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Thursday in Africa

My last day in Torroro, Uganda Africa…

I can’t really express the feeling I am experiencing inside my heart and soul.  I am physically and emotionally exhausted and invigorated.  I am so joyful to get home soon and hug my amazing wife and children and I have a huge heartache to leave a place that could use the encouragement and love of this American and many others.  So many children today knowing that our goodbyes must happen today wanted to just walk with me wherever I went holding my hand and asking if I was ever coming back.

This morning we got up…same breakfast as the previous blogs described…after breakfast half of the group headed off to the town of Mityana where many in the group have sponsored Children.  It is about a 5 hour drive to this town.  I’m not sure what that group fully did since I wasn’t with them.

We stayed in Torroro and went to the city square where all the business takes place during the day.  The streets are dirt and full of potholes….and there are thousands of people walking back an d forth, taxis in the form of motorcycles (boda boda’s) beeping their horns and zipping and zig zagging with no pattern in their direction of driving.  In the streets of Africa….EVERYBODY has the right of way…except pedestrians.  While we were downtown today a Boda-Boda was driving and a police officer tried to pull him over…the Boda-Boda would not pull over so the cop took it upon himself to ram the Boda-Boda…the driver fell to the ground and hit his head and died on the spot.  We were just around the corner, so we didn’t see the actual incident, but all of a sudden you could hear the roar of a crowd.  The market stores we were in told us to stay inside as they ran and grabbed the front doors of their businesses and pulled them shut.  We didn’t stay inside but chose to get out of the store and get out of the downtown area.  As we got outside of the building you could see the crowd gathering…the police officer took off for fear of his own life and the citizens of Torroro began to get big rocks and place them in the middle of the streets so that the police cars could not get in.   I’m not sure how it all ended.  We do know that the driver of the Boda-Boda was killed.  Its seems that all quieted down.  The people in the hotel told us that it is common for the Boda-Boda drivers to go on strike until the police admit fault and try to make amends.  Crazy.

After some shopping we headed back to the True Vine Ministries property and spent the whole afternoon playing soccer and throwing frisbees, and just spending time with some very special people in Africa.  I gathered about 10 young boys all ranging about 10-13 years old and we just walked for about 2 hours.  We talked about everything.  They asked me questions about America and I asked them questions about Africa and her language and words.  They had never really touched white skin before so I let them tug and pinch my arms.  They have no hair on their arms in Africa and they are fascinated with the white mans hairy arms.  When I told them they could feel my whiskers on my face…a full day and a half growth of very bristly whiskers!…they freaked out.  One boy couldn’t touch my whiskers….he looked like he was about to literally get sick.  He was somewhat emberassed by the whole thing, so I didn’t ask.  It was funny.

We talked about Bible stories that they had never heard before.  Imagine me talking to 10 boys ages 10-13 about the story of David and Bathsheba!!!  They knew King David, but they didn’t know this juicy story!  I had them leaning in as I told them about a great King who was wandering on the roof tops and spotted a beautiful woman bathing.   They leaned in more!  LOL   They got a sadness in their eyes about this sin of David.  Then we talked about Psalm 51 where David records his sorrow and repentance and we talked about forgiveness and how  good and patient our loving God is.  AweMazing moment with these young men.

