(We are happy to see you)
I broke the house last night. Melted a breaker. In the process of trading out a faulty light switch, unfamiliar with its design and working by headlamp, I wired it wrong, threw the switch, and burned it out. We spent the rest of the evening in darkness. My family has gotten used to these inconvenient errors in my judgement and lapses in diligence, I melted through a hot water pot last month. If the children make mistakes the rug gets a stain, we are delayed in leaving somewhere, sunglasses get left on a taxi, etc. If I make mistake we go without water (a month and a half ago I turned off the wrong valve). It is very humbling to constantly be apologizing to the wife and children. It definitely softens my critical nature in judging the children and making their every slip up a federal offense. He forgives much whom has been forgiven much.
It is in the midst of this humility that we we are taking language lessons. It goes without saying the children are picking up Lugandan quickly. Me? Not so much. I don't anticipate I will ever be able to give a sermon in the language of the people—without a miracle from God. As a homeschooling father who is supposed to be the guiding hand in my children's education this is a new experience. I have no expertise in this subject and on top of that not the most adept student. Lugandan has just as many exceptions and particulars as any other language—I'm just not getting it as fast as the children. Not that I expected to. We are relying on them to learn this quicker than us, this isn't about raising children as much as it is about mentoring partners. I hope that doesn't comes off impersonal or a hands-off approach to parenting (they by no means call us by our first names). The five of them get all the love and affection we can give but the olders are getting used to having more expectations put upon them. One of the priorities is being being able to communicate with the folks around us. Liesel is our secret weapon. Even with just the few words of greeting she knows the Ugandans go crazy when they hear her speak their language.
I can't compete with that and I don't want to. To live through the lives of our children is something we aspire to. We have no ability to offer a return on the investment people have made in us other than serve others and nurture amazing children that will continue beyond our achievements. Much of our calling is to assist in the discovery of their callings. Like any investment strategy the earlier we start the better. Africa is integral to finding and developing each of the children's calling, whether they choose to continue in Africa or not. Serving with them gives them confidence, authority, ministry networking experience, the list could go on and on. Serving with them gives us more hands to do the work we've been sent to do and hope that someone will learn from our mistakes. Maybe Jax will seek a calling as an electrician.