When I was 4 I told my mom I wanted to work with the poor. Since then, I have always had a deep and sincere love for those who cannot help themselves. Those who are suffering. While it is true that we are all suffering in our own way... I always felt a deeper love for those who where in physical pain while simultaneously carrying around emotional baggage. Working with people who were misunderstood and unloved. Those two things: present and present.
Fast-forward 18 years, and I happily jumped on a plane to West Africa.
For the next 4 years I found myself in places where I didn’t understand, asked why around 50 times a day, and couldn’t deal with those in pain, suffering and hurt.
I was confused. My heart reached out to people, yet my heart hurt. I tried to cover up my own mess, while caring for others, not allowing my mess to be my message.
Surrounding me was pain I never could even begin to imagine feeling in my own body.
I saw things I never asked to see.
I saw things.
All around me was death at every moment....
Broken relationships, broken legs, breast cancer, cancer, orphans, eyes, thieves,
widows, malaria, disease, blood, car accidents, motorcycle accidents in front of me, bus accidents where everyone died, apathy, loneliness, hurt, pain, lies...
The list goes on. Was this really my 4 year old dream?
It's Not About Me
But it’s not about me. The first couple years I thought I could handle it. My pride yelled at me from every corner (although I wouldn’t admit it was pride till later). I can do this. Well, the fact is, I can’t do this. We’re all fighting a battle every day. We cannot do it with our spouses, our finances, our jobs and dreams. None of us can do this without peace. Without God. We must choose our battles. Daily.
There is pride in all our hearts, yet, how we allow God to handle it is our decision. You see, I didn’t find this out until I went to Uganda a couple years later. I was a little bit seasoned, and a little more 'street smart.'
One moment in time I found myself in a musty, dirty, jet-fuel stanching room. Surrounding me were 50 boys. All of them living in the slums. These boys were extremely hurt, broken, needy, ugly, addicted. One day, a boy around the age of 15 came to the little hut where we had “set up camp.” His name is Hamsa. Hamsa is an amazing boy.
For some odd reason, or for some act of God, I was put in charge of the medical unit. Me? In charge of something I knew little about!? What? Well, needless to say, I knew more than I thought. :) I’ve had training, and I can tell an infection is an infection. Well this, was definitely an infection.
You see, Hamsa had broken his leg. Not yesterday, months ago. The leg he broke, his right one... was protruding outside his skin. His tibia, or more commonly known as the lower portion of his leg was infected. Sticking out. Infected. Extremely.
My team asked me lots of questions: Davy, what do we do? How do we fix it? How do we help this boy?
“Honestly... I need air.”
I stepped outside the hut, I knew he would die. Within a matter of weeks this extreme infection would hit his system, and he would die.
Why God didn’t you save him? Why did he let it get this far? Why?
This situation was too demanding. Too difficult.
All I wanted to do was hold him, love him, yet, I couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything. Anything. Except pray.
Except walk back in. I cleaned the wound, wrapped his leg, 3 times the size of the left one, and told him to wait. Just wait. A few minutes later, my friend looked at me. “Davy, can I talk to you?”
“Whats going to happen to Hamsa?”
I told him he would die if his leg didn’t have surgery soon, and antibiotics.
My friend looked at me dead on and said, “Then, lets choose this battle. Let’s choose it.”
I looked at him in the eye, and realized that this was one battle God had put our way. We chose Hamsa that day. Later, he was sent to surgery and out of our little pocket money, his life was spared. The entire process of getting him to the hospital and back was extremely stressful, time-consuming and confusing. However, Hamsa today is spared.
It's not about me. It's all about letting go of our pride. At the point when I met Hamsa, I was getting to a point of being "burnt out." I was tired, I had seen it all, I had almost forgotten that Hamsa had a heart. I was going to let this one go.
Yet, my friend who basically slapped my pride in the face changed that. I realized, that Hamsa had dreams like I had at 4 years old.
Hamsa had dreams and pride like me. Hamsa deserved life. We chose his battle.
I wanted to to share Hamsa's story, because soon, I will be heading back to Uganda. I would like you to pray for me and my team as we go into Uganda again. Sure, it's dangerous ... just like anywhere. Sure, I'm scared. I would ask you all to join me in prayer and if anyway possible finances. We will be working with slum children, orphans, hospitals and widows. Please let me know how we can pray for you as we travel. I would love to keep up with all of you. My email is below if you would like to be added to my newsletter listing.
How are you following your dreams today? How are you choosing your battles?
I will miss you.