As we walked around some more they wanted to show me their classrooms where they learn and get their education.  As they were showing me the different rooms, three of their teachers walked in.  Very sharp men.  Dressed in dark slacks and pressed button down shirts.  These men were dressed in such a way that they could be successful businessmen in America.  They greeted me with big smiles and I spoke with them for a few moments….then…I asked them the big question!   “What do I have to do in Africa to get an African name for myself?”   They laughed and spent about 15 minutes explaining the different names I could actually get.  Depending on where you live, your African name begins with a certain letter.  They asked me if I liked the City of Kampala or the City of Torroro better.  I love Torroro anyway and all three teachers lived in Torroro so they took great delight when I told them my favorite was Torroro.  This would mean to my African name that it would begin with an “O”   They then explained that since this is my first African name that they recommended that it be a very simple sounding name so it would be easy for me to remember.  I said “good!”  They then asked me my birthdate.  I told them October…October…they said that October is the sunny time in Torroro.   They asked me what time of day I was born.  I told them around 1 a.m.  These questions all help determine my African name.   After they discussed it, and even included the 10 boys I was with in the discussion they came up with several and then asked me to pick one.  They said that when they pronounce the different name options that one will feel right with my spirit and I’ll know.  I don’t remember the full set of choices…but when they pronounced “OCHIENG”  It just seemed like the one I wanted so I told them.  It is pronounced O-Chang.  (the O is a long O.)   They all smiled and clapped and I was nervous thinking they played a joke on me…but they consider it a great honor to name someone with an African name.  They were simply celebrating with me.  I asked them the meaning of my name and they said that October is the Sunny time of Torroro, Uganda, Africa and that the name Ochieng means person of light!  I was touched in a powerful way by that.  I feel honored by it.  My greatest desire and my greatest passion is to be a light bearer for Jesus Christ.

Now some of you might be a bit disappointed after reading this because you read last nights blog where I posted that you had to eat a White Ant in order to be given an African name.  Well that was just the leader of the group basically playing a joke on me.  HOWEVER…I promise you if we come across a White Ant in the next couple of days…I will eat it anyway and video record the whole thing for your delight!  I asked a little more detailed questions about this white ant.   It is actually a large termite that lives in the big dirt mounds you see in the middle of the African bush.  These things have wings and are about an inch long and as thick as up to two pencil widths.  Juicy and buttery…is what I’m told they taste like.  Again…If I find one…I will eat it and video it.

We leave early tomorrow for a place in Africa called Fort Portal where we will spend one day doing mission work and the other day going on an Africa Safari!

I’ve got to pack.  Then get to bed.  Tomorrow we have a 10 hour drive to Fort Portal.

May your day be blessed and may you fully serve the Lord in whatever you are doing throughout your day.

Trent


Medical Wednesday in Africa

Just when I think I’ve seen it all and can ‘t be caught off guard in Africa…today did it. 

Woke up this morning…still no water in the plumbing.  Had to get a big jug full of water from the front desk of the hotel and pour it into my toilet to be able to flush.  Did I mention in all the plumbing problems yesterday that I discovered that I can take a Water Bottle shower in 3 and 1/2 bottles?!   Try it at home for your next shower.  If you can do it…you qualify for the next Missions Trip to Africa!  LOL

Breakfast was the same as yesterday…eggs…scrambled and hard boiled…or you could ask for the staff to make you an omelet.  Bacon…Its good too…but thats a no brainer…I’m not sure I”ve ever had bad bacon.  Coffee, fresh fruit.  The bananas here are to die for…they  have so much taste.  

I had to eat a really quick breakfast because I found out last minute that the Medical Team was headed out to a remote village to help people who needed medical attention.  We drove out into Africa for 2 hours.  Rough roads, packed bus…made for a pretty uncomfortable ride.  As we pulled up to the village there was a brick church building where all the chairs were pulled out and the  main room is where we set up camp.  We had boxes and boxes of medical supplies, medicines and we were ready to take on the crowds.   As they began to pour in…what I saw is just sheer helplessness.  I mean…what would you do if you had 5 children…beautiful children…and they had temperatures of 104 and you had no doctors, medicine, vitamins, our cleanliness?  You wait for years for someone to offer some hope.  
The very first patient that came in was a little girl of around 9 years old.  She had this huge infectious sore on her forearm that was full of puss and anything else gross that you can imagine.  The mother told us that she had the sore on her arm now for 2 and 1/2 years.  The little girl was so brave as the medical team used a scalpel to begin to cut away the infectious skin.   She had no pain medicine.  She would cry out in pain…but not move a muscle.  She trusted us so much and knew that we were there in the name of Jesus Christ to help her. So brave and tough.

