Enjoy the Journey


Acts 1:8 is a promise. It says that when we receive the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be His witnesses in all the earth. Indeed, my life is a testimony to this promise. I never dreamed I would be a pastor. In my high school and college years, I would never have imagined standing in the pulpit preaching the gospel week after week, officiating weddings, conducting funerals, and serving as Jesus’ witness in so many different ways. There is no explanation other than that the power of the Holy Spirit came upon me. All that I do to serve as His witness today is just an outworking of the Holy Spirit in me.
Last week, God added to the list of all the things that I never dreamed I would do. While on a mission trip to northern Uganda, I loaded up in a Toyota Land Cruiser with a missionary and 6 friends from Jackson County, MS. We drove up into the Metu Mountains that form Uganda’s border with South Sudan. The road was treacherous, to say the least. It was a journey that could not have been attempted in a lesser vehicle. Even the land cruiser struggled to climb the mountain road. The slightest slip of the tire on the sharp rocks would have resulted in them being shredded. The top heaviness of the vehicle combined with the steep slopes in the road was a constant threat to rolling us over.
After a couple of hours of climbing the mountain in the Cruiser, the road ended and turned into a foot trail through the forest and down the other side of the mountain. All I could think as we were carefully stepping down the rocky trail was that we were going to have to climb that same trail out. After about a mile or so we reached the bottom, and the trail led us into a beautiful fertile valley.
As we traveled through the valley, the trail narrowed. Soon the path all but disappeared, as we followed our missionary through cassava and corn fields, across streams, and through the jungle. It was one careful step after another as our missionary told stories about encountering pythons on the same path just weeks earlier. We were advised to stay on the narrow path to avoid the many baboon traps that had been set in the fields.
Now we had been told that at the end of the footpath there was a small village of about one hundred people or less who had never heard the name of Jesus until just a few months ago. After about two hours  hours and as many miles of walking, I was sure that we had been lied to. I could not imagine people surviving in such a remote place. The presence of cultivated crops in the valley may have been the only evidence for truth in our guides’ story.
All of the sudden I could see a group of round grass thatched roofs in the distance. As we drew closer we all started to notice the nine by six-foot bamboo and tarp building with a group of about twelve people gathered and waiting for us. The looks on their faces told me that they were as shocked to see us as we were to see them. We could not believe that they really existed, and they could not believe that we had really come.
As we took our seats in the small shelter, it was explained that this building was their church building. They were all brand new Christians who were planning to be baptized soon. There were some there who were still not yet believers. Our group was the most white people they had ever seen gathered in one place.
We took turns sharing the gospel with them and encouraging them. One lady trusted in Jesus and was saved. They fed us their very best cassava, mutoke, and chicken soup. We embraced as brothers and sisters in Christ, then we made our long journey out.
It was truly a surreal experience in every sense of the word. I share it with you to encourage you. When you become a follower of Jesus, He really will take you to the end of the earth. He will also take you across the street and everywhere in between. Just be open to His leadership. Enjoy the journey.