Greetings from Gulu! What a journey it has been thus far and we've yet to even jump into our work here. We left Fayetteville bound for Raleigh bright eyed and bushy tailed on Wednesday afternoon. Between all the bus rides, flights and time zones, I can't even calculate how many hours later we arrived at Sanctuary of Grace in Gulu, but I remember looking at my watch and saying "It's Friday?"
This being my trip with the team and my first mission trip, I'll never know what to expect, but though our journey had it's speed bumps and hiccups, the journey here went smoother than I expected. Military life has taught me to expect the worst and hope for the best and more often than not you're pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed! I also find comfort knowing that our journey, our health, our safety and our work here is in God's hand.
You couldn't help but notice the team everywhere we went, with our yellow shirts and 35 trunks in tow. One thing I found particularly amusing was when cleared customs in London to go to another terminal to shower, we emerged into the baggage claim area (where friends and family also wait) and were greeted by a huge crowd of onlookers with cameras and signs, all waving and snapping photos. One man yelled "Let's here it for Uganda!" and applause erupted. Still half asleep and groggy from the flight, we smiled and waved and continued on. We later realized that when you arrive in London the day before the opening ceremony of the olympics with a large group all wearing the same shirt, which just happened to have UGANDA in big letters across the front, people probably assume you are an olympic team or somehow related. Regardless, I still loved the rock star welcome.
Finally arriving in Africa and making the 8 hour bus ride to our first destination was pretty darn exciting for me and I've yet to shake the "I can't believe I'm here!" feeling. I find myself wondering how those on the trip who have been here 5, 10 or 30 times feel and how it changes for them each trip. We've only spent just over one full day here and I already feel I've been shown my reason for being called here. I know with every fiber in me that this trip will not be the beginning and the end for me, but the beginning of something that will have no end. I laid on my bunk an hour ago to prepare this post with no idea what I was going to write. The lights have since gone off for the evening and as I type by the glow of my headlight I find myself crying, I am so overwhelmed at this moment and believe I can say the same goes for the entire team.
It's hard for me to keep this short, I could write for 24 hours and still not share everything I want to (and it's only been a couple days!), but since I'm probably keeping everyone up with my headlamp and keyboard clacking, I'll wrap this up for tonight.
Though we haven't done much yet, we work together like we've been lifelong friends, knowing we are all exactly where we need to be at this moment. And that's just one of many things I'll be thanking God for tonight.
Headlamps out in Uganda ~