It was on the brink of the early 2000‘s around 2001. I had the opportunity to go into northern Uganda. It was the first time I wore a bulletproof vest to take the gospel to an Unreached people group. This people group didn’t have a Bible or Church in their own language. They were known for carrying Ak47’s and raiding neighboring tribes to protect their cattle. They had demonic rituals of drinking blood and milk. They had been Unreached, un-targeted and un-penetrated by the gospel for generations. In fact, there was only one missionary family working among them. They had been ambushed just years before and their daughter had taken shrapnel in her back. It was one of my most exciting and scariest adventures I had taken thus far.
I remember getting off the plane being welcomed by two courageous missionaries. They handed me my first bullet proof vest and said, “Get into the Land Rover, we have a long journey ahead of us!” They cranked up the radio to a Michael W. Smith worship song and as worship filled the brisk African air we hit the bumpy road to the mountains. It was incredible! I went to bed that night amazed. I woke up the next morning early to these missionaries saying “ It’s time to go!” We loaded up a few goods and began to hike up the mountain. As we were hiking I remember trying to take in the majestic atmosphere around me. Literally, I was the feet in the, “How beautiful are the feet that bring the Good News of the gospel of peace.” You know, the scripture we always quote when starting a mission trip or church outreach!
I was literally climbing a mountain that existed to bring praise to my Father, but was occupied by a people that had no knowledge of Him. How did my feet get to be so beautiful? How did little ‘ole’ me, get this type of privilege? I was engulfed with gratitude, thankfulness, joy, and just plain excitement.
As we journeyed I began to see rolling hills filled with grass top huts made from straw and cow dung. Then it happened. I met my first Karamajong.
I won’t lie. As this African warrior stepped out in front of me, wearing nothing but a spear in hand, my first thought was, “Dear Jesus, I’m over dressed!”
In missions 101 you learn the most important rule of being an effective missionary is to be culturally relevant. To be able to fit in culturally so you can better bridge the gospel to the people your trying to reach. Well, needless to say, I wasn’t going to start ripping off cloths to fit in. This was one missionary line I couldn’t cross!
But as I stood there I learned the most important lesson I could ever learn. Reaching this naked warrior wasn’t going to be by ripping off cloths to look like him, but by extending my hand in non- judgment and offering love that he had never seen on this mountain.
I learned that day from my first naked person that it wasn’t about looking like the world around you, but by offering people something they could not find in this world.
Reaching the Karamajong meant sacrifice, time, hours of endless love. It meant taking risks (even risks that involved your safety and your family’s safety). It meant going outside your comfort and embracing people that didn’t look like me or act like me. It meant me being willing to go, where I never thought I would go.
What about you? How is God asking you to step out of your comfort and security to extend His gospel to those that don’t know Him? Where is your Mountain that declares the majesty of God, but is occupied by a people that don’t know Him? How beautiful will your feet be today?