One of the things that is a blessing on this trip are the morning devotion and discussion our team has. Each morning that is such a blessing, and it fuels us up with the love and care of Christ.
We have spectacular cook here. Adam is his name, and he is professional cook. I am not getting skinnier, that is for sure! Everyone on the Golden Hearts team is awesome!
I want to say a little bit about yesterday. The schools we visited were in an area where everyone relies on the fishing economy. This economy is struggling badly, because of regulation changes. So many children are not in school yet because their parents have no money, and you must pay school dues before you can attend school. That fact and some of the conditions just broke me. I had to remember that God is in control. Please say an extra prayer for those kids.
As we headed out today, we felt it was going to be an exciting day, and God saw that it was! We visited 4 schools this morning with so many kids we figured an average of 250 kids per school. So, you are probably wondering to yourself, how could we know that? Well, we have a retired master hog farmer who knows how to count really, really, fast from his days on the farm. One of things Carroll has been doing at each school is getting a quick count. And I will say he is very good!
At each school, we share a story from the Bible, pray over the children, and ask them to allow Jesus Christ into their heart. Before we leave, we hand out math sets to the P7 class of kids. At one school today, we handed out 56 math sets to kids in P7 and left 17 for kids who would be attending soon. What a blessing that was to see!
We get to our second school, and as we get off the bus, Nuper tells Bruce he is up. That, my friends, is part of the anticipation for us on this trip! We have no idea until we arrive at a function who Nuper wants to speak. It’s kind of fun, and Nuper’s reason for doing this is he just wants us to speak from the heart. Now, at first, it made me kind of nervous, but after the first time, it was like riding a bike.
So back to my story on Bruce, he knows he is up to bat, and he calls me over. He asks me to find a young lad so we can put him up in this tree. I am like, “yeah right, Bruce, what kid is going to listen me?” 😁 So I put Dennis in action and right away he finds us a strong young lad to climb this tree. This story set up is going great, until the school area counselor spotted this student in the tree. Needless to say, I was a little nervous trying to explain to this guy what we’re doing, while 200 children are singing and dancing. I finally get the counselor to understand what we’re doing, and he settles down. Bruce and I are standing beside each other while Maggie is talking, When Maggie talks, the kids listen. It is quiet when suddenly, we hear this crash over by the tree our student was in! Our first thought is oh no, but we find out it is some worker walking by and fell not too far from the tree. We were like whew, because for a second, we thought it was our student! I am going to guess you all know what the final story was, Zacheus. This school’s counselor was a Muslim, so we felt blessed that he allowed us to come.
Normally, when we arrive at the soccer and net ball tournaments, everything is done except the final game, where we speak. Today however, we arrived pretty early, and we’re sitting on the bus over by the girl’s net ball field. There are some girls on the field, and us old Dutchmen think it would be a lot of fun to play netball with the girls. We ask these ladies if we can play, and they said yes, we are excited to play! They explained the rules of the game, and we’re ready to go. It didn’t take long and I’m thinking, “what am I doing?” then Nuper comes by me, huffing and puffing and he says to me “Joel, please tell Judy I love her so much, just in case I drop on this field.” So as I look for my other brothers to make sure they are okay, I find Bruce has gone to walk (smart man), and Carroll—who is clearly in the best shape of all of us—is at our end of the court with one girl on our team, and he is shooting the ball likes his days back in high school.
What I enjoyed so much about this is, we were having fun and showing love to them, and twenty minutes later, we’re on the main stage sharing the love of Jesus Christ. Guess who was standing in the front of the stage listening, the girls. Our prayer is that after playing net ball, we earned their trust so when they heard what we saying it touched their hearts. That is mission of our team.
The thing about the Mission Uganda team and the Golden Heart team is we are family, and we give each other a hard time. Today at the match, Nuper and I are dancing with everyone in front of the stage. It was a really good time, and the locals enjoyed us participating. We get on the bus, and Tony who does a great job organizing things for us says, “Nuper, you dance like a chicken!” Everyone is laughing but Nuper. Great way to end a great day.