This week I made my last visit to the town of Kabale to spend time in the boys’ ABIDE house there. Throughout the past several months, the many journeys that have been taken on that road between Mbarara and Kabale usually involve some car trouble. We have really sensed Satan’s attack on our attempts to go and minister with those students each time. In high school, when we would go on trips with the youth group, I used to say that if a van didn’t break down then that was a problem. After all, the vehicles always seemed to be Satan’s primary object of attack. If the van didn’t break down, we would wonder if Satan even cared about the trip we were taking.
Well, Tuesday afternoon we were driving along, and about halfway through, I was reminded of all those attacks throughout the past five months. I didn’t say anything aloud, but I wondered about our smooth travels.
We reached the house safely in the evening. While enjoying supper with the boys, I led a purity class. I have done this once before with them…The first time I told them they could ask me any question they’ve always wanted to ask girls, but couldn’t. Boy did they have some good questions! I think we could’ve talked for hours if they weren’t so tired! However, this week class was a bit more formal, with PowerPoint and everything. Yet there was still time for questions. Purity classes are new to ABIDE this year (the girls of 2013 also had it), and I have really enjoyed being a part of it in both houses. It is such an important topic that is often neglected.
The next morning I shared some banana bread with staff and students that I had baked earlier in the week. It was a nice treat with our hot tea. After breakfast, we always start the day with a time of devotions together. One student leads praise and worship, while another shares a message about the theme. After an enthusiastic time of praising our God, instead of a typical message, some students demonstrated that they had successfully memorized John 15, the foundational text for the ABIDE program. I was quite impressed, and encouraged to see their diligence and enthusiasm!
Afterwards, I enjoyed sitting in on the lesson from John 17:1-5, Christ’s prayer for himself before he was betrayed and arrested. It’s actually the second time I’ve sat through Michael (ABIDE Director) teaching this lesson, and even though I knew what to anticipate, I was still encouraged. In the prayer, Jesus asks that when He returns to heaven that His glory would be returned to him, like it was before coming to Earth. Looking at Revelation 1, and seeing John’s response to Jesus’ glory–falling down as if he was dead–opened my eyes to an interesting truth. If Jesus had come to Earth in His full glory, His ministry would not have been effective, because no one would have been able to come close to him. Wow! That’s amazing to think about!
From class, Michael, Kenneth (another staff member), and I met an alumnus from 2013 for lunch that we hadn’t seen since graduation in December. It was a good reunion. Something about the lunch was extra sweet…I practically licked my plate clean! (I think it was the mushroom soup I put on my rice that really did it for me…) After saying goodbye to the alumnus, we headed back to the house for a brief meeting with the staff, then loaded up the car.
Michael and I were heading back to Mbarara, but we were giving two other staff members (Sam & Pius) a ride to town. But first, Michael needed to stop at a high school for some quick business with a staff member. We encouraged Sam & Pius to just come with us since it would only take a couple minutes. When we arrived at the school they enthusiastically welcomed us…a little too enthusiastically, since three of us were simply planning to stay in the car while we waited for Michael. Well…a fellowship (like an evening church service) was just starting, and they were inviting us. You see, the ABIDE boys usually come to this fellowship and lead praise and worship, preach, etc. But they hadn’t come because they were preparing to leave for a long mission. The staff of the high school thought we had come in their place. They insisted we come and someone share a message from God’s Word with the students who were already gathered and singing. So…we grabbed our Bibles and went.
As Michael went for his short meeting, the other three of us slid onto a bench by the door. Sam, Pius, and I looked at each other, asking who had a message to share. Meanwhile, the chapel leader was asking the speaker to come to the front. I looked at my coworkers and sad, Well, I have a message if you don’t. They told me to go ahead. So, I walked to the podium, opened my Bible, found a couple of post-its that had notes for a brief message on unity, which I had shared with my girls early this week, and tuaght from God’s Word. (Maybe I’ll post my message in another blog…this one is starting to feel a bit too long…) After I sat down, and the students appreciated me for what I shared, Michael (who had arrived halfway through my message) also stood up and took a few minutes to share the Gospel. Four boys gave their lives to Christ as a result! It was certainly good that we had stopped at that time, and accepted the invitation to go inside and minister to the students! We were all blessed as a result. Like Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:2, we should preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season…
After that impromptu ministry, we got back in the car, and took Sam and Pius to town, then drove off…For awhile…Like 20 minutes. Then we heard an unusual noise near the front passenger tire. (It’s a good thing my dad always emphasized turning the radio off and listening to my car so I would know when things didn’t sound right.) Maybe Satan didn’t attack us on our way to Kabale, but he wasn’t happy with what God had just done through us, so he attacked us on our way out of Kabale. After a little investigation, calling a mechanic, waiting for him to arrive, and watching him stuff a couple rags somewhere as a temporary solution, we were back on the road again…moving slowly, and praying for God’s protection for the rest of our journey.
Eventually we made it home around 11pm. I don’t know if that journey between Mbarara & Kabale has ever been the 2 1/2 hours it is supposed to be for me. Meanwhile, I’m getting really familiar with the side of the road…