Saturday, June 12, 2010

Death ~ 1 Corinthians 15:51-58

"The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ"
1 Corinthians 15:56-57

After getting off the plane in San Fransisco, returning from Africa, the team and I walked to the baggage claim area. We were all looking to collect our large trunks and suitcases filled with gifts we had purchased in Uganda. I thought I would be efficient by grabbing the biggest cart I could find so all our trunks could go out together. Some of the team gave me a strange look and then suddenly an airport employee came after me saying, "I am sorry those carts are for the caskets". I felt like a stupid red neck missionary at that point. As it turned out none of our bags arrived that day. It actually took four more days before they got to Medford.

There were a lot of stories of death and disease we also brought back from Uganda. Stories of fatal accidents and near misses. Widows who lost their husbands to HIV and who now suffer from it. The heart breaking stories of orphans suffering from HIV, TB, Malaria, malnutrition and abuse. I could tell about government corruption and inefficiency. I could go on about petty crime, lies and pride. However in the time it took our trunks to finally arrive I was reminded of the stories we have to share of love, life and hope. Death has no sting, our victory is in Jesus.

We have returned home not with a message of death but hope for a far away land. One of the orphanages in Jinja is called Welcome Home Africa. This group gives me hope that there are people working for these children's future Their motto is "To love and care for destitute babies back to health; or into Jesus' loving arms." Another orphanage called Our Own Home is a place specifically for children who have HIV. Above the main door are the words to Psalm 100. They also sang the Psalm to us. They sang praises to God and cheerfully wanted whatever God had for them.

Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
~Psalm 100

These people and many others give me hope that Jesus is working in the hearts of the people of Uganda but there is still much to do. The team and myself were a part of a wonderful work of God. I thank God He chose to use us. I continue to give thanks to God , who gives us victory in Jesus Christ. What we bring home from Africa is not death but a testimony about God who is living, loving and powerfully at work in Africa.




  1. Very good. I too hear from you guys...(the team)..that there is such hope. I hear very sad stories, but always with a message of hope attached, and that is only by our Lord. I'm encouraged that as much sadness and sickness as you guys experienced everyone is encouraged and ready to go back, or the Lord has laid something on each of your hearts to do something to make even more of a difference. Very exciting.

  2. Tom, I think your last sentence, "What we bring home from Africa is not death, but a testimony about God who is living, loving and powerfully at work in Africa," is such a great encouragement as we see the world in such distress. We can make a difference through His strength & vision. We can see through His eyes..."Be thou my vision."

  3. Tom, I don't know how I missed this post, but I just saw it for the first time today. Wherever we are, God is living, loving and at work, but it is so clearly seen where the darkness is so great. He is good, and He offers the only real hope for any of us. Thanks for being a part of a team that God used to share His love and do His work in Africa.