Ultimately, our mission is to build relationships with the Ugandan people.
When preparing for and going on short-term mission trips, it is important to have a long-term perspective. It is silly to think that I am going to Africa to bring Jesus or that I will change the world of the people that I meet. Instead, I believe that I am taking part of the work that God is already doing in Uganda. There are already people, churches and movements happening. There are dedicated Christians and full-blown ministries that are reaching out to the poor and needy of Uganda. The only new thing I am bringing is my American culture and my white skin.
With that said, our team does hope to bring some skills and training that might not be available to our friends there. This year, we are bringing along Moses, who is a Ugandan that now studies agriculture at UC Davis. We met him last year (as he is a friend of our resident Ugandans) on our adventures while he was doing research in some of the areas that we visited. He will be on our team, providing some agricultural workshops for the local people. Additionally, my girl Jenny and another new team member Cindie will be facilitating a chicken project that will include education, vaccination and maybe some chicken coop building! Due to their work with chickens, these two have received a 4,000 grant and FREE airfare, which is part of the reason I was able to go this year! Additionally, Uncle Greg, our team leader again this year, will be continuing his positive parenting discussions. Last summer, he started training some of the elders and pastors about the "Family Hui," a creation of his nonprofit that focuses on bringing together families into a larger community. He hopes to continue this training and spread the information to more people this year.
I am the only one on our team that does not have a specific...purpose. My only role is to bring the love and joy and excitement that God has abundantly blessed me with. As an inherent achiever, I anticipate this might be difficult for me. I love being productive and completing tasks and having a tangible thing to leave behind. With that said, I know I want it to be more about the people and less about the product. I believe that is more in line with God's heart, anyway.
One great thing about returning this summer is that it shows the all the people I met last year that I was serious when I said that I would be back. It is sometimes hard for me to accept the fact that simply my presence is a blessing to people, especially those in other countries. I mean, think about it- wouldn't you feel privileged if people traveled across the globe just to meet you?? The idea that I would give up my time, money, and comfort to get to know them blesses them. And the fact that I would do it again solidifies the fact that I am committed to them and our relationship.
Thanks for coming along side me as I prepare my heart and mind for another African adventure. I love being a part of what God is doing here in Davis and across the globe in Uganda!
You are loved.