4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. 5 The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” 6 Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live. – Numbers 21:4-9
In verse four of this passage, we learn the people grew impatient on the way and they spoke out against God and Moses and asked “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness where we have no food or water?”
Here in Kampala, Uganda, I am having the privilege of meeting many people who are “on their way.” These people are refugees from Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea. However, in contrast to the Israelites, these people are being very patient and thanking God that he has brought them to this place, this beautiful respite, called the Center for Refuge and Hope. Here, Muslims and Christians, side by side, in harmony are learning English and new skills to hopefully one day, when the conflicts are over, return to their home countries. They have dreams of eliminating poverty and empowering their people by becoming leaders, teachers, social workers, politicians, missionaries and mentors through their opportunities here at The Center for Refuge and Hope in Uganda.
Here are some words they shared with me what life was like before they were a part of the Center:
“God took me away from my family, so he could form me into something different and something new.”
“I was just living without a dream and without God.”
“Before the Center for Refuge and Hope, there was no signpost for my life.”
“Most of my life I’ve been broken, but from that came good.”
As all of us are “on our way” in our lives, may we learn from these precious people to live with hope and anticipation understanding that God knows exactly where we are going.