The Armchair Arborist
Here We Have No Lasting City

Praying Around the World

A couple years ago, when I met Pastor George Mbonye, of Kisoro, Uganda, he sat across from me at breakfast at a hotel one morning and talked with me. Our team from Amazing Grace Adoptions & Orphan Care had been forced to stay overnight at the hotel, a rare luxury for George, when we were too late returning to Kisoro from one of the national parks, a “rest” day from our normal activities. Our drivers were nervous about taking the mountain passes at night. We should have been.

Pastor George was describing an early journey he took to one of his churches in the mountains. “I did not know when I began the ministry how it would happen. I traveled many miles, by truck, by bicycle, by foot. I did not know where I would sleep, outside or inside a church with no doors or windows.” He described being without water or food at times, weakened, and he said “I did not know if I would wake up. But then I opened my eyes and I was moving.” George has such an economy of words. Every word counts. “I tell the pastors that the bachelor’s degree or PhD begins in the heart.” He tells them “their wives are the engine of their ministry.” Struggles of providing are, he says, “like a dog growling at him. If you run, it will bite you. You must stand and confront.”

Now, I look at Kisoro on Google Maps. I see the terraced fields on the mountains, Lake Mutanda in the distance, and the Inpenetrable Forest of the Congo nearby. I can’t find Kisoro Baptist Church on the map, though I look down the unnamed streets of Kisoro Town. I imagine the omniscience of God compared to my feeble looking, divorced of the power to do much to help George or the people there. But maps don’t show souls, don’t chart faithfulness, and looking is worth something if followed by action. I take my finger and touch Kisoro and pray a prayer for George. That prayer goes all the way around the world, is carried right to the Father, and it matters.