Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to the Land I Love -Uganda

A month has passed since I returned from Uganda, and this week I am returning to school.  I don’t know where the summer went!  I posted on Facebook that my only regret was that I didn’t make any potato salad this summer –something I put right today!  I am also somewhat regretful that I haven’t yet written a single blog post about Uganda, but life has been too busy since returning.  Most of my time has been spent with grandchildren, and just this week we were blessed with yet another new granddaughter—Abigail Grace, born to Travis and Kristen.  Isn't she beautiful?

Now, where and how do I begin to tell you about our trip to Uganda?  We made so many plans and preparations and received many donations from people who wanted to be part of this ministry.  The final weeks leading up to the trip were a flurry of ordering, collecting, assembling, organizing, and packing materials.  When all was said and done the four of us from Iowa had 14 -50 lb. suitcases!

We packed with an overwhelming awareness of the many hands that shopped, sewed, cut, laminated, hole punched, glued, assembled, donated, prayed, and sacrificially gave of themselves in countless ways.  It made our small army of four so much mightier, knowing we were far from alone in this endeavor.  Here are just a few of them:

We got to leave from our own Cedar Rapids airport this year and were completely caught off-guard when we were met at the airport by a group of about 30 friends who came to see us off.  We must have been quite a spectacle with our entourage, mounds of luggage, and tears of joy and blessing running down our cheeks (well, my cheeks, anyway)!  It was so special to have our friends surround us, and for our brother, Aaron Green, who has traveled to Uganda with us the past two years, pray over us.

We flew to Chicago where we had a 4 hour wait, then on to London.  When we arrived in London 8 hours later it was Fathers’ Day morning, and since we had an 11 hour layover we decided to go out and see the city.  Just leaving Heathrow Airport was quite an ordeal, but we managed to get downtown and board an open top double decker bus for a tour.  We rode the tubes (the Underground) back to the airport.  All in all it was far better than spending the entire day in the airport!

We finally returned to the airport and caught up with the four Californians on our team –now we were just missing our director of Heart of God East Africa, Denise, who was awaiting us in Uganda.

It was night time in London when we finally boarded our flight for Uganda.  Another 9 hours, and we arrived in Entebbe, being greeted by Denise, Saphan, and some of his friends.

If you’re tracking with me you will realize that we have now been up a day, a night, a day, and a night.  It’s morning again, and we now board a bus so we can travel 6-8 hours to Mbale in Eastern Uganda, our first destination.

Yes, the Sunrise, our first Hotel, was a welcome sight!  By now all we wanted was to crawl into bed and sleep.  But no!  Our first teacher conference was to begin the next morning, so we had to dig through 7 or 8 suitcases and organize everything we needed for the first day.  Then, of course, we had to eat, shower, contact loved ones, etc... I have tried and failed to accurately add up the hours between rising from sleep on June 16th and going to bed sometime early morning June 19th.  I do know that eight hours were lost somewhere along the way.  Suffice it to say, however, that it was a very long time!

One thing is certain -God was with us through every flight, every bus ride, every step of the way.  He was and would continue to be our strength even when, ESPECIALLY when, our strength was gone.

Next:  Let the First Teacher Conference Begin!