So Who is this "Good Samaritan"?
Today was our first of 4 days visiting the Ogoloi CarePoint. After a hearty breakfast (all meals at the TCON house are hearty) we headed out on a 20 minute drive down a red dirt road towards the little village of Ogoloi.
Joseph stopped the car, smiled, and said in a way that only Joseph can…”I think that we will be wokking”.
I know that this was our first interaction with the kids this time around, but I am confident that this will remain an absolute highlight of this trip for me. After walking the tunnel (the kids had formed two lines to shake our hands), the singing and dancing began as we were paraded down the road (really more of a path wide enough for a small car to barge its way through). It was incredibly moving…a welcome fit for a king (more on this comment later)
We then entered the church (a mud building with a straw roof) for a couple of hours of ceremony from the kids, including intrductions of the CarePoint staff and leaders. Currently, Ogoloi has 3 Disciplers, 2 Cooks, a CareTaker (who is also the local pastor of the church) as well as a social worker.
The True Good Samaritan
Towards the end of the ceremony (anyone who has been to an African church understands how long these ceremonies can go on for) the children put on a little play/production for us in between songs. It was the story of the Good Samaritan (from Luke 10:25), acted out in full with a solid beating of the traveler (they hit the ground around him with sticks) and the Good Samaritan taking the man away to be helped on the back of a donkey (the donkey was one of the kids hunched over)
The play was followed by a brief explanation by one of the disciples. We were told that the play was a picture of the help and grace that we have brought to the community of Ogoloi through our sponsorship and provision for the children. We were told that we had shown them so much grace, and that it was difficult for them to express their gratitude for the love that has been given them by our hands.
This was a touching message, and I have learned to love the “African” way of thanking people…but at the same time my heart ached at that point for these people not to miss the point.
I sat with one of the disciplers later on in that day while the kids were playing, and asked him if he knew who the true Good Samaritan was. He looked at me rather puzzled and began to explain the story of the Good Samaritan again (I think he was shocked that I had not heard the story before). I explained that I had heard the story, but asked him again if he knew who the Good Samaritan truly was. He was stuck.
So I asked him….what was the Good Samaritan riding when he came upon the man, wounded, hurting, naked and broken.
He said: “A Donkey”.
I asked him who else rode a donkey. He said Jesus. Progress.
Then I asked him what the Samaritan did to help the man.
He responded: He paid for the man to be healed and to be taken care of by the Inn Keeper”.
I asked:” Who else paid the price for others to be healed?”
He said Jesus
You see, the parable of the Good Samaritan, although also a picture of how we should love our neighbors, is first and foremost a beautiful picture of the Christ.
He came on the path from Jerusalem to Jericho (Jesus came from Heaven to earth).
He rode a donkey (Jesus rode a donkey)
He bandaged the mans wounds (Jesus healed our wounds)
He paid the Inn Keeper to watch after the man (Jesus left His Spirit to watch and guide us)
He said he would return (and our King too, will return)
You see, I think that Jesus’point in sharing this parable was less to inform us of who our neighbor is and of a new level of morality that included loving those that we normally would not. It was not to point to a new understanding of the law that would mean that we should include “loving the least of these” in our belief set.
But rather, the parable was there to point people to the King. The story, told almost 2000 years ago still paints a beautiful picture of the TRUE Good Samaritan, who came down from Jerusalem, found us naked and hurting and broken, and healed our wounds at his own expense.
And likewise, our efforts to love these children, is not simply for the sake of caring for their needs and to be obedient to the clear commands of Christ to care for the least of these around us (Matthew 25) and those in need (1 John 3:16-17). But rather, it is a beautiful picture of the Servant King, who came to love us (orphans and “at risk” children”) who have strayed from our home and are in need of the help of a Good Samaritan. And we have such a neighbor…in Jesus.
It is such an amazing thing to see the gospel “Lived Out” in the lives of the small team with me here. It’s a beautiful thing when people thank you for the work that your hands have done, and to know that they aren’t even your hands. They are the hands of the body of Christ, lived out through his bride, the church.
I continue to believe that what is missing in the church (both in America and Africa) is that we (the church) would become a picture of the living Christ, painted by lives lived out in unexplainable love to those who need it. When we begin to paint this picture to the world, whether it is feeding orphans in Uganda, or helping those in our very own connection/small groups who have needs but feel afraid to express them). Then the church of the living God will become a picture of the living Christ, and the world will ask us of this Love that is within us.
Fun Filled Day
Much of the day was games and fun…just getting to know the kids and let loose. And there was some serious “loose letting” to say the least. The giant parachute was a hit
Jess and Ally fit right in with the kids…you know, goofy, high energy etc.
And Matthew even got a killer game of duck duck goose going…
For those of you reading this that are sponsors, there is much exciting news to bring home. The CarePoint is flourishing. When we first came in June of this year, Ogoloi CarePoint was in danger of being closed for lack of funding. We now have 100% of the kids sponsored, and they are well fed (at least, they are well fed once a day), energetic, and extremely excited to learn more about you, their “sponsuz”
The recently hired Disciplers and Social workers are doing a fantastic job with the kids. There truly is a notable difference in 6 months.
Tomorrow, we begin the fun task of getting video footage of the kids to bring back to you. We hope to get a brief clip of all the kids, so that you can all meet them and realize the real life enormous impact that your support is having on their little lives. You have to come to Uganda to understand it fully, but if not that then we will at least bring a little piece of them home to you. Sunday we will be hosting a small clinic for the kids with a local doctor (he was lovingly bribed with a refurbished Apple computer from America), and we have the privilege of providing mosquito nets, school shoes, and some other items like underwear and sanitary pads (from your donations) to the kids on Monday.
We will also be visiting several of the kids homes (huts) tomorrow and Sunday to learn more about their living situations. I know this will be hard, as there are several HIV infected homes we will be visiting and the cold reality of life in Africa is a far cry from the joy of playing under a giant multi-colored parachute with the kids. But it is imperative that we leave an indelible image on our (and your) minds of what it is that these kids go home to each night.
To learn more about Ogoloi, please check out the intro blog on Ogoloi from a few months ago at