Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Party Church

A package just came (I know those of you who put it together--you did it a long time ago!) from the family in the UK that had been forwarded from Celebration. And after about an hour of reading all the love sent out on 3x5 cards--we thought-we had to send out a HUGE THANK YOU! And thought, the internet not only tells you Celebration readers what we think, but everyone else on the world wide web that the party church is the most amazing community ever--truly, the way you support us in prayer and in action is a source of immense encouragement, strength, accountability, solidarity, hope, etc. etc. We are so happy that some of you will get to see our lives here pretty soon and experience Uganda for yourselves. (it seems like a couple more men would lead to greater gender balance, not to mention any names--cough...Jim P,ahem...Steve)

We really want to thank you for loving "the real and not the ideal" us. One of the great beauties of community is that in ways we can't fully imagine you are part of us and life here as we are part of you and life in Denver.

I was reading a book (thanks to Ryan) last week where the characters are looking at old map and reminded of a time when you could live without knowing where you were't living. Life in Uganda is good-we love what we're doing, our colleagues and friends, each other, the raw beauty/pain and freedom--but we have a constant awareness of where we aren't living--near you.


Jim P said...

If I could come alleviate that cough I would! Although I can't come, I do and will continue to hold you in ever-prayerful love.
Jim P

Holly & Ben Porter said...

Thanks Jim! We will miss you of course but are so happy to have your wife with us!

Nickie said...

Hi Holly and Ben!
I miss you guys. I'm glad you got a package! Say...How does one send a package to Uganda? Is the mail reliable, or do you have to know someone else who is going and can take it for you?
Much love,
your very tired and nauseous preggo friend,

Holly & Ben Porter said...

We try to download Steve's sermons and listen to them on Sunday mornings. So we're always one week behind our home church. This week we enjoyed listening to some familiar voices of Joey and Jody as well. The sermon was about welcoming "the stranger." It struck me because I'd had a situation during the week where I didn't welcome the person who is normally "overlooked and ignored." when I'm in IDP camps meeting with parents or chidlren's groups quite often someone who is either drunk or has mental illness or both wants to come and greet me, say a few words to the group and on occasion continue to disrupt the purpose of the meeting. Most of the time I don't think much about it--it's such a common experience now, but this time I felt unsettled and I just don't know what the right way to respond would have been. This elderly man kept coming up and wanting to talk with me. He came and shook my hand and greeted everyone seated for the meeting and then when it was clear that he didn't want to just leave someone took him by the arm and ushered him away. He came back three or four times. Before he could get to me someone from the group would get up and take him by the arm and guide him in an opposite direction. Once I overheard him saying, "just show her this (an identity card). If she can't help me no one can. just show her this." I have no idea how I could have helped, or what looking at his ID would have done, but he was always prevented from coming to me. It reminded me of when the discples tried to prevent the chidlren from comind to Jesus and then he scolded them and told them not to stop the children. But I did nothing. I had come to talk to the Child Protection Committee, not to help a mentally ill man and I didn't want him to interupt my meeting. So I ignored him. He saw my white skin and assumed (rightly or wrongly) that I had access and ability to help him in a desperate situation. When we read that story of Jesus and the children it seems like such a sweet story and we want to welcome the children but in real life "the children" might not be sweet and they might disrupt our plans and we might have no idea how to usefully engage them.