In our time of joint bible study Friday morning we looked at how the leper and paralytic are healed, Simon, Andrew, James and John are given new purposes, and Levi is invited to follow Jesus. For them, and for us, it is the process of following Jesus that shapes them into who they are supposed to be. The outcast becomes reintegrated, the immobile become ones who can spread word of Jesus authority, fishermen become agents of healing and restoration, and a traitor becomes a hospitable host. As our team follows Jesus in Uganda this month, we too are being shaped and transformed. Read on to see what Leah, Jessica, Canace and Jake are thinking about!
"In Uganda, 'Mwzungu' is my name. It's what the little kids with dusty feet and big smiles call you incessantly as the van full of 'foreigners' rumbles by. Even if you're Asian, you're still considered white, which is what 'mwzungu' means - although I have had kids run up to me in excitement, thinking I was Chinese (because all Asians are, right?) and that by default I knew kungfoo. It's been a little over a week since we've arrived but it seems like longer, not because we haven't been enjoying ourselves but because we've just done so much in such a short time span. I can proudly say I learned how to poop in a deep hole, to shower from a bucket of water and a tea cup I stole from the plane ride, and to eat dinner in the dark using a head lamp. In the past few days we've been doing door-to-door evangelism in the slums, visiting and praying for patients in Mulago hospital, clearing bush with machetes to help with New Start Center's construction, and doing bible study every day with the FOCUS university students who are now like brothers and sisters. Although the dusty slums we've been walking through every day are becoming more familiar as the days progress, I have moments where I still can't believe we're actually here in Uganda <3 Leah (love you Mom, Dad and Lynn)"
"Let me start by saying I MISS YOU ALL like crazy, but I am LOVING my time in Uganda. Everyone has been extremely kind and welcoming. God has been good. He has given me peace in the city of Kampala and YES it is a city and this country girl is only doing it through God. Nothing compares to what Africa is like actually seeing it. It's more than what you see on Planet Earth, haha. God has taught me a lot by emerging me in this culture. He is transforming me more and more each day. I can't wait to tell you all the stories about the wonderful people, food, toilets, culture and God's awesomeness! Mucho love! Jessica. p.s. Pray for our transition into the North next week. Remember Joshua 1:9"
"Pulling with Patience - For a while I've felt useless here, I've not seen God manifest in the ways I thought He would in using me and I worried that I would cause no effect here. After two days of visiting hospitals and schools to talk and pray with people, I welcomed the chance to do physical work, even work I was not used to. While clearing fields at the New Start Center property, I got stuck on pulling out one root. I had already faced the easy and the hard and so thought I knew when I needed help. This time I looked to a friend and instead of offering his aid again he said, 'It's coming, pull with patience.' I don't know how many times I've quit pulling because it seemed like I was making no impact. I've decided that this time I won't stop...it will soon come out. - Canace Morgan"
"Creation is certainly filled with some difficult questions. Within the past two weeks my world-view has been challenged in more ways than I ever thought possible. While out on one of our many projects, Aaron, Miria, Rachel and I, had the opportunity to meet with a group of women struggling with HIV. They revealed to us the difficulties they faced each and every day, and I quickly learned that these women were enduring far more than disease and poverty. They explained the extreme level of discrimination that comes with Identified HIV in Africa. Once the disease is identified they are treated as though they are lepers, not only by the larger community, but by their family and close friends. One of the key factors in the spread of HIV is a lack of recognition by those that have it; the discrimination and label that comes with having HIV often causes people to refrain from being tested, and in all honesty who can blame them. Fortunately this particular group of women have formed a support group to combat the cultural perception of HIV. They encourage people in the community to allow themselves to be tested, and provide deep and loving support for those affected within the community. Their strength is powerfully encouraging. - Jacob Marcoux"
- health and healing for our team, especially as we adjust to a different diet
- time, space, and willingness to process and engage with all that we've learned so far
- continued cohesion between members of the team who hold very different views of God and the world