A man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. – Proverbs 16:9
This verse is a good one to remember no matter where you are, but especially when you’re an American in Africa. No matter how much calculating, strategizing, or planning you do, one thing is certain – T.I.A. will happen to you.
This Is Africa is the norm, not the exception. Its essence will lose something as I try to translate it, but the definition resembles something close to this: “Plan for your plans to be changed.” In other words:
- Do your best to forecast that whatever you think should happen, probably won’t;
- Remember that Africa is event-oriented, not time-oriented;
- Make plans to control the only thing you can control 100% of the time – your attitude.
You may plan your steps, but ultimately, T.I.A.
We were reminded of this recently during the shipment of a container of food destined for one of our ministry partners, as it was sidelined at the Kenya/Uganda border. Convoy of Hope specializes in “feeding the world,” and through the generation donations of people associated with World Missionary Evangelism, shipped 272,000 nutrient-rich meals that landed port in Mombassa, Kenya, en route to Jinja.
Enter T. I. A.
Without going into heavy detail, the cost of this endeavor – which is significant – was made even more significant just one day before it was supposed to cross the border on a truck into Uganda. We received correspondence from former Man Up trip participant and current WME Ugandan National Director, Katie McGinnis, that we needed an extra $1400 to pay in shipping and taxes before the shipment would be allowed to come into Uganda. On top of that, a $300 per day fee was to be assessed by the trucking company within 48 hours if we couldn’t come up with the money and the truck just sat at the border.
It was at this point we made an impassioned plea on Facebook and with our circle of friends and family to help us raise the $1400. With the wire transfer taking at least one day to complete, we essentially had just 24 hours to raise the money.
The Scriptures say the “righteous shall walk by their faith,” and that is the exciting element of a Spirit-filled life with Jesus. You never know what a day will bring forth, but you can always count on Him to show up! We had dozens of supporters of the ministry step up to the plate and within 24 hours, had raised every single dime needed to pay those [unexpected] taxes and fees.
But of course the story doesn’t stop there. The truck still needed to pull into its intended destination in Jinja. Merely yards from being able to unload, I’m sure you can guess what happened.
Crazily, the container nearly flew off the side of the truck. The solution? Unload all the cargo box by box, straighten the container, load the boxes back, then guard the container with your life overnight so as to protect its precious contents. Fortunately, by dawn’s early light, the crane was in place, the food was lowered, and bellies could start being filled.
Our ministry partners in both Jinja and Pallisa will be using the food to conduct a Super Saturday Feeding Program, designed as an outreach to the community and surrounding areas. The 3 hour weekly program will not only contain a meal with enough daily nutrients to satiate any growing girl or boy, but will also endeavor to share the Gospel with Scripturally-based teachings, arts and crafts, bible stories, and other evangelistic outreaches.
We are extremely grateful to those who both gave financially and prayed for this financial need to be met. We didn’t plan for it to go this way, but whenever T.I.A happens, you can often expect to see God right in the middle of it.
For that, we are both humbled and grateful. Thank you again to those who participated in the ministry with us to make the Super Saturday Feeding Program possible.