I stole this title from Newton Christian School. The day started out as usual with morning devotions and breakfast. We had a Rolex for breakfast. No, not the watch, but a pita bread with egg, peppers, and maybe some cheese. I don’t know what all was in it, but it was delicious.
Heather is such a good planner, she planned to have everyone sign a card for Dawn for her birthday. What a wonderful treat to spend your birthday in Uganda on a mission trip serving the Lord! Except, Dawn became the latest victim of the stomach bug on our team. She had to stay home for the entire day, however, she ended up getting lots of rest and woke up feeling amazing! Please pray for the team’s health and protection during the rest of our stay here.
Before going to our first school, we had to stop and get a bucket. We won’t tell you what the bucket is for, but it’s only for the girls…
We went to our first school today, and it was just amazing. It’s hard to describe the emotions and the feelings you get when you go to these schools. You see the poverty and what little they have, and yet, they sing to us with such joy. They smile so big. It’s just hard to describe. This school was well off the main roads, and what I would consider remote. Dennis said these kids would be well behaved, and he was right. The school we were at was using a water ionization/cleansing process that Nuper was a part of 3 years ago on his first trip to Uganda. They were still using it and getting cleaner water than they have ever had! This school had such joy, I had particular fun with the children doing WE/WA. I have no idea what it is or what it means, but the teachers yell WE and the students respond with WA. Today I got the students a little fired up with the WE/WA. The mission team shared their hearts with the students. We delivered the porridge, math sets, and soccer balls. The skit was a hit as well. We all left this first school, thinking, “that was amazing, thank you Jesus we are blessed!”
The second school was such a beautiful place in the remote hills of Uganda. At one point, Nuper looked at me and said, “can you believe that we’re in Africa right now?” As I sit here and type this, it’s just crazy to think that we are here doing this. Today I talked about strength with the kids at this school. I called a little boy to the front and showed examples of how I exercise to get stronger, pushing the boy in the air and lifting him off the ground. The kids laughed, so I think they were enjoying it. I talked about God’s strength for me in my walk and to help me do what’s right.
God had a plan and—as Nuper puts it—Holy is a crazy driver. God is on a mission and I am blessed enough to be called to it. I am blessed enough to have support from family and friends. I am truly blessed to have a Christ-following wife that supports me in God’s mission. My wife asked me the other day over FaceTime, “what is God inviting you to notice?” I said I really didn’t know. I’m not sure I have the answer yet, but I believe I will find the answer before the end of the trip.
At the last school, a girl volunteered to lead the school in a song. Her voice was so beautiful, so, so beautiful! She did an amazing job. This school had less discipline than the previous two, but it was impactful for me personally, here’s why. As I shared the gospel I asked the students if they knew any of the fruits of the Spirit, some children answered, but one girl belted out “peace!” with confidence. She later was standing in line to receive a soccer ball for her school and the Holy Spirit tugged on my heart. She was a 6th grader, known as P-6. God wanted me to know more about her. I asked Dennis after we prayed over the children to grab the girl and her teacher. I had not yet put two and two together that this was also the girl that had the beautiful singing voice.
I told Dennis I did not want to commit to anything right now, but I wanted to learn about her situation and pray about how to help. I also wanted my wife to pray about it. Here’s her situation. Her mother is dead, she disappeared one day and was later found dead several years ago. Her dad was a drunk and abandoned the family years prior. She lives with her grandmother. Her grandma grows vegetables to pay for the kids schooling. She has 4 younger siblings. When she grows up she wants to be a pastor. She plays netball and futbol. Her name is Nabatanzyunia. She sat with me at the soccer match. We played soccer together. She snuggled next to me and called me daddy. I was a little shocked by the statement, but Dennis described that it is normal for people with a strong relationship to use family names. Kind of like my dad’s best friend, I know him as my Uncle. I later talked to Maggie and Dennis about the options of helping this girl. They eluded that it could be challenging as she has siblings. Providing for one of the siblings, but not the other may present some problems. We are going to look into possibly helping some siblings with their lives and education as well. If you are one of my Christian brothers and sisters, be prepared to possibly receive an invitation to help fund this. 🙂 . Again, I’m prayerfully considering what to do, please pray for discernment and wisdom for me!
On to the soccer match. Derek “Ronaldo” was asked to be a guest referee at the semi-final match. He did a great job! I may have heckled him a little from the stands. Anna and I had a friendly competition today. We asked if we could be honorary coaches for the championship match. Anna selected her team and I got who was left. I gave my boys a pre-match pep talk. I brought them water at halftime, something the other honorary coach failed to do! It was a heated battle, but my team was victorious 1-0. It always feels good to win, but in all seriousness it was fun for both of us and I think the players enjoyed it too. Anna is a good competitor! At the end of the final match, a local representative of the Golden Heart Foundation said Derek was the first white person to ever step foot on their futbol pitch. What! I really don’t even know what to say to that! One thing I do think about though is, would we as Americans be as welcoming to a race we have never met, as the Ugandans have been to us. We have been blessed. Derek delivered a fabulous message and a call to Christ. People gave their life to Christ, and Dennis had an employee do the same at the end of the night. That’s why we are here! We prayed over the people and headed home to end the day.
A few other quick notes. Meshak warned us about the stubborn trophy cow for this soccer match. He yanked and pulled and he couldn’t get it to the stage, it pulled him everywhere, it was quite a sight to be seen! Meshak comes from Eastern Uganda and grew up in a family of cow wranglers. He knows what he is doing and he does it well, but this cow was too much. It was tied to a tree and left to the winning team to figure it out. We had more unhappy people about the outcome of the matches, everyone wanted a piece of the cow. Maggie did her thing and settled them down, with Noah and Meshak at her side.
I asked Dennis why we never see any fighting or punches thrown during these heated exchanges at the soccer game. Dennis stated that it doesn’t happen in their culture, that is why they are not afraid or worried during the heated exchanges. I wondered why Dennis never ran to his wife’s side when she was being yelled at, now I know.
This was our longest day yet, we set out earlier than normal and got home later than normal. We are tired, but are getting a break because we won’t be visiting any schools on Saturday.
I will be preaching at a Ugandan church on Sunday. Bruce, Derek, and I will be going to 3 different churches to preach. One of the girls will go with us and share their testimony with the church. I will be preaching on John 7:37-53, my choice of Scripture, only because I had prepared for it at my church, but I got sick that week and had to preach on John 8. Ha! God is good and he has a plan! Bruce said, “that isn’t fair,” but I told him God wanted me to preach on it all along, just in Uganda. He agreed.
What a day, we are blessing people with the gifts we bring (funded by some of you), but we are truly the ones being blessed.