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A Light

Sometimes I have this urge to go save the world, to live life like today is my last day, and be the best person I can be. I wish I lived everyday this way, but I don’t. Honestly, I don’t live most days this way. Although it would be great to be the best person I could possibly be every day, it’s just not possible. Some days I just want to sit at home and do nothing or I don’t feel like talking to anyone. Some days I go to bed and think about what I did to help someone and I can’t think of a single thing. Most days I am not the best person I can be.

I am sure we all have those days. I’m sure every now and then we all look at our lives and wonder what we are doing. Every now and then you might see an inspirational video or hear a song that makes you want to do something awesome, and for the next three hours you are the most considerate and giving person. Then just like me, you go back to being your normal self.

When I was in Africa, I had these moments more than I do in America. I think I felt like I had to be saving the world every day because I was a “missionary”, but honestly there were days where nothing happened. There were days that I never left my house, not because I was depressed but because I had nowhere to go. I know you are probably thinking “Well, you were a missionary, go walk up and down the street and talk about God”. Just like in America, some days I got lazy and just wanted to sit at home. Sometimes looking back on my time in Africa, I regret not doing more. I wish I had taken advantage of every second I had there, but then I remember how hard life was to do there sometimes. I remember how hot it was, and how I just wanted to sit by the fan. I remember how much I hated walking down the street because everyone followed me, pointed at me, or yelled at me because I was white. Not that those are the best excuses, but just like in America, there were things that kept me from being the best person I could be.

You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28 There were a few Ugandans who were at our house every day. These were mostly young boys who loved hanging out with Eric. Most of them were high school age and loved helping us. There was one boy who was very trustworthy, and who Layla loved more than anyone. His name is Charles, and he is seventeen years old. He is a great boy, and Eric and I continue to pay for his schooling to make sure that his future is bright. Charles’ dad is a “witch doctor” in the town we lived in. I never met his father, but we knew that Charles did not like what his father did. He didn’t like being in his own home where he was exposed to the witchcraft taking place. In America we think of witch craft as some kind of magic, but in Africa it is very real, and the people there are very fearful of it.

You would think a “good” missionary would talk to Charles about the situation or that I would have asked him about his beliefs and try to lead him to Christ. I don’t know if he was a follower of Christ, because honestly I never asked him. Some missionary I was, huh? It’s not that I didn’t want to ask Charles, but that it never seemed appropriate. He never seemed to want to talk about it, and I never felt it was my place to ask. I knew he didn’t like what his father did, so I figured he wasn’t in to witch craft. I didn’t know anything for sure because it was never discussed.

Nothing important was ever discussed with him. He came to our house almost every day to play with Layla and to hang out with Eric. Charles and I didn’t have many conversations, because a seventeen year old boy doesn’t want to hang out with me. Our conversations were always light hearted and simple. Charles knew what Eric and I believed because he knew we were missionaries and which church we attended. Beyond that, he never asked us about our beliefs.

After being home for about two weeks, I got an e-mail from a friend that is still in Uganda. She was telling me how Charles got kicked out of his house because his father found out he was a Christian. Since his father didn’t approve of that, he kicked him out on the streets. Luckily, my friend was in Uganda and was able to tell me. We were able to send money to him to board at his school as a place to live. It was not a huge decision for me or Eric. It was the only thing to do. Any person with a heart would have done the same thing.

Today I got a short, simple message from Charles. He thanked Eric and me for sending him money, and told me how he confronted his father about the witch craft. That is when his father realized that he was now a Christian and kicked him out. At the end of Charles’ message to me, he said something that changed my whole view of “being the best person I can be”. I always thought to be an amazing person you had to do amazing things. I thought I had to feed 150 starving people or lead 50 people to Christ after preaching one message, but after Charles’ message this morning I don’t believe that anymore.

“You showed me the light of God.”-Charles

Somewhere in that year in Uganda, Charles saw the Light of God in us. I don’t know what it was or what we said, but he saw it. Really, that’s being the best person I can be. If anyone can see even the smallest glimpse of God in me, then there is no better person I can be.

Layla and Charles

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