The account of my sojourn in Uganda might well be entitled “An African Adventure for the (Far) Less Adventurous“! I have so enjoyed experiencing the faces and places of Uganda from afar through the eyes of Steve as he has worked and ministered, traveling there over the last four years. This year, in October, those images became reality as I made my first trip to Africa.
We traveled with good friends from Memphis Matt and Suzanne Wukasch and Chuck Walker, and joined Oleg Maksimchuk and Oleg Nikolaenko from Word of Life Church in Philadelphia to tour and fellowship with the staff, friends and supporters of World Shine in Kampala and Rwentobo, as well as fellow believers in Jinja. Everywhere we were greeted with hearty welcomes (“What took you so long?!”), warmth and genuine hospitality. What a delight to actually see and touch dear friends I’ve known only through pictures or occasional Skype calls, and to visit Medad and Connie’s home and meet their family. I was struck by the beauty of the people, inside and out, and by their honest, practical faith in the face of great difficulty.
Visiting the school in Rwentobo was a long-anticipated highlight of the trip and a delight. Those faces! “Babies” to adolescents, some bold and affectionate, grabbing my hands and rubbing them, others shy and reticent, peering from a distance, all curious, all beautiful–they captured my heart. The faculty and staff are beautiful as well, hardworking, dedicated, and working wonders with limited resources…powered by the love of Christ. Another highlight for me was visiting and worshiping with the young men and women of World Shine’s Vadieshkol fellowship. Wow! To know them is to love them.
I returned home with images and experiences tucked away to treasure–a new connection to the ministry as Steve makes his frequent returns to continue the work. You might want to pray and consider tagging along with him on one of those future trips (even if you, like I, weren’t born with a heart yearning for adventure!). It was a joy!