Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chase

We head out of the church with a list, 50,000 Shillings and one hour. Babirye and her family need a mosquito net, dishes, soap and food and the best place to find all of that is the market in downtown Kampala. I’m thinking this is no big deal…after all, I’m African at heart. I’ve got this. We walk for a bit, cross a few roads as boda bodas zoom past, just inches from making me roadkill. Just keep walking, I’ve learned. Don’t stop.

“Here we are!” David says, as we approach the busiest street I’ve ever seen. There are shops lining both sides of this red dirt road, huge trucks trying to push through the crowds, and people are everywhere. I mean everywhere. Imagine Black Friday on crack…with chickens running around. People are approaching me, trying to sell me toilet paper and raw meat and pencils. “Sagala!” (I don’t want it!) I’m starting to realize I’m not so African. People bump into me and I’m getting a little lost in the crowd as my Ugandan friends press on. “Alright,” I think “Green stripy shirt. Dreadlocks. Follow the green stripes.” I fix my eyes on David and push through the crowd. No, I don’t want to buy a chicken. Green stripes. “Aaaayyy mzungu!” Nope, green stripes. I’ve never chased anything this hard in my life. We cross a busy road, and I don’t take my eyes off David to look both ways. I’m telling myself “Natalie, don’t stop. Green stripes.” We make our way into another section of the market, this one more daunting than the first. There are more people, the terrain is muddier and bumpier, it’s darker and there is less room to walk. (For a laugh, imagine my dad’s face right now as he reads about his 19 year old daughter trekking through a dark market in downtown Kampala!) We fill our bags with passion fruit, beans, rice, sugar, and other things to make Babirye well. I stop when David stops. I nod and smile when he does. When the green stripes are walking, I’m walking. We cross off the last item on our list: a cabbage that is bigger than my head. I tuck it under my arm and we press on. We have fifteen minutes to get back to the church. We pick up the pace. Green stripes. I jump over the mud when David jumps. I run up the stairs when he does. When David says “Wait,” I listen. When he says “We go,” I chase. Don’t stop for the boda bodas. Don’t get distracted by the pretty dresses in the shop. Don’t pause to readjust the cabbage. Don’t turn when someone yells “Mzungu!” Chase the green stripes. As I’m weaving through people and past goats and over mud, I’m completely fixing my eyes on the stripy green shirt, and I’m thinking about Jesus.

Oh, if my pursuit of Jesus could be as focused as my pursuit of the green stripes. If I could take up my cross like I picked up that cabbage, if I could follow Jesus as wholeheartedly as I followed my Ugandan friend through the market. My prayer is to chase Jesus like my life depends on it. Don’t turn to the left or right. No, I don’t want to buy raw goat meat, or get rich and famous or have lots of friends or build up my little life here on earth. I want to follow the green stripes. I want to chase Jesus.

Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
-Proverbs 4:25-27

8 comments:

  1. Precious Nat - you slay and bless me. Love you. Praying for you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome Natalie!! Reminds me of a book I just read...Not A Fan!! Praying for you!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Little cuz, I just read the latest blog and loved it ! Chase that dream and go forth and do good things. Bren

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love how you use a scary, dangerous, rushed trip into a Market place and compare it to our walk with Christ. So well written; so well focused! Reading this seems to be a great follow-up to the radio this morning; Putting on the whole Armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-18
    Thanks for sharing Natalie. May the Lord Bless and keep you. Mark Gholston

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can't forget a quiet little girl sitting on the bench waiting for service to start. She took a step and started talking to new students and it made her smile so brightly. I remember a nervous mom waiting for her daughter to finish auditioning to sing. I remember receiving a graduation picture when we were far away and being so proud. I remember the first time I watched you praise the Lord online because we were still stationed away. Thank you for being so obedient and always chasing what God has put in your heart all your life. I love you and are always praying for you.

    Kat Rosales

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love you, Kat! -Donna

    ReplyDelete
  7. Woo! I love reading these! I hope your well rockstar! -nathan

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is amazing! I'm new to this blog stuff... ok, I'm new to this reading stuff, but I will definitely read more of your blogs! Thanks for being so fantawesome!!! - Luis

    ReplyDelete