Day 15: Reflecting on Uganda

 

I have been trying to come up with words to reflect and summarize our time in Uganda. I have a torrential waterfall, much like Murchison Falls overflowing with feelings that flood through me every time I try to share.

How do you summarize or share something that wasn’t just life changing for you personally, but also for 14 other people?

On one hand, it is simple to say, “It was amazing!”
Another, possibly more accurate description would be, “It was incredibly hard from every possible aspect, but God showed up in equal measure.”

Before we left in July, I had been praying for everyone on our team for months.

When I started praying in December, it was more generic, “Lord, be with ____ today.” And then, as I got to know them better, my prayers became specific and nuanced. But, about six weeks out, I started praying that our Lord would give each of us a greater awakening of who He is, who we are because of Him, and that we would have a greater awareness and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

In hindsight, I probably should have been a bit more specific, and in the future I will probably be more intentional about the words I choose. I absolutely feel like all of my prayers were answered, but in a way that meant the trip was incredibly difficult, and yet, through it all God was faithful, and he showed up with gentle but incredible force.

For years I have maintained that trouble, persecution, trials, difficulties often act as a greenhouse for God to show up. – Uganda was no different.

Every day we had a new challenge, some interpersonal, others health related, some were directly connected to why we were there, and then others blindsided us and needed some massive amounts of prayer for wisdom. Each unique problem felt like we were presented with the option to take the blue pill or red pill… Choose stress, frustration, and giving into the emotions or instead, press in to God, through prayer and petition, and rely on one another even more. – Spiritual warfare at its finest.

There was not a day that went by that I did not find myself both thanking God for showing up and surrounding us as a team and individuals, extending extra grace and tangibly sending the Holy Spirit to comfort and encourage us.. But, also overwhelmed with the gravity of some of the situations we had to face.

Never in my life have I been so aware of spiritual attacks, and equally as aware of the presence of the Lord surrounding both myself and others.

Some of the things we faced are simply not meant to be shared in a public setting with people we cannot have a conversation with; other challenges are not mine to share.

However, to help give you a glimpse:

Challenge:
Right at the beginning we had busted out a back window of the rented vehicle. – In Uganda the difficulty is actually replacing it with authentic car glass that will shatter correctly.

God’s Grace:
We had raised extra money and took it as an “emergency fund” and were able to replace the window within 6 hours with little to no stress because of the donations we had received.

Challenge:
After four days of drilling, and an absent local community, one well was caught in the middle of a community dispute about the location. There was beginning to be pressure on the team to abandon the well location and start over. – If we had to do this, the only well that had hit water at that point would not have been able to be completed in the time we had.

God’s Grace:
A community meeting was called after dark at the well site on the fourth day, and the Holy Spirit showed up. The women of the community rose in defense of the well location, and fought for their needs and ultimately won.

Challenge:
One site’s auger bit got stuck at 16ft, causing the team to have to dig a 6ft in diameter pit by hand with pickaxes that broke on the regular down to unstick the auger bit. (***Update, the pit ended up having to go to a total of 31ft, then they started auguring again, hit water at 40ft, and completed the well depth at 55ft! – The third well is now complete 3 weeks after we left!)

God’s Grace:
The community rallied and men joined in daily to help with the efforts. It was one of the most beautiful examples of people literally fighting for a need they have, but also creating space for the team to bond with their community. The Holy Spirit also seemed to extend extra grace to that team, giving them confidence, so much fun and laughter, and peace about the ever increasing realization that they would not be able to complete the well, but that it would be completed after we left.

Challenge:
Rocks, clay as hard as rocks, more rock, bending and breaking tools.

God’s Grace:
Because of the donations that were sent and the abundance of support we received prior to leaving, we were able to replace everything that broke. And, eventually, slowly, little by little we were able to hand drill and chisel beyond each level of soil or rock.

Challenge:
So much discouragement, insecurity, fear, pain, physical illness; more than I can accurately explain in a blog post.

God’s Grace:
Every single time, before we encountered any issues or problems, someone lead a devotional in the morning that tied directly to what we needed to hear, or someone shared a word or passage of scripture that resonated and sustained us through.

And, these are just the things that we dealt with as a team; this does not include the individual problems, challenges, or struggles we faced and prayed through.