  I could type on for pages at the different types of people and problems that walked through the doors begging for any help they could get.  I’ll tell this one story…in comes a man with his 2 wives.  He has 16 children…8 of them are with him.  They all have raging fevers and are malnourished.  Both the wives have STD’s from the husband.  The 8 year old girl had the same STD..which means she was raped…maybe by the man of the house.  The youngest of the two wives was basically a skeleton with skin and she had twin boys.  The boys were just one year old.  Had we not intervened today…one of the little boys would have died in our arms today.  He was barely alive and the mother simply said they have no food and no money and she can’t support her babies with milk because she is malnourished too,  We spent time first saving the babies lives.  Giving them water, electrolytes, some bananas, medicine, etc.  With in about 2 hours the baby began to come to ‘life.”  We had some people run in to the town village store and buy some food, baby formula and we spent time teaching this family that they must begin to provide food and use some common sense or their babies would die.  We will not leave them hanging.  Hope 4 Kids will work with them until they are self sufficient.  H4KI will train them and not just be a welfare program for them.  That is what I love about H$KI.   

 We saw children with cancerous mouths, epilepsy, Malaria, Aids, ring worm and all kinds of skin diseases.    

I’m not a medical person, but before I become a pastor I was desiring to be in Sports Medicine, so I was fascinated all day today watching a team of people with medical backgrounds be their very best for Jesus Christ.  Nurses, Doctors, Dentists, EMTs, Physical Therapists.  Amazing, sacrificial people.  

I helped mostly with the dental hygienist.  Which means I held the flash light so she and a local dentist could pull teeth, clean teeth and sometimes just gasp at the condition of some peoples teeth problems.   The hardest subject on the dental side today was an 8 year old boy who had his far back molars on both sides rotted out and they had to be pulled.  We numbed his mouth and proceeded to pull.  I had to hold his arms and legs from flailing and we all cried as his teeth were removed and the whole village could hear his screams.  I swear he was cussing at me when we were finished but it was in some African dialect and I pray someday maybe he’ll thank me.   Man…he was mad!  Poor little guy.  

The best person we helped on the dental side was an 86 year old woman.  She was maybe 4 foot tall.  Her dark skin was wrinkled and leather.  She had a total of one molar left in her mouth and it had to go.  She literally jumped up on the desk, laid down and opened her mouth and we gave her some quick numbing meds and pulled.  She jumped down and went about her life.  I would love to hear her stories.  Born in 1925 in Uganda Africa.  Wow.  She smiled went home.  All she had left were her top front teeth.  All other teeth are missing.  I couldn’t help but to say to her as she left…”No more Peanut M&Ms for you!”  We all laughed…she didn’t understand a word I said.  

We did this all day long.  From early morning until 7pm.  We didn’t have lunch and not one of us complained.  We got back to the hotel around 9pm…had a great dinner.

And yes…Hot Showers!  The Water problem was fixed!!  

I wish you were hear with me.  It is life changing in a way that I never could have comprehended.  Many of you are wondering what I am going to do now that I have resigned from the Parkway/CCV merger.  I will not make a decision right now, because it would be an emotional decision.  I will be back in the US soon.  Spend time with my family and make an educated decision that is led by God.  When I know…I will share it with you.  

I hope your Wednesday is good.  Serve the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. If  you are reading this…I really do have a strong love for you and I want you to be your very best.  Your very best can only be achieved through Jesus Christ being your Lord and Savior and you doing what Jesus has commanded you to do.  

I will sign off with this….AWINJO…the meaning is this.  “If you hear it…you must obey it.”

“Go Into all the world, make disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”–Jesus
Trent

PS…I saw Tom Eggum’s name tag today and he had 4 different names in the African language on it.   I asked how he got the names and what they meant.  He told me that you have to eat a White Ant and then the African people will give you your African name.  Tom told me to make sure I rip the wings of the ant off first, then when you put it in your mouth you grind it up good or it will grab the inside of your throat and try to climb out.  

I want an African name.  The first chance I get.  I”m doing it.  I’ll video tape it.  
Stay tuned!


Remote Village Tuesday

Today was a great day in Uganda.  I got a great nights sleep and got up and had a great breakfast with the team.  We had bacon, eggs, coffee, french fries…yep…for breakfast!  

