Always content

The best high-and-low experience I had was when I was living in Uganda and joined a mission to the former child soldiers in Gulu, the same kids you see in the movie, Machine Gun Preacher. [ Machine Gun Preacher (2011)] We brought tons of donated food and showed the movie Jesus Jesus (1999)] with a running Acholi translator. We had to use a generator to show the movie on a projector, as there was no electricity.

We stayed in one of the “nicer” huts, which was literally a big mud circle with a concrete wall and an aluminum roof. The toilet was a separate little outhouse, complete with insects of all shapes and sizes. (On one occasion, I counted 18 spiders!) In the evening they brought us one jerry can of boiling water and another of cold water, and we had to mix them in a third bucket and take our showers behind the hut, under the stars. We ate a lot of interesting food, such as a spread made of blended termites. Not my favorite.

After a few days there, one of my coworkers and I had to return to Kampala. Some good friends of ours, the directors of the main telecom company, were leaving Uganda and we were invited to a big farewell function for them. In just a few hours, we went from blended termite paste to enjoying a multi-course dinner at the Sheraton five-star hotel and watching the biggest celebrity singers in the country perform. My friend and I loved the fact that while getting the royal treatment was wonderful, having come from a place where people had so little and we had to “rough it” made us that much more thankful.

Paul said in Philippians, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”[Philippians 4:11–12] That’s what made him truly realize, in the very next verse, “I can do all things through Christ.”[Philippians 4:13] He knew it wasn’t his own amazingness that accomplished anything, and he gave God the glory for the good he was able to do.