So, reflecting on the trip hasn’t been simple or linear either. As I have begun to work intentionally at creating more space for my own process, I began reading through my journal and prayers. I had already forgotten, or simply have no recollection of praying for some of the things I prayed to our Lord for!

A few nights ago, I was asked how I was feeling, at first I sidestepped with my usual answer of giving a few valid, but not the total picture answers. Soon though as they pressed gently, I began to ramble through my feelings of being overwhelmed, still trying to find space and time to process, and then found myself in tears as I ended my ramble with, “I just miss Uganda”.

I miss the organization we work with, the work we did, and the people there. I also miss the simplicity of focus I needed to have. In Uganda, I only had a handful of things I needed to manage and focus on, in my normal everyday life the focus is in the hundreds daily.

But, if I’m being honest, what I miss most is our team’s daily togetherness and intentionality to love well. It isn’t easy, nor is it glamorous for 15 people to live and do intimate community together (especially in Africa); actually, it’s really hard and it pushes you and requires you to grow in ways you never expect! However, there is also an element of “rightness” to choosing to live and love others intentionally in a true and very real community of believers.

Since getting back three weeks ago, there is a great deal of spiritual warfare still taking place for many on our team and for the organization we work with in Uganda. Please continue to keep all of us in your prayers as the Lord is still on the move.

(click the images and scroll through)

Thank you for your support, for your encouragement, prayers, money, and for loving our team so well for the last 8 months as we have prepared and then gone to Uganda to provide clean water to three communities! We cherish you and your support more than we can communicate to you.

Thank you for sending us to Uganda for 16 days that changed our lives forever.

~Krista
(Team leader for #WaterWarriors)

 

 

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Day 15: Reflecting on Uganda

Day 14: Loss, laughter, love, and coming home.

What a whirlwind of emotions I have felt over the past 16 days in Uganda and the subsequent journey home. It, in a way is a little bit relieving to know that I still have the ability to feel those dark lows, immense highs, and all the varying states of consciousness that fall in-between. It has been a journey that has tested us physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but through it all I like to think we have all grown and are better off for it.

Early on in the trip, after a morning of tough work at Team RSF’s site I was met with the somber news of my eldest uncle’s passing. My uncle George was larger than life, all packed into a man that barely stood five feet tall, a hundred pounds of sinew and ferocity. My brother characterized his life as “a life fully lived, for every minute of it, sixty seconds worth of distance run.” He was an extraordinary man, and the world now shines a little less bright with his departure. In his loss I do find some solace, my uncle was a man of very little means, a man that had been fighting for his life for the past two years with cancer, a man that decided that the twenty four dollars he could scrape together to donate to Diana and my journey was much better spent so that two deserving Ugandans could have clean water for life than spent on himself. That’s just the man he was, a man who put people before possession, a trait that I saw so abundantly out of the Ugandans that we came to serve.

After that heart wrenching revelation, Diana and I were not sure how we were going to continue, we were halfway across the world, away from our families, and the nature where we so typically sought refuge and recovery. However, little did we understand the healing power of a whole school of laughing smiling children. We spent that whole afternoon at St Kizito Catholic School, although we brought materials and knowledge on how to construct silly animal masks, it was the children that gave to us. They poured joy, and laughter into our broken hearts, they were the therapy that we could not have found anywhere else. As they say “laughter is the best medicine,” there could never have been a truer statement.

The journey to Uganda has been a breath of fresh air, the love from the Ugandan people, and our whole team from NCC has been palpable. We were met with love at our wells everyday, people stopped by to thank us, to wish us a job “well done,” to lend a hand while on a twenty minute break from work, to dance, and to just uplift our spirits. We were welcomed at the services of Watoto Church with adulation. We were honored guests during eye opening home visits with Pastor Bob. As well as adored during our best attempts to entertain during field day at a marvelous primary school. No matter where we went, love poured out of everyone we encountered, and for that reason Uganda will forever have a place in my heart. We came to give, but we received so much more, from the bottom of my heart I thank those wonderful people we encountered, and I vow that one day I will be back for more.

Now we return to our lives, all of us calculating what we could do to get back to Uganda. Many of us return to the rise and grind of everyday life, the rat race or whatever you want to call it. We struggle with the trivialities that western society takes so seriously, the type of problem most Ugandans would love to have. In it all we must remember the laughter, the love, and the countless lessons we were taught during our journey. I know that I will find the places I love here in the United States to ruminate about my experience in Uganda, and bid farewell to my uncle George. For the ultimate lesson learned, no matter where we are if we love and serve but also accept love like we did in Uganda our lives will be a success.

