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Africa Inland Mission

Hey! We aren’t behind on blogging this week! We have spent the last 2 weeks at the center, and it is really good to be home. We even got some projects started this week! This is particularly exciting for our American selves, because most of the work we have done thus far does not have a concrete outcome. Much of the “work” we do centers on just being with the people here.

The culture here is very relational, and we have made many friends; particularly with the staff. Many of the workers here speak English quite well and this certainly helps. Never the less, just being does not come all that easily, especially when I am looking for a concrete task to complete. So we learn new habits and ways to be. Sitting and talking is what I do for my work, but this kind is different. There is often no object to the conversation, and most of these talks are not explicitly about the gospel. This makes it hard to consider myself a “productive missionary” (whatever that is). Even so, these conversations are wonderful. Even the times when we don’t explicitly cover the gospel, it is possible to see the way Christ is moving in this place or in a specific person. The relational culture provides an excellent picture of the body of Christ.

Last week Emmy talked about the body of Christ, and I’m going to do it again. Here in Africa we meet so many different people with different views on everything. On the flip side, praise God because, when you meet a Christian there is a common thread of Christ that ties together all of these different perspectives. This common belief unites us with strangers in a strange and exciting way. Unity in the spirit allows us to speak our hearts to others. Even better, Unity allows others to see our hearts. Growing in the Spirit goes beyond the limits of language. We can talk to the mother of a child with Autism and tell her honestly that there is nothing apart from the love of Jesus to help her son.

So many times this is not what she wants to hear. Bazungu (white people) represent money and medicine in the villages. For many of these children neither of those things will help, but mothers still come for miles with their children and expect help. For these mothers all we have to offer is Christ. We cannot fix their problems. We can only be with them. We offer them encouragement and love. These intangible gifts are certainly not what the majority of the people are looking for, but they are the only gifts of consequence. The unifying belief in Christ allows us to confidently share the good news, and best of all, it allows the hearer to understand.

I am concerned that this post is a little on the heavy/confusing side, so I will end with a short story.

 

Ugandan Transportation and Teleportation: Is there a difference?

Ugandan taxis defy the laws of mathematics, physics, space, time, and often man. To begin with, An 8 passenger van is modified to legally carry 14. This misunderstanding of the manufacturer’s intentions is compounded further as the conductor continually stops to add more and more passengers until the vehicle contains 20 souls (22 if you count chickens). The conductor himself will gladly offer his own seat which serves as his base when he is not jutting 78% of his body out the window to scan for passengers to fill the remaining air volume in the cabin. Of course, this means that when he gives the “down periscope” order to his exposed limbs and trunk; he will sit in your lap.

Once the seething clump of souls in the taxi reaches critical mass, the supposedly diesel fueled, nuclear reactor, under the hood turns over and the driver snaps the reins. Sadly there is no scientific instrument sensitive enough to measure the interval between full stop and full speed. Suffice to say that time probably does not pass. In any case, the speedometer on the dash now reads 80. There are no clearly marked units but one assumes meters per second.

The speed is exhilarating until the casual human sardine looks out the window. Certain death and gruesome carnage are perpetually imminent. The boda boda (2 passenger dirt bikes that carry anywhere from 1 to 4 people, or 2 people and 3 goats) drivers scatter like schools of fish fleeing a shark. The driver uses his horn to announce his presence on the road and attract passengers. However, it seems unlikely that the sound of the beep will reach the intended target before the taxi. Never the less, the driver relentless taps out an indecipherable rhythm on his steering wheel.

Overtaking and slower vehicle takes significant mathematical calculations and a generous helping of bravery. Every taxi is painted the same and it seems that they repaint their taxis by rubbing up against other vehicles at high speed, passing just close enough to scrape off at microscopic layer of paint.

Suddenly the taxi collides with an oncoming lorry at speeds that would make an interstellar shuttle blush. Thankfully, travel near the speed of light converts the mass of the taxi and its 36 passengers into a highly energized plasma. The taxi passes through the lorry unharmed, but a little disoriented. Arrival is a rather sudden affair.

The transition from traveling at the speed of a bullet fired from a space ship traveling at the speed of light which has been fired from another space ship traveling at twice the speed of light; to zero takes a negative amount of time. The bones of the passengers re-congeal into their proper shape and their organs slow their bouncing. After their eye sight returns they are surprised to find that they have arrived at their destination 4 minutes before they left. Unless they were traveling in Kampala, then they were in traffic and often find that their infant children are now grandparents.

It’s exhilarating.

-A.B.

4 Responses to “The Body of Christ and public transit”

  1. christina gunther Says:

    Aaron, I enjoyed the first portion of your blog about the body of Christ bc I’m always trying to figure out what you are doing day to day, week to week. But, your taxi description cracked me up! The sad thing is that most of it is probably true!

  2. Amanda Pink Says:

    HA! Awesome taxi description. (I had illustrations going through my head of a magic bus with everyone and their mother and chickens packed happily and riding along… with Aaron in the driver’s seat… with the driver on his lap. Ha!) 🙂
    And amen! Christ is our unifying belief and found at the center of all things. I love that all the glory is being given to your Father! He deserves all of this! Praying for you guys!

  3. Luke Says:

    Hi guys,

    My name is Luke and I am travelling out to Acheru to work as a Physiotherapist, I am from Ireland and am volunteering there for 9 months or so. I happened to come across your blog and it has throughly entertained me, especially that taxi excerpt haha. Anyway, seeing as this will be my first time to Africa, I was wondering if you could maybe give me a heads up with a few things/advice/tips!? Keep up the great work!

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