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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Participating in Resurrection: Bring the Fish

Easter is more than a day, it is a season of the church calendar, an epoch of history. Yesterday's reading came from John 21, where the perhaps bewildered disciples have returned to their previous occupation as fisherman. They've had glimpses of Jesus, but life has radically changed. Rather than the thrill and intensity of daily movement through the crowds, they have scattered without a clear plan for ongoing mission, without a clear assurance of when they would next encounter him. Sort of like all of us, now. Naturally they return to fishing, but they're having a fruitless night on the water, empty nets. Very much like us. As the sky fades into the grey of dawn, they see a man cooking on the shore, who calls and tells them to throw the net out one more time over the starboard side. This time they haul in a shockingly abundant and specific 153 large fish, and as they haul and laugh it occurs to them, this is Jesus. Who then tells them, "Bring some of those fish you have just caught."

Did he need more fish? He already had fish and bread roasting over the charcoal. But just as he told the crowd to move the stone and unwrap the embalming cloths upon raising Lazarus, Jesus asks for participation in the meal.  Bring your fish. Bring your livelihood. Contribute your skills. What you do matters. 

Surely, God could shake up the corrupt governments, could strike down the suicide bomb planners, could heal all the malarious fevers, could open the water pipes and purify food supplies. God could personally appear, in dreams and visions, to every household. And yet, Jesus says, bring the fish. Go out and use your skills, your training, your passions, for the nourishing good of yourselves and this world. Join with me in reaching all people, renewing all believers, restoring all things.

So here we are, spending some days in futility, some nights feeling our powerlessness, empty nets and unclear futures. Yet Jesus appears in the morning fog, and invites us to participate in the resurrection he is accomplishing. That means showing up at the hospital where on Thursday there were 96 patients on the ward designed for 25 beds. Slogging through, bending, stooping, laying on hands and probing, questioning, checking meds and pulses, making plans, identifying the handful who are critical. That meant Dr. Marc yesterday seeking out a child with a femur fracture we had seen earlier in the week: this 4 year old was hit by a soldier on a speeding boda, then when we sent her to the operating theatre to reduce and cast the broken leg under anesthesia, the staff had refused care due to the inability of the family to come up with a $50 bribe (probably a month's income for them). The family had taken this child in pain home to languish, until Marc found her and brought her back and did it all himself. That means paying for a professional auditing team to come and scrutinize our books, for World Harvest Uganda and for Christ School Bundibugyo, to be sure we are practicing good accountability and using our resources as intended, with transparency. That means preparing for new team and honoring departing apprentices. That means praying for justice. That means meetings, hours, intention, care for our team leaders around the Area, for our partners here, discussing vision and strategy and spiritual health and resources for coping. That means inviting teachers into our home for fellowship, or our grown-foster-kids over to our house for an Easter feast, building community and trust. That means planning with some of them for ongoing further education, or rejoicing with others as they complete. That means inspecting the farms the mission owns, working to make them bless others.  That means advocating for the education of our mission kids.  All of those activities have occurred this week. All of those are ways we bring our fish. Enjoy some photos below that demonstrate glimpses of participation in God's reaching, renewing, restoring work.

Easter Sunday afternoon grill-out and feast. L to R, newly minted business man, CPA, electrician, teacher, lab technician, agricultural manager, and librarian, who were once primary school kids playing in our yard. Relaxing with family and food made us feel more at home than anything else could.  Grateful.

Bundi team selfie as we said goodbye to Mary Kendall, who has served for 18 months as a nutrition apprentice.

Paeds ward, where in spite of chaotic numbers and limited resources most kids do actually get better. So much malaria with rainy season, but artesunate and blood transfusions have been life saving.

Christ School quad in the quiet of end-of-term exams, students within are consolidating the first term's knowledge before going home for their month break in the coming week.

The vision and mission: changing hearts and building competence so we send out servant-leaders into this district.

Farm tour inspection

Boda (motorcycle trauma)--can you spot the broken leg? And would you let that child go home untreated??

More boda trauma--this little girl was knocked in the head because the driver had a wide box of bread he was selling on the back, and misjudged his clearance. Possible skull fracture.

The accountants giving a preliminary report, mostly about how much we've improved!  Yeah! These are the unsung heroes of development. Watching the money flows brings justice to the poor.

This dorm was packing up, but we wanted you to see the new metal beds, safer (fire) and stronger than the old wooden ones. We and the boys who live in this dorm are truly grateful for the generosity that allowed 136 double bunks to be constructed, transported, and placed at Christ School.

Another day on the ward, running out of even floor space.

And more kids, sickle cell, malnutrition, pneumonia, burns, abscesses, trauma, malaria and more malaria.

Final pizza party with Mary and Anna, two apprentices who complete in May.

This week's group of CSB teacher families, really enjoyed their testimonies, hopes and dreams, prayer requests, commitment to educating students.  These people are the KEY to transformation.

Me enjoying my grandmother status; these kids are being raised with love by parents whose hearts have been grabbed by Jesus.

Reward for scrolling to the bottom--Wedding invite from Luke and Abby (they did small personal ones for each family member), as we prepare to return to the USA in May and June for Jack's graduation, Acacia's graduation, Krister's graduation, Luke's wedding, two reunions, thanking a handful of supporters, and spending time with our moms.

That's what this week looked like. Thanks for praying, and keep bringing your own fish.

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