One of my favorite groups of people in the world are the staff at Hospice Jinja and Hospice Tororo. Hospice anywhere is a tough gig — my mom always says anybody can do it, but I beg to disagree. Dealing with the dying, comforting them, encouraging their families… It’s very challenging. But the people who do it are truly some amazing folks.
Tonight I’m the keynote speaker at the annual fundraiser for Sovereign Wings of Hope in Houston, Texas. I came last year, too, and gave a short presentation on why I go to Uganda. I’m really honored that they asked me back as the keynote this year! (And I am apparently also getting the Pioneer Award!) If there is one thing I can – and love to – talk about, for hours on end, it’s Uganda and her people.
This is an excerpt from my speech tonight, and it’s a point I try to make whenever I talk to people about Ten Eighteen Uganda, and now Andros. It goes along with my motto that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. I hope you’ll let it sink in, and then let the Lord lead you in making a one-time or monthly donation.
I want to tell you what your money will do in Uganda, so you realize that you really can help.
- Right now, a grande latte at Starbucks is about $5. In shillings at today’s exchange rate, that’s about 12,650 shillings. For 12,650 shillings, you can feed a family for two weeks.
- Papa John’s has had a special going this week, “your choice” for $11. That’s 27,830 shillings. In Namuwongo, which is the slums of Kampala, you can rent a home for 30,000 shillings a month.
- The new Hobbit extended edition DVD in BluRay is $29.95. That’s 75,900 shillings. The nurses at Hospice Jinja are paid 60,000 shillings a month. (And, by the way, the staff at Hospice Tororo, which just celebrated its one year anniversary, is still all volunteer.)
- If you take your family, let’s say four people, to see the new kids movie Free Birds (which suggests you eat pizza instead of turkey for Thanksgiving!), it’ll cost you $30.50 for the tickets. You’ll spend at least $20 on concessions (and you won’t get much for that!). That’s 127,765 shillings, which would pay for about 30 boda trips for the nurses of Hospice Tororo to visit patients.
I am not saying that any of these things are wrong! I chose the expenses I did because they are things my family, even on a fairly tight budget, does on a regular basis. You may think that $5 a week, or $30 a month, or whatever amount you could spare isn’t enough to make any difference. All I’m trying to show you is that, in Uganda, it can be the difference – LITERALLY – between life and death. A bottle of clean water is 32 cents! 32 cents!
James 2:15-16 says: If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what goodis that?
Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ story of the Final Judgement in Matthew 25:
The Final Judgment
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’
A friend of mine told me a long time ago that his reading of this passage gave him to believe that what we are going to answer for when we stand before God at the end of our lives is WHAT DID WE DO WITH THE OPPORTUNITIES HE GAVE US?
Sometimes, those are big opportunities, like adopting a child, or saving someone from a fire. Sometimes they’re small ones, like heeding His voice when he asks you to talk to the cashier at the gas station or to pay the difference for the guy in front of you who doesn’t quite have enough for his groceries.
It’s easier to see those opportunities when they come, although it’s not always easy to do what we should.
What I hope you’ll see here tonight is an opportunity. There is an unattributed quote that I use a lot myself: No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.