Whew… the last month and a half has been a whirlwind! We have hosted three teams and several other various people. At any given meal there up to 20 people dining with us. We have spent umpteen hours in taxi’s traveling down dirt roads. We have met some incredible people who have left imprints on our hearts, only to have to say goodbye to them two weeks later. We have taught in Bible Training Schools, Women’s retreats, Graduations, Children’s ministry events, School Assemblies, and Bible Studies. Brian has played the drums each Thursday evening and Sunday morning for Acacia Community Church. He has helped the church, who recently moved into a new facility, completely reconfigure their meeting space and sound equipment. I originally hoped to blog weekly, but before I know it a week has come and gone.
In the last week we finally made it out to Makukuba. This is the village we have a desire to invest in (and BridgePoint already has.) Unfortunately, it is over two hours drive from where we are currently staying and travel is not quite as easy here as it is in the States. It was incredible to revisit the school and see their progress. We are thrilled about their philosophy for community development. They surveyed the community to find out what they saw as their greatest needs and began there. Because it was the community’s ideas, they had immediate buy in. They people of Makukuba have total investment in the projects. The school was made completely from poles harvested and donated from the community. The only purchase they needed to make was the metal roof sheets and nails. Men come in on rotation to volunteer their day to make bricks to help add new classrooms.
The small group of believers are meeting together even though they do not currently have a pastor. They have refused to allow anyone to pay for their church building, but instead would like to make their own bricks as well. They are requesting help with just the nails and metal sheet roofing. These are commodities that are very difficult to get in that area. It is so refreshing to see people committed to changing their community.
This provides a stark contrast to some of the things we have seen. Many people are eager for Western people to pay their way for everything. It is a very difficult situation. We want to help, not hinder by creating dependance on outsiders. How can we be generous while being wise? Sometimes when we alleviate a problem for someone, we are actually doing more harm than good. We as white people come and “fix” all the problems.
Another thing we have realized this trip is the “we can fix it” approach has led our Ugandan friends to believe that white people have no problems. In no way has this been anyone’s intention, but it has been the impression left, no doubt. If you know me (J) at all, you know I’m an open book. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, which isn’t always a good thing. However, I also don’t mind saying how things are. This has been freeing to Ugandan women in so many conversations I have had. As I shared about my life and things that I have experienced, they seem freed to know that I have had troubles in my life. I apologized to one nineteen year old girl for the incorrect impression we have left. We do an injustice to all that God has done for us when we fail to give a complete picture of our lives to people.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.…”1 Corinthians 1:3-5
On a lighter note, after the last team departed we went on a trip to Murchison Falls in western Uganda. We traveled to the top of the falls which was absolutely incredible. The entire Nile River is squeezed into a space of just 23 feet wide and drops 141 feet. The power of the water at that spot is indescribable. We took a boat ride along the Nile River and saw all kinds of wildlife that is not in the part of Uganda where we are staying. The next day we went on a game drive though the Murchison Falls National Park. There we got to see up close and personal all of the animals that we typically associate with Africa. We saw Lions, Giraffes, Elephants, Hyenas, Jackals, and all kinds of gazelle-like animals. It was stunning. It was a great, mid-trip break. To see more pictures, look at our Ugandan Summer Album on Facebook.
Thank you so much for being a part of our summer through following us on this blog and praying consistently (or even inconsistently) for us. We have experienced the effectiveness of your prayers in so many ways that we have seen and, we are certain, innumerable ways that we have not. Our God works through the prayers of His people.
-Continue to pray for us as we seek the Lord’s will in regards to our future in Uganda.
– Pray for the BridgePoint team that arrives August 10th as they prepare and we prepare for their arrival.
– Pray for my Bible Study with my English and Chinese friend.