We have to ask ourselves a question each day we are here. “Are we making any impact?” One difficult adjustment for us is that we do have some downtime. But since there is a definite emotional drain seeing what we do every day, it is needed to recharge.
So have we made a difference? That may seem like a silly question since we have been here for just 3 weeks but we came here to do just that. On the a.k.a. HOPE front, we are waiting on work to be completed at “The Home” where the kids will be going. We are working on business which involves paperwork and writing documentation. It is amazing to see what is required to make this move happen and set the foundation of a working model. We know the kids are very excited. But…….. are we making an impact?
We are currently behind the scenes as the Ugandans who are doing their work move along. I think the measure of “impact” is defined a few ways. Some things such as the work we are doing right now is a “behind the scenes impact.” That means that without that, the project cannot move along. We are fine with that! We know our work will get much busier soon after the move commences.
Then there are the “visible impacts.” There is Jackie, the daughter of Enos. He is our security guard at the Kyanja house where we are staying temporarily. We have built a relationship with Enos and Jackie. Debra will watch Jackie when Enos runs errands.
She adores Debra even though she knows no English! As I write this they are playing and giggling. Debra became more popular when she plays nursery rhyme videos on her computer. Jackie is mesmerized and learns things. That is a “visible impact”, be it small. We shouldn’t be looking for leaps and bounds.
Debra naturally connects with people here and has started forging relationships with various people. This includes the woman who runs the 4’X6’ market built in a makeshift structure down the road where she buys a few small items for cooking (which she is real good at already!). That is another “visible impact.” These are people who are not used to being around “muzungos” let alone ones that show a genuine interest in them. We want to forge loving relationships with others because we are called to do that no matter where we live!
As for me, I have had the privilege of preaching the past 2 Sundays at Kyampisi Church where the pastor, Peter leads a ministry to wipe out child sacrificing. The church is right in the middle of where that activity is; the war zone if you will. The people are pure joy to be around. Their cause is radical and makes a powerful impact. But it comes with great costs. They are making a “visible impact!”
How can an American who doesn’t know what it means to live a hard life speak a message that would do justice to these devout followers who are on the battlefield each day? The answer is that I can’t! the Lord can however and he has. The 1st week, I came PREPARED and spoke from Matthew 4 about what it means to “Follow Jesus.”
The Spirit did a mighty work that morning that left me humbled. A Muslim woman was so impacted she gave her life to Jesus that morning. A young woman from Minnesota has only been here about 10 days longer than us serving with Peter’s ministry and she was feeling discouraged. The Spirit spoke into her as well. Her work is making a “direct impact” as she fundraises and coordinates healthcare in a village that has none. But WE don’t make any impact. As much as I would like to think WE are, it is GOD who makes the impact through us! That’s far better than any impact WE could make. Jesus reminds us in John 15 that we can do nothing without Him. That was especially evident this past Sunday. I came to church UNPREPARED for a message as I didn’t know I was speaking until we got to church. During the worship music, Peter leaned over and asked if I was ready!!!!
I have done messages now for 7 years but NEVER had to do one on the fly with no preparation! I immediately had Hebrews 11, the chapter about faith pressed upon me. So that is what I did. I did a message on that in Denver late last year but didn’t follow it much at all as I allowed the Sprit to move. Did it make an impact? If it did, it was the Lord who did it!.
So as we consider that question, we will allow the Lord in His ways to IMPACT others as it will have to come from Him and not from us. The Holy Spirit does the work in humans and we are but His vessels to bring that message and show that love to others so that He may be glorified! Now THAT is TRUE IMPACT!!