Another Extract from Machine Gun Thoughts

Part 3: Ugandan Trip

Clip: 29 minutes, 40 seconds to 39 minutes

Warning this clip includes one instance of extreme swearing and several brief glimpses of a shocking facial wound.

  1. Sam rescues his friend Donnie from his life of drugs and helps him to give up. He nurses him back to health at his home. Sam is able to reach out to  Donnie because he has been in that situation himself and overcome the difficulties. God often uses people in this way, using us to relate to those we understand. Those from similar backgrounds and situations. Have you experienced this? Have a look at Galatians chapter 6 verses 9 and 10, these verses encourage us to keep helping others.
  2. After hearing a preacher talk about Uganda Sam decides he wants to go to Africa and see if he can help with the construction work he has heard about at church. He starts to use the skills and experience he has acquired in the building trade to help others. We can often think that there are particular spiritual gifts – we find one list in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 – but all kinds of talents can be used by God. Have a look at Exodus chapter 31 verses 1 to 4.

In Acts chapter 9 verses 36 to 41 we discover the story of Dorcas, or Tabitha, who made clothes for others and in Acts chapter 6 verses 1 to 6 we read of seven men, full of God’s spirit, who were appointed for food distribution – food banks we call them today. In Matthew chapter 25 verses 14 to 30 Jesus tells a story about people who are given talents and asked to use them to bear fruit. It seems that all kinds of gifts, sometimes unexpected ones, can be used by God. Take a moment to think on this and then pray this prayer together:


Lord, we offer you the gifts and talents we have. Some seem more spiritual than others, some seem more important and more useful than others. But we offer you all the gifts and talents we have and ask you to make good use of them. 

In the name of Jesus, Amen.

  1. Sam’s family have to let him go to Uganda for a couple of weeks. Some folks are called to leave home and head off to other places, many others are called to stay at home and care for their families and keep things going. It’s not easy sometimes to be those left behind whilst others go. To stay at home can mean feeling as if we are missing out. Also we may be concerned about those we love heading off into the unknown. When Jesus invited James and John to be his disciples their father Zebedee had to let them go, he also needed to hire extra men to replace them in his work. See Mark chapter 1 verses 19 and 20. Some of us are called into the wider world, for others of us our discipleship is about being at home supporting, praying and letting others go. How do you react to this? Are you happier at home or heading out into the unknown?
  2. In Uganda Sam meets two freedom fighters Deng and Marco. They open his eyes to another world, a whole other culture. Sam’s perception of life, his faith and the world will no longer be the same. Have you had moments when your eyes were opened like this in some way? Or times when you saw life through the eyes of another person?
  3. In the hospital Sam witnesses at first hand the horror the Lord’s Resistance Army inflicts on innocent people. Not long after this Deng asks Sam what he is doing in Africa. Deng wonders whether Sam is just out there to get his picture taken, so that he can go back to his life and do nothing to help. All this trouble he has seen will just be stories he will tell his friends. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the suffering in the world. We see so much on our TV screens now. Sam will not just go back home, but he is a particular man with specific gifts. What about us? How do you feel when you see such terrible problems in the world? How would you answer Deng’s question to Sam?
  4. Did the clip from the film throw up any other thoughts you’d like to mention?
  5. Prayer:

Lord, there are so many people suffering in the world, so many problems and difficulties. Help us to know how we can help others. Help us to have courage and to not to be overwhelmed by the great need. And help us to appreciate the many good things that we have ourselves.

In the name of Jesus, Amen.MGP Book

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