Stories From Uganda

>> July 21, 2009

Hello all! Jordan and I are home from Uganda and adjusting back to life in the US. We saw and experienced so many things when we were there that touched our lives deeply. It was hard to leave knowing that there is so much more work to be done there! God is doing some amazing things in Uganda. But, we are glad to be home because we do not have much time left before we move to Spain! We fly out of CA on August 24th, we will spend a couple days in Chicago (where Trinity Christian College is, the University I will be working for) and then we fly out on August 26th!

Enough of that... more about Africa! I will warn you, this post is a little long but I hope you get a good glimpse into our time spendt in the beautiful country of Uganda. I will say that it was different than we were expecting. We thought that we would be doing a lot of physical labor, but we only had one work day that was hard on us physically. The rest of the trip was more spiritually draining instead of physically draining. It was definitely a time of growth for me in my faith.

The 1st day of ministry we did was at 3 different prisons, way out in the countryside. These prisons had men who had committed small crimes, or who were waiting for trial. It was heartbreaking to see the kinds of conditions these men live in. Here is a picture of some of them.
The prisoners are treated as less than human. They are not always fed. They wear clothes not much better than rags. They are put to work in the fields to grow their own food. They sleep on concrete. It was so hard to see the look of desperation in their eyes. I have never been so aware of how blessed I am. It is crazy to think that sometimes I feel that life is hard here in the States. We should have nothing to complain about. But, God showed up there at those prisons.

Through some testimonies and music that we shared at each prison, God worked in the lives of those men and several made commitments to Christ that day! We even got to lay hands on those that had asked for prayer and that was incredible. They were so hungry for the Lord and for his healing and love. What a privilege to be a part of that!

The next few days after that were mostly spent doing medical clinics. We raised enough money to do 3 of them! The missionaries we worked with (Scott and Brenda Volz) were amazing and helped us organize everything. We went to 3 different villages on 3 different days, providing medical treatment to over 600 people. WOW. The nurses that work with the missionaries are incredible ladies and they did most of the medical treatment.

At these clinics we also had a separate area for those who felt like they needed to be tested for HIV/AIDS. We tested about 175 people total. Our whole team was trained on how to prick the fingers, use the test strip, and read the results. Each test only took about 10-15 minutes, it was an incredible process. Each time I prayed it would be negative. Praise the Lord that only about 10 people were tested as positive for HIV. Seeing those positive results was so hard take in. Many of them won't be able to get to a clinic to receive further treatment because it is too far away for them.

Those of us not running the HIV tests were packing up pills and other medicine, playing with kiddos, taking temperatures and blood pressure, and talking to the people. Being a part of these clinics was so eye opening. We saw many people come in with incredibly swollen ankles, swollen jaws because of issues with teeth, yellow eyes due to malaria, burns, coughing, you name it. Basic first aid is more medical treatment than most people have seen in their lives there in the villages. Those that were seen for medical treatment were given prescriptions for what they needed and they were filled that day by Paul.

Here is a photo of the girls and me helping him get the pills organized. There were many other stories of people we met and the care they were given. Many were led to Christ through the nurses that worked with us. Not to mention that we had fun playing with the kids and I know that they felt special that someone would take the time to play with them. Parents do not give their kids affection in Uganda, which is a very foreign idea to us Americans. We loved every minute of it.

Here is a picture of Jordan with some of the kiddos. I will have Jordan do another post to add even more stories of his own!

In addition to ministering at the prisons and medical clinics, we also got to spend some time at an orphanage, which I was really looking forward to! There was an orphanage, school, and church all on the same campus that we visited. What a perfect combination! The orphans have an amazing teacher who works with them. More than teaching them academics, she choreographs cultural dances for them. The kids also sing and it is so beautiful.

They performed many of their songs for us and it was amazing! If you could only see them worship with their whole hearts and bodies.... it was like nothing I have ever seen.
I was blown away by how innocent they were and how their main response to God for his faithfulness was to dance and sing to them with all their hearts. I think that we could learn some lessons from these small children. Here are some pictures of Jordan and I hanging out with the sweet kids.

Last but not least, I must mention the water well that was dug and installed when we were there! Raising enough money for a well was our top priority for this trip. We knew that God would come through and help us raise the money and He DID. It cost a pretty penny (about $8,000 to be exact) but now a community in Uganda has a clean source of water!

We were so excited because we got to see day 2 of the installation. They had dug everything the day before, and were installing the pump the day we came to see it. The moment that water started coming out was a glorious one! There were many kids and adults gathered 'round to watch the process.

The photo on the right is where they used to get water from.... a natural spring that was capped off, about a quarter mile down the hill. And for several months out of the year, it does not flow more than a few drops at a time. I cannot imagine drawing water every day from that place (some months taking half an hour to fill a plastic jug), then having to carry it up the hill to my hut, where it still needs to be boiled. We are so used to turning on the faucet and most of us don't think twice about it when water comes out. Now I think twice. Or three times. Every time I turn it on.

Well, I'm sure there will be more to come as we find more time to post more of our stories! I hope you are encouraged by our stories and experiences. God is doing amazing things in Uganda because His people are being obedient to His call to love the people there and tell them about the Good News.


Anonymous July 22, 2009 at 4:49 AM  

Thanks for sharing!

Happynhanford July 22, 2009 at 4:38 PM  

This is an incredible blog! Thank you for sharing your photos, thoughts, and mostly your life for God's kingdom! Many blessings to you! Thank you for helping me get more perspective on my life compared to these people. It really makes me think!
Mimi to Bee

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