A mission trip is one of those experiences that change who you are and the perspective that you have on the things of this life. I can say with certainty that it has done that for each of us from The Bridge Church and 3 other Bozeman area churches that were called to minister in Uganda. We may go out into this world with intentions of helping, encouraging, and leading others to Christ, but we are also blessed and encouraged in our walk with Christ as well.
We stayed at a beautiful lodge intended for mission groups who wish to reach into the local community. It offers a central location in which to meet, plan as a group, and then head out to interact with the community. Even if it is hard to get over the fact that you are staying right next to the Nile River and that all of your basic needs are met, and then some, it is comforting to know that the proceeds of this facility are supplying income to local individuals, the spreading of God’s word, education for children, and a home for orphaned children.
From this location, we were able to help with several projects sponsored by Reach Youth Global. Mashah village is an orphanage community that is just 5 minutes walking distance from where we were staying. I would like to say that we visited Mashah only to make a tangible difference, but there was lots of laughing, running, jumping, and pictures being taken. I can confidently say that God was at work in bringing hope and joy to these children and the workers. It was easy to see that this project was improving the lives of children and bringing them up into a Godly way of living. Not far from the village was a school where these children, as well as others from the surrounding community, were being taught. As a group, we were able to help improve the facility by helping with painting that needed to be done and by completing a wall in one of the classrooms. Although our work may not be to the standards that we are used to here, it was truly amazing to see how God uses the resources available for the furthering of His kingdom.
While most of us were helping at the school, a couple members of the group were able to help with another very critical need of the community. The nurse from our group, as well as another young lady, were blessed to help out at a local clinic. Even though the resources may have been limited, I know that a great difference was made in providing some basic needs to those who were sick within the community.
We were also able to help with another amazing ministry in Wakisi. We took basic living supplies to local residents in need. I know that God was glorified in the abundant resources that were able to distribute and the heartwarming gratitude of those receiving them. It was such a blessing to interact, pray, worship, teach, and minister with the people of this community.
A short drive away, through rather chaotic traffic, we were able to see God’s hand at work in the city of Jinja. We were given the opportunity to minister to patients within the hospital through prayer, fellowship, and providing basic supplies. It was heartbreaking to see the condition of the facilities. I was certainly reminded that we take for granted what we have here, but we are truly blessed in this country. Nevertheless, I know that we brought hope to those who needed it. To look into the eyes of someone who has lost hope and to know that we were the reflection of Christ and His love toward people, was a humbling experience.
Although many Ugandan people may not have an abundance of material possessions, it was very clear that God has given them great faith. This was evident in the church services that we were able to attend. Several of the group members were able to share sermons through interpreters, while the rest of us were blessed to sit back and see the glory of God being lifted up to Him. It was an emotional and Spirit filled experience that will not be forgotten by any of us. Right now, on the other side of the world, there are people lifting up and praising the one and only true God, and that should be encouraging to all of us.
Outside of Uganda, in neighboring Kenya, the co-founders of Reach Youth Global took the time to show us projects that were taking place there. We were able to visit the Kubamba radio studio, where they are spreading the good news of Christ through various types of music. It was incredible to think about the fact that gospel music is so eagerly sought after in Kenya. It was a stark contrast to the culture that we as a nation have been promoting. While in Kenya, we also visited an educational project in the Kibera slums of Nairobi. The living conditions there, if they can be called that, are truly heartbreaking. It would be nearly impossible to help everyone that was living there, but there was hope in that God has people working to bring education and a chance for a better life for at least a few. The foundation that they are given in Christ can only grow and I know many of them will return to help their families and neighbors.
Although I cannot relate all of the experiences from this trip, each and every one of us had experiences that will change the course of our lives. I would encourage every person reading this to listen to the Lord when He calls, for God wants to bless others through you, and I assure you, He wants to bless you through others.