After breakfast we met for a team meeting.  Its called “Family Time.”  We rehash our experiences from the previous day, we pray, do a devotion and laugh a lot even cry some at the miraculous stories of love we hear from each other.   It is truly amazing how each person in the group keeping a focus on the mission of Christ and each person maintaining an attitude of servanthood makes for a united group that becomes friends.  There is a message in this fact.  Think about it.  I am gathered with 60 strangers from all over the USA.  We are out of our comfort zones and getting very little sleep, eating food that’s a bit different than we are used to, and getting worn out everyday meeting and mixing and serving others in Africa.  That is a formula for fighting, bickering and group irritation.  However…none of that is happening.  The group laughs, treats each other with respect and enjoys each other’s company.  

It makes me wonder about two other types of groups.  Let’s start with your biological family.  I mean…”We Always Hurt The Ones We Love…” right?  Isn’t that what the song tells us?  We all know that family life is very challenging.  I wonder if you put the elements I mentioned above into your family environment might it be better?   1.  A focus on the mission of  Christ…each family member.  2. Each family member maintaining an attitude of servanthood.    I know its ideal to think this is possible all the time, especially when we are dealing with children and teens in our families.  But its a worthy goal, right?!

The other group I am talking about is the Church.  I won’t preach too much on this one, but let me say this.  If there is a ton of fighting, bickering and group irritation…I’m not a betting man…but I’d bet there is a lack of Focus on the MIssion of Jesus Christ and a lack of people maintaining an attitude of servanthood.  I believe it all starts at the top and trickles down from the church leadership.  Think about your church…think about its current status and think about what I mention above.  

Today I chose to go with the group that was heading out to two villages to dedicate two fresh water wells that were given to these villages.  The names of the two villages are Lulonda and Bwaya Villages.  We went to Bwaya Village first and it is the most remote village that Hope 4 Kids International is involved with.  THIS VILLAGE WAS FULL OF PEOPLE WHO HAD NEVER SEEN A WHITE PERSON!  Can you imagine?  As we got out of the buses at the village there were some children who greeted us with song and dancing, but there was hardly anybody around.  The village leader told us that most of the village were afraid and they ran to their huts.   However…as the music continued to be sung and we began to mix with the people…more and more Africans came out and greeted us in a very  nervous manner.  There was a group of about 10 kids who were standing in a porch area away from us all about 50 yards.  I headed their way all by myself.  As I got about 20 yards from them they literally sprinted from me as if I were a Lion.  The looks on their faces was terror.  They all ran but one child.  I am guessing he was about 8 years old.  He stood there like a brave young man and I smiled, and slowly walked up to him with my hand extended hoping he would take my hand and shake it.  He did!  The other 9 kids were peaking from a distance and most of them…after they recognized I wasn’t going to eat them…slowly and nervously approached me and greeted me.  What a cool moment with them.  

I think its important for all us to recognize that we as white Americans don’t have the market share on Jesus.  This whole village believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  I don’t know how…but they did.  Heaven will be filled with all colors and cultures.  Heaven will look very little like what America looks like.  I think the greatest thing I am learning from my time in Africa is this…..COMMUNITY.   Its unbelievable how these people rely on each other for their very lives.  They do everything together.  American can learn from Africa.  The Church can learn from Africans about community.

After mixing with the people in this village we all gathered around in a giant circle in the shade of Africa.  We spent time teaching how to use proper hygiene.   How to poop and wipe appropriately when there is no toilet and paper and you have to go in the bush of Africa.  We taught proper washing of hands and we taught them about germs and how they spread.  Our Hygiene leader had a great idea.  He used glitter to teach the African people about the spreading of germs.  He was very animated.  He took the glitter and poured it into his own hands and he pretended to sneeze and wipe his nose with the glitter covered hands and then he squatted and pretended to poop and then he grabbed some leaves and pretended to wipe and then he pretended to sit down and eat with those same hands and then he walked over to the children and began to touch them and shake their hands and the glitter got all over them and they got the picture very well.   

He told them that if they wash their hands and be smart in being careful with the spreading of germs that God would bless them and they would live longer healthier lives.  

After the session on hygiene we gathered around the water well that had been dug and was now pumping fresh clean water and we prayed over it and gave the well to the people and told them that every time they drink this fresh water that we hoped they would thank God for the gift and remember how we American Christians love them very much.  

