Saturday, February 17, 2007

Uganda...We're Here!!!!!!

Well, we're in Uganda. The Team is so excited about what God has been doing already. I'm just going to share my journal entries with everyone to share what's been going on. They start on the plane and continue through this evening....enjoy!

Missions Blog, Stardate…uhm, wrong blog…02/16/07 07:05 Uganda Time, 02/15/07 23:05 EST

Well, it’s light enough to write now, but the turbulence is making it a little challenging. We’re about an hour out from Entebbe. It’s been a long flight, but I did get several hours of good sleep on this plane. This leg of the flight is supposed to be 8 hours and 25 minutes long, non-stop from London’s Heathrow Airport to Entebbe, Uganda. We had a tail wind much of the way, but for the last hour or so we’ve been flying against a headwind. A combination of darkness and a cruising altitude of 33,000 feet haven’t allowed for any great views for those seated by a window, but I did catch a glimpse of a gorgeous sunrise a little bit ago when I looked across the aisle. We’ve flown over the Sahara and Libyan Deserts, and, according to the 6” screen in front of me, we’ve been flying over the Nile River for the last little while.

I can’t speak for anyone else in the group, because I haven’t had a chance to ask them, but as I’ve watched our position on the flight map throughout the night, my excitement has been growing. We flew past Rome several hours ago, and it made me think of the Apostle Paul when he was there…It’s a kind of a rush being so much closer to the places where the Bible was actually written.

I don’t want to say that this mission trip and the preparations up to this point have been “dream-like” until now, but the reality that we’re finally here is just now sinking in. I’ve waited over 20 years since God first called me to the overseas mission field, and I’ve held on to that call and desire throughout those 20+ years without seeing a manifestation of the call. I know that in that time God has had to do a lot of work in me and in my life so that I’d be ready for this. There is no way that I can describe how I feel right now! I want to cry and laugh at the same time—I’m seeing God’s faithfulness in action!

To recap the first part of our trip: Our layover in London wasn’t quite what we’d anticipated. The logistics of public transportation (and the cost since the US dollar is worth so little in the UK. It takes $2.10 USD to buy £1.00 GBD. Just the bus ride from the airport to the hotel ended up being £40 or just over $80.00! The Day Room was great. Most of us hung close to the hotel and napped or went for a short walk.

God did have a divine appointment for Tim, though. He took a narrow pedestrian trail in search of a store/restaurant and stopped to talk to a couple along the way. They invited him in for a cup of tea or coffee, and Tim got to witness to them and explain several areas of scripture of which they didn’t have a good understanding. (i.e. Jesus died for people’s sin, but not for theirs!) God is so awesome! Tim got to plant some really good seed, and we’re believing God for a great harvest there. God is so awesome! Well, we’re pretty close to Entebbe—approximately 100 miles out—20 minutes to landing. Have to shut down for now.

02-17-07 07:00 Uganda Time, 02-16-07 23:00 EST.

Well, we got here yesterday morning. I wanted to get out of the plane and start jumping and shouting, because of what God has done in manifesting my lifelong dream/call. BUT…with Pastor’s word ringing in my ears…”Are you ready for another ministry lesson…Before you do or say anything, you have to think about how it will affect the team as a whole…”, I decided that the armed soldiers at the airport might not take too kindly to me making a scene. I restrained myself!

The pictures that I’ll be posting can describe our experience much more clearly than I can. I can say, it’s all that I was expecting and then some! In the area of Kampala that we’re staying and working, there is abject poverty all around, but the people are a tough, proud people. And it amazed me…in the USA many of our poor are content to live off of government assistance. That has, in my opinion, ruined our people. Here in Uganda there is no government assistance. People have to get out and find a way to provide for their families. As you’ll see from the pictures, everybody has some kind of business… whether it is making bricks in their yard, selling bananas, selling phone minutes, or running a motorcycle taxi service (I’ll pass on catching a ride on that taxi!)

We spent a few hours at the Life Link Medical Centre yesterday. They had just moved into a new (to them) building, and it was their first day open. At least 150 people were waiting for us to get there. Many of whom had walked long distances to get there. It was a very “interesting” first day. Quite a learning experience! There were many people who probably had malaria and, of course, many problems related to poor nutrition. One man had a stump of a foot that had not healed in 10 years! He comes to the clinic every other day to get it cleaned and dressed. He has to be up working on it every day…how many people in the US “call in” to work because of minor ailments? These people are amazing!

I was up early today, at 04:45, to spend time in prayer. It was so strange to hear the call to worship coming from the mosque whose spire we can see from our beautiful hilltop Namirembe Guest House. Shortly afterwards the sound of their prayer being broadcast over the loudspeaker sounded across the city. I felt like I was in a movie…it was so strange! Right now I’m enjoying breakfast with Annette and Howard Fickett, Pastor Eddie, William C, and Rocky. We’re having omelets, toast, fresh pineapple, and freshly squeezed passion fruit. The sunrise was gorgeous, and there’s a great breeze right now.

02-17-07 18:30 Uganda Time, 10:30 EST

Well, our second day at the Medical Centre was somewhat more orderly than the first one. There were more people there seeking treatment than there had been the day before. One little boy had a fever of 104.7˚F, possibly from Malaria…he had a number of mosquito bites on him. We were able to get the fever down, and he was a little more active when his mother took him home. I would like to have seen him stay overnight for monitoring; but I have learned that Ugandans will do what Ugandans want to do, not what someone else wants them to do!

Another man came in who was very frail, weak, and dehydrated. The staff nurse, Annette (not the same Annette I mentioned earlier), was unable to get an IV started because the man was so dehydrated. Praise God for answered prayer—I was able to get an IV in on the second attempt, and we were able to administer IV fluids to the man. He’s still in critical condition, but we’re in faith for him to recover.

The children have really stolen our hearts. They are so friendly and beautiful. And they love having their pictures taken. Suzanne got the great idea of cutting the bubble wrap that we were taking out of boxes and giving a piece to each child to pop. They absolutely loved it!

The Grand Opening Ceremony started at approximately 14:30. There were a number of government officials in attendance, and many of the patients stayed to listen. Pastor Solomon shared with everyone about how God had opened the door for him to meet Pastor Eddie and how God had blessed them with all of the medical equipment and supplies that we’d shipped in the 40-foot container. Pastor Eddie had a chance to greet the people and commit the continued support of Valley Word Ministries in helping to make a difference in the health and well-being of the people of Uganda. It has been an exciting day, and we’re all very tired. But it is exciting to see how God is moving in and through our team. God is so Good!

Well, I’ll close for now. Check out our photos on the VWM Online Photo Album. There will be several albums, so be sure to check them all out. They all start with, “Uganda-”. Be blessed, dinner is calling my name! :D

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