Thursday, July 25, 2013

Encamped Around Us

A series of incidents over the last few months

*We were nearly asleep when we heard the shattering of glass in the distance. Jeff and I, awake and alert, listened intently. The female Ugandan shrill (an alarm that signals thieves) brought Jeff out of bed quickly. Into clothes, weapon in hand he goes outside to be of what help he can.
Our neighbors lost an office window and a computer. The thieves got away.

*Only a few nights later, around midnight, glass shattered on our veranda. Jeff, again out the door with weapon in hand to circle our home and meet supposed intruders. The older Cashlings and I huddled in the hall praying.
We lost a light fixture on our porch. It fell without any help from an intruder. We breathed relief.

*We awake to a very concerned night watchman. He has gathered poisoned food in a basin. The food was tossed over our fence meant for our dogs to find. He, our day guard and Jeff discuss and plan tighter security.
We stay alert.

*I received a call at midnight from Faith, the woman who works in our home. She is whispering and afraid. Thieves were pounding at her door. Jeff and our night guard load up in our car and drive to Faith’s room down the road. Their arrival sent the thieves running and saved Faith from losing her belongings. She was so grateful.
The thieves returned after Jeff and Apuuli left, breaking into a room whose occupant was away for the night.

*Thieves try to break into our Sunday school room tearing a board off the back wall. The guard fought the thieves twice chasing them away.
Jeff (and our boys) remove everything from the school room storing them in the more secure metal container.

*Men try to cut the locks on our container at church and are chased away by a guard.

*Jeff pays for a metal gate to be welded inside the container providing another hindrance to the persistent thieves.

*Sixty-four folding chairs and two wheel barrows are stolen from the church.

*Derrick reports that he and men from his village caught a band of seven thieves and took them to the police.

*Seventeen thieves are arrested en masse in the neighborhood around the church.

*Jeff has been at the game park with visitors and is expected to return in the evening. As night falls, our guard warns me that a man has stationed himself on a rock on the hill behind us, staring for hours into our yard. I go outside and stare back, but the man doesn’t budge.
I gather camera equipment and snap photos sending him scurrying and me feeling success.
But he comes back.
Perches again and stares more. I take more pictures and he begins to shout. I call Jeff who sends word to the police to please see about the situation.
As dark descends, the man leaves.
Jeff arrives and we all settle in to sleep. At 3:30AM I awake to the sound of metal chipping against metal. It sounds like someone is cutting the bars on our windows.
The sound stops so I lay still and praying. At the third metallic grating I softly awaken Jeff. He comes to his feet from a deep sleep, dresses and goes straight outside.
Our guard is alert and knows our concern. He had been alarmed too.
We are relieved to find our neighbor across the road digging in his garden by the light of the bright moon. His hoe chips into the rocks on the hill echoing into our home.
The adrenaline has awakened us fully, so Jeff and I make coffee and enjoy an early morning conversation.

*Jeff is up this morning before all of the rest of us. He finds our night guard very concerned.
A man has been in our yard. He came over the upper fence. He was taking things from our upper yard when the dogs heard him and began to bark loudly.
Our night guard followed the noise and saw the man escaping back over the fence.
Jeff spends the morning with the police commander filing a report and seeking more patrols for our road.

In some seasons thieves seem to multiply.

Sometimes violation presses in more.

When boundaries are breached, it costs us something.

Often, the breaching scars.

Bruised and obvious or faint and not well defined--

Theft (of any kind) leaves a mark.

We lost very little to the thief last night.

But the threat we are facing turns my heart to others who are facing ‘theft’ in more drastic circumstance today.

--Congolese refugees gather by the thousands just a few hours down the road. And they are losing everything.
--Friends in Fort Portal who have lost computers and money and phones.
--A friend assaulted, processing and coping with the healing pain of her mind and heart.
--Precious friends battling cancer.

We can have things stolen in many different ways.

Shining a light into the shadowy struggles, this Word helps me stand.

“For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”
Psalm 22:24

He is listening. And so very aware.

We pray.

 “Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me.
Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
Psalm 35:1-3


“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

No matter how the enemy may surround or scheme, camp has already been set.

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:7

Angels encamped.

Our Father’s attentive gaze.

His weapons contending on our behalf.


Father God,
For all who face the frustration of having something taken from them.
Please be obviously near.
We ask for peace and for protection.
We ask for restoring moments of Restful and Safe.
Create in us a holy anticipation that what was meant for evil will be used for good.
Only by Your hand.
We wait. We believe.
By Jesus and through Him—Let it be so.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your words of comfort. I know that in those times when thieves seem to be everywhere a spirit of fear can take over our daily life. Your reflections and scriptures are excellent reminders of the presence of our LORD at all times. In Mozambique I have had times of great fear... so I appreciate your words. Jeremy Smith

Art Lynch said...

May the peace that defies understanding guard your hearts and lives in Christ and His cross. You are loved.

Terrell said...

This is fantastic!