Chapter – Peace that Passes Understanding – Click below to see full chapter
ABOUT THE BOOK
Immersed in Uganda, Inspired by Job, Changed for Life
Carrie Wagner’s book, Village Wisdom, is a true story about lifelong impact resulting from her three years living in a rural African village. Fifteen years after she and her husband Bob served in Uganda with Habitat for Humanity International, Carrie had a vision to share her story and the pictures that have marked her heart for a lifetime. Through image and word, Carrie brings to life her village experiences, weaving together the challenges of poverty and the richness of culture.
The book speaks to a multitude of audiences: those who have lived overseas, experiencing the impact of foreign cultures; those who treasure the virtues of people who are financially poor, yet spiritually and communally rich; those who have yet to experience the stretching of internal and external borders through service; and those who strive to help their children enter the 21st century with humility, gratitude, and global awareness.
Carrie has divided her book into five sections in which she uses a combination of stories, journal entries, letters, and photographs to illuminate her literal and spiritual journey. In the first section,“Transformation,” she sets the tone, defining transformation as “change of heart, perspective, worldview, and values.” She goes on to address both the pain and the joy inherent in this kind of all-encompassing change.
The section “Etchings” presents a collection of images culled from the hundreds of photographsCarrie took of the Bakonzo tribe from 1991 to 1994. This collection of photographs is precious not only because of the personal nature of the portraits which were captured once Carrie had built relationships, but also because of the high risk for damaged or lost film as it was transported from Africa to the United States.
“A Man Named Job” describes the Ugandan man who was a central inspiration for the author, along with his biblical counterpart. Carrie draws parallels between the two Jobs, and describes how their characters and life stories inspired her both in Uganda and back home. This chapter also sheds light on the culture and environment of the Bakonzo people of western Uganda.
The heart of Village Wisdom is contained in the “Epiphanies” section. Carrie uses the word epiphany to describe the lessons gained from her experiences, some of which were immediate revelations and others that have taken years to soak in. Each epiphany begins with a brief statement of the moral/spiritual lesson it illustrates, while the stories, presented through journal entries and letters demonstrate the epiphany. Carrie then reflects on the lesson and how it applies to life. The epiphanies include: “Immersion”; “Simple, Decent, and Affordable”; “Trash and Treasure”; “My Life of Luxury”; “My Life of Job”; “Authentic Friendship”; “Judgment”; Peace that Passes Understanding”; and “Seasons.”
Finally, Carrie tells the story of her 2009 return to Uganda, this time as a family with two young sons. As she sums up this leg of her spiritual journey, she invites her readers to include service, whether foreign or domestic, in their personal and family journeys.