Wired in a community

It’s easy to focus on the many challenges and frustrations trying to do technical work and support from Uganda. Your typical day can be interrupted anytime when power goes off or when your Internet service cuts out. You’re fortunate if your office has a good working generator whose voltage is stable and give you backup power supply for some time. You may hit the streets to look for a hotel or cafe that is likely to have power and working Internet. Add that to your roundtrip commute time. The people though truly appreciate the technical support and value the help during a time of need. The simplest software tip or user training can have large impact. Here there’s a growing number of young students and graduates studying IT and seeking to grow. It’s a growing sector and a key industry just like everywhere else in the world. The hunger to learn. It’s inspiring.

In reality it is a country that is still developing. None of us can go faster or ahead of the infrastructure or bandwidth speed in place. We advance together. We move as a community. Sometimes we move as a region. You see some of the current fiber optic cables that supply us Internet come from the undersea cables in the Indian ocean. It goes through our neighboring countries like Kenya and Tanzania before making its way inland towards Uganda. If there’s a major issue near its source it can bring us all down. We’re down together. When there is a local fiber cable cut in town this whole side of town is down. We along with our neighbors all must wait together. If I open my mind I see that it’s not really all about technology. Most don’t care if you have the latest iPhone or tablet or the latest and best of items. People want to have household income to feed their families and put a roof over their heads, to see quality education for their children, to have reliable public services like equipped hospitals, trustworthy police officers, honest service delivery.

Many people say technology has changed the way we live, work and communicate. I would agree. As we are also learning more and more, technology can also be used to fight, to steal, and to destroy others. I guess the outcome lies in our hearts, our intent, motivation and what we do with the resources entrusted to us from above.

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Home

I’m going on home leave today. 6 weeks to rest and be home with family and friends. It’s been about 2 years since my move to Uganda. I’ve made some good friendships here. The relationships you build can make that place feel like home. You are where you should be. It’s feeling more like home here. I’ve also worked in a few other countries in the region. Each place is a bit different.  Different languages, cultures, traditions. Its helpful that some things stay constant. Like our vision and mission. Our purpose and our motivation to work hard. This week I learned about a place called center of hope based in Kampala. They work with refugees and provide services to assist with life skills, language and computer training, counseling, sewing classes and more. They build bridges amongst people. They bring hope during a time of uncertainty and need. They provide a refuge for people who may be asking where their home is. They build relationships. These are valuable things that can impact one for life. I’m thankful to have a few places where I can call home. Something not to take for granted.

Grace

Grace is something special. It’s beyond the normal. It doesn’t follow a standard. It can be extended to you or it can be withheld. This week while driving home from town I made a bad decision at a signal light as I changed my mind on which direction to take. I ended up giving the wrong signal blinker, cutting across lanes and running a red light in plain view of many traffic police and other police officers. Just ahead down the road we were chased down by a truck full of police who pulled us over. The officer was angry and asked why I intended to kill myself and others. Instead of giving a normal citation he continued his angry attitude and ignored my insistence that it was not intentional and was an accident. Here the police sometimes demand they escort you to the central police station to charge you for your mistakes. He did so in this case. He was hostile and threatened to take me there by force if I refused. Sometimes they’re seeking a bribe particularly with foreigners or new drivers who will avoid the station and simply pay something on the spot. Usually you can be taken to the station if you hit someone or are in a disputed traffic accident. While riding with us to the station he shared about just having returned from the town hospital and witnessing badly injured people from traffic accidents. He said he would charge me at the station for careless driving and some other things and that I can plead my case to the judge magistrate tomorrow. No grace whatsoever. Grace was far from me and it went into hiding. We reached the police station and met his supervisor who was immediately playful and even joked why I had come to see him at this late hour. He patiently listened to my explanation and seemed to be understanding. He commented that I was a good person for acknowledging my mistake on the road. After chatting about food for the hungry and spiritual foods, he returned my driving permits and sent us on our way without any charges or tickets. Perhaps he was just looking for a conversation. Perhaps my friend asking them for their names and talking on the phone backed them down. Regardless I felt at that moment that grace was extended to me. It was a bit surprising and ended very differently than how it started. Grace is unexplainable sometimes. You can terrorize someone or bless someone with it. It’s a good reminder of what the Lord shows me each day. It should compel me to extend the same to others best as I can.

Chuck Colson 1931—2012

“Chuck’s life is a testimony to God’s power to forgive, redeem, and transform.”

Below is taken from [cc]

Evangelical Christianity lost one of its most eloquent and influential voices today with the death of Charles W. “Chuck” Colson. The Prison Fellowship and Colson Center for Christian Worldview founder died at 3:12 p.m. on Saturday from complications resulting from a brain hemorrhage. Colson was 80.

A Watergate figure who emerged from the country’s worst political scandal, a vocal Christian leader and a champion for prison ministry, Colson spent the last years of his life in the dual role of leading Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families, and the Colson Center, a teaching and training center focused on Christian worldview thought and application.

Chuck’s life is a testimony to God’s power to forgive, redeem, and transform.

“One of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that I don’t ever get up in the morning and wonder if what I do matters. I live every day to the fullest because I can live it through Christ and I know no matter what I do today, I’m going to do something to advance the Kingdom of God.” — Charles Colson

Saviour

recently heard this definition of sin:

“anything that weakens your reasoning, impairs your tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes away your relish for spiritual things, if anything increases the authority and the power of flesh over the spirit” – unknown, via [rzim]

via [downtown phx, az]