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)

 

 

Day 15: Reflecting on Uganda

Final Checklist Preparations

I love a good checklist.
A checklist for preparing and packing for Uganda.
A checklist for work activities.
A checklist for wedding planning.
A checklist for the grocery store or weekend tasks.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” rings true in a culture that demands each of us to be efficient multi-taskers. Plus as an ENTJ, my love of checklists and crossing items off my checklists is inherent to every part of my being. (Did I mention that my “J” score is really high?) The first time I went on a mission trip back in 2010, I prepared the only way I knew how, I took vigorous notes at team meetings and following the packing list completely—even adding some of my own items that I thought I needed. My checklist was my security blanket. When I moved overseas more than 2 years ago, I made checklists months in advance. I visualized and strategically planned out what items I needed in my luggage, what items could be in a shipment, and how much I needed of each item until I could order them on Amazon.

People have asked me how my trip preparation is going. Asked if I feel stressed or overwhelmed. My answer is the same, I’m good. I feel no real stress. While, some stress has snuck in, it’s been more so related to wedding planning and not Uganda preparation, like what does a capital G and Q look like in cursive. Luckily, my workload at work has slowed down to manageable level—otherwise my answer may not be the same. Although it probably would. I have been on multiple mission trips and traveled to a lot of places overseas. I have never been to Africa, so I know that it will bring its own challenges, but responding to unknowns while traveling has almost become a known to me. I feel confident in my ability to prepare, and I have full confidence that God will show up and show off because that is who He is and what He does.

But as I was packing yesterday and finishing addressing my wedding invitations, I still felt no nervousness, no real stress—except for those stupid cursive letters I don’t use regularly. However, something hit me today as I was finishing items on my checklist, God told me to stop and to pause because He had a message for me. I realized that my Uganda trip had become a “checklist item” on my wedding planning checklist. While Uganda preparation had its own checklist, it had somehow found its way on to a different checklist. My wedding list centered on things to do before and after Uganda. Uganda had also somehow made it on to my travel checklist—my first country in Africa and my international travel for 2017. My confidence in my ability to prepare for a trip and my trust in God almost acted as blinders to what God was doing and showing to me right now. I’ve been working for the last few years on relinquishing control to God, and in a lot ways I have made progress. And, that amazing trust in God to do His works is a direct bi-product of that. But, God is always pushing us to learn new things about His nature.

I had lost sight of preparing my heart and my Spirit to serve. I had lost sight of the true goal of a mission—to learn more about the things that break God’s heart and how our heart should be breaking for the same things. The people getting access to clean water were just numbers to me. Just an item on my “to do” list that in my mind read “Dig three wells. Help 100s of people. Check.” Each of those people are worth more than a number on my checklist. They are people loved by God, and I should feel completely honored to get to know them, even if I never physically meet them. I still have a few items to check off my list, but my focus is now on preparing my heart and my Spirit and not on successfully completing that checklist. Focused on each individual who God will bless through these clean water wells.

Yes, God can still move through checklists, but God loves to move in the stillness. We just have to make sure we put our pens down, find stillness, and then listen.

~Ami

Final Checklist Preparations

Uganda Preparation and The Team

Missing one team member!

We are a mere three weeks away from leaving for Uganda to dig three clean water wells for 16 days!

Before each person joined our team, we prepared them for how much would be involved in getting ready for our mission in Uganda. Often joking about “owning” their life for the first 7 months of 2017 (haha but really)!..

  • We have had meetings all year,
  • We have read and given reports on a collected book list,
  • We have been intentional in creating space for people to invest in what we are doing.
  • We have been creative in our fundraising and storytelling.
  • We have been getting shots and visas,
  • Attempting to teach our bodies to drink the appropriate amount of water each day,
  • And of course, preparing our minds and hearts for what is to come.

As the leaders, our goal is to prepare without over educating, so, we have shared movies, articles, and passed on stories and information via friends from Uganda to help everyone get an accurate picture of what is to come.

We do not want to go to Uganda feeling like the work we put into our three wells has saved the country in our short time there. Instead, our goal is to be three little drops in the bucket of support that works to lift up the people of Uganda a bit more.

