30 June 2008

Okello Gaspher Jimmy

Jimmy is our first student from the islands… he comes from Lingira… one of literally hundreds of islands on Lake Victoria… its part of the Buvuma islands... but I doubt that helps...

I don’t like the islands… I like islanders… I just don’t like the islands…

My first trip to the islands I was given a tent to sleep in with no poles… I was told it would be hot… it was cold… so I spent the night shivering under a piece of plastic hung between to shrub bushes… I ended up getting malaria, brucellosis and a cold on that trip…

6 months later we went on a vacation to the islands… don’t ask me why… it took months to pick the lake flies from my teeth and on a “mosquito free” island Noah and I both got malaria… maybe they meant there is no extra charge for the mosquito bites?

I haven’t been on an island since… unless you count watching LOST... I really get into it...

Jimmy has lived his whole life on the islands… no electricity, no cars, no roads, no cable TV, no phones until recently when cell phone coverage was extended to the lake… their news comes by word of mouth, their water is polluted by oil spills and garbage disposed of in the lake, their main source of food is fish… I don’t like fish…

There isn’t much to do on the islands… other than survive… his dad was a fisherman… his mom is a fisherman… fisherwoman?... and Jimmy says he can catch just about anything I like… I asked him to catch me some tri-tip… he didn’t get my humor… like most Ugandans… but promised me he would try…

In theology class this week we finished a study of the work of Christ on the cross… Jimmy rose his hand at the end of class and asked…

“Pastor Jeff, who will teach these things to the pastors and people on the islands?”

“You will Jimmy!”

The class chuckled and Jimmy put his head down… this time I didn’t understand the joke…

As I talked to Jimmy after class he explained that the thought of going home is hard… life in Gaba is much better than anything he has known… that is a strange thought to me…

The islands are worse than any IDP Camp in Jimmy’s mind… at the camps they get free food from the UN, plus education and health care and then there is the constant string of westerners passing out anything and everything for free… but the islands just have fish… I’m beginning to understand…

As a pastor on the islands you can’t make a salary because the people don’t have or use money… they have fish… now I’m bummed with Jimmy…

But there is still a reason for Jimmy to go back… those are his people and he loves them…

Living on the islands is no picnic and has little hope of any great development… but on the other hand a young man like Jimmy with a little passion and zeal... or strength and courage... is just what the islands need...

So my prayer is that God would make his calling sure and give him the strength and courage to go back… Jimmy knows he should… but he also knows the challenge that lies ahead…

1 comment:

John said...

We will pray that Jimmy sees that God is preparing him for more than he can imagine or understand. May Jimmy's love for God grow so much that he knows what a tremendous treasure the gospel will be to those people of the islands. And may Jimmy challenge his classmates to pray for the island people. God does not think it insignificant that the people of the islands are told about God's love for them.