August 14, 2011
The team made it home late Tuesday night, some not until the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Due to our delay departing London, we did not make our connection in NY-JFK and had to split up on different flights to get home. One last opportunity to be flexible
We knew our schedule was very ambitious, yet everyone stepped up to the challenge with grace and enthusiasm (even when some stomach bugs tried to interfere). The prayers from everyone upheld us and strengthened us. Our prayer now that we are back home, and getting re-acclimated to our “normal” lives, is that the lessons of what God did through us and within us will define a new normal for each of us. With that… Below are some final thoughts / impressions from some of the team.
For me the most profound aspect of our missions trip was the glimpse of God's joy and love for mankind. The people of Uganda live simply and those that are believers maintain an enormous faith that God will provide. It was such a joy to see God's provisions so clearly there. Too often we are distracted here with life's circumstances, the fast pace, and our ability to provide for ourselves. In Uganda we heard stories of individuals giving when there wasn't much to give trusting that God would take care of them, and then days or weeks later they were blessed more abundantly than what they gave. However there were also heart breaking stories- the school girls that are attacked on their way home from school by older village boys, or a young woman whose husband died at an early age wondering if God will provide her a new husband. The need for God is still great, there are many that are lost, many that need to hear the word.
It was a blessing seeing Mike give the faith presentation to so many during our clinics. The attention that the people listening gave him showed that the spirit was moving. We also had the opportunity to go hut to hut in a village and share the gospel to individual families. I was amazed at how loving the people were. They were happy to have visitors, insisted we took their best seats, made sure we were fed, given a drink, they cared for us. There was a true joy in fellowship in Uganda. I hope I can maintain that here. If we were as warm and welcoming as the people were there, what joy life would be.
I feel like such a child. I thought I had a good grasp on how big this world really is. Boy, was I wrong. After visiting the villages and passing through the ones we left untouched, it amazes me. As Rhonda stated on the blog "like dropping a pebble in the ocean and watching the ripple effect until it stops." I pray the ripple never stops. I hope that the men, women, and children that we came in contact with will continue the ripple effect. I pray that they continue to spread God's love and forgiveness.
I have seen info-mercials that tells of the hunger and sickness that they endure. But to see it first hand, to touch and to speak to the people that actually live it, it is overwhelming. It is astounding to me how people who live in such harsh conditions can live on faith alone. Yet, I sit here in my air conditioned home, full tummy, healthy family as so many others and we depend on ourselves. Just as the song we taught the children, "My God is big, so strong and so mighty there's nothing my God cannot do for you." How many of us truly believe and live by that? We depend on ourselves and that is where and when we fail. Just like Psalm 62 (Jenny,16, at GSF shared this with me as her way of getting over fear, she says it aloud anytime she is scared) "He alone is my rock!"
I went to share and teach God's word and love to the men, women, and children of a third world country. However, they have taught me so much. I feel abundantly blessed by God to have allowed me this opportunity to see his magnificent world in such a new light.
What did I get out of this trip?
With each trip there is usually something that significantly jumps out at me, causing me to have a "theme" for each trip. This trip theme for me was Reflections, so throughout my journaling I write about things I see, experience, or feel that God is talking to me about that relates to the theme. Things I wrote: Reflections are like looking for hidden meanings. What does my soul need? But you! What is a reflection of ourselves? Do we like it or not? Does Jesus like it or not? Upon returning, I've ask myself: What did we do that was a reflection of God's Love for such people in need? Can people with such daily suffering see the reflection of God's Love in what we did? Being called to a foreign missionary field is way more than obtaining the financial means and the time away from church, work, family, & friends - it's the true ability to think beyond yourself. It's stepping outside the box of your normal life and stepping into the suffering world of others and telling them with action that not only do you care, but that God Loves them so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die on the Cross for them. Stepping into the foreign missionary field is a true reflection of who you are as a child of God serving to increase His Kingdom. It is the ability to see need, not color.
I want to thank each and every person who submitting to this calling and thus made themselves part of this team. I want to thank Brandy, Amanda, & Cole for the opportunity to be part of their first experience in Uganda, Africa. It was an honor and Blessing to serve beside you. In His Awesome Service we serve to reflect the joy, Hope, and Love of our Father in Heaven.