Friday, April 19, 2013

High Fives at Ugandan Immigration

"More time wasted, more money wasted.." these were thoughts that loomed in the back of my mind as I drove back to Kampala for the umpteenth time in the last couple months. I have been trying to complete the renewal process of my work permit so that our continued stay and work in Uganda is legal. To counter these negative and faithless thoughts i have been practising my two minute prayers. A few of my missionary buddies and i meet together to encourage each-other to encounter God in our daily lives. I suggested we take the David Allen's Two Minute Rule and apply it to our prayer life. The Two Minute Rule goes something like this: if there is something you can do in two minutes then do it immediately. We thought, well, we can pray about anything in two minutes so we can be filling our day with Two Minute Prayers; thus we would be able to watch and experience God work in our ordinary circumstances. My weekly trips to immigration were perfect chances to practice my two minute prayers. For those of you who have dealt with being a foreigner anywhere or having members of your family who are foreigners to the country where you are living, you will understand the difficulties and frustrations of immigration issues. In Uganda you can then add the high levels of corruption and inefficiency and you have what cooks up to be a pretty stressful situation when you go to the Internal Affairs office in Kampala. As the anxiousness would surround me and possible negative scenarios would run through my mind I would send up my prayers for success at the Immigration Offices. I caught myself getting dragged into the doubting and negative posture that most foreigners put themselves in when at Uganda Immigration. I asked God for forgiveness for my low expectations and continued to pray for good results. Today, the lady who works in the work permit office saw me and recognised me from my numerous other unsuccessful visits. When I showed her my file number on my crinkled sip she quickly had my Work Permit Assessment in hand and passed it to me. I was relieved and overjoyed! I rhetorically asked her "Are high fives allowed at Immigration?" I passed my open hand through the metal bars and she gave me a high five. I was glad that the my permit had been renewed but I was also glad that God had been slowly working in the undercurrents of my heart to actually include the immigration staff in my celebration instead of being antagonistic towards them. Have you seen God change your heart through two minute prayers?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom Through Farming

Did you know that there are 1 billion people in Africa? Did you know that out of these 1 billion people 3 billion are Christians? No, that’s not a typo and yes, that doesn't make any sense. Amazingly, although Africa has been saved three times over (when you compile evangelistic statistics from the continent) for all of our salvations we have not seen the effect of the salt of the earth on the societies and cultures of Africa. At our Farming God’s Way trainings we often ask our participants “Why is there both a high level of Christianity and also high levels of disease, corruption and wars in Africa? Could it be that the gospel being preached is not the true gospel; a gospel that produces practical change and spiritual fruit?” In Africa we have a “conversion” gospel where people become Christians for a whole host of reasons. But most do not understand the Gospel of The Kingdom; the gospel that Jesus preached; a gospel that calls people to repentance and obedience. Most Africans know a false, perverted or diluted Gospel which preaches health and wealth to those who follow Christ; not a gospel that requires humility and obedience. The Farming God’s Way curriculum provides an amazing entry point to demonstrate to people that God is not only interested in all areas of life but he rules the world and all that is in it. Many are surprised to know that God has something to say about farming. After a few sessions they catch on. As we wait in line for tea or lunch delegates have asked me “ …what about family God’s way? What about marriage God’s way?” -- I can tell that they have started to get the point. God rules over all the earth and He cares for it as well. He also has never revoked his first commandments to mankind of being fruitful and caring for the earth. Once we discover that we are ultimately stewards of the earth and all that God gives us we have started to understand our role in His Kingdom. It is difficult work fighting false gospels, especially when they are so prevalent, but it is good and rewarding work because we are able to see real and lasting change.