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Yesterday we sat down for morning devotionals at 0630. We played some soaking music and spent time in prayer. This is vital for our mornings to start out correctly and for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. During prayer time yesterday, I had a vision of our work in Uganda. God showed me a vision of butterflies and caterpillars. I feel like this vision was an interpretation of our work here in Uganda.

We are doing what Jesus called us to do in John 7:38, “anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'” Each morning we are drinking of Christ, filling ourselves with the Holy Spirit, SO THAT, we can pour out love into others. Because we are spreading the gospel, people are surrendering their lives to Christ, and in return He is making them into a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17. They are being transformed from caterpillars into butterflies. Our prayer is that these men, women and children will go on to change the world.

During devotional time, Nuper presented an idea he got through his perspectives class homework he is taking through his church. The team took Nuper’s idea and fine-tuned it into the following based off of Matthew 6:13-14: The wide road/gate vs. the narrow road/gate. We used children and Mission Uganda staff at the schools to provide two roads the children could go down, one the world tells us to, which is wide. And the one Christ calls us to, the one that is narrow. The narrow gate leads to death and destruction, the wide gate leads to life and love and ultimately eternity with Jesus. We allowed the kids to run through a tunnel of hands and high fives to Jesus, the kids had fun.

At 0930 we headed out to two different schools. Yesterday was the first day we incorporated music into our visits with the schools. Anna used her phone to play the song, “Shake” by Mercy Me over a Bluetooth speaker. All of us on the mission team shook our bottoms to the song and got the kids to shake a little bit too. I’ve found out that I have not lost any of my dancing skills, but it’s hard to lose what you don’t have. The kids had fun and cheered as they watched us dancing, or maybe laughed at some of us.

We have found the kids to be timid at first, but they do open up after we speak with them and share with them. We love on them and they love us back. Today I had one child that kept touching my skin—I think he wondered what white skin felt like. Others have experienced this too. At one school, I shared with the kids how much my wife hates my beard. I told the kids, “my wife told me she hates my beard. She said it tickles her when I kiss her.” Maggie started laughing during the middle of the translation, she couldn’t translate the word kiss because it’s too private to talk about in their culture. I am being pressured by everyone to shave my beard to surprise my wife. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring a razor. My only beard support around here is Dawn, she has become my favorite person in the group. 🙂

The soccer balls continue to be a huge hit.

I got a picture of Anna holding a new soccer ball we provided and a makeshift soccer ball the boys were playing with when we showed up. The ball was made up of old string and was about the size of a cantaloupe. The balls continue to be a blessing to these kids. The story behind the balls is amazing. Nuper gave God a vision of soccer, and God also gave Maggie the same vision. Together, they came up with the mission centered around soccer. Many people have rallied behind the mission with financial and prayer support. We thank you for that support! Praise God for giving Derek the vision and means to purchase the soccer balls.

I am also very honored to be serving with a professional soccer player in Derek. Nuper keeps talking him up to the kids at the schools and Derek gets embarrassed, it’s quite humorous. Nuper warned us, “I’m a BSer.” He was right.

Several notes about our team:

  • Dawn can do magic, she talked about the parable of the lost coin and pulled a quarter out from behind the ear of a kid. Other kids started pulling on their neighbors ears.
  • Heather had to lay on the bus seats and put her feet on the window of the bus to reduce swelling. She threatened me if I blogged about her feet, but I doubt she’ll read my blog anyway. 🙂 . Our feet and legs are still sore from the long trip in the air.
  • Anna knows what she wants and goes for it, and she is still talking about her fiancĂ© and how great he is, we are excited to meet him someday.
  • Bruce makes bad choices. He was the person who chose the wide road in our skit today and was subsequently beat up by Noah acting as Satan.
  • Derek got compared to the professional player, Messi, today. We’re not sure if he plays like him, but according to Ugandan kids, he looks like him.
  • Nuper carried 100 lbs. bags of porridge today. I actually worked on getting my leg strengthened back up before the trip to be able to do this. I was walking around with a 95 lbs. weight bar and was able to walk around our gym. In a couple of days I want to try to carry a bag if my leg is feeling up to it.

