Molding a lump of clay

Molding a lump of clay
I am a work in progress, molded by my Maker, refined by His fire, shaped with His love. Walk the journey with me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Christmas in Uganda

All the signs of winter are here: dead leaves fall from the trees and crunch underfoot; the grass withers; the land lies fallow; my lips crack; a head cold sets in. It could be winter in my home state of Washington, except that it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit here in Arua, Uganda. Rather than cold and brittle, the wind is hot and dry. Instead of little piles of snow along the window ledges, we get piles of dust and cracked leaves. We sing Jingle Bells and dashing through the snow, but really we’re beating drums and splashing in the pool.

I miss the snow, but I love being warm. After 11 years, I’ve adapted to East African Christmases, and learned a thing or two about cooking from scratch. A roast turkey dinner takes on a whole new appreciation when you have to take the turkey from the clucking stage, to the non-clucking stage. Growing up, we used to pop into the supermarket, pick out a frozen turkey carcass, whack it in the oven and ta da! But here we select our turkey while it’s still ruffling its feathers and pecking insects from the ground. We take it home, feed it up, and when the big day comes, my husband and the watchman slaughter and prepare it for the oven. I can’t watch. After feeding it all those weeks, I’ve gotten a little attached to it, so it’s better I stay inside until it’s time for me to stuff it.

In the US, we go to a parking lot and pick out a Christmas tree from the many brought in from nearby farms. Here, we go and cut the top off someone’s pine hedge. This year we had to dodge a swarm of bees that had made a hive in the lower part of the tree, but we still managed to cut the top off without anyone getting stung.

The best part of Christmas, though, is gathering with our friends and neighbors,
(this year people representing Sudan, Uganda, Canada, England and America), and celebrating the gift of fellowship made possible through the incarnation of God in the form of Jesus. Without Jesus reconciling us to the Father, we could never sit together in such love and unity. It’s a small picture of what it will be like to feast around the banqueting table in Heaven with every tribe and tongue in attendance. How much more will we enjoy the fullness of the Body of Christ then!

But for now, let us continue to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth as we seek God’s will in our lives and relationships. Whether in snowy climes, or arid savannahs, may the joy of the Lord be our strength, and His will our desire.


Esthermay said...

I couldn't help smiling the entire time I read this.
God must smile (probably giggle a bit too) when he looks at His children in their various life situations across the globe - While we whine about snow and ice in Minnesota - surely there are those in tropical climates complaining of the humidity.
HIS Creation is amazing and we EACH have much to be thankful for indeed!
Thanks for sharing the pictures of that poor turkey.

Laurie Ann said...

Thanks for sharing Christmas in Africa with us. I cannot imagine the culture shock! I recently read a book called The Poisonwood Bible about a missionary family in the Congo and found it fascinating. I'm glad I found your blog through WFW. I'd love to follow you and stay in touch! Thank you so much for doing God's work there.

Laurie Ann said...

Hi. It's me again. I have something here for you:
Love ya,Laurie Ann