We are a unique and diverse group of people, men and women, different ages and ethnicities, spanning feelers and thinkers, extroverts and introverts (and somewhere in between). We are believers, followers, and lovers of Jesus of varying lengths. I am not sure there is a more diverse group of people to have gone on mission together before (ok maybe slight exaggeration!)

 

Everyone on our team has stepped out and purposefully sought after unique things in the preparation for this year, it has been so fun to watch everyone’s journey and faith change!

Missing our third leader Sally.

As the leaders of this mission team, we have set up expectations to help our team push themselves beyond what is even listed above. Everyone will take a turn leading a team devotional, they will get the chance to share their story with everyone, as well as write a blog post while we are in Uganda so that the myriad of viewpoints will be captured for you to follow along!.. And that isn’t even counting their official team roles! (First Aid, Prayer, Encouragement etc..etc..)

What can you do to support us?

Pray for all 15 of our team members, all 6 Ugandan drillers, and Sue and Sunday:

  1. We need to hit water three times!
  2. Health is always something to be taken seriously in prayer while in another country!
  3. That we each are able to create space to be fully present mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to experience what God has for us.
  4. Pray for our friends, family, and housemates that remain behind carrying on normal life while we are gone.
  5. For the communities that these clean water wells are going into, that it would be a blessing, but also a community building and rallying force for them!
  6. That the clean water would save lives, and create space for girls to go to school.

At this point ALL the money that is donated will be given to Mission4Water to continue to dig clean water wells long after we leave on July 21st!

Every year I am blown away by how quickly time goes. I always think I am prepared, but somewhere between “it’s so far away” and every day life, the trip sneaks up on me and then suddenly is right around the corner!

If you want more information about what we are doing, read this post, but also peruse through our blog or search #ugandaexcited on Facebook and Instagram!

Blessings,
~Krista (and the leadership trio)

Uganda Preparation and The Team

Learning More About Uganda and Missions

If you are interested in learning more about the country and region, or just interesting things we have collected along the way; below is a bunch of books, articles, documentaries, and videos that will help to give you a greater understanding of Uganda, as well as Africa, and missions in general.

Books recommended to us:

  1. The Teeth May Smile But the Heart Does Not Forget – This is an interesting perspective on the Yoweri Museveni, the current president of Uganda who has “won” elections for the last 30 years.
  2. Wizard of the Nile – Perspective on Joseph Kony and his rise to power and some of the political turmoil which drove him to what he did
  3. Kisses From Katie – A feel good story of a pretty incredible girl who started an organization in Jinja, Uganda
  4. Girl Soldier – Story of a child living in Northern Uganda during the LRA’s reign of terror
  5. Having People, Having Heart: Charity, Sustainable Development, and Problems of Dependence in Central Uganda – The title nails it
  6. Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most – Founder of Compassion International one of the most influential child sponsorship programs in the world
  7. Just a Minute: In the Heart of a Child, One Moment, Can Last Forever – Another book by Compassion International founder
  8. When Helping Hurts – Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor.
  9. African Friends and Money Matters– A look into some of the cultural behaviors and practices that we just might not ever understand/accept/rationalize and things to expect regarding money and gifts. Our team is encouraged to read this book.
  10. Aboke Girls – The kidnapping of 139 secondary school female students from a boarding school by rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in 1996.
  11. War Brothers – Based on true events about the capture of Ugandan schoolchildren forced to serve as child soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
  12. First Kill Your Family Told by those who suffered. This illuminating expose examines a forgotten region of one of Africa’s most promising nations—Uganda.
  13. Developing Uganda 

We also have recommended these movies:

War Dance – (Was on Netflix at one point)

Queen of Katwe – (Is on Netflix)

Remand Documentary

Articles and videos worth checking out:

Water throughout the world

This is linked to Congolese refugees a friend works with in Uganda.

Who are we partnering with in Uganda?

Mission4Water 

Lead by Sue (and Engineer Sunday)

#Ugandaexcited

Learning More About Uganda and Missions

Three for our Third Time in Uganda

DSC_0775

Three clean water wells for our third time in Uganda!

We are kicking off preparations for our third trip to Uganda!

