Uganda was the country I was most excited about because before arriving I read the book Kisses From Katie, which talks about a girl my age who leaves a life of comfort in America to accept God’s call on her life to move to Uganda and love on orphans. I was excited and anxious to get here because I thought to myself, what if this is it? What if this is my calling? What if I am supposed to forsake everything and move to Uganda to love God and love these orphans. Then I got to Uganda…
To be quite honest, Uganda was difficult for me. It was difficult for me because it was so great. I know that doesn’t really make sense, but let me help paint a better picture. As we stepped off the plane we felt the cool Ugandan air, which was a welcome change from the Indian heat. As you look around you see the red dirt roads, lush green grass, and beautiful mountains. The people of Uganda are kind. They care about you, they do not skip over formalities the way that American’s do. When you say “Hello” to someone, it is always followed with, “How are you? How was your night? How is your family?”…etc. It was so cool to drive around in the van and see African people staring at you, essentially mean-mugging, then we’d wave and the biggest smile would spread across their face as they smiled back. African people are happy people. The food in Uganda. Oh my gosh, don’t get me started. Seriously, the best food we’ve have had all trip. Fresh mangos, bananas, and pineapples. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! The missionaries we worked with Natalie and The Palmer Family were amazing. Getting to know them and hear their heart for these orphans and hear what God’s done in their lives to get them here is incredible. I truly did not expect to love missionaries as much as I loved these people. Then there’s the orphanage we worked with while we were there. The orphanage is called Lulwanda Children’s Home. There are about 100 kids at this orphanage. Around 70 live there and go to school there full time. The other 30 kids come from the surrounding villages. This orphanage was beautiful. This children were well fed, well dressed, well taken care of, most of all well loved.
This is why Uganda was difficult for me. Everything and everyone was so great. There didn’t seem like a dire need the way there was in the other countries. Because the children at the orphanage were in school we were not able to interact with them the same way we did in India. So Natalie gave us a list of projects to do while we were at Lulwanda. Our team painted the outside of the school, dug trenches, scraped paint off of containers, transferred files and hung mosquito nets. I am a very task-oriented person. I love having a to-do list and then getting it done. The only issue is this quickly becomes my idol because I no longer see Christ, only the task before me waiting to be completed. God showed me such grace this week because each time I tried to make it all about the task, he stretched me and made me do more.
For instance, most of my week was spent scraping paint of a big container. It’s about as excited as it sounds. Not to mention, it’s on the corner of the compound and we had to squeeze in between the container and a fence to scrape. It was not comfortable in the least physically, but it I could easily zone out. It was seemingly mindless work, away from people. Well God had other intentions with the container. It quickly became heart to heart central. Rather than scraping in silence and thinking about what everyone is doing it home, Christ urged me to be fully present. I spent a full day scraping with Kathryn and Shelby, both of them I was close to before, but thanks to God’s urging I was much closer to after. I was able to hear their hearts. Hear their testimonies, their fears, their futures, what Christ is teaching them. It was incredible.
On Friday’s they have Friday Fellowship which is like a worship service and short message before they begin classes. John, the father of the missionary family urged us to hang around afterwards and talk to the children and the staff at Lulwanda since we didn’t have a chance to otherwise. Normally I am a people person, but truly all I wanted to do was go and work. When we worked there was no expectation, just tasks. But yet again, God had other plans. After Friday’s Fellowship I walked down where all of the kids were and watched them fill up their water bins. Many children smiled and waved, but unlike India they did not flock to me, they kept to themselves. I walked up to the school’s librarian whom I later found out was named Favour and started asking about the students. Then the bell rang and the students went inside. Favour invited me into the library where I offered my assistance since we were out of work and paint for the day. We sat down and literally 3 hours later we were in tears hugging one another. Christ’s love knows no boundaries. Through our conversations about the children lead to our love of Christ which led to the call of taking the Gospel to the ends of the Earth, to which she shared her experience with sharing the Gospel with Muslims. She told me about her small ministry with single moms. She told me about how there is no place for them in the church-not in the youth, young singles, married couples, etc. These girls just have no skill set and therefore they just continue to give themselves foolishly to men because they feel as though they can’t say no. Favour’s heart in this ministry is to give these women a skill set-salon, sewing, typing, etc. and a sense of worth founded in Christ so they know that they don’t need an earthly man to know their true worth. The more I asked about her ministry, I found out that she simply does not have the funds to get this ministry off the ground. Right now it is just a prayer group essentially. As she was talking God was like, “Becca this is it. This is your Luke 12:48 after GJ Mission.” Luke 12:48 says, “…to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” I could easily go back to America and forget everything that was said, but instead, I am going to go back to America and and tell people of Favour’s heart. I want to tell people about that this woman who grew up an orphan, raised by her grandfather who learned to read by looking at the Bible. This woman who married a pastor that left her for another woman when she was pregnant. She knows the hurt and heartache of being a single mom, but she also knows God’s goodness, faithfulness and redemption. It was an amazing moment when I got to share with her that I wanted to be apart of her ministry and wanted to help fund her. I was so reminded of how good God is and how necessary each member of the Body of Christ is.
