Thursday, May 27, 2010
We made it!
We made it!
Finally, we are in Uganda, which by the way, is the most beautiful place I have ever seen!
I must say, it was NOT easy getting here. We took quite a journey, thanks to our friends at British Airways who decided to go on strike. All in all, we left Texas on Sunday afternoon and arrived to our final destination of Mbale, Uganda, Wednesday afternoon. It took 3 days to get here! We were expecting a long lay over at London Heathrow. What we did not expect was that our connecting flight leaving Heathrow, to Nairobi, Kenya was delayed three hours, causing us to then miss our connecting flight at the Nairobi airport to Uganda, the next morning. So, we got to spend all day Tuesday in the Nairobi airport before we took our short one hour flight over to Entebbe, Uganda.
The team got to know each other very well, from the very start of this trip…….no shower for three days, sleeping on planes and on hard airport floors. But, we were a team and we survived as a team. Becky was an awesome leader during some trying times at airport counters and going through security (considering we had every personal item stuffed in our carry-ons that we would need to live for two weeks……carry-ons so stuffed they were about to burst.) We prayed through every situation and God delivered, like He always does. As my dear friend Kathy told me, what the enemy intends to be trip-wires and discouragement, God intends to be stretching exercises, stretching us even further to truly depend on Him, in ALL things.
The beautiful thing is that were exposed to all sorts of other religions at the Nairobi airport. We were just down the hall from a Mosque. We made a new friend from India who is a Muslim. He hung out with us all day and had the biggest smile on his face when he was with us. You could just tell he wanted to hang with us. A few of our team members had some wonderful discussions with him about God, Heaven, etc. Seeds were planted. And, of course, being the souvenier shopper that I am, I picked up some adorable Africa items at the little airport shops there.
(Loren and Luke – you will be so happy at your prizes from Africa!)
We were extremely pleased with Kenya Airways. The flight attendants were so helpful and so servant-hearted, joyful and all smiles. Little did I know, this was just a preview of the beautiful people I would encounter upon arrival in Uganda. It was great to finally see Mama Aida’s smiling face at the airport. She greeted us with the warmest hugs and from there, she took over and we got to relax!
From the moment we arrived in this place, I could sense the beauty of it! It is so amazing! I am simply in awe! I cannot believe God created a place this beautiful. These people are so blessed that God placed them here! The colors are so vibrant, so incredible. The contrast of the deep blue sky, the jungle green everywhere, the red dirt, the people’s brown and black skin and the vibrant colors they wear.
After a wonderful night’s stay at the hotel at Entebbe….(never appreciated a bed and a shower so much)..we had an eye-opening 6 hour van ride over to Mbale. I was so overwhelmed at everything there is to see. I probably took 100 photos out of the van window. Poverty like I’ve never seen! Little children just hanging out right next to the road, some naked and some not. We saw mothers carrying all sorts of things on the tops of their heads. (We saw one lady carrying a rolling-bag suitcase on top of her head, with no hands!! Seriously, it was impressive!) I have never seen poverty on this level. Everything is dirty and I saw kids in places I would never dream of for my own kids. But, in the midst of all of this, what we saw on their faces was joy. These people have NOTHING, yet they are happy. We started waving at people from the van and they always waved back. We pulled over at a market to pick up some fresh pineapple (which by the way is the best you will ever have)…..while there we got to play hide and seek out the van window with a precious little boy. Their smiles are huge and I could not hold back my tears. I wanted to feel sorry for them, but then I started thinking that they are the poorest of the poor, yet they are happy! They are content. They have no idea just how poor they are. They are just precious momma’s surviving, taking of their children the only way they know how. Today, these people taught me a lesson on contentment in my life. I am so, so blessed in so many ways. Yet, all of the things we have in America, are they are all necessary? I mean these kids were smiling and laughing like I’ve never encountered, in the midst of extremely simple lives and extreme poverty! Wow!!
Jesus is here and hope is here! The other thing we noticed is how open this place is about Jesus. You see his name everywhere, right down to the store called….”Trust in God Electronics”. We saw words like “God Cares” printed on the back windows of taxi cab vans and “Jesus is Lord” painted, huge on a store front. We saw many beautiful churches and schools along the way….and kids walking home from school in their uniforms, who knows how far!
And, we certainly saw God today when we stopped off at the Nile River. Wow, what a sight! Creation is truly amazing!
I must go now because we are busy preparing for tomorrow. That is the day we will go to Covenant School and meet the I Choose You kids. We will be teaching in their classes so we have lots of construction paper crafts to cut out. Yes, tomorrow, is the day I get to meet our little Mudua Irene, our beautiful I Choose You kid. I don’t know how I will be able to hold back my tears when I get to meet her. We will also spend time tomorrow, in “our” Village of Namatala. What an amazing day it will be!! I cannot wait!
Jesus will be there with us like He has been this whole trip so far. He is amazing and He loves us all so, so much. He tells us so in Isaiah 25:6-9.
Loren and Luke and Tony – Mommy misses you so much. I am safe and totally happy here in Uganda! God is good and He is taking good care of all of us!!
Hugs and kisses from Africa!!
I love you!!