– Liam Kiernan (Team Sally, aka #rsf)

Day 14: Loss, laughter, love, and coming home.

Day 12: TO BE CONTINUED…

Each of the 15 individuals who embarked on this journey to Uganda had many different reasons for choosing this mission, however, there were three common themes that I saw ring throughout the 16 days. Although each team’s experience to Clean Water was filled with varying lessons, each one came back with the same message. LOVE. SERVICE. COMMUNITY.

LOVE is the clearest reason why we all chose Uganda and Clean Water. This lesson was taught from the first day. Waiting in packed lines, sitting on a packed plane to a packed bus for more than 12 hours with NO AC, patience like this can only come from LOVE. The strength for intense labor that goes into making each well, including African Concrete and an 18 feet deep pit has to come from something powerful as LOVE.

SERVICE is another obvious reason. SERVICE wasn’t just done through sweat equity in each well, but the selfless acts and uplifting spirit of each team and community members. From giving the shoes to the well commitee boys, teaching dance lessons to the community children, making rattle toys with rocks and bottles for the community babies, to sharing tools with the community women that were tending to the fields near the well site, these were just a few countless examples of love and SERVICE throughout the 16 days.


Lastly, COMMUNITY. Throughout our time in Uganda, our little Tribe struggled and thrived together, and we each got to share our testimony to the group. Each story had a common wish, COMMUNITY. Spending 16 days in a foreign country with many unknowns and discomforts, you really get to know people and have the opportunity to grow close to them. Little did I know that we would grow our COMMUNITY/Family/Tribe, not just by 14 more people, and not just with Mission4Water and our driller brothers, but by the communities we helped in Uganda.


The communities that we loved and served for 2 weeks will always be a part of our COMMUNITY and we will forever be a part of their COMMUNITY. Although the ending our trip is bittersweet, I leave Uganda knowing that my COMMUNITY has grown more than imagined and will continue to grow through LOVE and SERVICE. Mission4Water and our Ugandan brothers will continue this amazing work and continue to build our COMMUNITY further with each well (one is still in progress). So, I leave Uganda with so much more than I ever prayed for since this work is to be continued.

– Diana Kiernan (Team Krista, aka #waterwarriors)

Day 12: TO BE CONTINUED…

Day 10: First Mate’s Log – Stardate 2017.07.16

First Mate’s Log – Stardate 2017.07.16 – Sunday (Read this in the voice of Commander Riker from Star Trek!)

We are currently on the 10th day of our 16 day mission to Uganda. The cooperative mission with the local villagers for the provision of three community wells continues with only minor setbacks for two of the three wells. We are on track to finish two of them by the time we leave, while the third will require continued work after we have to return to Starbase NCC. We remain confident that the third well will eventually be completed, and each team remains in high spirits. The community buy-in that our teams are seeing at each site continues to strengthen, and we believe that the wells we are putting in place will be sustained for generations to come. Team Amy (Water Hitters) has a significant, but achievable, amount of work to arrive at well completion, while Team Krista (Water Warriors) has remained on pace throughout the well boring process and may be able to take it easier going forward. Team Sally (RSF) ended the work shift yesterday, after being assigned double shifts, with a substantial, though not nearly deep enough, hole in the ground as they continue to dig out the jammed auger. But for today, the entire group is taking a Sabbath day.

This is our story:

We travelled today to the one of Watoto Church’s Children’s Villages. Watoto Church, where Sue attends here in Uganda, is doing some pretty incredible work taking care of orphans and children that are in desperate need of care. They have three villages that are set up around Uganda, caring for more than 3,500 children. Watoto makes it very clear, both in word and in deed, that these villages are not orphanages; they are not adopting these children out, and are believing for them to be raised up as the future leaders of Uganda. The particular location we visited was called Kasubi Village, and the facilities they had there were simply awesome. They have approximately 200 acres of land on top of a mountain about an hour and a half from Entebbe. They care for nearly 1,300 children there, from newborns and infants all the way through high school and into college or technical school. We will post some pictures, though they won’t do justice to the vision of what Watoto has there. If we are being honest with ourselves, the kids there are being given more opportunities than many Ugandan children. They are allowed not just to survive, but also to truly thrive there! For example, they don’t live in dormitories; rather, they live in houses in groups of eight, with a housemother living in each home and taking care of them. They get schooling all the way through high school, and even have opportunities to travel or do mission work outside of Uganda on occasion! Finally, they have opportunities to be involved with Watoto church, as they have a service there on campus on Sunday mornings.

