The Journey is Long!

The Journey to Uganda, and back was long, in every way, it was long.

Logistically we spent 34 hrs and 10 minutes on planes, 12 hrs and 15 minutes in airports, and 93+ hours in our beloved bus. The journey was indeed long.

Elijah, Krista, and Amy…and our luggage, heading to the office to meet up with the rest of our team!

These stats don’t even include the craziness, that was us getting to the airport. Let’s just say, when it was all said and done, it took 5 vehicles, lots of good hearted staff members, a good samaritan, Elijah lifting a vehicle, and lots of prayer!

Our flight over was 17 hours and 5 minutes, complete with 4 hours and 20 minutes of layovers, and 3 hours getting checked in and picking up luggage and going through immigration.

At IAD checked in and excited to begin our journey!
Some of the guys, doing what needs to be done to get through the long flight! This was on our layover in Brussels!

After a 23 hr journey over to Uganda, we took a “long nap” before jumping on the road to make the 12 hr drive up to Arua where we would be staying for the majority of our stay in Uganda.

That “long nap” the night before, wasn’t quite enough rest. This is on our 12 hour journey up to Arua.

Once we arrived in Arua, we had a good nights sleep, church the next day, and then we were gonna be heading out to our worksite! The one hour drive out to where we would be working every day to help with building the Maternity Ward/Urgent Care Facility in the Imvepi Refugee Settlement.

On the way to the work site we stopped at UNHCR to hear about what they had been doing, and their role in our project. Next we stopped by OPM, who had granted us the land rights to build. We heard from them about what they are doing to help with the South Sudanese refugees, and the gentleman we were speaking with mentioned that our 1 hour drive may actually be more like 2 hours, back some very bumpy dirt roads.

So, we hit the road, excited to get to work! And we drove, and we drove, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours….THREE HOURS!!! And finally, we were there. So, what we had heard would be a 1 hour drive to and from every day, would actually be a 3 hour drive to and from EVERY DAY!!! LOL!!! 3 Hours, to go 37 miles. Yup, 12.3 mph, back some very bumpy dirt roads. You see, the folks who had been before us, had been driving these roads in regular SUV vehicles, not a minibus with 12 people in it!! LOL!!!

Our beloved bus!

So, the journey was long. Every day the journey was long! 6+ hours, every day in our beloved bus! It was full of conversations about everything you could imagine, full of reading, listening to music, gazing out the windows at the gorgeous landscape, praying, sleeping, and bush calls…so many bush calls. We stopped at least once, each direction for a bush call. Nothing bonds you as a team, like 20 or so bush calls!

Miles and miles of bumpy dirt road.
Our long journey insured we got to see a beautiful sunset every evening.
We drove through a few refugee settlements on our way to and from everyday.
Post bush call selfie!
Another post bush call selfie with our Safari guide Sarah!

Truth be told, our journey to and from Uganda, our journey to and from Northern Uganda where we would be on mission, our journey to and from our worksite each day…was long. The journey was indeed long. But, that’s only part of the story, because this long journey started over a year ago, and it’s not yet over!

This journey started in July 2017, when Krista and I knew that we needed to turn in our application for Uganda 2018. We knew God was calling us back, but we had no idea what that was going to look like. We knew He was calling us to something more, that we wanted to do something in the north with the South Sudanese refugees, and that we’d most likely be traveling again in July…that’s all we knew, but that was enough!

Krista and I on safari in Murchison Falls 

So the journey began, and we turned in our application! Which started a 4 month journey of Krista and I working with Pastor Bob, and Sue (Mission 4 Water) our partners in Uganda to narrow down our project, where we would be working and who we would be working with. Almost 4 months to the date that we applied, our first teammate signed up to join us!  A week later, 2 more had signed up and we were officially a team!

Krista and I with Pastor Bob on his first visit to Murchison Falls!
With Carla! The first to sign up to go on this journey with us!!!
With our partners, at Harvest Time Church in Arua!

By January we were officially a team and had another sign up, and OPM granted us land rights to build our hospital!!! Let the games begin!!

So, what does it look like to go on a mission to Uganda, and to go on Mission with Krista and Amy? The journey is long, oh so long!! But, we hope it is also so fulfilling, so rewarding, and so worth it on the other side (we hope)!

We are intentional, we are focused on the individuals, while the individuals focus on the mission. The people who sign up to do this ARE OUR MISSION. That means we are going to take you through what one team member referred to as “the navy seals of missions trips.”

The journey includes meetings (8 team meetings that are MANDATORY), fundraising (everyone MUST fundraise for their trip), house party’s, 6k race, book reports, health updates and reminders, group text messages (ohhhhh the group messages), prayer partners, fasting, group dinners or brunches, and generally just getting to know each other well before we go on mission together.

At our 4th Annual Race for Hope! Look at these beautiful people!

The journey on ground includes, personal devotion time, leading devotions, encouraging one another, physical labor, sharing your story, meltdowns, hard conversations, so many “remember when’s”, growing, stretching, crying, and so much laughter. It’s all about living in community, the way that we were called to.

In the end, we pray this journey ends with you changed forever, stronger, more confident, closer to God…and with a whole band of new lifelong friends.

So this journey, like every years journey was long. The difference, this journey isn’t over. Our hospital is still under construction, we are still fundraising and still getting updates from all of our partners on the ground!

ACTUALLY!!! HUGE UPDATE!!! Our hospital is now fully funded!  We have reached our fundraising goal! God is amazing! So this part of the journey is nearing an end! We now have the money to send over, so that the amazing team can finish this maternity ward!

These are the most recent pics of the maternity ward:

And the amazing guys who are working so hard to make this possible:

If you’d still like to donate, you can still do that! Any money raised from now through September 8th will go to Mission 4 Water to support the work they are doing every day! They will be the organization that we continue to partner with in 2019! You can donate here!

So, we miss these beautiful faces and this incredible, long journey that we went on with each of them.

The beautiful girls!
The crazy boys!

However, we’ve only just begun with next years journey…and the ongoing journey to Uganda! We will be returning to Uganda in 2019 to dig wells, and we will continue to return, until God says otherwise!

What an amazing, long journey!! Can’t wait for the next!

Our team sitting on, and in front of 521 bricks, each representing someone who was moved to partner with us, to donate, and to make this possible! I love these people so much!
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The Journey is Long!