Back from Bombo. Back in this time zone. Fall is here, and I can’t wait to see what God will do. I know there are some areas of struggle in our church. Some personal. Some health. Some corporate. Some relational. But this I do know: great is the faithfulness of God. His mercies, they are new each and every morning. And they will be new once again for us this fall as well.
I always come home from Uganda with fresh insight into the faithfulness of God. And that keeps me going for another year. But this year things were different. Maybe I was a bit more alert to the work of God in that dusty place. We’ve done 11 clinics, and I’ve been there 12 times. That’s a lot. But is it enough? And that is sort of my point. Sometimes it takes our faithfulness to teach others of the faithfulness of God.
Ministry is not something that you can do in a few days or even a few months. You demonstrate love by being present over the long haul. A one-week clinic is not the best way to teach faithfulness, but a one-week clinic repeated as faithfully as Peninsula has done, will, after a while, make more significant impact in the community than we could imagine after year one, or five, or even 10. As the same faces show up year after year, I learned that impact cannot be measured in the stats of each year.
There is a father and his adult son who show up every year. Dad is sick but can get around. They know me now. Their smiles are huge when I see them for the first time each year. I’m pretty sure they are Muslim. Dad has an ugly (and painful) sore on his ankle. It never seems to heal. He’s seen some doctors in between clinics, and he needs much more than we can offer. But he comes for a checkup and for some Unna Boots, medicated gauze wrappings that promote healing. They are ace bandages with cream.
Will they cure him? No, apparently not. But they relieve his pain and give him some hope. There are systemic issues that he has to deal with and we are working on those issues, too. Sometimes, though, that cup of cold water is an Unna Boot. Water doesn’t heal, but it can refresh. Pastor Alex is going to meet with this old man in the coming weeks and explain to him the hope we have in Jesus. There are several of those conversations Alex can have and will have over the next few weeks. The clinic opens doors. Faithfulness opens more doors.
Sometimes you just have to show up to make a difference in a life. The more faithful you are, the more impact you will have. It’s true in your small group, in children’s ministry, and youth ministry. Showing up makes a statement. God never fails to show up in my life — so let me be like Him. We see things we cannot cure. We hold hands that won’t last long on this earth. We sacrifice a little for those who don’t have very much. I wouldn’t have it any other way. We just have to show up. This fall, where do you need to simply…show up?