It’s taken me this long to blog about Uganda because I’ve had no idea where to start… I still don’t!
So I thought I’d copy a few extracts from my journal (I’ll spare you from the whole thing) and post some pictures:
8th October – Sligo-Dublin flight
Sligo is breathtaking this morning. The sunrise was beautiful as the mist hung around the mountains outside the house. Strandhill is in full-glory as I look out of the aeroplane; beautiful clear sky and thunderous waves crashing against the shore. The mountains are stunning – they always are!
I always feel sad leaving Sligo, no matter where I am going or how long for and today is no different. I’m looking forward to an adventure but I’m reminded as I smile at the beauty of God’s creation, that the life He has given me in Ireland is an adventure in itself!
9th October – Brussels-Entebbe flight
The strangest thing happened last night. In the middle of the night, in the hotel room in Brussels, I woke up, eyes wide, aware that there was a person in the room with me. I didn’t see him but it was unmistakeable. For a split second I felt fear and then I knew who it was. It was God, in the person of Jesus. I remember saying questioningly “Lord?” and then I felt incredible peace and slept deeper than I have done in weeks.
11th October – Lake Mbruro National Park
What an imaginative Creator you are Lord! In the last 24hrs I’ve seen and heard so many different types of animals and birds. All of them have stunned me in their intricate beauty; none more than the Zebra. What an amazing creature they are to look at! The white is so pure and the black, so true and the incredible fact that every single one is unique in its markings. To me that disproves evolution. How could there not be a Creator God?! And on top of this, even more amazing is the fact that you are so big, so free, so creative and yet your heart desires us. Lord you are truly wonderful!
12th October – Mbarara
Isaiah 26:3 “You Lord give true peace to those who depend on you because they trust you.”
13th October – Mbarara
Yesterday was awesome! Gary & Patsy spoke in church in the morning and were great! We were there for four hours but I’d have happily stayed all day.
In the afternoon we visited the home for street boys (and two girls). It was a challenge to hold it together. I spent the whole time gulping back both tears of sadness and joy. Such beautiful kids! They were taught to play instruments while living in the home and they played music and danced for us. Pastor Willy explained the situation of the children there and his plans to build another facility nearby. He also explained that he himself lived on the streets as a child.
Geo, Eric and I did the youth service in the evening. It went really well and we had great opportunity to pray with the young people. Some tiny children latched onto us at the end. They were so sweet and the one who insisted on holding my hand played at tickling me and dancing with me. Precious!
14th October – Kiriima
What a privilege it is to serve you Lord! Kiriima means ‘Utter Darkness’. It is the name of the village we are working in. What a sad name for a place. But the light of Jesus is beginning to burn here. Many gave their lives to Him last night and we laid hands on many, many people for healing.
This morning we taught in the church and again prayed for healing. There was a man lying on a mattress. His legs were paralysed from the knees down. He received feeling in his legs but was still unable to stand. Gary told him as we left that he would receive complete healing by the time we go. I so want to see that!
17th October – Kiriima
So I got hit physically. Man I was sick the day before yesterday! And so upset over it because I missed so much. What a waste of time! Patsy was so great at describing all that had happened though that I felt like I had been there.
Yesterday I managed to get up to the church but sat in the doorway for air. I felt awful but it was so great to be back with the Ugandans and with the team. As I was sitting there listening to the team teach, the children kept coming up and standing by my chair, either waving and smiling or shaking my hand and giggling. One boy was particularly shy. He would smile but nothing else. But he kept coming back. Eventually he put two fingers on the arm of my chair and gently scratched it. I did the same. Then I put one finger down across half the arm of the chair and he did the same so the tips of our fingers were touching. He absolutely beamed! We grinned at each other for a few moments and then he ran off.
Geo did the exhortation last night. He made a crown of thorns to use as a visual aid. The thorns here are huge! He came and sat down with it in the afternoon and said something like “That was one sick man who made the one for Jesus. My hands are shredded!” We were all quiet for a moment as we contemplated the thought. It moved me deeply when once again I thought of how Jesus died for that man too.
When we went to bed last night the Ugandan team were worshipping. What a great sound to fall asleep to! These guys don’t stop! They are constantly serving us and when they are not, they are praying and worshipping. What an example!
This morning between our teachings, Gary asked people to come up and testify to what God has done this week. There were many incredible stories! The pastor of the church here in the village got up and told us of lots of things God has done but the thing that moved me the most was how he told of his father, who was a witch doctor. He used to carry his father’s bag as a child. When he gave his life to God as a child, his family wanted to kill him. His father tried to throw a spear at him and his sisters used to get together to plot his death. His sisters are now Christians and while we have been here teaching and speaking at the crusades, his father has been saved too!
We prayed for many, many people, including the man on the mattress. He was now sitting up, which he hadn’t done for years. We laid hands on him and pleaded for the completion of his healing. I watched as his paralysed toes began to twitch. He didn’t stand while we were there but I am convinced that it wont be long! During that time pain killers were trodden into the ground, walking sticks were discarded, demons were cast out of people and many were set free from various ailments. How I love seeing my God at work!
Back in Mbarara and praising God for cold fizzy drink!
Last night I gave my testimony at the crusade. I wasn’t too keen on the idea, I hate talking about my past but as soon as I got up there I could feel God speaking through me. He’s so good at taking us weak little people and using us to reach those he loves. I’ve been blown away at the amount of times this week God has put on my heart to speak about something, only to find that one of the other team members, and on one occasion 3 team members, had felt to speak on the same thing. Even more amazing is that each brought a different slant on it. Anyway, last night I did the testimony, Eric did a great exhortation and Gary preached like there was no tomorrow! Many more gave their lives to God. And it looked as though, when Gary asked for anyone who had been saved this week to raise their hands, it looked like everyone there (apart from the team) raised their hand. There were hundreds of people. We invited the Holy Spirit and He came and we danced and sang and smiled and laughed together. It was a great night!
When we got back to the camp site, a HUGE fire had been lit for us. We chatted for a bit and watched the amazing stars including shooters and the most amazing moonrise. People drifted to bed and the Ugandans began to sing worship. It was beautiful but eventually I couldn’t stay awake. I went to my tent and again fell asleep to their worshipping. “Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to thee. How great thou art how great thou art!”
Today we broke camp and left Kiriima. We went to Bugango and took with us over 60 new believers, in the back of a truck, where the men baptised them. Among them was the father of the pastor. What a privilege to see!
I made friends with a little boy called Johnson and was soon surrounded by kids. We spent about an hour chatting and playing with them. Such precious little children.
So that’s some of my journal. On the last night in Kiriima, when I gave testimony of how God has worked in my life, I told the people of that village how sad I was at the beginning of the week, to hear what Kiriima means. I then said that after this week, I would always remember Kiriima as a place of great light because the Light of the World has come and Kiriima has accepted him. The people cheered and clapped. What an incredible turn around! Seosamh commented that this is what true revival is!
Ok so there’s sooooo much more I could say about my experiences in Uganda but I’m gonna stop here except to say what a privilege to work with Gary, Patsy, Nigel, Mike, Seosamh, Eric, Geo and Dan. What a privilege to see how God honours lives of people who truly give their all for him; people like those above and like Pastor Willy and the Ugandans who served us while we were with them.
Uganda is beautiful… The red soil, the green trees, the bluest sky I’ve ever seen, the wildlife and most beautiful of all the people. I know for sure, because of them and once again because of God, I’ll never be the same.
(Guys on the team, it’d be great if you commented on your take on the trip. I know it’d move the people who read this blog.)