We got a chance to visit their baby facility, where they take in abandoned infants, restore them back to health (both physical and emotional) and prepare them to be able to either transition back to their families, assuming they can be tracked down, or transition into a house there on campus at the age of two. I think I speak for everyone when I say how impressed I was with the whole operation. They have thought out what they do so well, and they take child psychology and development into account at every step in the work that they do there. Those babies are so well loved! We had the chance to play with them for a bit near the end, and they were so full of joy and life. We kept joking that we should check each other’s backpacks to make sure nobody decided to take one home!

After the baby facility, we split up and were invited into several homes there to have lunch. We were prepared an incredible Ugandan feast [the equivalent of a Thanksgiving day feast] and shared it in their homes. Again, we had opportunities to talk with the children there, who ranged in age from two years old to high school aged. All of the kids were very well spoken for their ages, and those who were old enough talked about their experiences there and the opportunities it afforded them. Some even were interested in hearing our dreams for the future, and what it was like in America. We were impressed that their basic needs were so well taken care of that there was room for self-actualization and future visioning. Side note: we discovered it was difficult to explain the concept of seasons to someone who lived in a tropical environment! All in all, it was a great experience. We all definitely felt humbled by the level of hospitality that the people at Kasubi Village showed us.

I think the thing that stood out to me most today was the chance to see, and come along side for a day, the church being the church here in Uganda. By that, I mean several things:

1) The sermon series that Watoto is in the middle of is “Culture Revolution”, and has been so powerful each time we have attended. They are serious in taking on the aspects of Ugandan culture that don’t align with scripture, and doing so in a bold way. The sermons we heard probably should be preached in the US as well; though the context of the issues is different here than in the states, the root issues don’t seem to differ a whole lot. I wish that American churches be so bold as to acknowledge the places where our culture doesn’t align with scripture and take on the things that go unsaid (more than just the culture wars that have been perpetuated since the middle of the last century…).

2) Watoto is walking the walk in taking care of the sick, the vulnerable, and the orphans through the work they do. They are on the forefront of the aid being given to refugees from neighboring countries, being the good Samaritans for those in desperate need. They are taking personal responsibility for raising up the next generation and providing opportunities for them where there were none before. And they are serious about loving others where they are at. That is what the church is supposed to be about. They are not sequestered within their own walls, and they make it a point to love first, rather than judge. They meet the needs of those around them. This is definitely a concept that I will take home with me.

3) I am honored and humbled to get to be a part of what the church is doing here in Uganda. God is clearly already at work here, moving in powerful ways and touching lives. So we don’t come here as saviors or evangelists or experts. Rather, we get to come and jump in along side what is being done, as learners and brothers/sisters in Christ. As important as the wells are to this trip (the primary reason we are here), I would also posit that our interaction and encouragement of the Mission 4 Water team, the driller boys, the communities we interact with, and the churches that invite us in to see what they are doing is just as important. Every one of those groups has been encouraged and blessed by our presence, not because we are somehow awesome or amazing, but because we are part of the same body, and our job is to lift each other up. That is what we, as the body of Christ, should be all about!

My prayer for the remaining time we have here is to soak in God’s presence, and to watch with open eyes for the work He is doing through His church. May we all truly be the church, both here and in the future at home, by loving God and caring for others.

– Thomas Herdon
(Team #RestingSmilingFace or #RSF)

Day 10: First Mate’s Log – Stardate 2017.07.16

Day 9: The Time We Have

On day six (Saturday) of digging our wells, the Water Warriors mixed and set the cement pad, giving shape to what the well will look like after completion. The Water Hitters continued digging further into, and under, the water table, ensuring the longevity of their life giving construct. Last but not least, Team RSF continued their journey to the center of the earth… well, at least as far down as their stuck auger bit. The Water Warriors reached a stopping point after the morning shift, and the other two teams made the decision to work a ‘two-a-day’ and work in the afternoon.

