Slight Delay

Sorry about the lack of posts.  I’ve had a slight delay in writing my posts out.  Christmas luncheon for the church, two birthdays to celebrate, babysitting…. lots of excuses.  The reality is I have some posts in the works, they just aren’t quite perfected yet.  Stay tuned for “Meet the REAL Gene Tate.”  A hard hitting expose’ that will shock and dazzle even those who think they’ve known the man for years.  😉

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(Written Nov. 15, 2011)

I taught today at the Women of Hope meeting.  I taught on Isaiah 64:8.  My devotion translated very easily and the women understood what I was talking about.  That was very pleasing.

My teaching actually came about rather by accident.  Or maybe design by God.  I’m not really sure which.  When I was making arrangements for my trip my sister, Gretchen, casually mentioned to me that I might have to teach something one day.  If I didn’t I would be paying a fee to spend the night on the YWAM base.  Now I was just fine with paying the fee.  I’m not a teacher.  (Except for the 19 or so years I homeschooled my kids, but that’s a different matter all together.)  On my flight from Houston to Amsterdam I started thinking about what I would do if I actually did have to teach.  I was going on an agriculturally based “mission”,  and although I have an agricultural background I am certainly not as up to date on the field as the Tates are.  Somewhere over the Atlantic a loud booming voice accompanied by lighting bolts and rolls of thunder proclaimed, “Marcelyn, write this down.”   Okay, so maybe it was a still small voice but the effect was the same.  I started writing and ended up with a teaching based on something that I know.  Something I can relate to.  Pottery.

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father,

We are the clay, and You our potter;

And all of us are the work of Your hand.”

Isaiah 64:8

I specifically talked about how the making of pottery isn’t a simple thing.  It takes time.  It takes a plan.  It takes an effort.  It involves many steps.  It isn’t fast and it isn’t easy.  God working in our lives isn’t always a “poof” and you’re done proposition.  Sometimes it takes time and many steps.  I went through the steps of making a pot from taking the clay from the ground to the final firing and compared each step to a step in our personal growth with God.  It worked.

The day I taught Gretchen had planned to teach on how to make compost but there was an emergency in the village and several of the women were not there.  Then when they did show up there wasn’t enough time to do the compost teaching.  I had been sitting there idly putting my writings down in a more concrete manner and it just seemed the perfect time to share and lead the devotion for the day.  And I was actually ready.  Thanks to God.

I found out in Ugandan I am a maboomba. (potter)

In Russian I am a “goncharnaya”.  I think maboomba sounds like more fun.

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Africa is an experience.

Africa is an experience in waiting.

Africa is an experience in walking slowly.

Africa is an experience in non-punctuality.

To my western mind-set it could drive you up a wall.  The meeting starts at two o’clock.  At two-thirty the first person shows up.  By three o’clock about half the participants are present.  By three-thirty the meeting starts.  You learn to wait.  You learn patience.  Nothing is going to change it.  Nothing is going to make the people here walk faster, be on time, or be punctual.  Nothing is going to speed up time.

Soon, soon.  I will be there soon our driver said.  Two and a half hours later we are still waiting.  Dinner is soon.  An hour later it shows up.  I will get a CD to you soon the student says.  Three days later we are wondering if he remembered.  Soon.  Soon can mean one hour.  Soon can mean five hours.  Soon can mean three days or next week.

Time in Africa is unique.

Time in Africa is relative.

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A Most Unusual Man

Beaded necklaces by Ruth

(Written Nov. 9, 2011 at the Hopeland YWAM base, Jinja, Uganda)

The very first day we were here at Hopeland Base, a young woman came to our door with necklaces she wanted to sell us.  We weren’t quite sure at that time who she was and if she was part of the group of women we would be buying from later or what so we asked her to come back later this week.  The extra time would allow us to find out her situation.  We have worked very hard to not allow any jealousy to arise in the church body here by showing anything that might be perceived as favoritism.  It was important that we find out if this young woman was part of the Women of Hope community or on her own.  The base leadership told us it would be fine if we bought from her individually but she didn’t come back and we wondered where she had gone.

We asked a worker if he knew her and when he said yes, we asked him to relay a message that we would like to see her work and buy some necklaces from her.

Today her husband, a young man in his late 20s, came to our door and brought her necklaces.  He told us his wife had insisted he be the one to come and sell to us.  He was a quiet man and we began looking through the beads and necklaces and started talking to put him at ease.  As we sorted and oohed and aahed, he loosened up and began answering some of our questions.  What an amazing man he was.  He said his wife was making him come and sell so that he could gain more confidence in speaking to people because they were leaving the YWAM community to strike out on their own and start a church in Kikira town, a village about six miles from the Hopeland base.

Seed necklaces by Ruth

He felt called to start a ministry that emphasized family and how Christian marriages should work.  What an important ministry for Africa where the culture does not honor marriage or teach men to be good husbands.  He explained that men look at women as being there just to make babies and to work.  The men drink and watch the women work.  He said this is the way it is in Uganda.  It is normal life in Africa.

When he was a teenager he became a Christian and his father told him that he would not pay for his school fees or support him any longer so the young man went out on his own.  He found his way to the YWAM Hopeland base and learned more about Christ.  He met his wife here and served on staff for a time.  Through this time, his relationship with is father remained broken.  He said that God began to work more and more in his heart about family and how God designed husband and wives, and parents and children to interact.  Three years ago, his wife got pregnant and they had a set of twin boys.  He said that while he was outside waiting for his children to be born by cesarean section he clearly heard God tell him…. “These are not your children, these are my children I am entrusting to you.  Raise them well to be men of God.” God showed him that he was to honor his wife.  While she was recovering from her surgery, he would fix her food.  His family would tell him he was being a bad man by cooking for her because it was the woman who should serve the man.  He told them that he could do what they wanted or he could do what God wanted and he was choosing God’s way.  They thought he was strange but a few of them started to question him about God’s ways.

Some of the things that he said God has shown him are how when he and his wife disagree, he can’t change her, that all he can do is drop to his knees and pray for her.  Then he finds out that God changes him as much as He changes her.

As we finished up with the necklaces and paid him for our selections, we asked him a few more questions.  His relationship with his father has started to mend thanks to his children.  He said while his father remains a bit hard toward him he comes and visits them and plays with the children and laughs with them.  He sees that perhaps the children will bring reconciliation between them.  My sister encouraged him by telling how her mother-in-law came to know the Lord through her grandson after many years of fighting God.  While his father may still believe in the old African religion now, it might be his children that bring him to know God.  He had a smile when he heard this.

He and his wife had just moved two days ago down to the village where they were going to start the church.  They had gotten the message that we wanted to see her beadwork and so he walked back, six miles, yesterday to speak with us but didn’t find us here.  He returned home and then came back today.  He walked a total of twenty-four miles to sell us beads.  We spent about 100,000 shillings, which on the street is worth about $50 American.  They were going to use the money to pay for the school fees for their boys.

He went on his way with a smile on his face and a spring in his step.  I think that is his natural way of being.  He is a most unusual African man.

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