As preparations begin, we are meeting with people to give more information, sending lots of e-mails answering questions, and plans are flying! After all, social media posts, sponsorship letters, and fundraising for our 2017 Uganda Mission team is already underway!

Why Uganda?

Clean water, that’s why.

DSC_0495

The average Ugandan walks 6k a day for water that isn’t even clean.

The bulk of the responsibility goes to young children or girls, and the watering holes are typically unsafe and/or unclean. Contaminated water can cause a wide variety of illnesses, many of which are easily treatable. But, some of which if they go untreated can cause death. However, because many in Uganda cannot afford the medication, let alone the hospital bill, the contaminated water can pose a real threat. Learn more about water illnesses here.

  • Each clean water well that Mission4Water digs serves on average 350 people.
  • Each well costs around $4,000.
  • Each well costs about $12 PER PERSON it serves to provide clean, safe drinking water for the rest of their life!

However, since this year we will be in the Entebbe region (just outside of Kampala), there’s a good chance the wells will service a larger population. – Making the per person cost much lower, but the overall cost about the same.

What Are the Trip Details?

For our third year (in a row), we are sending a group of 15 people to Uganda for two weeks in July to partner with Mission4Water.org to dig THREE clean water wells!

img_7199

 

In previous years we have dug two at a time and left additional money for them to dig wells after we are gone! But, this year, we have been able to work out the logistics to add a third clean water well while we are there!

Our goal is to raise enough funds to dig three wells, and provide them the money for an additional two after we leave!

Why are we stoked? Because after the completion of this year’s trip, this particular mission will have helped Mission4 Water dig 15 clean water wells!.. EACH serving around 350 people, meaning over 5,200 people will have clean water in Uganda after the 2017 trip! A drop in the bucket begins to add up!

As the leaders, we are SO excited to be returning to Sue, Sunday, and “the Boys” (the six full-time drillers) that we can hardly stand it! As a team, we have six people returning from last year’s trip, and are stoked to add an additional nine people to the team! Making this trip a fun generational experience since each year has had people from the previous trips.

This year we will be splitting into three groups during the workday hours to hand auger (drill), dig, prepare PVC piping and filters, lay cement, and pump in order to get three working clean water wells!

The entire process takes anywhere from 7-10 days depending on how deep the holes need to be dug, which depends on the time of year (rainy or dry season), and of course the type of ground we are digging through. – Last year one of the teams could not get past a couple feet of sandstone, ultimately having to abandon the hole and start over!

After the wells are finished and commissioned, the team will head up to Murchison Falls for two days of rest, a safari, and debriefing before returning to the US.

The 411 on Money

You can donate directly here.

Each person that goes on the trip will need to raise funds to cover their expenses during the two week trip which will be $2,950.

As a team, the additional $4,000 per well is not included in the per-person cost of the trip. – So, ultimately we dig as many wells as we have funds to cover.

Last year, with the help and support of local organizations, companies, restaurants, individuals (friends, family, and strangers), a ton of legwork on the part of our team, and the Fairfax JDC doing a learning project and fundraising event, we raised $43,125, significantly over our goal! With this money we were able to send 10 individuals, dig two wells, and send money for additional wells! Miraculously we were able to raise literally THOUSANDS of dollars to change the lives of people on the other side of the world for the rest of their lives.

We are stoked to see how 2017 turns out! We believe that this year will be reflective of the excitement building within the people joining the team, and we have no doubts that this year we will continue to increase the support that we received last year!

  1. We will have our third annual Race for H2Ope 6k Run/Walk in May. – Previously raising $10-15k each year!
  2. We will have another silent auction and house party! – Providing community, laughter, goodies, and of course an amazing support base for our team!
  3. We are a creative bunch, so numerous additional fun events will be planned and coming!

Be sure to keep a lookout for ways to join our community of supporters, meet new people, learn more about Uganda, and of course support an amazing organization with Mission4Water!

Join us on this journey!

Come to our events, follow this blog and our updates on social media, pray for the team, and please consider supporting us financially! Together, we can each be a drop (or two) in the bucket to make a tangible difference in the lives of hundreds upon hundreds of people in 2017!

Three for our Third Time in Uganda

Uganda we miss you…

Disclaimer: This blog post was written by Joe our last day in Uganda, but the delay in posting was due to travels!

