What imprint will you leave behind you?
Posted by Rory Wilson on Fri, 24 Feb 2017 | 0 comments | Bookmark:
Last year we took some friends to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a safari trip. We were all pretty excited about it and while Rory went into the UWA office to pay for entry to the park, the rest of us stood around the car stretching our legs. The children were excited to see some large animal prints in the mud beside the car. It was very obvious that it had been an elephant. (Also obvious by other more smelly deposits left on the ground!!) The children followed the big footprints around the corner until they disappeared on the harder ground.
Why do I share this memory? Well I was reminded recently that we all leave a footprint (and I am not talking about our environmental footprint here!) Alison Fletcher (also known as ‘the Fletch’ by some) started off her nine-year service at Kiwoko Hospital as a physio, then as a support manager in the HIV department, not to mention her spiritual impact with our student population. Alison came and stayed with us in early February and was a real breath of fresh air.
We had the privilege to be invited to a surprise party for Alison. The physio and HIV department had arranged a get together to receive their much loved colleague and friend. It was a wonderful evening of fun and games, snacks, sodas (fizzy drinks) and of course cake! The speeches were not long (which is unusual for Uganda) but heartfelt.
The staff, with pride, gave reports on how practices that had been instigated by Alison were still working and being practiced. They expressed their gladness to have her back to visit and the only complaint was that she wasn’t coming back to work here! It was a very warm and ‘feel good’ party to attend.
On another evening we sat around the dinner table with past students whom Alison fellowshipped with, was available to and who are now leaders within the hospital.
As we prepare to leave Kiwoko and return to life in Northern Ireland, Alison’s visit has been timely in terms of practical advice and encouragement – she survived re-entry to the UK and is still smiling.
But I was really challenged by that night. What kind of trail will I be leaving behind me?
Kiwoko has many people pass through its gates to volunteer and they are remembered by their words and actions, the good and the bad. Sometimes we laugh as we remember the comedians, shake our heads at the people we couldn’t understand for one reason or another and then sigh for the ones who didn’t stay as long as we would have wished.
The fact that Alison was still valued after a five-year absence, her work was still appreciated and the departments still bore the imprint of her influence and efficiency was just such a compliment to everything that she gave of herself during her nine years. While we do not seek man’s praise, it is satisfying to know that God has used us, that we did Him properly when He called us to serve overseas. It is pure joy to see brothers and sisters in Christ grow.
Now in this season of packing and handing over, it is also a time of analysing and evaluating our time here. It would be the highest compliment to revisit Kiwoko someday as Alison has done and see the evidence of our investment in individuals, both professionally and spiritually.
Hopefully we won’t have left unsavoury evidence of our time here as the elephants did at Queen Elizabeth
Look behind you today. Are you leaving a trail or destruction or blazing a trail for God by which others can follow or be encouraged?