Another team from America called the Thrasher Team joined us on Monday. They brought a team of 19 people, many of them teachers. They came to paint the inside of the school, revamp the library and train the teachers. We only had about 4 days that we got to spend with them, but during that time we assisted them in doing a campus wide bible study. The first day they arrived the staff and children at Lulwanda had a “Hallelujah Day” for Mike Thrasher, the leader of the team. Just five weeks earlier Mike was in the ICU unable to walk, much less feed himself. The doctors did not know what was wrong with him and the medicines were not helping. Mike and his wife Mary told the doctors that they had better figure it out because in 5 weeks he was going to walk off a plane in Uganda. The children, staff, and his wife Mary were unwavering in the faith in God and relentless with their prayers and glory to God Mike was healed and walked through the gates of Lulwanda. It was such a beautiful sight. Mary Thrasher later said, “this must be what walking into the gates of Heaven is like!” All of the staff and children were lined as Mike walked through. They were all smiling, singing, hugging, PRAISING the God who healed Mike Thrasher. There was not a dry eye in sight. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. How amazing that people all the way around the world prayed so hard for something to happen. God is faithful. He hears our prayers and was glorified in the healing of Mike Thrasher.
As we helped with bible studies me and two other girls on my team helped one of the Thrasher leaders with the youngest children which were ages 4-6. Most of these children do not speak English so it makes carrying out a bible study a bit more difficult. The first day me, Evan and Shelby sat with the kids while the Thrasher leader Cathy led the bible study. One of the student’s who I later found out was named Solomon was constantly hitting the students around him. Cathy was getting quite frustrated trying to redirect him. Immediately I knew, he was my boy. God has so confirmed my calling in life time and time again. I get to love the unlovable. The kids that nobody wants, I get to love them and show them that not everyone is the same. I get to show them the love that Christ showed me when I was unlovable. The next day we went to do the bible study and all of the kids were asleep. Cathy, Evan and Shelby were all split up between the other two classes and I was with the youngest group. My mind immediately starts racing a mile a minute. In my head I’m thinking I could be doing so many other things instead of just sitting here while these kids are sleeping. I didn’t have a book, a bible or anything. I just had to sit. For a whole hour. God is so good to me. He truly knows me better than I know myself. He knew that this entire week had been so task-oriented that he made it where I had to be still and process. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Which is exactly what he was asking me to do. I sat there for an hour and got to pray over each one of the 9 beautiful African children sitting in front of me. I got to thank God for all that he was doing at Lulwanda and in Uganda. I got to thank God for loving me enough to force me to be still and see him for who he truly is.
We are set to leave Natalie’s house at 5:30 in the morning to get on the road to make it to Kampala to do 30 mins of souvenir shopping and then to Entebbe where the airport was. I woke up at 3:20 AM feeling super sick. I woke up took some medicine, got some water, and went to the bathroom and started praying. I prayed that God would heal me of this stomach ache, that he be glorified in the healing. That I would trust in His sovereignty no matter how bad the pain got. Well shortly after, we tested this. I immediately started throwing up and didn’t stop convulsing until we were leaving. Around 3:45 my teammates came to my rescue. Amelia came in and immediately started praying over me as the rest of my team rushed to get Natalie, Ryan and Sarah, water, medicine, etc. Satan is vicious because a couple of hours after I got sick another one of my teammates Kathryn also got sick. She and I shared the bathroom while the team packed the van and took care of everything for us. At 5:30 we all loaded into the vans, Kathryn and I both had vomit bags in hand. Uganda does not have paved roads so a sick stomach and bumpy roads do not make a great combination. Kathryn and I both got sick multiple times on the ride, but the beauty of it was that I knew the whole time that my team was praying for me. I was praying, I knew Kathryn was praying. Never before have I prayed, nor been prayed for aloud the way that I was during this sickness. By the time we got to the airport Nussty was also feeling sick. The flights were rough, but after we were able to sleep a full night in Dubai, all three of us woke up feeling much better. Christ was and is the ultimate healer. He heard our prayers and answered them. I am thankful for such an amazing team that took such great care of Kathryn, Nuss and I. For being all the way around the world, I did not cry for my parents once-which if you know anything about me, you know this is a huge deal! If you are still reading, thank you for the prayers! God hears every one.
“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”
Thankful for a God who will never leave me nor forsake me.
My loving team that at a waterfall in Uganda. Thankful for all these amazing people that took care of me when I needed them most.
Meet my sweet, pain in the butt to everyone else, Solomon:)
Where Kathryn and I spent most of our week in Uganda.