Today is our final day here in Uganda.

DSC_0775

The wells were completed and fresh water flowed. Both communities had ceremonies with local, tribal, and government officials present.

Cutting the ribbon on #TeamAmy`s well
Cutting the ribbon on #TeamAmy`s well
Getting presented with our well certificate!
Getting presented with our  clean water well certificate!

Now my thoughts are slowing turning to the life I left behind for two weeks. Here in Uganda, the pace of life is much slower, everything runs on Africa Time meaning, nothing is urgent. I now see where CP TIME (Colored People Time) originally started from. LOL….

Here in Uganda, you hear birds chirping, you see wild animals walking across your hotel lawn, knowing that you are there but aren’t afraid of you… At night, you can see the stars light up the Uganda night….. it’s absolutely beautiful.

IMG_2102
There`s a Water Buffalo 30ft away!

Also, here in Uganda, there’s a silence that’s so deafening at times. For a few days, I couldn’t go to sleep because it was simply too quiet. I’m use to hearing police and ambulatory sirens, gun shots, people having loud disagreements, cars on the road, trucks back firing and dogs barking, loud music blaring from someone’s vehicle, and very loud neighbors. Ah! There’s nothing like city living. LOL…..

The flight home from Dubai was delayed about twenty minutes due to wrong luggage being placed on our flight home. But its all good, after our 13 hour flight home we landed safely at Dulles right on schedule.

We went through customs, picked up our luggage and headed towards the exit for our ride home.

We hugged everyone and said our goodbyes… But you could tell within our team that thoughts about our everyday life here in america were slowly creeping back into our thoughts.

Uganda we miss you……

-Joe

Uganda we miss you…

Seven Months to Tomorrow

IMG_1848  IMG_7156

Seven months ago ten people committed to go on a mission trip to build two wells in Uganda. We all chose the trip because we had a desire to leave a tangible thing behind when we left the country. But, at the time the goal was an abstract. Today that abstract goal became a reality.

Over the past week we have worked alongside the drillers of Mission4Water digging down over 20ft with a hand auger into the Ugandan soil, baling dirty water and silt, mixing African concrete (no easy task), cutting PVC pipe with hacksaws, assembling a pump with pipe wrenches, and then lastly pumping and pumping and pumping until water finally ran clear.

Each member of our team took turns pumping water as the metal pipe handles of the well grew cold with the water coming up from beneath the surface of the earth. And with each downward motion water spilled onto the concrete we poured and ran off into the pyrite laden, sweet potato filled, Ugandan soil. The sense of accomplishment in achieving the purpose of our trip filled us each with joy.

Our team is diverse.

We come from different backgrounds, we cover a gamut of ages, and we each have a different story of how God has brought us to this point in our lives. However, we each share the common emotion of experiencing God working through us. God shaped the hands we each have used to construct the two wells that will bring life giving water to the villagers of Rukungiri District, Uganda. God also shaped the hearts that answered the calling to come to a foreign land and express the love of God to a foreign people.

Tomorrow, we will pray God’s blessings over the wells and over the villagers that will use the wells.IMG_7153

Tomorrow, we will witness on the faces of those villagers, the confirmation and fulfillment of God’s purpose and calling that brought each of us here to Uganda.

– Rachel

Seven Months to Tomorrow

Reflections

Uganda, Day 9 

Notes from the field: Morale is high. Food stores are holding out well (the harvest on Sunday was exceptionally abundant). Power and water are intermittent… Progress continues on the wells. Completion is in sight…

IMG_1591
The food we bought at the Church auction!

Onto reflections:

In all seriousness our time in Uganda has been enjoyable. While many people may not see digging wells half way across the globe as a vacation, or as something that would be refreshing, I think that many of us are finding this to be true while we are here. – I think that this is due to 4 distinct factors, all of which are working together to make our time here like no other.

