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Spiritual Needs

It’s important to note I’m not trying to describe doctrine in the following post, this is more food for thought, something to chew on!.

Those of you who walk in christian circles are sure to of heard of spiritual gifts. You may even be able to rattle off your “top three gifts”and tell me how your using then in service to God. Outside the church, there is a similar thing, they just don’t accredit the source to God, and have a few extra gifts on their list. Which ever camp your in I think it can be very helpful for us to understand our strengths and our gifting in our “pursuit of happiness”. Popular tools such as Gallop’s StrengthFinder, or the multitude of gift assignments such as Rick Warren’s S.H.A.P.E acronym can be used and I would recommend to everyone that they should take some time out to understand themselves better.

But what about the others ode of the coin. If we all have strengths or gifts, then it goes with out saying that we should all have areas of weakness or ‘need’ that we require external input in order to succeed. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes the church as the body of Christ. We all have a different role to play and a different area of strength, gifting or focus, that we have been assigned too.

But on top of this you can take the metaphor one step further and say that no part of the body is independent of the other. They all rely on something else to function properly. Each part of the body has “needs”’that it must depend on other parts to provide. Muscles cannot get oxygen themselves, they rely solely on the blood to developer it too them. But the blood also can’t get oxygen itself, the blood relies on the lungs to take in the oxygen, which the blood then transfers to the muscles who need it (I did listen, at least a little bit, in Biology).

When I reflect on my life, I think we would all say there are areas we struggle in. As Christians, we should be looking to God as the source of those needs. But on top of that, we know that God likes to work through people, so I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that God would use people to meet those needs.

Let’s look at me for example. I think I have a need to be mothered. Which might sound a little strange, but I seem to inherit mothers wherever I go. I have my mummy at home, my mummy in Portsmouth and now my mummy in Uganda. Three lovely mummy’s (I think later in life I should gather them all together and see how many I’ve ended up with!)

Now this need hasn’t arisen because of a deficiency, I think I had a gather good upbringing, but more a change of location and the process of growing up. It would be unhealthy for me to take my mother with me to university or to Uganda, but for to have someone playing that role in my life is still valuable. Now it’s not the same role as my mother played during the early years of my life – her role has developed and matured as I’ve grown up. And my additional mummies play a similar as she does now.

What needs can you identify in your life, that people seem to fall into meeting as you’ve progressed through life? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

The Model of Service

Okay, so Jesus is our ultimate model of service, but I think it’s helpful to have example of what this looks like in as a flawed human being and I think Ugandan women model service to a level I have never seen before. Teddy, for example get up at 5:30am every morning to make sure everything’s ready for Gerald and Jeremy (whose only 7, yet leaves the house at 7am with his father, and doesn’t go to bed till 22:00 like me – I don’t know how he stays awake!). Then she sets up breakfast so it’s ready for me at 7:15.

When I was in mummy’s house, Evelyn would be up at the crack of dawn sorting out the animals, putting them out to graze. Cleaning the house, washing clothes, making my breakfast (omelettes or eggy toast usually, yummy), preparing food for dinner, everything that needed to be done and this would carry in throughout the day/evening. Then both Evelyn and Teddy go to bed after me, so I’ve concluded either Ugandans must need less sleep than me, or I’m very lazy!

When we have bible study and youth fellowship at church a few of the girls spend most of the evening sorting tea (bread and milk or water tea). Now in the west this wouldn’t involve too much work – we serve Tea & Toast before our morning service at City Life (myclc.org.uk). But here, they aren’t using kettles to boil water (I’m not sure you can boil milk in a kettle anyway?) but they use charcoal. So it takes a very long time, and it’s certainly more work than flicking the switch on the industrial water boiler we have at church.

Let me give you an example. We sat down to a late dinner around 22:00 at night. Matoke, sweet potatoes and beef in a Ge-nut sauce (like peanuts). I can’t eat ge-nuts, so I respectfully declined (we think I’m allergic to them). I carry on with the rest of the food, content. Meanwhile, Teddy has disappear to the kitchen and begun defrosting some fish for me to eat. She communicates with Gerald and Joan (in Lugandan), and Joan tells me they are cooking me some fish. All within th espace of about 30 seconds, and I haven’t even noticed she left the table.

Another example, my shoes get very dirty from the dust, but as they are going to get dusty every time I leave th echo use I haven’t bothered to clean them (lazy I know). One morning I put my shoes on to leave and noticed they were damp. I assumed something had spilt on them in the night but when I felt inside, they were dry. It was then that I realised someone had cleaned the for me, I hadn’t asked, they had just seen they needed to be cleaned and got on and done it (or maybe they were asked by someone else who saw they were dirty I don’t know). I left the house feeling very loved that day.

So to all the women who have served me in anyway during my time here, thank you. Thank you for all your hard work and sacrifice, for not complaining and for doing my washing (thanks mum for the travel wash, but I haven’t needed it…)