A mission trip to Uganda had been on my "want to do" list for many years. When the Men With Vision Buvuma Island Project came up, it was just the right time to go.
Mission trips, wherever you go, have segments of commonality and uniqueness. Uganda was no different. What impacts me the most on these trips are the missionaries, including MK's, the Nationals, and – here's the biggie – the children.
It's always great to meet new missionaries, to hear how God called them, to see them working in their ministry field, and to witness firsthand the challenges they face. But, as I think about the word "challenges," I believe they look at them as opportunities, not as obstacles. Without exception they give God the glory for all they are able to do.
I was impressed with the friendliness of the Ugandans. The five men we worked with on the building were full of questions about the United States, why we came, and about our personal lives. We asked them questions, too, and a bond was quickly formed. Pastor David was amazing in his energy and eagerness to help and to minister to all. His wife's cooking was amazing! Many experiences come to mind of others we met in our time in Uganda. The sermon we heard at the University Church was one of the best I have heard in years, evidence that the work of the African Gospel Church is doing a great job in training pastors.
Comparing our lifestyle in the U.S. with Uganda generates a huge appreciation and respect for the effort they exert to reach souls for Christ. "Going to church" can involve a huge array of obstacles. Including the roads, traffic, "African time," potential utility disruptions and the last but not least, navigating over and around the "kazillions" of speed bumps. It humbles me tremendously, and shames me at times, to compare the effort necessary for them compared to ours, and how easily we give up at the slightest challenge.
Finally, the kids. What impacted me the most was the realization that their potential as individuals have a very low chance of being fully obtained. As I understand, only 1% goes to the universities and a low percentage has the opportunity of going beyond 7th grade. As we walked through the village on the island, I saw very little prospect for any life other than to "survive" year to year, month to month, and maybe day to day. That bothers me tremendously.
Of the 265 students at the school, over 100 were orphans. What is their future? Where will they end up? What opportunities will they never even have a chance to try, let alone succeed? God created every one of them – how crucial it is that we do all we can – not all we think we can do – but all we can to help them to know Jesus as their personal Savior. And I cannot forget about the child sacrifices!
There are a multitude of things that come to mind that I would love to experience again. I sincerely appreciated the hospitality of the Bournes and Lisa Fish, the Mayo's and Muehleisens. The three young ladies who are volunteering as teachers at the school are amazing. They are a true encouragement.
One last thing -- I GOT TO RIDE A BODA BODA!! Thanks Rachel – it was great.