Careful What You Pray For

Charlton Haupt
Charlton Haupt is a Husband and Father who really loves to hear and tell a good story!
Human Connections

Jun 13,2017

In October of 2007 I found myself on an airplane to Uganda. I was to stay with a local Ugandan Pastor and his family for two months in a village in the middle of nowhere. Within about a sixty mile radius I was the only westerner, and white person for that matter, and a terrifying site for anyone under five years old as I was the first white person they had ever seen. Regardless of the fear, many were very overjoyed to see me, at least from a distance, kind of like a child is excited to see a bear until the bear gets closer. The adults however were full of excitement that I was there, and on the day of my arrival the Pastor had an agenda waiting for me.

I had just got done traveling for roughly thirty hours, was on the other side of the globe in a culture I had never encountered before, was completely exhausted and he shows me an agenda that included me preaching anywhere from one to three times a day, every single day for the next two months.

At this point I was a zombie looking at a list of events and couldn’t wrap my mind around the schedule laid before me. I didn’t even have a single sermon prepared. After seeing the paper I did the only reasonable thing I could… went to bed.

The next day we woke up and they fed me a mountain of food. After the first serving they said I didn’t eat that much and to eat more before we go and preach. So they served up a second mountain, then a third. Not wanting to be rude, I crammed it in and was so uncomfortable it hurt to sit down.

We headed to church and got through the choppy sermon that I had prepared in my mind that morning, then went back to the house to eat lunch where the pastor fed me two more mountains of food. After lunch we visited one of the church members who were so excited to see the foreigner, they had prepared a meal, which was another two mountains of food. After eating with them for an hour or two we went back to the house where dinner was waiting and another mountain of food was presented before me. Then to be sure I didn’t starve to death they served another and watched me eat, continually telling me I didn’t eat enough and must eat more. Not wanting to be rude I somehow miraculously crammed it in. By the end of the night I felt like an overstuffed turkey!

Turning in that night was miserable, but there was no time to wallow in the pain as the next day’s sermons desperately needed preparation. That first week we preached at the local church every day before we started going to local schools, and then to the neighboring towns and schools, with each day followed the same eating schedule.

For breakfast three mountains of bread and hot milk were served. For lunch it was at least two mountains of rice loaded with boiled meat. For the house visits it was two mountains of rice loaded with boiled meat. And finally for dinner it was two to three mountains of rice loaded with boiled meat. Yes, you read all that right. Lots, and lots, and lots of rice and boiled meat.

Just like the food, every night was the same. I went to my room incredibly uncomfortable, but had no time to think about it as I needed to prepare a sermon for the following day. Putting a sermon together became second nature, and so did preaching of that sermon the next day, with the Pastor as the interpreter. You have to get into a certain rhythm with the interpreter when you are speaking. After the first week we had started our groove/rhythm of preaching together, and after the third it had become simple for us. Things were going really well except one thing.

The thing I couldn’t keep up with was the ridiculousness of the eating schedule. I couldn’t say “no” because I didn’t want to be impolite, but I also couldn’t keep up. It was absolutely absurd how much food they gave, and it was so hard to eat so much of the same food every day.

Jesus said that if you have enough faith you could command mountains to move and be cast into the sea, and mountains were before me about seven to nine times a day. I desperately needed six of them to be cast in the sea.

After three weeks, I went to bed so miserably full and uncomfortable when it hit me, I had to do this for another five weeks. My heart sank within me, and I broke down falling on my knees crying out to God Almighty who alone could save, “No no no no no no no no. I can’t eat this much anymore. Whatever you gotta do, please help me. I am done. I am done. I am done! I am miserably uncomfortable and tired of rice and boiled meat. I just can’t do this anymore. These mountains must be gone.” I knew I was at my end, and I knew God knew I was at my end, and therefore I knew He would do something about it. I prepared the next day’s sermon and went to bed. A few hours later in the middle of the night, I woke up feeling my chest turn into an oven as my temperature skyrocketed. I had never experienced a fever like it before. It started rising so fast, it truly scared me. So I jumped out of bed, ran to the water barrel and started putting cold water all over me to knock the fever down, then took some Tylenol to keep it at bay, and went back to sleep. When I woke in the morning the fever gone, but my neck was so stiff I couldn’t move it. It didn’t hurt, it just didn’t move. As we ate breakfast I shared what was going on, but stopped pretty quickly when nausea hit, sending me running out of the house as my stomach hit the ejection button on breakfast. Something was clearly wrong.

The Pastor immediately cancelled the morning plans, put me on his little motorcycle and we drove to the doctor, where I tested positive for malaria. They gave me a quinine shot and told us to come back every morning and evening to receive the series of shots for the next three days. They were very painful shots right in the keester, and sitting on a bumpy motorcycle on the way back only made it hurt worse.

BUT, regardless of all the pain, and sleepless nights, one thing was certain and everyone knew it. I didn’t have a stomach for food anymore. I never thought I would hear these words come out of my mouth, but that night I looked to heaven and for completely selfish reasons I said “THANK YOU GOD FOR MALARIA!” I may have felt physically horrible, but I had the biggest smile on my face knowing the Lord answered prayer.

The quinine worked wonders and I was good to go after the third day, but even though the malaria left, I wasn’t once forced to eat again.

The mountains of food had been picked up and thrown into the sea. Or at least into the puke bucket. 

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