We all could use a little more kindness. But with friendship, it’s as good as you give.
Shem and I (Catherine Mabongor) were invited for a week in June 2017, to a leaders conference in Nakuru Kenya. I knew I couldn’t go because someone had to stay home with the children. Shem was making plans to travel alone when he got a call from his cousin (and pastor of Open Chapel in Namatumba). God had given Sam a dream that Shem was going away and Sam was to come stay at our house to take care of the ministry. I immediately packed my bags. I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to stay with our kids, but this was Sam. He loved them almost as much as we did.
Although the weather was much colder than the drought ridden Uganda, the time of being ministered to instead of being the one ministering was very refreshing. I received individual prayer from Pastor Arley and God healed a portion of my heart that had been hurting for some time. There were many messages preached, but my favorite was about Finding Your Jonathans.
As ministers of God there will always be those Sauls in our lives that are in competition with us and trying to kill our vision. But God also sends Jonathans as well. David had a covenant relationship with his friend and they stood with each other during the tough times. These types of Godly relationships are also needed in our life to help us protect and strengthen each other. They were both men of integrity and were loyal to each other. In life, we may have many people who say they love us, but let God give us faithful bosom friends. Not many people will fit into this category, but a few quality Jonathans are a true gift from God.
As the minister was preaching, I could see that Shem had at least three of these types of faithful friends in his life. I asked my Heavenly Father to show me who I could be a Jonathan to and who could be a Jonathan for me.
Shem received his international ordination through All Nations Network of Ministers, with Bishop Jotham Opichio as the Kenya director. Bishop Opicho has visited our home on several occasions and we have stayed with him and his wife Leah. In fact, for our 16th wedding anniversary, Shem and I took a holiday in Kenya at Bishop Opicho’s request. He proved to be a wonderful tour guide and Leah a graceful hostess. During a break in the conference I went to Leah and committed myself to be a Jonathan for her.
I feel like I came back from Kenya a new woman. It was so nice to have time alone with Shem and although talking didn’t seem to help us sort out our issues, the prayers we received solved everything in a moment. We received and gave forgiveness and were back on track. It was so nice to feel the joy of first love again.
Soon life took on its usual pace with Shem traveling most of the time. He was scheduled to go to Mbarara for nine days and I was not looking forward to it. Usually I slide back into survival mode and just barely make it through. But this time was to prove different. First of all, cousin Sam came back and this time he brought his wife Sylvia. They left their six children at home in Namatumba with Sylvia’s sister and came to help me. It was wonderful. They encouraged me so much with their love and respect. Both Sam and Sylvia don’t speak English and I’m not that good at Luganda or Lumasaaba, but somehow when they speak to me I understand them. It must have something to do with the tremendous love we have for one another. The children, Kana and Andy, also came in to translate where needed. I was amazed at what Sylvia told me.
“Catherine, when I feel that I can’t do it any more. Like I can’t carry on. I just think of you. And I tell myself that if Catherine can come from America, leaving all her family and everything that is familiar, then I can get through the difficult situation I’m facing.”
This is a tremendous thing for Sylvia to say to me. I was amazed! She has lost four children and she finds encouragement from me! Only God can do that.
I told Sylvia that I am the one who finds encouragement from her. We stared at each other for a moment then burst out laughing. It was a true Hallelujah moment when I realized we were Jonathans for each other. Wow! God is so good.
Do you also need a Jonathan in your life? Is there anyone you can be a Jonathan for?