Wow! We have been in Uganda for 3 days now! It was definitely a long few plane rides here but we made it!!! We left Atlanta and had about an hour plane ride to Washington, DC, then to Brussels, Belgium, and then landed in Entebbe, Uganda. After landing in Entebbe we drove to Kampala, Uganda and spent the night in a hotel. We left early the next morning and had a six hour drive to Gulu which is where we will be staying with Matt and Jamie for the rest of the time we will be here. We saw so much on the ride over that the time flew by. Traffic laws means nothing here and the crazy driving made it that much more interesting. We learned that if a car hits someone crossing the road, the driver should just keep going and not stop. That is different from the US for sure. The past few days have been such a blessing. Matt, Jamie, and their children Tristan and Cole are such awesome people and an amazing family. I cant wait to spend a month here with them! On Saturday we were able to talk a little about what we wanted the next month to look like for us and how we could use our gifts and talents to glorify Christ and make his name known in the places where we would be working. Our main focus is developing relationships with the people living near the Easts house and sharing the love of Christ with them. Saturday afternoon we split the group up and half of us went with Matt to tour Gulu. We drove around the town just to be able to see where we would be the next month. When we returned we went out to the huts of the different tribes where we will be spending the majority of our time. We went from hut to hut meeting the men, women, and children living in each one. Everyone was so welcoming and loved talking to the Mzungus. All of the kids would gather all around us and stand there and laugh. I mean I guess we are pretty funny looking. Emma and I stayed with a particular family for the majority of the day. We met Consey, a woman with 7 children and all of them girls! We were able to go down to the creek with two of her children and help wash their clothes. Emma and I were not the best at this task. Every time we asked if the clothes we were washing were clean they would reply with a sweet but firm no and then take the clothes from us and clean them themselves. I resorted to hanging the clothes on the bushes after they were washed because Jo Anne ( the little girl I was helping) told me I was much better at doing that. They loved us being there with them. By the end it seemed that all the kids in the tribe had made their way down to the creek to play with us. It was a great way to start off our time here and I just know that God will further the relationships everyday and use them for His glory!
Today (Sunday) we woke up and went to Grace Baptist Church about 10 minutes away from Matt and Jamie's house. Jamie was hesitant to take us there because she heard that it was pretty much like a church in the US and was even started by a man who moved to Gulu from the US. It was similar in some ways but was also very different. We sang songs in both Acholi, which is the native language here in Gulu, as well as in English. The worship songs were by far my favorite part of worship this morning. The children were dismissed from the main service and met outside to have a Bible study of their own. Towards the end they started to sing and their voices could be heard from inside the tent where we were meeting. They were so full of joy and meant every word they were singing from the bottom of their hearts. It should make us think about how our worship style needs to be refocused. Are we just singing words or do we sing with JOY from the bottom of our hearts?
After church we came home, ate lunch and then went back out the huts. Emma, Laurel, and I were together the whole time. When we first got there we met Simon Peter and Fred. They insisted that they take us around the tribe so we could meet everyone. This was perfect because we decided to do a VBS style program everyday for the next week for the kids who either do not go to school or ones that are too young to go to school. So we were able to talk to all of the moms in the area and meet their kids and tell them about the program. We had lots of help to tag along with us with five kids on each arm! We absolutely loved it!
Each night we have had devotions to talk about our day, what we have learned and a time to discuss When Helping Hurts which is the book all of the interns read before we came. Last night one thing we talked about was the answer we give when answering the question Why did Jesus come to earth? When answering this we tend to make the answer all about us. We say "Jesus came to die on the cross to save us from our sin" which is true but Jesus actually came to glorify his Father. He came to do the will of his father. It is not really about us. Absolutely EVERYTHING is about glorifying God and making his name known, that is it. If we truly believe that the Lord is sovereign, then we also believe that suffering, death, and things we consider to be "bad" are glorifying to God as well and are all to make his name known.
John 6:38 says "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me."