Today I say goodbye to many of the routines that keep me comfortable in my abstinence, because tomorrow I say goodbye to this continent for the first time in my life. I will arrive the following day in Uganda, a land known as “the Pearl of Africa.” Ugandans have a much healthier diet than Americans since, generally speaking, theirs is much more plant-based. I once read an article that put the two countries as polar opposites when it came to plant-based and animal-based diets and the occurrence of colorectal cancer. There are certainly other factors to consider, but I was encouraged, determined to eat mostly vegetarian fare for the sixteen days I will be there. There is apparently no shortage of open air produce markets anywhere one turns in Uganda, since micro-farming is a popular money-maker there.
A visit with our travel clinic nurse ruined my plans for Bugs Bunny-ing my way through my tour however. She told us that all fruit must be peeled and all vegetables must be boiled before they can be eaten by outsiders, and fruit with thin skin (apples, pears, etc.) should be avoided altogether. Meats, she said, should be thoroughly cooked and eaten hot. Water should be verified to be sealed bottled water. Apparently refilling water bottles with tap water is a popular scam. The water and everything it touches was described as the chief contaminant, carrying all sorts of virus, bacteria, and protozoa. Lovely!
“…and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all…” (Mark 16:18b, NIV)
We will be in a hostile environment microscopically speaking but also politically speaking. We have been warned of robbers, rapists, insurrectionists, guerilla militants, starving pickpockets, con artists, and the desperate displaced both internal and from neighboring D.R. Congo and South Sudan. The Karamajong tribe of northern Uganda still offer the occasional human sacrifice, usually their own children to appease their god and beg for deliverance from disease. We will be visiting several missions to the Karamajong. Needless to say, food supply will not be the only resource for which we will be trusting God. Life, limb, and livelihood are all in His hands.
We are traveling light, neither of us taking more than a carry-on backpack. We each have three day’s clothes and plan to wash and wear them repeatedly. It will certainly be an adventure!
Since I will be out of pocket for the next two weeks, I do not expect to write on this blog, although I may surprise you. Who knows? I do ask for your prayer support. Thank you very much! One thing I am committed to, even without my convenient tool of a detailed Plan of Eating, is my abstinence. I may not be able to read ingredients lists and keep my detailed food journal that I normally maintain, but no matter where I go, I know what cookies, cakes, sweets, ice-cream and nachos are, and I know what “Forget it, I’m eating!” sounds like. I will have none of that! I will space my meals appropriately, have reasonable portions, and abstain from my problem foods. My plan of eating is a tool that helps me maintain my abstinence; it does not constitute my abstinence.
Dear Father, today, I am surrendering all the cups, measures, convenient shopping centers, amply filled cupboards, refrigerators and freezers, and look simply to Your divine Hand to feed me, to guide me, and to keep me standing for this journey as my precious bride and I seek Your will for our future. Thank You for being strong enough for the task and for Your generous supply. I need You every hour! Thank You for this reminder. Please grant us Your will for us and the power to carry that out. In Jesus’ name, amen.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[Hebrew Shaddai]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”