Monday, January 26, 2009

TIMOTHY IS MY HERO

One of the greatest joys of being back in Jinja is the chance to love on my friend Timothy. Everytime he sees me and everytime he calls me on the phone, he only calls me "brotha". I love this guy.

Yesterday I had the chance to join him in his church and to teach to his congregation. He looked at me last week and said, "Brotha, the people know you are in town and they keep asking if you are coming. I told them you are here for another reason, but really... can you come all this way and not feed my people?" Yeah.... um, how do you say "no" to that teaching invite? I'm glad I went, it was so much fun and so out of the "norm" for me. I loved it.

Here's a few differences from our church to theirs.

  1. COW DUNG VS. CONCRETE: There is cow dung intentionally spread on the floor. Yep, the spread it around and let it dry. This keeps the dust down and acts like a natural concrete I am told.
  2. NUDITY IS OK: There are nursing women all over the place. At three separate times I made the mistake of looking in the direction of 3 different women while I was teaching only to find them pulling out their boob to nurse a kid. Boobs are not a big deal in the villages. I am told butts are. But boobs, not so much. Additionally, there are lots of kids, many of which have a shirt and nothing else. Their butts and such are clearly not an issue. If nudity is innocent, then this is where that's true.
  3. SINGING IS LOUD: Praise and worship involves everyone. Everyone sings. Everyone. They dance, they laugh, they sing, they have one accoustic drum. No one sits and looks bored. I think God likes their worship better than what I experience most Sundays with the crowds I'm in.
  4. TESTIMONIES ARE FREQUENT AND SHORT: people in the audience stand and give a testimony of the work of God in their life. Not forever, just a few sentences from a few people to remind one another that God is alive and well in their community. So cool. I think I'm stealing this idea for home.
  5. CELL PHONES: Crazy as it is, cell phones ring in both rooms. In my high school ministry, we fight to keep cell phones and in constant texting from being a ridiculous distraction. I think we lose that battle more than win it. But in Uganda... while I've never seen someone text in church, I've seen a cell phone ring and get pulled out of a pocket on countless occasions.
  6. NOT MUCH TO IT: there is no electricity, no windows, no doors, no sound system, no carpet, no padded chairs (just a few hand made wooden benches), no lights, no coffee cart, no food, no cars in the parking lot, no parking lot, no pretty much anything we have. I don't think we should stop all those things in America, but the practical differences in the communities and cultures are endless.
  7. SAME BLOOD: I love how my brother Timothy introduced me. "I want to welcome my dear friend and brother Brian to come and teach the Word to us today. He has traveled all the way from America to be here with us. He has white skin, and we have brown, but I'm here to testify that the blood is the same. It is the blood of Jesus that makes us one and the same Holy Spirit that lives in Him is in many of you as well." I love people who are color blind.
In my time with Timothy these past two weeks, I have learned more about his family and I got to enjoy them some more this Sunday at his home after church. His wife cooked us a lovely meal and we ate it on the floor of their home. Beans, rice, matoke, greens, some lamb, and even a coke. I love watching his family interact together. His daughters led worship in the service. His sons were helping and cleaning around the house.

I have learned this week that his wife and he have 7 children via natural means and another 5 they have adopted from their community. This guy lives on less than I do and I think he does more with it. He has planted over 80 churches in both Uganda and Kenya. He is a humble, gentle, genuine, honest, sincere, passionate for those far from God, compassionate for those in need, respected in his community.... dude flat out lives like Jesus. If you spend enough time with him, you might think he is Jesus. If I could grow up to be someone, I want to be Timothy.

here's a few pics of my experience in Busaana, Uganda... a small unknown village in the world that God has speed dial I think.

a fresh cow dung covered floor and hand made benches:



a woman who sings louder, has less, and experiences more joy than many "christians" I know. She rocks. I'm gonna see her in heaven and I'm convinced she's gonna tell me everything I missed in this world.

this is Timothy and his family of 13 and a couple little munchkins who followed us to lunch in front of the house that Timothy built from the ground up. This is a sweet family pic:

2 comments:

Vanessa,  10:02 AM  

I agree, your friend sounds very much like Jesus, very loving & accepting. It's kinda weird that they have dirt floors & no electricity but they have cell phones...I just thought that was interesting.

brian c. berry 10:27 AM  

Vanessa, even weirder than cell phones is seeing a HUGE TV antenna or a satellite dish on the side of a mud hut. I always want to walk up and just ask, is this a joke or do you have a generator or something. Totally crazy. I've seen it several times in a community where there is no electricity and is only accessible by a 2 hour boat ride.

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San Diego, CA
Husband. Dad. Jesus Follower. Friend. Learner. Athlete. Soccer coach. Reader. Builder. Dreamer. Pastor. Communicator. Knucklehead.

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