I had a very interesting meeting with a pastor the other day in Mbale that once again assured me that the Holy Spirit is with us as our team ministers. We were doing a church planting conference in his church in a village back up away from the city on the lower slopes of the large mountain that overshadows Mbale. He had invited us to come “see” his home, which means to sit for tea and is an honor.

We sat in his mud-wattle construction home and chatted with him and his wife about a variety of subjects.  Then he left the room and went out into the yard for a few minutes. When he returned, he was carrying a chicken with its claws tied together to keep it from squirming. I recognized immediately what was about to happen. He said, “We are so happy to have you here. Thank you for coming to minister to us and for loving us. I want to give this to you.” Of course, this is a valuable gift in this culture because every chicken means a potential meal for the family.

I told him that I very much appreciated the gift and that he was being very generous to me. However, I explained, I have no way to deal with a live chicken. I live in a guesthouse room, I have no implements to kill it or prepare it or eat it. I asked him if he would please find a needy person in his area and give the chicken to them in my name as if from me. We discussed this a little back and forth, and he seemed satisfied. I really didn’t want to offend him, but even if I had taken the chicken, I would have had to give it away. This has happened before and I handle it a little differently each time depending on the situation. He smiled and left with the chicken.

He soon reappeared and was still smiling to himself. We chatted a bit more, and then he said, “Pastor, I saw in a dream last night that I was giving you a chicken to thank you for your work. It seemed like a good idea. However, I also saw that you did not take it. I did not know what it meant until just now.”

 

Thanks, Lord, You always seem to go ahead and guard behind.

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