This is Vena, wife to Wilfred Rugumba (who directs Mercy Childcare Ministries [MCM]), and her younger son, Joshua. Amazingly, I just got to see them IN the U.S. last weekend as they have been visiting churches/groups informing them about God’s work at MCM. I love this pic–they’re both as cute as can be!
You are about to re-enter the United States. This can be a difficult transition after being in Africa. Though you long to see family and friends and you want, too, some of the comforts we’re accustomed to, it’s not a simple adjustment. You will probably see “stuff” differently. We have three general temptations as we return to the States: 1. We try to forget, particularly the difficult feelings/thoughts we experienced; 2. We look down on others for not feeling as we do about Africa and providing for the poor; or 3. We feel guilty.
Katie writes about re-adjustment difficulties in chapter 7 (see page 121 in particular). You may want to re-read that chapter. Bottom line, though: you HAVE to stay close to Christ during this transition time. You have to take all your confusion and frustration and guilt to Him. He has a good work to do in you through all this. Go to Him.
Commit to praying for each other,
Commit to getting together to pray for your African brothers and sisters.
May God use all that we’ve experienced to help us to…
See/know Him more clearly
Love Him more dearly
And follow Him more nearly.*
Day after day.
*prayer by Richard, Bishop of Chichester, early 1300s
Shoes vs. Feet
Rich and Poor
Jesus said, “You will always have poor among you.”
We know that we, as Americans, are among the richest people in the world. Much of the time we can ignore this uncomfortable truth: that while we live in plenty, others suffer and die from the lack of food, shelter, and medicine. But on a trip like this, we can ignore it no longer, and that is a good thing. God does not want us to live in ignorance of the needs of others. So what do we do with this tension?
Questions for thought/discussion
- What are our responsibilities for/to the poor?
- What do we “do” with the extravagance/materialism of our culture and the great need of people in places like Africa?
- How do we avoid giving out of guilt? What’s the “right” motivation for giving?
- What do we do with the argument that we have needy people in the U.S. and we should give to them first?
- How does contentment relate to this issue? What does contentment look like in our home culture? Not just being content in having less than some BUT in having more than others? Is there such a thing in being content in having more?
- How does God view our homes/our spaces/our stuff? Is sharing more difficult than giving outright?