I had a bit of time in the afternoon to reflect on what we were doing here in Uganda, and how we got here. One thought that came to mind is the relativity of our time in Uganda. A few numbers to support this thought are as follows:

1 hour:

The time that it took to give and listen to a sermon at National Community Church last fall, calling those who would step out to serve God in places not called home. After hearing the testimony of nearly all my teammates, I feel that the general consensus amongst us all, and the thread that connects us, who are for the most part a group of strangers, is the unspoken need and desire to serve our fellow humans.

6 months:

For the sake of a nice round number (I can be precise when I need to be, but prefer neatness for my point), approximately the amount of time that was spent in the mental, physical, and spiritual preparation for this journey. I can personally tell you that this time went by in a heartbeat! I was celebrating Christmas in Omaha and woke up the next morning to get on a plane for Uganda the next day… okay a gross exaggeration, but I get some literary leniency to make my points right?

I use this to show that Uganda was not the only thing on my mind at this time. I would like to say it was my number one priority, but I would be lying. Things like work, social life, church, proposing for, and attempting to help plan, a wedding, are a few of the things that were competing for my time. I’m sure a similar story can be echoed by my fellow teammates and the saying ‘life happens’ could be used an ingloriously high number of times over the course of those six months.

16 days:

Okay, now we can’t get away from it. The pictures that have been living in our head for the past six months are real, in our face, screaming at the top of their lungs: ‘Here it is! Here is why you came to serve! Now go and do it!’ We are all precision focused, determined to drill and find water, develop a well, create community with the local peoples, and become better people ourselves; and that is what we are doing! Morning devotions lead by various team members, the testimonies of each of our team members, visits to the poor, visits to schools, interaction with the local community, and of course attending church.

22 hours:

This is the amount of time that it will take our team to depart Uganda, have a few layovers, and proceed back to Washington, D.C. This is the amount of time that we will have to go back to I-95 traffic, politics, news, work (for paying earthly bills, because believe me, we have done a bit of work here!), and the 100 mph pace of our lives back home. I try not to look too far forward while here, focusing on each day, task, and interaction as it comes, but it is hard to overlook the fact that I will be back to the ‘1st World’ soon. Do me a favor and pray for all of our transitions back!

Now for the number/time (in a generalized sense) to compare to the ones above:

Life(time):

What we are doing is providing an essential resource for a community for the rest of their lives, and the entire lives of those to come!

I know this is a dramatic comparison, but it is real, I’ve seen the looks of happiness and anticipation for this gift on those receiving it! So the next time I spend five minutes in a Starbucks line, or 45 minutes in 495 traffic, I can always think back to the fact that I decided to wisely spend some of my time in Uganda; that I could help others for a lifetime; that we can all do it; and relatively, it doesn’t cost us much.

-Miles Schaefer
(Team #WaterWarriors)

Day 9: The Time We Have

Day 7: Just My Thoughts!!

Water in it’s purest form, it’s odorless, nearly colorless, and tasteless. It’s in your body, the food we eat, and the beverages you drink. You use it to clean yourselves, your clothes, your dishes, your car, and everything else around you. You travel on it or jump in it to cool off on hot summer days.

    

All forms of life need it, and if they don’t get enough of it, they die.

Political disputes center around it. In some places it’s treasured and incredibly difficult to get. In others, it’s incredibly easy to get and then squandered.

That’s why I’m in Uganda, for the second consecutive year. I am helping to dig fresh, clean water wells, so that the people here in Uganda can have some of the same advantages that I do back in the states.

Digging water wells here in Uganda would provide clean water for generations to come. I’m hoping that these next generation of Ugandans won’t know what dirty diseased water tastes like. Hoping to make a difference, one Ugandan at a time.

~ Joe Davis (Team Amy, aka the Water Hitters)

Day 7: Just My Thoughts!!

Day 6: The Rose between the Thorns

Do you ever wake up on the ‘right side of the bed’ and simply know that day is going to be great? You physically wake up feeling strong. You are alive, awake and aware. You move forward in your day with purpose and passion – and even in D.C. traffic, you hold a smile and a dash of patience. Yesterday morning was that day for our team.

As hindsight would have it, yesterday shines even brighter today because it was sandwiched quite divinely between two thorns.

The purpose of the thorn is unique.   Some say it was nature’s evolutionary response to encourage human beings to stop and smell the roses rather than cut them – though, we can all benefit from some pruning every now and again.

My two great-uncles used to joke with me saying, “put the rose between the thorns” when the three of us took a photo together. Meaning, place Joy in the middle.

