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.