I got to try my hand at net ball, as we were waiting for the soccer game to start. It’s a girls sport played in Uganda, which somewhat resembles basketball. Anna even got asked to coach a net ball team today! Today was brutally hot in the sun. I have the sunburn to prove it. In fact, Bruce has proven to be a larger enemy of the sun than me. Just know, when any of us complain about the heat, someone is quick to respond about the snow in Iowa. Also know, NONE OF US, miss the snow.

Maggie and her team are amazing. They are working so very hard to setup these soccer games and take care of us.

The format for the soccer games is as follows: the Parish Commissioner, William the pastor, Maggie, and others get up and speak about Mission Uganda, the Golden Heart Foundation, and how God has provided so much for the Mukono District. The mission team then introduces themselves and shares some of the gospel. After we speak, the two teams in the final walk to the center of the field with little kids in soccer uniforms. The mission team gets to go out to the center of the field and shake hands with all the players.

Today, Dawn was selected by Nuper to share her testimony. I knew about it a little, and I felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me that I needed to share some of my story AFTER her. I did get a little emotional on stage standing next to Dawn, knowing full well, that I wouldn’t have been able to serve alongside her 10 years ago because of the anger and hate that I had in my heart. Praise God he has changed me into a new person and changed my heart. Praise God he did the same for Dawn. Maggie said that people were connecting with her testimony. Today, I consider it an honor to stand next to her as she is my sister in Christ and my friend. Wow! What an inspiration she is to so many people. God uses our broken pasts and our testimony of redemption to provide hope to others for their future in Christ.

Anna was introduced today as a famous soccer player by Nuper on the stage at the soccer game. A handful of Ugandan men immediately ran up to the stage to take her hand. Heather had bubbles that the kids got to chase after at the game. I have to imagine this is the only time these kids have played with bubbles.

The game ended, and I was tasked with presenting the cow to the winning team. I was on stage and was tasked with handing the cow over to the team captain. I envisioned the cow pulling me off the stage and me either riding it bareback or being dragged across the soccer field. Luckily, Meshak (Ugandan worker with Maggie), held on to the rope. What an honor to present the trophy cow to the winning team. This is so much better than presenting a trophy! Plus, how many people can say they gave away a cow as a trophy?! Maybe in the next week I will get to present the goat trophy to the winning net ball team. Yes, the winning team gets a real live goat. They pose with it like a trophy, I wonder if the goat knows he will be dinner in a matter of hours. He probably gets a clue as he is riding in the back of a van with the team.

One last story. During the game, we saw the captain of the winning team with a leg that didn’t look normal. Dawn told me that she heard God telling her that He wanted to heal someone’s leg today. I feel like I had passed up an opportunity with a young man on crutches earlier in the day. I took the time to show him my scar, but the language barrier was there, so I was anxious to pray for the soccer captain. Meshak translated for us and we found out that the soccer captain’s leg was broken several years ago playing soccer. We also found out his name was Steven. The medical care in Uganda is not great, and the bone wasn’t set properly and the man’s leg has a severe bow in it. We took the opportunity to lay hands on Steven and pray for him. We did not see immediate healing, but we know it’s in God’s timing, not ours. We believe Jesus still heals today, please pray for us to have the confidence and stand in truth in the authority God gives us in scripture to heal. Right now, we would like to invite everyone reading this blog to stop for a moment to pray for healing for Steven. Seriously, please stop reading and pray.

Last night for dinner we had an amazing Ugandan lasagna, cooked by Betty, Maggie’s Aunt. Betty and Maggie’s sisters have done an amazing job of cooking and cleaning for our mission team. I did find a food allergy—beets—but I found a magnificent food I thoroughly enjoyed— plantains, a type of fried banana.

Please continue to pray for us and know that you are helping us in this mission.
Aaron G