Monday at lunchtime I walked in from the beach, having taken a week of vacation before gearing up for a much anticipated new season of ministry (and trying to write that DARN dissertation).
Scrolling through my Facebook feed I saw news of a tragic accident in one of West United Methodist Church’s global missional partners, Acres of Hope.
Pastor Odongo Geoffrey wrote, “Please pray for Acres of Hope United Football Club,. The soccer team and fans had a fatal accident this morning. 3 died and over 50 youth are hospitalized in critical conditions. The two that died comes from a family,the third in the same family is in critical condition too. The third child who died belong to one of our staff. God bless you for standing with us during this trying moment.”
My heart was so heavy and I, along with many other of my FB friends, posted that we would be praying.
But . . . then, my brain moved into “how can I fix it?”
I have a privilege of providing opportunities to allow people to use their gifts and resources in the Spirit of Christ to make a difference in our local communities and the greater world/
Surely there would be some way we could work together to fix it!
I messaged Pastor Geoffrey and asked him to please let me know if there was any way we could help.
He replied that he would . . . that they would have more information in 24 hours, after they got the theater fixed.
I had no clue what a “theater” was in Uganda.
I suspected it wasn’t somewhere I would go sit with some popcorn and a soda to be entertained.
He explained that it was the x-ray machine and it was broken. They were having to find a working one in order to diagnose the children.
That was going to take additional time and a much higher cost.
My brain continued to swirl around how to “fix it.”
Previously I had painted a picture in my mind of what their “bus” looked like, taking the boys to the soccer game.
It was NOTHING like the picture I saw . . . it was what we would refer to as a “long flatbed truck.”
I thought, “How sad that’s their transportation to their games. What if they had a bus . . . a bus like we have in America . . . ”
Then I thought, “Or . . . what if they could get an x-ray machine? How could we get one over there? There is a team that leaves next week.”
I was sad that “they” did not have what “we” have, here, in America.
My arrogant conclusion was that they “needed” what we “have.”
They need our way of fixing it.
Surely then – their life would be so much easier.
Or would it?
Tragedies happen. In Nebbi, Uganda. In Mooresville, North Carolina.
It is unfortunate, tragic, and sad.
But I was reminded upon further reflection and prayer that my conclusions were incorrect about how to “fix it.”
I cannot assume they “need” what we “have.”
My “fix it” for them would ultimately be a burden and a greater cost.
It simply is not practical for an American X-Ray machine to exist near Acres of Hope. There are electricity issues, how to maintain the equipment issues, purchasing the film issues, etc. I could go on . . . but you get the point.
The cost would exceed the gift; therefore, it isn’t a “fix it.”
As I realized my “fix it” was NOT a good idea, I remembered my time there in Nebbi.
How with no electricity, no running water, no “amenities” that I so desperately think I need, they have peace.
However, I still have this opportunity to rally some folks around a mission to use their gifts to make a difference.
This is, I believe, a cause that matters.
There is something we can do to help “fix it.”
Join me and the folks of West UMC in contributing a financial offering to help Pastor Geoffrey and the people of Acres of Hope as they heal and as they continue to experience a true peace. We have a chance to be the hands that take their “yoke” and allow their burden to be light.
We will be a part of “fixing it.”
With prayers of peace for all those at Acres of Hope . . .
You may give online by clicking here. Choose “Missions” as the giving type and then type “AOH” in the Memo field.