The Art of Manly Handholding Part 1

Tony’s Hand


It's a special part of African culture: men holding hands. It's a sign of respect and connection.
It’s a special part of African culture: men holding hands. It’s a sign of respect and connection.

Tony gripped my hand as we started across the busy highway.  Vehicles, boda-bodas (motorcycles) and bicycles sped past in both directions as well as on each shoulder.


He carefully guided me across the Kampala-Entebbe Road.


I thought of Solomon’s words in scripture:  “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.”*


That’s how I feel. Coming to Africa has been an extemely humbling experience.  I struggle with the  languages, stick out like a “red-headed step-child” and stumble, mumble, and bumble around.


Newcomers to Africa need someone to hold our hands.

And Tony has been one of many who have.

He’s been an angel.

He has held my friend’s Bob’s hand.

Both literally and figuratively.


During a difficult time in my co-worker Bob’s life, Tony has been there.

With the gift of simply being there.

There’s no greater gift than the gift of presence during dark times.


As Bob thanked him for stepping away from his business to be there day after day, Tony smiled..“We shouldn’t help others just when it’s convenient.”


During our week of being together, Tony shared about his earlier life in a village, of he and his wife Carol raising  four orphaned nephews and nieces,  and now having a young family of their own.

Zulu handshake sketch

Once again, I’m amazed at the grace of these people.

We came over here to share, speak, and give.


Africans—of all walks and ways—have outgiven us.

Happily sharing the little they have.

They’ve outloved us.

Welcomed us into their homes and lives.

They’ve taught me so much, and I have so much left to learn.


Lord, thank you for these amazing Africans who love you

And express that love to strangers like us.

Teach us.  Speak to us.

Thank you for gripping us tightly.

Jesus, you said,  “I . . . give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. “ **


Thank you for your strong grip.

Thank you for the Tony’s of this world, who represent your unbreakable clasp over our lives.


Thank you Lord, for “standing in for us.”

That’s what you did at the cross.

That’s what you’re still doing

Scripture says Jesus that “you’re interceding on our behalf to the Father.”***


I believe it.

I’ve seen your grace in so many ways this past week.

Thank you for this assurance that you truly do have the whole world in Your hands.


*I Kings 3:7

**John 10:28

*** Hebrews 7:25   Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for us.















He’s got the whole world in his hands . . .   It’s way more than just a children’s song.



  1. Thanks for the nice work you are doing.

    I came over to Panorama for a chat but I missed you over the camp fire.

    Happy anniversary.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *