July 14, 2023
Uganda Mission Trip 2019 | Update #6
September 8, 2019
“Children are the heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him”. Psalm 127.
The alarm clock rang early this morning but no one cared. Today was our final day to empty out our “love tank” on these children and we couldn’t wait to get on the road. We stopped at the sporting goods store to pick up two leather soccer balls and a leather volleyball. We are talking top quality sporting equipment here, all for a total of $23.87. Each individual ball would have been North of 80 bucks back home. We piled into the Pastor Stanley’s Land Cruiser and headed the 36 miles down Rhino Camp Rd to the Dreamland. Riding in the very back is always fun. Kinda reminds me of the roads in Michiana in the springtime.
Time was a precious commodity today so we hit the ground running. Lindsey rinsed the tie-dyed shirts, which came out great, while Sharon, Phil and I set up the bracelet assembly line. Sharon explained to the children the meaning of the bead colors (black = sin, red = Jesus’s blood spilled for us, white = purity, yellow = Heaven and green = growth) while Phil set up the beads in bowls in order of “installation”. The assembly line was in full swing with the kids, one by one, each threading the beads on their bracelets. Sharon tied the final knot and cut the remaining strings off with the help of new “employees”, Robert Ade and Richard Malish. The line was a thing of beauty in all its splendor and glorious efficiency! Lindsey finished rinsing and hanging the shirts to dry around the same time the bracelet assembly finished.
“And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me”. Matt 18:5
Next on our list was a prayer walk which quickly turned into a prayer parade. We walked the perimeter of the compound and prayed over all the buildings: the clinic, dorms, kitchen, church, the inoperative well, the cooks and staff and the children. Of course, many of the children joined in the walk and prayed alongside us. Upon completion of the prayer walk, Phil brought out the volleyball and hung a “net” and it was GAME ON! The older kids literally played for hours. And what skill! They are awesome at that game and occasionally threw in a soccer kick, in lieu of using their hands, for good measure. Phil jumped in for a few games and immediately created a huge unfair advantage (Phil is 6’8” tall). While the game raged on, Sharon broke out the tattoos and got to work. One unidentified child came up to get a tat only for Sharon to discover that he had been “sleeved” with tats throughout the week! Lindsey had a group of children in the church building with the portable speaker (a must for all future trips) teaching them the Vineyard Kids dance moves to some of our favorite songs. Boy, can those kids dance! Throughout the week, they taught us some of their favorite songs and dance moves as well.
“All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace”. Isaiah 54:13
The tie-dyed t-shirts were finally dry enough to give to the children. We gathered them in the church and, with the help of Bidali Jefferies, got them all distributed. The shirts turned out fantastic and the children LOVED them! We gathered everyone outside in front of the church and took a group photo. After the shirts, we played random games with the children including, Duck Duck Goose, Limbo, and long jump while Sharon spent time with some of the girls in their dorm. Lots of photographs were taken as well. The children LOVE the camera, both in front of it and behind it! They all got a chance to take photos of each other throughout the week and today was no different. After each photo, you hear a chorus of, “Let me see!”. Many of their photos were outstanding.
After a quick lunch, the hard part came. Saying goodbye to these kids never gets any easier, in fact, it actually gets harder as you grow more attached with each passing year. Though there are lots of hugs, handshakes, and high fives, it’s still not enough. It’s difficult to fight back the tears as you climb into the Land Cruiser. The ride back to the hotel was silent, as it always is, as each of us processes the events of the week.
Once back at the Arua “Hilton”, Phil and I walked to the market to purchase some fabric for a homegroup. On the way back, we prayed for two random people we encountered, one with a severe physical handicap (couldn’t help think about Pastor Stanley’s message) and another who was struggling with an issue all her own. Dinner was served by our new friend, Brian, and now it’s time to prepare for the long journey home. This will, most likely, be the last update for the trip as tomorrow we head back to Entebbe for the day and then on to the airport for our 11:59 PM departure. Who scheduled this flight anyway? It was a wonderful, emotional, powerful, fruitful week but we are all ready to be heading home. Thanks again for all your prayer and financial support. We could not have done this without you, our wonderful church family. Looking forward to seeing y’all at this weekend’s Celebration.