Right from the first moment we landed in Entebbe and throughout our time in Uganda, Jude, with the help of Andrew, looked after us. They not only drove us from project to project, but also communicated with those we needed to, introduced us to the culture and their families, and showed us immense hospitality. Ministering alongside Jude has taught us so much, and everyone on the team was so grateful to both Jude and Andrew.
FACT – visiting this amazing project run by Paul Tenywa was inspiring. This project is set up to enable young people to have a life away from abuse and poverty. We had opportunity to join in together in coming alongside Paul in bringing fresh hope for young people who have been left with little or nothing. We were able to officially open both the toilets and the fresh water supply to the compound, and join in with painting and decorating. We were also able to provide extra beds and bedding, enabling children to sleep, where previously they had had nothing.
Partnering with friends Peter and Rose Mugabe was such a privilege. One of the highlights of our time was visiting their home. Peter is currently General Secretary of the Baptist Union and Rose works for Pastors’ Discipleship Network where we held the conference later in the week. Peter and Rose are setting an excellent example, showing the true light of Christ in their community. As well as having an open and welcoming home, they run a small farm with pigs, cows and chickens. They are beginning a mentoring programme that includes tailoring, catering, hairdressing, woodwork, and mechanics. They also carry out counselling and business training. The team had the privilege and opportunity to pray with the sick, engage with the children to show the love of Christ to the most vulnerable, and encourage the workers and volunteers.
During our time at Kamuli, where both Paul and Jude are from, we were able to visit a school where Vicky, ably assisted by Gill, trained over 150 teachers teaching new effective ways of interactive learning. The rest of the team spent time with the children and had a great time sharing the gospel, reading stories and playing games. Lots of smiles all round. We also had opportunity to visit the local Women’s empowerment project enabling young women to start a new business and become self-sufficient providing for their families.
We had the privilege of visiting Nile Vocational Institute, where we were able to share the gospel with over 1500 young people and interact with the Principal and a number of key staff. As we were shown round this wonderful Christian establishment, it gave much inspiration for partnering in a number of different ways to enable young people to succeed in life. During our time, the team was able to visit and engage with the children at Kathy’s Centre. Hearing the incredible story from Patrick of how God rescued him having been beaten to within an inch of his life, and then seeing the way Patrick ran Kathy’s centre, and the way the children were looked after and taught was an inspiration and showed an excellent example of how to run a nursery. We were able to read stories and play games with the children, which was amazing.
As part of the mission trip, we were invited by PDN to host the very first Firefest International, a two day conference exploring how to live every day in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. During these days we were able to look at how whole life discipleship could work in practice and as we joined together as one in Christ, black and white, men and women, we experienced an incredible infilling of the Holy Spirit, we found that for the leaders attending this became a place of spiritual renewal, and we experienced a time of incredible worship and teaching, where everyone was able to participate. In these two days, God took us on a journey of rediscovering our identity as followers of Jesus, and there was a real sense of both unity and humility.
Our time in Uganda was highly relational and coming alongside children and adults to share Christ’s love was such a privilege. We experienced Christ’s love, his healing power to the broken and find Christ’s hope in seemingly hopeless situations. Having the privilege of walking alongside our friends in Uganda, we were humbled by our time there. People with so little material wealth offering to share all they had with us.
It has been both inspiring and encouraging to hear the stories and see each member of the team flourish as they participated and joined in with the mission God has called us to together. We all have grown in our faith and experienced the love of God in a fresh way.
I want to thank Aidan, Anna, Anne, Cheryl, Gill, James, Jo, Rob, Sarah and Vicky for being willing to be used by God in such an amazing and mighty way. I look forward to all that God is going to do in and through each one of us in the days and weeks ahead.
Rev. Neal Stanton