"And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Ephesians 3:17b-18

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Newsletter #1

UGANDA  Mission  Team – Update
July 28, 2011                                                                                                                                             
What a ride!!! The bus ride to Sanctuary of Grade in Gulu was amazing to say the least. This being my very first mission trip I had no idea what to expect. The first words that come to mind are magnificently beautiful. God’s hands are the only hands that could have made this place. I tried catching some sleep time on the way here. I was rudely awakened by a slap from a pedestrian on the street. Note to self: Do not fall asleep with your elbow hanging out the window J. We stopped for some groceries at the Shoprite. This store reminded me of a Big Lots with groceries. We picked up some snacks, this was my first chance to use my Ugandan money. I spent 39000 shillings on a few snacks. All those zeroes confused me! When we got back on the road we saw lots of goats and bulls tied to trees, children and adults walking on the side of the streets, and the horn blowing continuously. After many hours of bus riding we stopped for a potty break. We had the choice of an actual toilet or a hole in the floor… we all went for the toilet. Back to bus ride, we crossed the Nile Bridge which was absolutely breathtaking. No pictures allowed! We saw a little monkey in a tree by the bridge. After several horn blows and many speed bumps later we finally finish our journey at Sanctuary of Grace.  Thanks to Andrew for his safe speed racing J.
After unpacking and showering (best shower ever!) we all went fast asleep. When I woke up I rolled over and looked out the window to a sunrise that is indescribable. I hope to actually get a picture of this tomorrow. We all started stirring and went for a tasty bacon and biscuit breakfast made by Elijah. Then we all started preparing for our VBS lessons for the day. We headed over to the school to find our placements. Uzziel and I went into the P1 classroom with 6-9 year olds. We were welcomed with a flower giving. This is a hand gesture and chant they do to welcome visitors, it was precious. I have been humbled! These children wear their torn clothes and smiling faces to a school that doesn’t have technology or textbooks. Yet, these children are happy to be here. I read the Baby Moses story to them and we talked about it. I asked them to sing a song to me while we waited for a special treat. They started singing “He Knows My Name” and I couldn’t help but cry. I will never forget this moment. This song has a completely different meaning to me. We then took the children outside to hunt Easter eggs. We tied this to Moses being hidden in the basket. The children all got 3 eggs with 1 jelly bean each in each. When we got inside the children were allowed to open 1 egg and eat 1 jellybean. I was shocked by how the children were so grateful and didn’t complain for more. We then read Noah’s Ark and had snack. One child was hiding some of her snack under the cracks of her chairs for later and a few others were trying to give me theirs. After snack we made Noah’s Ark necklaces. They were so excited about these and wore them proudly. Each classroom got to go out for a water balloon toss. They had a blast doing this. When we came in they each had a brand new pair of underwear in their little bags we gave them. You would have thought an American child had received a brand new PS3 with 10 new games. They were ecstatic over a single pair of undies. We finished our VBS day with lots of songs they sang to us. I can’t explain the effects these children have had on me today. When you look in their eyes you know they all have a story to tell. But they all know of God’s love and his faithfulness. I am so thankful God has given me this opportunity to serve him and spread his love to these precious children. We serve an amazing God!
1 Peter 5:6
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you”
In Christ,
Brandy Patrick

In addition to Brandy’s experience I (Amanda) would like to share a few things.  On the ride to Gulu I was memorized by the horticulture.  Maize, sunflowers and many other unrecognizable crops (to me and I can’t remember what Lisa called them) were in small plots along the road.  I was surprised to see pine trees, I didn’t expect them in Africa. 
In total we were blessed to work with 252 children today.  I too was humbled today as Rhonda and I taught the sexual purity class to the P3 and P4 girls.  The stories of what these little girls endure on their way home from school, or fetching water for their family, or even in their own huts was eye opening and heart breaking.  I will now thank God daily for his protective hand and that he will guard these sweet children from that evil that lies outside of this school.  What a blessing to have shared with them that they must pray to God for protection and that he is always with them not matter what happens.

Tomorrow morning we head out at 6:00am for Kitgum for 3 days of ministry. Thank you for the prayers! We love & miss you all!

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