Science tells us thorns purpose is as specific as it is simple, yet effective: protect the rose.

A thorn does not provide the world a chance to “fight or flight,” the thorn just is.

## Superiorly stuck

After a day of tough impediments for each team, we each were blessed with a morning of amazing progress. Team Krista aka Muddy Buddies, were almost in a position to lay pipe at their well! Team Amy aka Team Giggles, chiseled their way through layers of quartz and made up new jingles to make the job a bit more entertaining. Team Sally aka Team Short Legs (we’re not that tall, but we are using it to our advantage), made it from twelve feet to seventeen and a half feet in about four hours!

We came back to the village for lunch, and we were all so excited and happy. This meant, although we had slow starts and problems the day prior, we were that much closer to bringing people clean water.

Our team, which has the estimate farthest to drill (approximately 50 feet), is determined to complete this well before we depart. It is a lofty goal; one that may only be achieved by two a days.

After lunch and some deliberation, we decided it was best to put in a second shift. We went from 12 feet to 17.5 feet and we couldn’t be stopped! One chisel session and two turns of manual drilling later, our auger was stuck 18 feet down into the center of the Earth. It was cemented into a layer of rock solid clay and quartz. I presume it looked something like this:

We spent the next two and a half hours trying to remove the drill bit. We got quite creative. Man-made pulleys, man-made chisels, men acting as human cranes, we scaled the tripod, we reverse drilled, we had over 1,000 pounds of strength fighting against the Earth.

We were fighting against the Earth.

We aggressively fought against the Earth.

We did not stop pursuing the bit.

And yet…

Nothing happened.

Remember how amazing it felt as a kid watching the Sword in the Stone movie, the moment Little Arthur successfully removes the sword from the rock? Victory! The chosen one!

Yeah, that was not us.

We were discouraged, but focused. We continued on.

We leveraged the only piece of ‘machinery’ we had – a rental car. Liam had a great idea setting up some reverse energy to counterbalance the force we were applying to get the bit out.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Needless to say; while creative, we were again unsuccessful. We were happy still that we put in a two-a-day, because honestly if yesterday afternoon happened this morning, yikes. Silver lining? I’ll call it the quartz lining.

Ugandans have this practice of relaxing while working. At first, we didn’t understand it. Chris, the lead engineer on our site explained to us, that –we shall go. We shall rest our minds and come back tomorrow renewed.

And it was so.

We broke down the site and there was a nervous energy about the engineering boys and trainees with us. Then I understood.

The boys stay in a small concrete house directly next to our site for the time being. Their apprehension was rooted in the possibility that they would have to sleep in shifts to stand guard of the well. In particular, to ensure no one cut and stole the rope.

The rope is attached to the stuck auger, and if someone were to cut it and take it, we would literally be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The team was already exhausted. Our discouragement levels rose thinking about being exhausted and have our materials stolen. But, we were determined. Creativity soared.

We ran a wire through the pole that the auger bit is attached to, removed the rope from the pulley, and then wrapped wire around the rope. We stuck the rope in the hole and stacked rock on top of it.

Exhibit C:

## Rock Shall Fracture

My favorite part of the day is driving too and from our work site. Everyone acknowledges each other here, no matter how little or how well off they may be. I particularly enjoy the short cut Chris takes us on – a little side road, not even wide enough for a vehicle and a bike – that passes the quarry.

Mainly women, a few young boys and girls all take on their piles of stone, their hand made teepees made from a few pieces of scrap tree pieces and mosquito netting to produce any sort of shade.

They chip away manually with a pic and hammer, no shoes, no goggles or eye protection, and a large smile on their face. Every morning we pass, and every morning we wave to each other, their faces light up and they are happy with gratitude and presence. It is amazing.

Such a tedious and dangerous and uncomfortable process – and yet, their smiles are consistent. They have purpose.

Although we learned another few feet of dirt fell on top of our bit over night, the win for this morning was two fold: 1) our rope was not stolen and 2) all eight engineers and trainees from all three well sites were at our site working with every ounce they could muster.

They attempted to work with the stuck auger bit, but to no prevail.

After much deliberation, we have a new plan. We will dig a diameter of six feet (36 inches from center of the hole with a pickaxe and a shovel). The good news is, our bit will eventually be unstuck. We are rotating along all team members and have 17.5 feet to go.

