Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Meal at Bugembe Prison

One business concept that the people in Uganda seem to grasp quite well is that of supply and demand. There is a huge demand for travel on and around the Christmas holiday and the supply of taxis is limited. Thus, traveling any significant distance meant triple the cost. In many cases this increase meant that some people could not afford to visit their family this holiday. I’m thankful for your gifts that allowed me to travel to Bugembe Prison so that I could wish the prisoners a merry Christmas and deliver a hope-filled message before they enjoyed the second-annual Christmas meal sponsored by my sister and her husband.

About two hours after the originally scheduled meeting time, I was pushing up against my next deadline. I knew Carpenter John was on his way, but if I didn’t go in alone I might not have the chance to say hello at all. Beyond the locked gates I trod…alone in the prison yard. It occurred to me to be at least a little afraid, yet I wasn’t. I know many of these men and have only been met with respect each time I come. And I was rewarded. Upon arrival they clapped and cheered and welcomed me with exuberance.

We talked about the meaning of Christmas and I asked the men whether or not they would have had children if they knew that child was going to die. Every one of them said “no.” “What, then, would prompt our Father to birth his child knowing he would die,” I asked. Love. The men saw Christmas in a new way today. They saw the singular purpose of one man’s life and the reason for which that life was sacrificed. I love watching their faces come to some new kind of recognition, like a light dawning.

Just as we finished greetings, the message, and prayers, Carpenter John and friends arrived with the meal. The men were definitely ready to receive. I can’t express enough appreciation for John who devotes so much of his life to these prisoners and to my sister and her husband for devoting their resources to them as well.