Beauty and BEAUTY
It’s been a busy few days since first landing here in the Pearl of Africa (Uganda) a few nights ago. The first challenge we face to the trip is recovering from the long travel and sleeplessness. It seems to be consistent pattern of waking up in the middle of the night, realizing you’re in Africa and while the clock says 3:00am, your body tells you it’s only 5:00pm. Why are you trying to sleep??? After a couple of days, the first full night of sleep comes followed by round two of jet-lag. That’s where I find myself right now so it seems like a good time to take the time to catch up on what’s been happening here.
The first few days have been kind of down days- though they have been anything but quiet. Some of the team have been able to spend time with their sponsored children from nearby. Those of us waiting to see our kids in Kacungwa have been jealous, but makes us look forward to seeing them even more!
At the Ugandan Martyr's Shrine
Saturday, we decided to take a boat ride on Lake Victoria. All of us who have been to Uganda before have been on the lake but it was always on the way to Bethany Village – not like Saturday, when it was purely sight-seeing. We saw plenty of birds and even a Fish Eagle (cousin to our Bald Eagle). We also saw fishing villages and plenty of fisherman. Lake Victoria is a huge source of fish for Uganda and the primary revenue generator for the fishing village of Ggaba.
Our boat captain asked us if we wanted to stop and take a walk which sounded like a great idea, so we pulled into a boat landing and climbed out of the boat onto a dock. There were 30-40 locals there and seeing a boatload of muzungu’s drew quite a bit of interest. We walked up a narrow road into the country side and saw some of the beauty of Uganda. It was a nice treat for us all.
Sunday, the team split up and went to 3 different churches. Some went across the lake to the church at Bethany Village. Ken had just arrived the night before so was still exhausted from the trip, but was asked to preach there – not unusual to happen! Some went to Ggaba for the worship and Sean & I went to Christ Way Church. Sean had been asked to preach there by Pastor Apollo Kaggwa.
The Worship Team - WOW!!!
With Pastors Apollo & Sean
Sean sharing about prayer
Isaac and his family - members of Christ Way Church
The church was a partial structure covered by a tent, but the worship was incredible and Sean lit the place up preaching about prayer. We also took some time to lead the church in praying for their pastor who, along with his wife, had lost a baby soon to be born.
Christ Way Church praying for their pastor
One thing I have learned is that as a Christian – a follower of Jesus Christ – people have a hope that allows one like Apollo to say “I do not want you to grieve for us, I want to celebrate that our baby is with Jesus.” The night before I woke up at about 1:15am and was questioning why God allows things like that to happen to good people (or bad). The babies are the innocent ones that shouldn’t have to be lost like this. As I prayed and questioned, God prompted me to open my bible. Well, I couldn’t hardly focus my eyes, but did as He asked and the first thing I read was John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” He reminded me that His relationship with Jesus has been eternal and One – a relationship that we can barely grasp let alone understand the closeness of the Trinity.
Next I read John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” God said simply “I know what it means to lose a Son.” I realized that I was questioning God about something He knew far better and paid a price far higher than I can imagine. When I then read through Jesus dying on the cross and seeing where Jesus cried “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”, I saw for the first time in eternity that there was a separation between God and Jesus. God could not, in that moment where Jesus took on the sin of the world, be one with His Son.
God knew from the moment that Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, His plan lead to the moment that He sent His Son out of Glory, away from His eternal relationship to live as one of us and to die a painful death. He could have spared Himself and His Son, Jesus, all of this pain, but He loves us so much that He paid that price.
I could barely believe that God had wakened me to make me understand – but it was an unforgettable moment and one that lead Sean and I to call a church together to pray for their pastor and at the same time rejoice that God loves us so much. It’s really hard to try and explain in words without experiencing the joy of the Holy Spirit in that small tent covered church in Uganda.
One of the things I cherish about my times in Uganda is how much closer God seems. Maybe it's the separation from daily life or maybe it's my own focus. Whatever the case, I want more of His presence and to experience God like this always.
Mukama akuwe omukisa (God bless you)