I came home last night to my shoes washed and cleaned. I didn’t ask for it, but Jennifer did it for all of us as a kind gesture. These girls that cook and clean for us are amazing. Betty, Susan, and Jennifer, thank you for making our lives easy over here and keeping our bellies full.
At devotionals, Dennis talked about the unity soccer is creating and the reconciliation that is happening between families and villages. Parents are actually going to the fields to watch their children play, some of them for the first time. Villages that have had hate for one another are coming to the fields and enjoying their time around each other. This tournament is bringing people together, and it is so well planned and organized. Robert, a volunteer for Golden Heart, has done an amazing job.
Let me explain to you how successful this tournament has been. Dennis told us that the government comes and offers free rice, but nobody shows up. People who have little food, won’t come get free food because the government has an agenda. We can tell you, plenty of people are showing up for soccer and God is using futbol in Uganda to spread the gospel.
We had some awesome prayer time to start the day.
It was followed up with breakfast and a testimony from Noah. I want to encourage you to read Nuper’s blog about it. He was taken at a young age and forced to fight with the Rebel Army against the government in 1982. There is a lesson here for me with Noah’s testimony and here’s what it is: Maggie, Dennis, and the Golden Heart Foundation was asked by Noah—Muslim at the time—if he could help them in the Mukono District because he knew they were doing good things that would benefit his children. After serving with the Golden Heart Foundation and seeing the love poured out by them, Noah surrendered his life to Christ and was born again. How often do I exclude or not consider others when doing Kingdom work because they don’t believe in Jesus?
It’s important for us to live Christ-honoring lives for others to see and desire.
Our first school was a large school with 7 other schools represented. This was one of the nicer schools we have visited. Upon arrival, two cows were free ranging on the school grounds with kids playing around them as if it is no big deal. What the heck?! This would never happen in America. This school had a large cafeteria area for us to speak to all the children. We started off the talk with the Shake, shaking our bodies with kids and teachers. They love to dance! Nuper introduced each one of us in his usual manner. There were probably 700–800 kids at the school that got to listen to us speak and share the good news about Jesus Christ. When I spoke, I wanted to send something to my children so they could see some of what I am doing over here. I had the whole school say hi to my three kids, calling them by name. I sent the video to my wife, she said my girls loved it.
All of our team seems to have a child that immediately connects with them at every school. I am amazed at how loving this team is with the children. Again, I pray that I can love like these men and women I am serving with. Do you think it’s possible these children don’t ever get hugged or loved? According to Dennis, it’s very possible. Is it possible the time we love on these kids are the only love they feel? According to Dennis, yes. One of our missions here is to love, love, love. Matthew 22:37–40, Love God, Love others.
I didn’t know this at the time, but when we arrived at the school, Bruce asked one of the kids if they had a song they could sing to us. Boy were we in for a treat. They wrote and produced their own song and dance which they performed for us. It was about 10 minutes worth of singing and dancing—man were they talented! I took some time to play on the playground with the kids, which was fun, but I quickly remembered I am not as fast as I used to be.
A quick note about this visit, that I think is worth sharing. There was a school of Islam that brought students to the program. They were exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, maybe for the first time in their lives. They even participated in the skit, choosing the narrow road. Most importantly, I hope they felt the love of Christ through their interaction with us. I took the time to allow one to sit on my knee and watch the choir perform while I held her. I can remember thinking how tired and weak my leg felt, but I didn’t want to let go, I wanted her to feel loved.
At the second school, Nuper did the introductions and introduced everyone to Rolando. We weren’t sure who Rolando was, but we assumed it was Derek “Ronaldo.” This school had less discipline than the previous one. The head teacher didn’t even come out of the school to visit with us. We were there to support the kids, love on them, and share the gospel with them and we did just that.
I have to say, this team has done an amazing job of coming up with unique ways to share the gospel. And it’s something new every time! Holy is in high gear. For my brief time of sharing the gospel at this school I talked about wrestling. I used a couple of school children as volunteers. I had a P-3 child I wrestled with and I talked about wrestling with temptation and sin. I then used a P-7 child as my Holy Spirit. I called upon him for help and he scooped up the little boy and carried him away. I thought it was fun and the kids got a laugh out of it.
While standing with the children, I kept my eye on a particular little boy. I could tell that he had an eye problem in one of his eyes. I prayed for him silently throughout the program, and then Dawn pointed him out to me. These kids we are visiting either can’t get proper medical care, or they can’t afford it. After the program our mission team surrounded him, laid hands on him, and prayed over him. Just like Steven, he was not miraculously healed. Why? I don’t know. Did I want to see miraculous healing, absolutely! Maybe God is wanting to rally his believers in Iowa and other places to pray, so they get to be a part of the miracle. I don’t know, but I am going to ask you to stop and pray for Mark’s eye………………Now that you are done praying for Mark, please pray for Steven’s leg from our earlier blog………………. We thank you for these prayers. God is good and he heals in His timing.
We left the school and made it back to the soccer pitch. The championship match was set with two very good teams. One of the teams tried to cheat and enter a “mercenary.” This is when a village recruits someone from another village to play with them. This man was not a part of the team and was disqualified from the tournament. The match was tied 1-1 at the end of the game and went to penalty shootout. The final score was 1-1 (4-3), the goalie got a save on the last PK.
Mesach (I’ve been spelling his name wrong) brought out the cow and had previously said it was a little more calm than the others. And it was, at first! This one had some massive horns on it! A word of advice for everyone in America, don’t grab the bull by the horns. He gets really mad and starts charging after you.
When we got back to our house for dinner, Mesach and I had a pull-up competition. I beat him by a few, he went on to tell me how much easier it is pulling a cow onto a soccer field than doing pull-ups. Ha! He would kick my butt if that were the competition.
I want to end with this: if you are supporting us, thank you. The love you have poured in us through prayer and donations is being poured out on these kids and people in Uganda. We are extending your love. Thank you!