The irony is as we dig with pickaxe and shovel all of our work from the original hole is now covered. Three days worth of work, covered in less than twenty minutes.

We will preserver.

Exhibit D:

## Solace in Circumstance

Current mission: step 1) manually dig an 18 foot deep by six foot wide hole, unstick auger bit; step 2) fix materials, continue to drill with auger bit to drill to about 30 feet, pray we hit water; step 3) hit water, bail water, dig another 10-15 feet; step 4) pipe the well, put all the dirt we dug out back in, engineering check; step 5) lay concrete, secure pump infrastructure and seal the well; step 6) commission well.

We have three days to complete this process.

Five minutes into step one noted above, our pickaxe breaks and we are down to one shovel with a short handle – maybe two feet tall.

End Scene.

Ryan, one of our team members on Muddy Buddies, pointed out a great lesson: regardless if we ‘finish’ the wells in the timeframe we are in country, the wells will be built. They will be finished. People will receive clean water – some for the first time in their life.

Broken pickaxe or not, we found solace in knowing that one chip at a time, one turn at a time, one shovel at a time, water will eventually come.

## An ax, a shovel, a miracle

We proceeded forward with one pic at about 40% of its ability to be effective, but we pursued on. I look around and see community members gathering, thanking the team for being here. I see gentlemen working up the street come to our site for fifteen minutes on their lunch break (also a labor job) to contribute anything they could. We are happy. Together, we are grateful and humbled.

I see everyone’s faces light up, could it be so? I turn over my shoulder to see Sue, the fearless leader who brought Mission 4 Water to life, walking up to our site with new digging and picking equipment for us!

This is not as simple as it would be in the states. It’s not a run to home depot and call it a day. This was a miracle and a victory!

## How do you fight?

All our effort to release our auger bit the day prior, was executed fighting against the Earth. Every turn, every innovation was rooted against a creative struggle. No matter what the elements were showing us and attempting to tell us, we believed we ourselves could overcome the barrier by fighting back.

Sometimes, with the right armor and the right fight, a prevailing nature – overcomer of any obstacle – is appropriate.

In this instance, it was preventing us from achieving our end goal.

We believe that everything happens in God’s time and not ours – and yet, here we were, determined, relentless, fighters. And we were proud.

It wasn’t until we let go of our plan and worked with the elements that progress would continue.

And so it is with our relationship with God.

There are many times, just like our original creation of counter balance, that we find ourselves stuck in the figurative rock and a hard place. We go at it alone. We fight against all odds and we are proud.

No matter how broken our spirits become, how broken our bodies, our mental state become, we bury it. Literally. We try and prevail. At some point, we don’t understand what is “off,” everything seems to be functioning relatively well – and yet.

Do you have an auger bit stuck in the bottom pits of your body, mind or spirit?

Are you fighting against it?

I challenge you to recognize these seemingly tiny things we bury, and acknowledge that burying our experiences actually inhibits us from achieving our highest purpose.

The buried auger bit, when leveraged effectively will help us build.

As human beings, acknowledgement of our deep stuck bits we would prefer to stay buried only inhibits us from building our purpose.

Leverage them. They will propel you forward with focused, deliberate effort.

It is in this place, that we use ourselves as an example to serve others and achieve the best versions of our self, as we move forward. We evolve, we learn, we are challenged, humbled and grow.

I have come up with a new definition for counter balance while in Uganda.

Counter is to Perseverance as Balance is to Gratitude

It came to me after our well troubles as well as engaging with members of the community. Some that are decently well and some that are suffering immense poverty.

Through it all, two qualities pour out of the people here.

Perseverance through all cards dealt, all rocks thrown in their path.

Gratitude, for every experience big and small, pours out of every smile, Acknowledgment and wave.

We have experienced first hand and hearing stories first hand that intentional movement with your circumstance (perseverance) will provide a peaceful strength to remind us that appreciation for the process sustains us as a people (balance).

Now knowing gratitude fuels perseverance, can we approach any burrier in our paths with an attitude of counter balance? How might me work with the elements, with the people in our lives, with God, rather than act alone and against?

Obugumisiliza fuels okwebaza. This is the Ugandan way.

Just as the thorn protects the rose, gratitude protects and fuels our perseverance. This moves us forward with noble righteousness, love and truth.

Day 6: The Rose between the Thorns