By Cheri Duchrow, CFCA sponsor
What do you think when you hear The Ark of the Covenant?
Do you imagine its contents and the presence of the Lord leading His people, giving them strength to accomplish what seemed impossible? The joy and celebration when David was bringing the Ark home?
In 2 Samuel 6:14-15 (NLT) we read, “And David danced before the LORD with all his might, wearing a priestly tunic. So David and all Israel brought up the Ark of the LORD with much shouting and blowing of trumpets.”
In this day of over-extended schedules that have the power to distance us from God, where could one ever hope to glimpse the joy of David worshiping the Lord? By the grace of God, He meets us when we interact with His faithful people.
His faithful people are everywhere, but for me it happened during a visit to Uganda on a CFCA mission awareness trip.
We were greeted by a colorful, joyful group of sponsored friends and their families singing and dancing. We experienced this at each destination.
We split into small groups and were whisked away in individual vehicles to witness the ways that CFCA families partner with us to make a difference in their lives and communities.
We completed our visits in the morning and reunited to share a meal in thanksgiving. At each stop we were greeted by smiling faces and curiosity.
We had completed visits at three schools, trying to take it all in and yearning for more time at each stop.
The morning passed quickly, but we had one more stop at the house of a grandmother of some CFCA sponsored children. We needed to abandon the cars and make this visit on foot.
We followed our CFCA guide faithfully into the Ugandan countryside where Nantume greeted us. Her greeting should have been my first clue that these moments would be filled with the Lord’s love.
Nantume welcomed us into her home with a grateful heart. My senses were greeted with a heavy earthy closeness as we sat on a mat covering a hard wooden structure that served as a bed.
Natural light streamed through the door and some of the gaps in the walls, providing our vision to take in our surroundings.
As we stepped into the second and only other room, we could see nothing but darkness. With the help of a flashlight we found ourselves in Nantume’s bedroom.
She told us the names and ages of her grandchildren and wanted to show us her handiwork and trade that filled her days. All for the love of her grandchildren so they could have a better life.
We followed Nantume to the place where she labored in love. She led us barefoot into the countryside, carrying the tools of her trade.
She makes charcoal for a living. She works cutting down trees by hand, cutting them to just the right length, stacking them, sealing them with mud and straw and tending a slow burning fire to make charcoal, not ash.
She works alone. She is approximately my age, and I could barely fathom the physical labor that she did day after day.
I glanced down at her feet, then at mine, and became distracted by all the ants covering the ground. There I was trying to find a safe place for my feet to rest to avoid an unpleasant experience with ants.
Yet there Nantume was in her bare feet, expressing her love and gratitude for CFCA. She was doing everything so she could partner with the sponsors helping her grandchildren go to school.
All for the love of her grandchildren, so they wouldn’t have to live the same life she did.
I was impacted by her story and had no words as I walked back to the car.
We returned to a home filled with many sponsored friends and their families and love overflowing. After we ate, it was time for cultural singing and dancing.
As I looked out over the sea of joyful faces, I saw Nantume dancing with joyful abandon, praising the Lord, perhaps just like David did.
No matter what had happened or was going to happen, it was all for the moment of praising the Lord.
The next time I find myself frustrated because I am waiting for the traffic light to turn green, the train to clear the railroad tracks, I will think of Nantume.
The next time I lie in bed at night, feeling the chill on a cold winter night and grateful for a warm bed, I will think of Nantume on her wooden structure covered by a mat and thank God for her.
The next time I start to feel sorry for myself, I will praise the Lord for Nantume showing me how to worship the Lord like David did!
Because of the amazing work by CFCA staff, the mission awareness trips are a successful way to experience God on a very personal level.
If you have been thinking about going on a trip but haven’t taken the next step, don’t delay another minute.
You never know when you might witness your own Nantume story, remembering to God be the glory!