  1. The pace of life here is so different from what we experience in DC. Pretty much the entire time here, we haven’t really felt rushed. While there have been times that it was time to get back so that lunch wouldn’t grow cold, it just doesn’t feel like the end of the world if we get there when we get there. Things here just seem to happen when they happen. For example, there have been nights when dinner wasn’t ready until after 8pm, while other times it was ready at 7pm on the dot. In the States, if we had dinner reservations for a particular time, we would be pretty upset if we had to wait another hour for our food (been there, done that, got the t-shirt), but here in Uganda, it really was not a big deal that it took a bit longer for dinner to be ready. While we have a start to the morning each day (7:30 for group prayer), it is late enough in the morning that we can all get up pretty much when we want to. For myself, it has been an amazing to experience to watch the sunrise on the rooftop each morning. There is something particularly powerful about seeing a sunrise from a high place. It is like seeing God speak in a fresh way for the first time that day.
    Regardless of how we spend each morning, the point is that our mornings generally are not hurried. While I’m certain that this is not the case for some Ugandans, I think that for many, the pace of life is a bit slower. I guess that because even basic things can take longer to do here (household chores, purchasing goods, etc.), it is just a part of life that things go more slowly here.
  2. Along the same lines, life here in Uganda is more flexible. Schedules are subject to change, and they do regularly in ways that normally make Westerners like us uncomfortable. For example, our daily schedule has been pretty dramatically altered on the fly each day for the past 3 days. Church yesterday took significantly longer than anticipated (wrapping up the food auction took a long time!). We ran over so late that we had to reschedule our visit to see a group of Ugandan dancers, and even then, we arrived after they had started. While this may have stressed out our leadership, it hasn’t bothered me in the least. It just seems natural here to go with the flow. I’ve noticed that most Ugandans that we have met are much more comfortable with ambiguity than we are in the West. We often hear phrases like, “On my way, coming” when someone asks them on the phone where they are at. This phrase can mean 3 completely different things, and there are no context clues that give an indication as to which one it is: It can mean that the person has not yet left their home, or it can mean that they are actually on their way to their destination, or it can mean they are somewhere else completely different. The answer is ambiguous, but many of the Ugandans are comfortable with that. Our Engineer, Sunday, often says goodbye by saying “See you when you see me.” Rather than a more explicit good-bye like “See you later”, this phrase exemplifies a comfort with not knowing what the future holds. All these examples point to a flexibility in time, purpose, and planning that is refreshingly alien to my western mindset.
  3. This trip would not be the same if it were not for the amazing group of people that compose this team, composed of Americans and Ugandans. A trip to dig wells in Uganda could honestly be miserable with the wrong mix of people, personalities, or attitudes. But that is definitely not the case here. The people on this team exhibit a multitude of diversities (ethnic, education, family background, Christian walks, outlooks, and spirits) that all somehow compliment one another. I chalk that coincidence up to a) God’s provenance, and b) our unity of spirit. Still, I’m amazed that for each weakness that one member has, another has strength in that same place. Where there is a gap in knowledge for one, another has wisdom and insight into the matter. And where someone needs guidance or an answer to a prayer, someone else has a word that provides the encouragement that they needed. We really are blessed with an amazing team that, 99% of the time, is truly operating as a unit. Ephesians 4:3 says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” I can say with all sincerity that we have been living that out during out time here.
    We talked about it early in the week, but our time on this short term mission trip really is the closest thing we can get to living like the early church did in Acts. (Specifically Acts 2: 42-47). Our modern lives don’t often give us these kinds of opportunities, because how we live day to day is so different now. But in the mission field, we have that chance to live fully in community, living close to one another, gathering together daily to share meals, to share with one another as is needed, to give back to the community, and to bring glory to God. All these would not be possible if we were not on the same page. So just to reiterate, our team here is amazing, and that makes all the difference.
  1. Finally, all of these other factors lead to a greater ability to spend time with God each day. While we all make an effort to do so at home, even the best of us can be hit or miss with our personal time with Jesus. Out here, because the pace of life is different, because life is a bit more flexible, and because we are spurring one another on, we are all likely getting more time with God than we normally would. And it is amazing! I think one thing that is surprising is how much God has to say when you are on a short-term mission trip. But in reality, God is trying to get our attention all the time. Jesus said specifically that He would send the Holy Spirit, and be with us until the end of the age. So we know that He never left us. What is different out here is that we are doing a better job of listening. Through our daily devotionals, through our own personal quiet times, and through the sharing of testimonies with one another, we have all heard God speak to us in ways that are uplifting, life affirming, and encouraging. Getting time with God each day hasn’t meant that each day was perfect. But it has meant that we learned more, were more open to new experiences, and grew more than we otherwise would have. Being in God’s presence each day not only opens your eyes to the problems that others experience here each day, but also (and perhaps more importantly) to the joy that they have despite their circumstances!

