Called Again: Of Bovine and Boxers by Reid Satterfield
This morning’s guest blogger, Reid Satterfield, writes about a learning experience as a missionary in Uganda. Reid hails from Charlotte, NC.
Reflection on Cows
One evening—when we still lived in Northwest Uganda—April and I were awakened by the sound of footfalls just outside of our bedroom window. Alarmed, I jumped out of bed, grabbed a tire iron, and rushed to our front door. At that moment I was aware that the source of the noise was on the other side of the door. Bracing for the worst, I opened the door to—of all things—the rear-end of a cow. Peering around his hindquarters, I could see him munching on our grass, oblivious to me and to the fact that he’d just desecrated my doorstep and—nearly—my feet. Agitated, I traded the tire iron for a walking stick and laid into that mangy cow.
As the cow galloped away, I returned to bed, satisfied he would not return and grateful for the ebony walking stick—a gift from an elder of a nearby clan. Sadly, I enjoyed my satisfaction only a moment. Within minutes the cow had returned and, again, I had to chase him out of my yard. This cycle was repeated. The third time he returned I was so angry that I ran outside, stick in hand, and chased that cow for about 100 meters.
When I came to my senses, I found myself in overgrowth—where recently I’d had a Wild Kingdom experience with rats and a large black mamba (an aggressive and highly poisonous snake)—wearing only boxer shorts and flip-flops. Chastened, I returned home to a rather amused wife and with another “teachable moment” to ponder.
Following Christ is not always glamorous…it can be downright degrading. But, these little humiliations that we endure in Christ highlight an oft-overlooked truth that self-regard and humility do not go together. Following Christ is a “downwardly mobile” pathway . To serve Christ is to count yourself as the least among many; to serve Christ is to put other people’s needs ahead of your own.
So brothers and sisters, accept life’s many humiliations as Christ’s provision for the journey; a journey from self-regard to humility.
The Apostle Paul’s Words to the Church at Philippi
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:1-8).
I grew up in Hampstead, NC, a small fishing community located in the southeast corner of the state. Here I spent endless hours outdoors, fishing, hunting, camping, and exploring the salt marshes of the barrier islands. Through conversation and commitment, my mother and father introduced me to Jesus Christ.
During my last two years at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, I committed myself to a life of following Christ and got involved with Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF; www.intervarsity.org). Here I developed an inner joy in being discipled and discipling others. My wife, April, and I met in IVCF and we ached to serve Christ in overseas missions. When we married in June of 1996, we were already on our way becoming missionaries.
Mission to Uganda
April and I were missionaries with the African Inland Mission (www.aimint.org) from 1998 to 2001. Our daughter, Emma Jane, was born in northwestern Uganda in August of 2000. Working among the Aringa people, an unreached tribe along the Congo and Sudan borders, our dream was to share Christ’s love with people previously familiar only with famine, war, and exile. We loved our little mud-brick house in the bush and planned to make it our life’s work.
In January 2001, rebel troops ambushed, shot, and left for dead a friend and I. We survived miraculously, but my wounds forced us to return to the states in February. A year later I entered Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (www.GordonConwell.edu) in Charlotte, NC and later (2004-2012) coordinated of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building for the Charlotte and Jacksonville campuses.
St. Patrick’s Anglican Mission
Today, I serve as the Coordinator of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation at St. Patrick’s Anglican Mission (http://StPatricksMission.org). I also serve as a certified lecturer for Perspectives, a nationwide organization that provides churches with educational resources for engaging in world missions and provide spiritual direction to various leaders in and around the Charlotte Metro area.
 Henri Nouwen. 2007. The Selfless Way of Christ: Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. (www.HenriNouwen.org)
Other ways to engage online:
Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.
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