age who grew up on the same street I did (only a generation later) and is now an innovative PhD student in biomedical engineering . . . and Emily, who went to Ireland with her parents years ago to run Serge’s MAP program and now is an MPH student at Hopkins as well. A fun perk of getting old certainly has to be witnessing the ingenuity and genuineness of our peer’s kids.
From Baltimore, we drove south to Charlottesville, where we both went to college (and where we met on a street corner when Scott gave me a ride to church 35 years and 2 months ago), and where Luke now studies medicine. Our main event there was an evening with the CMDA group at UVA, a gathering of a few dozen medical students with a sprinkle of residents, faculty, staff, who graciously let us talk about what it means to be a missionary doctor in this 21rst century.
And since we were there, we also took the opportunity to load Luke up on groceries then prepare a grill-out stand-in-the-yard-around-the-firepit dinner for about 15 as the full moon rose. I can’t overstate how precious it is to meet our son’s housemates and friends, to associate faces and names, to get to know these kids in a more natural context. And as a bonus, our former-Bundibugyo-missionary friends Nathan and Sarah dropped by. A Kingdom party of food and fellowship.
Sadly we left Luke sick with a flu (?) and facing an exam, so pray for him to recover both his health and all the time he devoted to our visit.
One of the purposes of this year is to make personal connections with supporters, and Eileen who went to college with us came to spend a morning with her youngest daughters, catching up. Eileen prays with informed precision and a lifetime of faith, and we are grateful.
Thanks for those who have been praying. One of our leaders, Josiah, reminded us that it isn't really what WE say, but what the Spirit makes people hear and remember that counts. So even in this job of speaking, testifying, meeting, writing it is your prayers that make this all significant for the Kingdom. Now we're in Florida for our Serge Vision Summit. Would you continue to pray for the Spirit's movement in and through us?
Lastly, please pray for our foster-son Richard Bamwaturaki, who finished high school at CSB then went on to excel in an electrician training program. He was jumped by thugs walking home at night last night and was in critical condition. The latest we have heard is that he is improving, which would be a miracle. Please pray for his healing. Protect us from the Evil One. This is a kid who has been redeemed, and now he is under attack.