So we arrived home in Virginia on Thursday night. We’re at Tuesday morning now and I’m just now getting a blog post up. I haven’t written yet because I’ve spent all this time trying to decide what to write. And I still haven’t figured that part out, so I’m just going to wing it. It’s going to be super long and a little disorganised, so hold on tight.
our tiny little missions team (:
We left the house on Monday morning, flew to Detroit to Amsterdam to Kigali to Entebbe, our destination. From there we drove two hours to Kampala, where we spent the night before piling into a van for the adventure of a lifetime (or something like that). So we’re running on about four hours of sleep, on the heels of a night with zero hours of sleep, getting ready to drive across the country. I guess you could say we hit the ground running. Sitting in the van bumping over endless hours of dirt roads (if you could call them ‘roads’), the periods of wakefulness and unconsciousness began to run together until I couldn’t tell the difference any more.
We visited three churches that first day (Wednesday), followed by four on Thursday, four on Friday, five on Saturday, and three on Sunday for a grand total of nineteen churches in five days. Churches in mud huts, churches under tarps, churches under trees, churches in buildings of handmade bricks. Each one as beautiful as anything.
Church in a thatched roof mud hut. As African as it gets 😉
By the end of those five days of crazy travel, strange places, strange food, and terrible ‘roads’ I was really struggling. I felt like I had accomplished absolutely nothing. The biggest things I’d done that whole time were to pray for a woman whose language I couldn’t even speak, and tell the story of Noah’s Ark to a bunch of kids. Pridefully, selfishly, I thought that those small things weren’t worth all the time and money it had taken me to get to Uganda.
It wasn’t until we were on the plane back to the USA that I realised that what had been small to me was huge to that woman and those children, and they were worth every penny and every moment I spent on them. Following Jesus isn’t always glamorous, big, or glorious at the moment, but it’s always worth it because he likes to do big things with even the smallest gifts, if they’re given out of love for Him and for others.
Sharing with the children. Shoutout to Tyson for translating!
Anyway, so the plan was that Sunday night we’d cross the border into Kenya, and spend Monday visiting more churches before heading back to Kampala late Monday night. However, my uncle Bill and I decided that we would really be of more use in Kampala, so we headed back on Sunday night while Dad went with Hummer to Kenya as planned. And I was very, very glad that we went back when we did, because Monday through Wednesday were what made my trip.
Monday we visited Ray of Hope School and Orphanage, where I was reunited with all my babies that I hadn’t seen in nearly two years. I also got to see the new school classrooms, and the improvements that were made on the church. Everything looked so beautiful, and I couldn’t even believe that it was the same place I’d fallen in love with before. The children were seated on benches, using books, in brick classrooms with chalkboards on the walls and everything. It really looked like a school. And they looked so happy and healthy. It was beautiful to see how far they’ve come since the beginning.
one of the classrooms!
Monday we also visited the widows’ centre, where we discovered a lot of work that has yet to be done and some changes that need to be made if this ministry is going to survive. I can’t go into a ton of detail here, but while it was discouraging at times, we’re going to keep pressing forward and working to improve. Just be praying for wisdom and the strength to make some hard changes.
Then–the highlight of my trip–we went over to Uganda School for the Deaf to visit my sponsor child, Jessy! He’s gotten so big! He doesn’t look like a child anymore. He’s thirteen years old and nearly as tall as I am! He’s slowly but surely learning to read and write, and in English no less! We were able to communicate by passing a notebook back and forth and writing to each other. It was very special.
Chatting with Jessy (:
Tuesday we ran errands all morning, purchasing things for the sponsored children using a portion of their sponsor funds, and buying them a little bit of candy which is something they don’t often get to have. Then Bill treated a bunch of the kids (including my sponsor child Jessy, and my Uganda-best-friend Derrick, whom I was hoping I’d get to see) to a lunch at a restaurant, which was something most of them had never done before and probably wouldn’t get to do again, so it was a big deal. We ate goat meat, rice, and french fries, played lots of games, painted toenails, and all manner of other tomfoolery. It was such a blessing to the children, and a blessing to me too, so thanks Bill for doing that!
The lunch date group.
With Derrick and Jessy! And we even got Jessy to smile for the photo 😉
Wednesday was spent hanging out with the children, blowing bubbles and giggling and marveling over the difference in skin tone and hair texture (well, that part was mostly the children doing the marveling), visiting the widows once more, and sharing a meal with Pastor Hummer and his wife at their new home before heading off to the airport.
Teaching my girls how to strike a pose 😉
So it was a whirlwind of a trip. It was exhausting. It was discouraging at times. We saw a lot of bad doctrine, faced a lot of hard truths, and had to give a little tough love. It wasn’t the sort of trip you come home from on a high, saying “that was great!” It was actually a trip I came home from in tears. It was hard.
But it was a good trip. I might not feel like shouting to the world how wonderful it was (although I did pick the best parts to write this blog post about), but deep in my heart I know it was a very good thing and I’m glad I went, and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to go. So thanks to everyone who helped to give me that opportunity. It was a good thing.
Sometimes missions sucks. I learned that during my year in Costa Rica and I learned it again in Uganda this time–that for every high, every celebration, every joy, there are also tears and disappointments and discouragements. But you can turn that around and say that for every tear and disappointment and discouragement, there are also highs, celebrations, and joys. You take the easy and the hard, the beautiful and the ugly, you take it all together because that’s the only way it comes.
So this trip was a teaching trip for me. It was also a trip for talking business, for making future plans, for seeing what work needs to be done. And we’re moving forward, always moving forward.
Thank you God for your perfect plan.