Many asked how we found them in such a remote place from so far away . We simply told them that God led us to them and that God was answering their prayers.   Now please understand the people in this village were having to walk daily nearly a mile to get water from a watering hole where cattle pooped in it and major water born diseases stagnated and they had no choice but to drink from it because the Ugandan Government told the people that this was a waterless area because they tried to dig up to 20 wells and never hit water.  The problem is that the government was being lazy and only drilled down about 30 feet.  When Hope 4 Kids heard about this we chose this village and sent the drilling team (all African local workers) and we are willing to pay for the drill to drill down to 300 feet.   They found water and it is considered miraculous.   Guess who gets the credit for the miracle.  You got it…Jesus Christ!   

You can personally pay for a well to be dug for another remote village like this.  It costs 10,000 for everything.  If you can’t personally pay for it…why not get all your neighbors to contribute to it and do something amazing as a whole neighborhood?   Or your Church or your family?   Or if a loved one dies…instead of flowers at the funeral, ask people to give towards digging a well.  That would be cool.  If you want more information, contact Hope 4 Kids International.  They are pros at doing this and they do it best!

As we prayed over the well and prepared to leave….The people in the Village gave us a goat.  Now understand…to have a goat in these villages is to be considered very rich.  For them to give us the goat…shows intense love and gratefulness.  

Once we got the goat in the bus, there is a group of people from one  Church in California who had made what are called “pillow case dresses and tie died t shirts to give to the African children.  It was such a joy to give these items to the kids.  I chose to help the young girls part because young girls in Africa get very little attention from their dads…if they even have a dad around.  The little girls left their village clothes on and we gently put the dresses over the  girls head, they helped us pull the dresses over their bodies and we tied the shoulder straps on.  These little girls giggled with each other and beamed huge white smiles when they received their dresses.   It made me miss my two girls at home…Madison and Mia.  I love them very much and it was a joy to help these young girls as I told them that I had two daughters at home and how I hoped to bring them one day to Africa.  Yep…go ahead and tease me that I helped with the little girls…I can’t tell you how choked up I am about being able to serve in such a simple way for the least of these.  “That which you do for the least of these…you do for me.” –Jesus.

Before we left we gave the most needy families mosquito nets to help fight the mosquitos and prevent the spread of Malaria. We hugged and waved and headed back to the hotel. 

I have arrived at the hotel…incredibly dirty…and there is no water.  Don’t know why.  Would love a shower….hope it comes on.   If not…I’ll still be grateful for all the blessings I have in my life.  

I miss my family.  I am excited to be reunited with them soon.  In the meantime…if you are reading this…I am doing this in honor of you.  I am carrying your love for Jesus here with me and I am telling the African people how much you love them .   

I hope someday you can experience this.  I don’t care if it takes you 20 years to save the money.  Start now.  

Wow.  What a day.  

Love 
Trent


African Monday…

What a day.  It was this time last week that I was packing for this trip and today takes me through the halfway mark.  The way this trip has been organized is perfect.  It seems that every other day is an emotional roller coaster.  That was yesterday.  So today was a day of physical strain.  I am wiped out.  

First of all, last night after I had finished blogging such a long post and went to my room, brushed my teeth and went to bed.  However…I started to get complacent and used a little water from the bathroom sink faucet to brush my teeth.  Didn’t think about it until 3 am when the stomach starts telling me that something abnormal is growing in it!  I got up…took a “cipro” which is a stomach and intestine antibiotic…spent the next 3 hours in the bathroom…(you don’t need details do you?!)  So its needless to say…if you can do the math…that I got a total of about 2 hours sleep last night.  After a couple of hours the Cipro did its job and I am totally fine now!

So we got up early and headed to what is called “The Rock”…it is a towering moutain that really only takes about 30 minutes to get to the top because it is straight up.  Many places they have permanently fastened ladders to the mountain because of the extreme slope.  The view from the top overlooking the African plains is breathtaking.   I also was completely inspired to lose about 20 pounds off my bod.  I am starting now.  Eat less for dinner!  Repeat at Breakfast and Lunch too.  Hopefully that works.  
If you want to see images of “The Rock” Just google The Rock in Torroro Uganda.  

