Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Divine Boda-Boda Ride

Finishing my yummy bowl of fruit at The Source Café, a man standing just inside the doorway asked if I needed a boda. The truth is that I did need one, but usually when it seems that someone is stalking me I prefer to find someone who doesn’t know what I ate for my last meal. Somehow, though, I heard my voice saying “yes” and we were off to Bugembe Prison. Along the way this boda driver asked the usual polite questions and, when he learned that I love Jesus, revealed himself to be a pastor.

Ever skeptical of such claims and the various cons people use, I proceeded politely. He named his church, his head pastor, and a number of others whom I did not know. When we reached the prison he pulled his well used Bible out of his travel pouch – always carrying his Bible when driving boda – in order to get at his passport. He wanted to show me that he really is who he said he is.

Pastor Denis then told me about the time he used to do prison ministry before he had a family and providing for them became a higher priority. He asked permission to speak with me at the prison. Still cautious, I trusted Carpenter John would know how best to proceed…until the rain delayed him. Plan B…what would be Plan B? Um…God, protect us as we welcome this unknown servant into the prison.

Thankfully John appeared shortly after I began delivering my message and could at least offer post hoc feedback on the additional material added by Pastor Dennis. I must say, though, that through all the caution I felt like there might be some ministry opportunity with Pastor Denis which is why I didn’t shut him down from the beginning. I was particularly struck by the reality that a pastor who would rather be ministering in prison is required instead to drive a motorcycle so that his family has food. This isn’t an uncommon situation for pastors in Uganda but it still makes me sad.