What a great last day to complete our mission here in Uganda!
This morning we had the usual devotional and breakfast. We then set out on the bus for our first school. On the bus ride, Nuper volunteered Maggie and Dennis to answer any question we had. The question I had was this: “what do you want us to leave here knowing or sharing with our American brothers and sisters?” They said,
- The love of Christ should be our number one focus. Too often Americans make material things their focus.
- Family is important. Put aside hate and make your family stay together. Family gatherings should be more frequent, not just for Thanksgiving. Gathering around the table is important in Uganda, nobody eats alone.
- Don’t fear to be used by God. He will use you to spread the gospel, whether you are a pastor or not. Be willing to be sent.
- You don’t have to do everything. People will bring problems, but what you have done on this mission trip is bring people to the Kingdom. You have accomplished His mission, don’t feel guilty that you can’t help everybody.
There is some wisdom in those statements and I think all of us could probably sit in those comments for a while and recognize some ways to improve our relationship with God. If those words don’t hit home with you, go to God and ask him to reveal some areas you can improve your walk. He will let you know if you ask. And if you have a hard time hearing God speaking to you, ask your spouse to help you with your blind spots. My wife is great at recognizing my blind spots for me, sometimes she even tells me without me having to ask. 🙂
While on our way to the first school this morning we picked up a director of multiple schools in the area we were going to serve. The man had a severe limp and got on the bus with a bandage on his leg. We asked him what happened. He told us yesterday morning some robbers came to the school and were trying to steal some turkeys. He chased them off with a club, but stepped in a hole and hurt his leg/foot area. Now if you remember in a previous blog, Dawn had heard from the Lord that He was going to heal somebody’s leg. We tried with Steven, but did not see miraculous healing. Today, after the prayer we asked the man, how does it feel. He moved his foot around in a circle and said, “it feels good.” Awesome! I figured, well this cat just got a touch of the Spirit and is feeling good now, but we’ll see what it’s like when he gets off the bus. The man was walking without a limp. Call it what you want, but I know what I prayed and I know what I saw. God still heals today and God still performs miracles today and we praise and worship Him for that.
The first school we arrived at, the children were very well behaved. We preached the gospel, and I got to talk about love. I think as American men, we associate love with weakness, I know I did in my past. As a result, I failed to love my wife early in our marriage because I thought it was weakness. I also failed to love others. It wasn’t until I came back to Christ that I started loving my wife like I should. You see, God is love. Love is also a fruit of the Spirit. I told the kids in Uganda, that the only reason we have the porridge, math sets, and soccer balls is because of love. People back in America allow love to pour out through donations to purchase the items, and we come to share the gospel and give the gifts because we love them. Jesus said our greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, our mind, and our soul. Secondly, we are to love others. This mission team is in Uganda because they have followed this commandment.
Funny note, William, the preacher that is deaf in one ear, drove a bota bota today. He had to leave during the middle of Bruce’s sharing of the gospel. However, he was having a hard time getting the bike started. After he started it, he managed to rev the engine for a good amount of time, making it impossible to hear Bruce. We decided that William probably doesn’t even know that the bota bota is loud. We all just chuckled.
We were able to do the skit and only one kid got run over today. We have learned over the past 9 days that you need to have all the kids stand up before you allow them to run down the narrow road, otherwise, the ones trying to get up off the ground, get pushed over. Maybe the next team can change the skit to make it even better. Or I am sure God will give them a new skit. Or perhaps in July, God will give Bryce Engbers a song and a dance to perform.
The second school we were at didn’t have much shade for the kids. This school didn’t even have enough building space, so the little kids have to spend their day learning outside. These were the real little kids, probably kindergarten age. Other schools brought a mix of many different schools, a lot of them were P7 kids from different schools. We didn’t have enough math sets for them. Maggie spoke with the head teacher and promised to deliver the math sets the next day, and she will. They are in the process of constructing another building on the land. This was our last school. It was kind of sad, knowing our mission to deliver blessings to the schools and the children was complete.
We arrived at the soccer field, which was right next to a mosque. The crowd was smaller than normal. When we got on stage, one of the local leaders got on stage and spoke to the people. The crowd was dead. Maggie followed him up with a passionate speech, you could tell she was on fire! The words were just rolling out of her mouth. We found out later from Dennis that the local leader had told the crowd that they did not receive any information about this tournament to get the word out. Maggie followed that up and said that was a lie. The Golden Heart Foundation sent letters to every Parrish, informing them of the tournament and school visits. If the people did not receive the information, it was because someone kept the letter from getting out. Politicians and sometimes Muslims will keep Christian information from getting spread in their areas. Most of it is political. So Maggie rallied the people and let them know that nobody would stop the word of Jesus Christ from being spread in the Mukono District. Derek got to deliver the gospel right after, there was a call to Christ, and we prayed over the crowd.
The game was a great one to end on. There was a penalty shootout and the keepers were amazing. We said our goodbyes to the crowd, the volunteers, the referees, and everyone who worked so hard to make this mission a success. As I reflect on the soccer game, I am in awe. The organization, the love that was poured out, the preaching of the gospel, the prayer, I just can’t believe I was part of such an amazing event. People heard the gospel, seeds were planted, our prayer is that the seeds will be watered by God and fruit will be bared and more seeds will be planted.
One of the sayings at these schools is this; the Teacher says, “God is good” Kids say, “all the time.” Teacher says, “All the time” Kids say, “God is good and that’s his nature, wow!” Dennis told us, all the suffering and the poor conditions these kids are living in, their only means of survival is hope.
You look at these homes, a small garden with 5 or 6 kids and you think, how do they survive? God multiplies, God provides, their FAITH is strong. I think all of the mission team would say we are different, our hearts are changed, and our faith has grown. Our buckets are full.