For these reasons, I think we can all say that our time in Uganda so far has been refreshing. It doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been challenging, or at times hard work. Rather, what it means is that it has been fulfilling, it has been affirming, and that it has been worth it. Even when one of us is having a sub-par day, I don’t believe anyone regrets their decision to spend their vacation days coming to Uganda to dig a well. Our time here has been an enjoyable adventure, and we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

– Thomas

Reflections

Are You Patient Enough to Wait?

Before I get into my thoughts, just as a bit of an update:

We have and have not hit water!

SSYT3313
Left side #TeamAmy. Right side #TeamKrista.

#TeamAmy hit water on the first day, literally only a few feet into digging!…(what?!) Which inevitably made #TeamKrista full of joy and jealousy! 😉 Haha #TeamKrista spent ALL of day two digging through sandstone and have yet to hit water… but we are prepared and preparing our Mission4Water men for the dance party that WILL happen once we do! #TeamAmy spent all of day two slinging mud and slipping in it!.. We aren’t sure who’s winning the soreness and difficulty factor at the moment.

Ok, now onto some of my thoughts…

When we arrived to Rukungiri on Monday, there was no power, which means the lights were running on a generator, and the water was ushered in via Jerry Cans. – What an interesting welcoming to see and experience first hand how water dictates your life.

Also, as a side learning moment, when the generators are running the power, it is hit or miss if you will have a working outlet… Which then caused us to huddle on Amy’s bed to send updates because between all ten rooms, there was exactly one outlet that worked. Just one.

So, for the first day or so, we had limited power and no running water; which means learning to bucket bathe and shave… Then saving that water to use to flush our toilets… And, because I love sharing all things that keep it real, mostly if it leads to a funny story (Africa style): After two days of traveling, your body is ready for some good toilet time!

When you begin a mission such as this, your goal is centered around water. You prepare for months to understand and provide water; but, let’s be honest here, in America it is actually entirely unfathomable to accurately comprehend how much water dictates everything. EVERYTHING. It is simply something that cannot be understood because water is a subconscious element of life, just like air; we just don’t have to think about it… at all. So, to start out our mission with water problems, and then realizing we are the beneficiaries of someone else filling 20+lb Jerry cans full of water, then heating up the water, and putting ONE for each of us outside our room (ten rooms)… You cannot help but instantly see the missional need play out before you.

After a full day, we had power AND water!

Glorious water running through our pipes!

It was time for a real shower (after you flip the switch and wait 20 minutes to allow the water to heat up somewhat). However, when you shower, you still stand in a plastic basin to catch as much of the water as you can, in order to use it to flush the toilet later should the power go out again. (which it has)

However, they do not have shower curtains, which means there’s a very real danger of slipping and hurting yourself, because of all the water splatter in the bathroom (or in Krista speak: killing yourself for others to find you in your full glory!!!!).

Yet, we seem to be experiencing feast or famine in regards to water (both in life and at our drilling sites!)… Once the power came back on, and we got water, my toilet still would not work.

The hotel staff came to work on it, for hours, literally hours. At one point, I stopped into my room to grab something, and water was everywhere in the bathroom and they were BAILING IT OUT INTO BUCKETS! I couldn’t help but start laughing, which I’m not sure the hotel staff understood although I assured them it was ok… But I mean really, ALL the water everywhere.

They finished up well after dark and just before bed. Yet, when I returned to my room I realized they did not fix it, they had simply turned the water off, to wait to return later. With one liiiittttllleee problem, they had turned off toilet water, which proceeded to leak, one drop at a time… everywhere.

(Thankfully there’s a slope from my room into the bathroom, which prevents it from actually flooding into my room.)

Our team has spent quite a bit of time joking about me canoeing down the hallway in my suitcase wishing them all a good morning!