Once we got back down the mountain we grabbed a late breakfast and had an all group meeting to get the rest of the day planned.  There were several options and so today I chose to keep it physical.  I went to a local village school and simply helped clean and paint a new building that was just built to expand the villages school.  Sounds pretty simple, but you mustn’t forget that when we “Muzungo’s” show up…you get 50 little kids swarming around you wanting to touch you and play with you.   They are fascinated by the hair on my arms.  I saw two 8 month olds today who had never seen a white man.  They screamed in utter terror.  The mothers just laughed and try to calm their infants.  Of course I had to try to get the infants to relax by smiling and approaching them again…but it didn’t work.  Complete terror.  Oh well.  

That’s what I did all day…painted and took breaks to play with the kids of the Jubba Village in Uganda Africa.  

I am in Africa!  I really have fallen in love this mystical place and even more so its people.  On the way home we stopped in the city square of Torroro.  It is a very busy place.  Some of the group stayed on the bus, the medical team with us went into a pharmacy warehouse and bought some medications for helping some African people and I took the few moments we had to wander down to the local market store and buy an Orange Fanta!   It is quite a strange feeling to be walking about hundreds of people and be the only white one!  I loved it.  The people in Africa love to greet you.  Little children will come up to you to shake your hand and when you do shake it, they go to their knees as a sign of respect and kindness.  Its strange, but its their culture.  

I wonder how I can get my wife Kelli to do that!?  LOL

Well…I’m back at the hotel and I’m going to try to catch up on some lost sleep from last night.  This trip will soon be over…and I know that Africa will forever be in my blood.  I so want to return as soon as I can and bring some of my family with me to experience what is such a remarkable and mysterious place. 

Trent


Ugandan Sunday! Whoa….

What words can I possible use to explain such an ovewhelming day in Africa? Let’s get right to it.
We got to sleep in a little today because the church service didn’t start until 10am. Breakfast was at 8 and then we gathered as a whole group to get our plan. The group of nearly 60 split up into 4 groups to go to 4 differnt villages to experience and participate in a Church Worship Service with the Ugandan people. I chose to attend the largest worship venue and village because I wanted to see a large gathering and how it all goes every Sunday. I chose to go to True Vine Ministries where nearly 1000 people gathered in a Church building made of concrete and an A-Frame roof that had a few ceiling fans stirrin the humid and deoderant-less air!!!

Wow is an understatement. I’ll start by saying that the worship service started at 10 and we got out at 1:30 and everybody kept saying it was as short service. They said that often it can go until 4 pm. I have never seen such joyful and energetic worship music. Dancing, jumping, screaming, and praise. Very good music. Done with great quality and authenticity. I know you’ve heard it before…that high pitched very fast tongue roll…la,la,la,la,la…if you don’t know what that sounds like, ask Kelli my wife to do a rendition for you. She an nail it!

But really…I am sitting in a service with some of the poorest people in the world and they have nothing but praise and thanksgiving and joy for the Lord.

The most adrenalin rushed moment for me was when…without hardly any warning the pastor of the Church said that we are going to have an Amerian Pastor preach this morning. I thought to myself…”I wonder who that is going to be?” Well it turned out that when we broke up into 4 different groups that morning…I was the only pastor in our group. Yep! Imagine. 1000 Africans joyful and praising God that the “white-boy” is going to deliver a message! Gulp. I walked up…pretended like I knew what I was going to do and in sheer panic mode dug into my mind of past messages and chose to just begin with Genesis Chapter 1. I can only say that God came through for me as the Scriptures say He will. We had fun and I encouraged the crowd and found myself getting into rythym with my translator. What a rush. All I can say is, Thank You God for such a great honor.

After the service we hurried back to the hotel and freshened up a bit and then headed off to a local Ugandan Hospital. I was not prepared for this experience. When we arrived we found nice looking buildings on the outside and somewhat cleanliness on the inside but it was basically a military style barracks where rows of beds were filled with sick and dying people. There is no medicine. Two doctors rotate through the wards only two times per week. So we showed up with toilet paper, soap, toothbrushes, and some hard boiled eggs and water. Oh, how grateful the people were. We explained that we were not doctors but we just were Americans who traveled over to serve them and show them how much we loved them and wanted to know if we could pray for them. They were so grateful.

