rotating header

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bragging about the Son

I love the little country church near our farm, where a half dozen people felt inspired to come and shake our hands in welcome this morning even though we came in late and the service had started, and almost to a person they asked if we had walked to church in this sub-zero weather (we had), amused in a delighted way by our idiosyncrasies.  Being Valentine's Day, we were almost the only people not wearing red or pink.  The pastor, in fact, had a bright pink t-shirt on under his formal white button shirt (and his red-hearts-with-cartoon-characters tie).  He explained that his lack of fashion wast to illustrate a point-we all noticed the pink showing through, just as God sees the hearts of all people under whatever we put on top to show the world. But my favorite line today from the sermon:  If you want to please God, try bragging on his Son.  As a parent, I can relate to that.  What is better than having other people notice how great your kids are?  So, here are a few brags about Jesus, and what's happened this week.

Katuramu's smile

The class of 2007
First, we got the gratifying news this week that Katuramu Taddeo, one of the young men who attended Christ School on a scholarship for orphans, in Luke's class, successfully completed his final exams in medical school.  I remember six years ago, on a disaster-laden trip to Gulu to support the girls' football team and Julia, we took Katuramu to try and get him an admission to that medical school, and failed.  But God opened another door, and in partnership between the funds raised after Dr. Jonah's death and a couple from Florida, he was able to complete his degree at KIU.  You would never guess from this kids's cheerful heart that he lost both parents and has taken on jobs from shoe-repair to tutoring to make it through school.  He is a gem.  His nick-name in secondary school was "Pastor".  He and Luke competed in a way that spurred each other on.  We rejoice that God saw him, put him in the right place to get this degree, and will bless many in Uganda through his life.

Ivan and our kids at his A-level school

Another of our "foster-sons" Ivan got his A-level scores this week, with successful results.  Another, Kadima, preparing to graduate with a diploma in Agribusiness Management, sent his final transcript with grades worth celebrating.  These are kids who have to work hard to overcome their less-than-ideal start in the world of education, and we rejoice with them.

And another, Basime Godfrey who already graduated from University a few years ago, sent the good news that he and his wife had a baby girl, Natalie Atugonza.  Their first child died because of the difficulty of accessing a C-section when labor arrested.  This time thanks to our team on the ground, we were able to get him funds in advance, just in case.  Which proved to be the difference between life and death, because another C-section was needed, and all are so far well.  Keep praying!

Our former Team Leaders Travis and Amy Johnson celebrated milestone birthdays this week (hint, they are twice as old as they look, and way younger than us).  Nearly 3 years ago (in March) Travis was diagnosed with an aggressive colon cancer.  Those three years have been a long battle, with hopes risen and dashed and risen again.  As treatment continues, we rejoice that they were able to have a blast (it looks like!) romantic Bday trip, and we keep praying and hoping for full healing.

Baby Eliana, the pre-term little girl born to some of our missionaries in Nairobi, gained enough weight to go home.  Cheers!

That's a list of spotting places where God has graciously given recognizable gifts this week, where it is easy to brag on Jesus.  But in every single story, there is an undercurrent of pain as well.  Those boys who are graduating are still facing a life stacked against them.  Those babies have a long way to go.  Those friends are still battling cancer.  As an excellent must-read article by Kate Bowler put it today, "Life is Beautiful.  Life is Hard."  And that sums it up.  The paradox of bragging on Jesus is that Jesus doesn't always do things the way we wish.  But he is always good.

No comments: