Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year's Eve in Uganda - Part 2 - Team Time

Often when we go on mission trips, we think our sole purpose for going is to minister to the native people God will put in our path.  Sure, that is one of the main reasons God sends us, but it is definitely not the only one.  And if we aren't careful, we can miss some of the most amazing opportunities He has for us.  Opportunities that involve others, like our teammates. 

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor (teammate) as yourself."  Matthew 22:37-39

After spending the morning at Amazima loving on children, we spent some quality time together as a team that afternoon.  We took a boat ride from Lake Victoria to the Nile River. 

It was at the Kingfisher hotel where lots of visitors stay.  Beautiful grounds.  Beautiful people.

Here we are on our little boat heading out.  (Rachel is on the left & Sarah is behind her.  Kim is on the right & I'm behind her.)

Alyssa is showing Amy some love.  Amy is not so sure about our little boat - definitely can't blame her for that :)  When I think about the Nile River, I prefer a BIG boat!

We had to take 2 boats and this is the other half of our team on their boat.

My friend Sarah.  I love her!  When we met in the Dulles Airport in D.C., she needed a mom to make sure she had her passport & yellow vaccination form, and I needed someone to mother!  But by the time we reached Africa, we were FRIENDS!  She makes me laugh so hard! I miss her so much!  She was definitely one of the reasons I had to be on this trip with this team.  No doubt about it!

Anyway, back to the picture here.  The water behind Sarah is where the Nile River begins.  This area is called the Source of the Nile.  The huts are souvenior shops.

Photo opp just for tourists like us :)

After our boat ride, we had dinner at the hotel restaurant.  We actually placed our order before our boat ride so our food would be ready when we returned.  Cooking for 27 people (our team and our fabulous bus driver Abus) can take awhile.

When we were placing our order, Tymm, one of our leaders, couldn't decide what to get.  He finally chose a fish dish.  He watched the waiter write down W. Fish.  When Tymm asked him if the W. meant white fish, the waiter promptly told him "No. It means WHOLE fish!"  I laughed so hard!!!  Unfortunately for Tymm, he wasn't feeling very food adventureous on New Year's Eve!!!  Check it out!!!

And by whole, the waiter meant w.h.o.l.e. - complete with eyes, teeth, bones, fins, & tail!!!

My husband on the other hand ordered the same thing and cleaned his plate!  He said it was delicious.  Keep in mind, he did grow up on a farm in the country in Sharon SC - I'm just saying....

There's something about food that just brings people closer together.  We Baptists know all about this :)   But seriously, sitting at the table (and not having to hurry off to the next place) allowed me to get to know some folks better, including Tymm as he played with his whole fish! 

Interestingly, one of the things Tymm shared with Shawn & I was about a book he read called "The Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning.  Yesterday at church, our guest pastor Foster Christy also mentioned this book.  Obviously, I need to read it.  Thankfully, our local library has it, and I plan to get it tomorrow. 

I was also able to actually talk with some folks I hadn't really talked to before like Lindsey.

I found out that Lindsey just started a new job at her church in November.  This was a major career change for her.  She had been working in the finance world.  God is really working in her life, and she's striving to listen to Him and obey Him.  It's hard when not everyone around her understands.  

Over the course of our trip, I absolutley loved watching Lindsey love!  She does it wholeheartedly and with such selfless abandon.  She is not afraid to be the heart beat of Jesus - which is so much more intimate than just His hands & feet.  Despite the hurt/grief that comes when she has to say goodbye to a "new friend," this young woman LOVES!!!  It was so beautiful to watch.  And while some of us honestly guarded our hearts a little more as our trip progressed, Lindsey's love only intensified!!!  What a privilege it was to serve with her and learn from her.  

I also got to talk with Nate.  Such a humble guy.  He had been in Africa (Rwanda & Ethiopia) since the beginning of December.  He flew from Ethiopia to Uganda to meet up with us. 
During dinner, he shared an absolutely amazing God story that I must share with you. 

Nate and his friend were walking through town in Ethiopia when his friend noticed a teenage boy covered in dirt on the street.  His friend asked Nate if they should help him.  Nate agreed, and they approached the boy who was actually eating the dirt. 

The boy only spoke his native language but God provided a translator.  Here's what they found out.

His name was Geregna, and he was from a village a few hours away.  He had been living on the streets for a couple of years now due to some very horrific circumstances.  Some men had come into his home and killed his family in front of him.  Then they put him in a car and dropped him off in a town a few hours away.  He did not know anyone.  He did not speak the language.  He was all alone.  And people on the streets had not been kind to him either.  Until God sent Nate and his friend to find Geregna!!!

They cleaned him up, fed him, and gave him a safe bed to sleep in - for the first time in years!  Look what a difference love makes!!! 

Talk about a transformation!!!

And guess what?  Nate's friend and his wife feel led to care for Geregna and be his family!!!  ONLY GOD!  ONLY GOD! 

Such a beautiful picture of God's love for us, isn't it?  We were covered in filthy sin.  Just trying to survive.  When God, in all of His grace and mercy, sent His Son Jesus to find us, cleanse us (through His atoning blood on the cross), and adopt us into His family forever!


So be sure to spend time with the people God brings into your life.  You never know how He will bless you through them. 

I am so thankful for my Uganda/Kenya teammates!  I love yall so much!!!  My life has been deeply enriched because of you.

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,


  1. I am enjoying reading all about your trip! I can wholeheartedly recommend the Raggamuffin Gospel! It is an amazing book. Right now, I am reading Ruthless Trust by the same author, and it is one of the most eye opening, challenging books I've read in a long time.

    1. Thank you for sharing that Stephanie. When I looked up The Ragamuffin Gospel online, I also read part of Ruthless Trust and knew immediately that I had to read that one too! Thanks for confirming that for me :)