The first patient we prayed for first needed some immediate medical attention. It so happened that 3 guys with us were EMT’s and had a few supplies with them in thier backpacks. The man we first came across had just been hit by a car in the leg and had nasty 4 inch wide and 8 inch long chunk of flesh missing from his lower leg around the chin bone. When we removed the nasty wrapping there was no broken bone, but this huge wound. All the guys could do was ask me to hold the man down and try to tell him he was okay while they took care of the wound…without any pain medicine. The intense pain made the man scream, but he knew we were trying to help him. Once we got the wound cleaned up, we gave him one antibiotic pill and some water and prayed he would be healed and get some rest. As I sit in the comforts of my hotel room, I know he is still there in a hospital with no medicine, no glass in the windows and no screens. The EMT guys went back there tonight with some more medical supplies, pain medicine and some blankets. Other patients we prayed for were dying of Aids. One man had what could only be described as a flesh eating disease all over his legs and he was begging us to cure him. All we could do was ask God to cure him and leave him in the hands of God. Believe it or not…the man was comforted and grateful we were there. I feel so helpless in the whole situation. Another man had Malaria…the #1 killer of people in Africa (damn mosquitos). All we could do was pray. Another man had massive adominal pain and on and on and on. When we finished in the Male Ward we had a few minutes to go over to the Children’s Ward. We announced that we were not doctors but Christians and we loved them and wanted to pray for them and give them a few supplies. Well, due to time we could only pray one big prayer for everybody. The translator announced that I was a pastor and that I would pray one prayer for everybody and that God would be okay with that. When he announced this…all the desperate moms and dads grabbed their sick children out of the cribs and rushed up to me and held thier babies out to me asking me to help them and touch them and pray for them. I was so overwhelmed. What could I do. I just looked up to God and cried out a prayer for God to come through and His will be done. The parents were so thankful and I walked away feeling so….(words can’t describe.)

When we were finished there, we went back to the hotel to clean up. I have never scrubbed my hands and arms so hard. That hospital is a place of desperate sickness where diseases of biblical proportions exist. I believe God will heal many of those patients. The presence of God here is real and obvious. Its hard to explain.

We then headed off to an orphanage where 5 years ago a 70 year old man in Conneticut retired from is engineering career and chose to move to Africa and serve orphans who have lost their parents from Aids. He started with one orphan 5 years ago and no property. Today at 75 and several acres and the best kept facilities and yard I have seen in a long time he now has 50 orphans with the age range of between months to 17 years old. These orphans gathered in a small room with the 30 who chose to go. Imagine nealy 80 people in a room that was a small living room. These 50 kids sang to us for 30 minutes. The room was mostly concete so you can imagine the acoustics of 50 vibrant and joyful African children crowded together, swaying together and singing at the top of their lungs. I wept as I heard 50 orphans who have no parents because of Aids sing over and over…”God is so good….God is so good…God is so good…He’s so good to me.”

I will never be the same.

Its 1am and I have to get up at 6:30 tomorrow. I must get to bed.

I must say this at the risk of offending some. Please don’t be offended and simply try to understand my point. Its a good point if you think about it deeply.

All day today I heard the most desperate and poor people of the world sing worship songs to Jesus Christ. The only slow song I heard all day was these orphans singing about how good God is.
Nothing slow…or singing about broken desperation.

Every song was full of gratitude and praise and thankgiving. Full of energy and dancing for joy.

What is it about so many Christian songs that are originating out of America that are so full of sorrow and desperation and brokenness? We can do better. We are so blessed.

If you are reading this…I am honored. I pray that you will make a journey to Africa.

You need Africa. I would have never thought that I needed Africa more than Africa needs me. But its true.

I will never be the same. I must come back. Our churches must do more.
To whom much is given…much is required.

Good night.
I pray your Sunday is a blessed one.
Trent


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