Preface….As you read this…please know that I am typing it from Uganda Africa. The WiFi is not of the standard we as Americans are used to. Thank you for your patience. I hope you will read this and journey with me on what is a very short trip. I am simply here to check up on all the great work that God is doing through us. I pray you are encouraged and inspired. My trip is only 3 days on the ground. Please take a few moments with each new post I write and fall in love with the Uganda people and the work that Jesus asks all of us to do. I assume there will only be 3…no more than 4 posts.
My wife and I woke up at 6:30am on Thursday. No rush…the airplane was leaving at 10:02am. Phoenix Sky Harbor is only 30 minutes away. I was a little concerned about rush hour traffic in Phoenix, so we scrambled getting the finishing touches ready to go and out the door as I prepared to fly more than 25 hours of air time to arrive in what is called “The Pearl of Africa.”… Uganda.
Almost 2 years ago I sensed God telling me that I had to do something about the poverty in this wonderful place. The Bible is loaded with passages about loving One Another. Uganda is full of people who love the Lord, have faith, and swim in desperation for the basics of food, water, and shelter. So this is why Kelli and I are up. We heeded God’s call. I’m grateful for you if you are reading this and have chosen to use your personal time, talents, and treasure to also heed God’s call to obey Him. I also am grateful for the support you give to the Church Work Organization I started, called Return Hope International. It is through RHI that I communicating with you as I’m headed to a 3rd world country.
It was time for me, once again to walk away, temporarily, from the people I love and live with everyday, to go embrace and encourage the people I love, who live on the other side of the world. Both groups are literally my neighbors. Jesus says to love our neighbors.
Every time I take this journey to Africa, I feel internally attacked. I don’t know if it is my fleshly human nature that starts screaming at me about how… “this trip isn’t worth it. The cost, the time away from my own people, the inconvenience, the pain of traveling through time zones, strange food, and crowds.” Before each journey I take on behalf of Jesus, there is an internal pain that wells up that almost makes me want just stay home…again…internal voices whispering, haunting… “you really think this trip will do any good? Who do you think you are, going over there to try to do something? What if something bad happens like a plane crash, getting sick, getting lost, catching malaria, yellow fever, aids? What if something bad happens to your family while you are gone? You have so much to do…why are you leaving to go do more? “
Is it the insecurities of my flesh, the devil, or just normal thoughts like these that cause me such anguish every time I prepare to leave for Africa. But still I go. I must. It is lonely, even when I travel with others. I think it is why most never go. I understand, first hand, why most never go. It is painful and expensive and inconvenient, sometimes scary.
This trip is a short one. Leave Thursday…arrive in Entebbe Uganda on Friday night at 10:20PM. There is a 10 hour time change between AZ and Uganda. As I type this, it is 6:30AM Uganda time. It is 8:30 PM Pacific Time. I got some good sleep. I have a head ache from the time change as I try to quickly adjust my body. I’m only staying Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and then I get back on a plane on Tuesday night to return. I think this trip is going to be kind of “time-clock-shock & awe.” I return leave here on Tuesday night and arrive back in AZ on Wednesday, the 24th.
My first flight surprised me with a free upgrade to first class for the hour and 15 minute flight to LAX airport in Los Angeles. Wow…first class…really is first class. Too expensive for me and I never in good conscience could spend the kind of hard earned money it takes to raise for the Church Work that Return Hope does…but…if it’s free…my conscience goes away immediately! 🙂
Once I arrived in LAX, I had a 2 hour lay over to catch my 2nd leg flight to Amsterdam, Netherlands. LAX airport was a nightmare. It is huge and everything was under construction. I quickly felt lost, but have learned to stop and ask for help. I find people are naturally willing and glad to help. It’s still hard for me to stop and ask directions. Pride?…or is it just part of being a man? 🙂
LAX is loaded with eclectic groupings of people It seems nearly every world race and kind of people are scrambling through this port for air travel. I suppose LAX is a peek into what Heaven will look like, just minus any peace. That place is crazy hectic.
As I finally got on the plane, I was in row 36…seat K. That is a window seat, which most people would think is wonderful. A window seat is better than the middle seat, but I prefer the isle seat. My 2nd flight was just over 10 hours of flying and I would be locked into a seat with two people preventing me easy access to a restroom, or to just simply stand and stretch my legs. They were a wonderful elderly couple traveling to Austria for fun. They wore matching travel shirts and frequently reminded each other of their love for one another. That should be relationship goals for all of us married couples. They were wonderfully old. He spilled his water on himself in the first 10 minutes, but was more concerned as to whether or not I got wet at all. I assured him I did not. He told me that he found it more and more difficult to control his body motions as he got older. But he said it with a smile. It was obvious he was going to enjoy his life instead of fret about the things he cannot change.
As our plane began to take off…it literally had to apply the brakes and come to stop. The captain’s voice came through the intercom and said that President Obama’s plane was landing on a parallel runway and national security policy demands all traffic stop. We waited. I didn’t time it, but it had to be 20-30 minutes. My concern was that I didn’t leave much time between flights on this trip which means any delays could set my trip off course really quick. I am only spending 3 days on the ground and any missed flights could easily mean one or two days lost. Obama landed. We took off. I had less than an hour to run through the airport in Amsterdam to make sure I caught my next flight. I made it!
My next flight was nearly 10 hours and this time in an Isle seat next to a mother and her two young daughters ages 6 and 9. The nine year old next to me was wonderfully considerate and she also had a fever. I’m a bit nervous about that, but I’ll let you know if I caught anything.
I slept on and off. The plane stopped after 8 and half hours, for a quick layover in Rwanda’s airport and then a 37 minute flight into Entebbe Uganda. Oketch Sam, Return Hope’s Ugandan Director was waiting for me. His giant smile, as I walked out of the Entebbe Airport was like a billboard of refreshing. He always makes me smile and laugh.
We drove nearly an hour, talking, planning, and laughing all the way to a little hotel on the East side of Kampala Uganda…a city of 5 million people. I grabbed a shower, drank a couple bottles of fresh water, put down my mosquito net and prepared to try to sleep, even though my body’s time clock was telling me it was nearly lunch time. But it was 1:00 am Uganda Time.
I awakened at 6 am and began to type what is written above.
I will make mental notes of my day that I am about to venture into and type it up soon. I hope this blog allows you to be inspired and challenged in regard to your faith and what you are actually doing about what Jesus commanded of all of us. I do not think it is okay for you to only experience Jesus’s commands via this blog and some financial support to RHI. I pray you will be inspired to see needs and meet them. Needs do not always have to do with people and their money condition. Needs are simply needs and Jesus commands us to serve our neighbor in our house, across our streets, and across the giant lakes, we call oceans. Our flying technology has made our world small and our neighbor circles of influence very large. Love your neighbor.
I am grateful you are reading this post. I am grateful for your support through your finances, prayers, and curiosity. I pray you will join me someday on one of these “Obey Jesus Trips.” Maybe it will be to Uganda, or maybe somewhere else that God sends us. Start saving some money now. Get a jar and start putting your change in it. Skip a movie, a Redbox, or Starbucks on occasion and put the money in that jar instead. You’ll be surprised how quickly it can add up. And, when the time comes for your to travel, as God tells you to, then I will also help you with some ideas of how to raise money for a Jesus honoring trip such as this.
Until then, have a great day, night…what ever your body time clock is telling you.
Stay tuned. I’m about to get out of bed, and venture into Bugiri Uganda.