IMG_6804
The night before attempt to keep the water contained… It was still just a small puddle at this point.

When I woke up this morning, the towel I had rolled up and closed in the doorway was sopping wet, and there was almost an inch of water collected in the bathroom over night.

One drop at a time.

It is now the following day, and they have been working since basically yesterday trying to fix the problem. My toilet has been disassembled, reassembled, parts replaced, etc… But, guess what? – The power is out again.

Guess what you cannot do while the power is out?: Check to see if the toilet is working properly. Haha So, unexpected water adventures… in my bathroom.

However, in Amy’s room, her shower drips… Each drip is collected into a basin in order to flush the toilet later if the power remains out.

IMG_6875
Amy’s washing basin collecting drops from the shower.

A drop in the bucket actually matters.

But, it only matters if you are patient enough to wait.

Can you wait for the water to collect to be useful? – Or are you too impatient to wait for the full bucket?

What if you are one drop in the bucket, but you are too impatient to wait?… There’s very likely someone else collecting your drop, and patiently waiting for the rest of the drops to be collected.

People say, “what good are you doing? It is just a drop in the bucket.”

Let me assure you, now, unlike any other time in my life, I understand how much a drop in the bucket actually matters.

A drop in the bucket can provide life.

A drop of life giving water changes the course of everything… if you are patient enough.

Are you patient enough to wait for drops in the bucket?

Are You Patient Enough to Wait?

Prayers for Uganda

IMG_4422
Our team sans Rachel at our Commissioning!

We leave TOMORROW!

We have all of our shots, our money is in, our bags are (somewhat) packed, our excitement is mounting!!

What are we doing again?

We are partnering with Mission4Water and HAND AUGERING two clean water wells in the Rukungiri area of Uganda, Africa!

How can you pray for us?

  1. Health – But really!… We have 10 people going to do really hard work, with lots of opportunities for things to happen.
  2. Water – We need to hit water TWICE!
  3. Safety -We have 10 people going to do hard work, with lots of opportunities for things to happen. (haha.. This is also a big deal)
  4. Awareness – For many this is their first Mission, please pray that we are aware of God’s presence, and know when to speak, and when to listen.
  5. Fun – Pray that in the midst of it all we have fun!

Teammate Rachel asks:

“That God will ordain a divine appointment, and I will recognize it when He presents it and have the courage to step into it.”

Teammate Jessie asks:

  1. A new season with God. Praying that we each experience God in a new way and God reveals more of himself to each one of us. Praying for God to open our eyes to things we have not seen before. Praying for vulnerability with the team and that we would be able to have an unbreakable bond with one another.
  2. Focus and presence. I pray we would each allow ourselves to rest in him and be present in Uganda and all that he has to show me and the team. That I would not be worried about what will happen when I return or finding a job.
  3. Prayers for how we carry ourselves and interact with the people of Uganda. Praying we lead with love and that we are sensitive to their culture and learn more about their lives. That we would not come with our agenda but Gods agenda and that we would know God has been and will continue to be present in this wonderful country.

Below is a prayer written by our teammate Tia:

Dear God,

Its tomorrow! We’re leaving tomorrow! It has been months of researching, preparing, praying and asking (really begging) for money and now its tomorrow. I am beyond #Ugandaexcited. I am in Uganda disbelief. When I met Krista and Amy months ago in a coffee shop, I could not have pictured this place I am in now or the feelings and emotions stirring within me. Isaiah 6:8 reads: ‘Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”‘  Here we are Lord, send us! God be with us. Walk where we walk. Use us, work through us. Let us be vessels of Your holy presence. Change the atmosphere in Uganda and Lord change us. May we never be the same. Do what only You can do Lord. Let hope flow through us, as fresh water flows through pumps. Thank You for calling us and allowing us to be on Your team Lord, in this mission and in life. It is in the might and matchless name of Jesus I pray.

Amen.

We are #UgandaExcited and #OnMissionEveryDay

Team Uganda,
Amy, Krista, Thomas, Joe, Debbie, Nicholle, Sally, Rachel, Jessie, Tia

If you would still like to donate, you can here!

Prayers for Uganda