Greetings from Uganda.
As our journey comes to a close, we come to a time of reflection. It has been my pleasure to keep you all slightly informed. I hope the blogs have been both entertaining as well as a true snap shot of what we have been doing while we are here.
This has been a huge day for me. I got to spend some quality papa time with the children I am sponsoring: Bob, Helen and Florence. To be able to look Helen and Florence in the eye and tell them their new nana and papa love them was priceless. I cannot express in words how it feels to bring three children out of a completely hopeless situation, and give them a chance at a very productive life they will now have opportunity to attend a good school and perhaps even a university, if they choose.
I am humbled by the way God put different events into motion to bring this to a solution. I have asked each team member to write a snippet of how this trip has specifically changed their lives.
Bryce—For me, i have discovered that I was a bit off center. God and kingdom work has always been a part of my life, but perhaps not the center. From now on, I will do my best to keep God completely centered and have the rest of my life branch out from that. What I have witnessed here in Uganda creates a whole new perspective on what is important in life. Can be somewhat summed up by a woman we talked to today who commented that she felt so sad for so many people who were so poor that all they had to show for themselves was money. Kinda hit close to my heart.
Dennis—The experience that I got was how humbling it was for the preparations and presentations that the schools did for the team. They would sing songs or dance for us on our arrival. So much hospitality and making us all feel at home. I also was touched by the kids who were given uniforms; they looked so beautiful and their faces light up with hope. It really touched me. Also seeing the children who received uniforms wearing them for the first time brought tears to my eyes. The teachers and students showed their gratefulness by saying thank you over and over again. This gratitude was not about the items that were brought to them, but for the Word of God that was shared with them. It was also such a blessing as one of the leaders here in Uganda to have a team come here from America and be so easy to work with. We had a lot of fun and good laughs. Such a loving family. It was awesome.
Margaret—I have learned that we as Christians must learn to be independent and can do what our men of God can do. Looking at the team Mission Uganda. some are not pastors, but were very capable to deliver God’s Word, touching and changing lives was a wonderful experience. That the future of us Christians lives in the truth of what we know about the Word of God, each of us believed that with God nothing is impossible; many people came to Christ because the team believed the Word. Praying in the Spirit was one of our fundamental weapons of warfare. Every morning the team gathered for devotions and prayer. Nothing stood in our way. Everyday was better, souls were won, lives touched and changed. Thank God for this gift of praying in the Spirit.
Katie—Our bus trips were full of conversations and laughter in the mornings, but fairly quiet on the way home. I think we were processing all the poverty and sadness we encountered throughout the rallies. During these rides, I would often wonder why there was such a discrepancy between the abundance I have in America and the destitution of some of these villages. This continues to work on me. But, I sensed God reminds me, “It’s not what you have or don’t have, it’s about what you do with what God has given you.” I’m leaving Uganda with that truth…everything I have is a gift from God. He invites me to steward these gifts for His Kingdom. And as I do, there is an unspeakable joy that follows.
Nuper—This is my first mission trip where I was the leader, and I worked hard to prepare for it. I lay down in bed every night and just said, “God, I love you, love you, and you are amazing.” I will forever be amazed at how God initiated everything, planned everything, worked out all the details and brought together an amazing American team for Mission Uganda and the Golden Heart team. God is saying this is just the beginning, so I am going to stay in the back seat and hang on for dear life. We have an awesome God.
Lisa—Bryce asked us all to name one thing that was life changing from our experience in Uganda. It’s almost like asking to choose which of God’s promises is the most significant. Where do I start? The entire experience has been life changing. I have dwelt in God’s promises and presence throughout the duration of my stay. Every day revealed new revelations, new stories and new realizations of God’s love. However, I was especially moved by one particular quality of the believers in Uganda. It was their deep faith. It doesn’t matter if the person was five or 95 years old, their faith was evident. Their daily struggles of survival seemed to highlight their faith in God’s provision, love and grace.
Bob—For me, this journey to Uganda is a continuation of the mission in Omaha, NE. The love of Jesus is needed in all places of the world. What has impacted me though is how passionate these people are in following God, and worshiping Him in churches with dirt floors and walls that are made from sticks. I was also impacted by how they live and love. They live with so little but love so large. So often we felt like rock stars as we would arrive at a rally. The children would come running to the bus as we approached.
Another way we saw their passion was how they would crowd around us as the rally began. So many times we had to spend time moving the children back so we would have room to work up front. Normally pastors have to encourage people to move forward, not backwards.
I believe the biggest impact on my life is the dedication of so many people to make this mission successful. There are so many stories of the ways God has made this all happen, but also the way he used people here in Uganda and in the US to do the work together. All with the goal of sharing the love of Jesus with these children. I will never forget the faces of these children as they danced, sang, prayed and received the gifts we brought. I might not be received in the same way back in Omaha as we strive to share the Good News, but I will strive to do it with the same fervor and determination I saw here in Africa. God is in control and we have no idea how He is going to use a message that was shared, a math set that was given, porridge that was eaten, or a bracelet thrown to a passerby from the bus window. He can us any of us in the same way, to touch a heart for the Kingdom.
This will be the final blog. We thank God for all of you that have followed our journey and have prayed for us. We will be home soon.