I have great news, mostly for the worrying parents, which is that Come Let’s Dance (the organization that we’re working with) has recently installed the internet at their home base. This was no cheap Verizon FIOS package deal, but costing them over $200 a month to maintain. It was a gift from some friends to get them started.
The reason why I’m telling you this is because you won’t need to wait a week before each blog post that would normally needed an hour’s walk to the nearest internet cafe. I’ll do my best to upload pictures and updates on how our team is doing.
We flew into Entebbe Airport in Uganda, Africa last night at 11:30pm, after a two hour delay in Heathrow, London. Spending 20 plus hours traveling through 8 different time zones was pretty challenging for us and after a night of no sleep upon reaching London, our time in the airport was fairly quiet. Bouge (David) lost his pillow in London before a non-returnable security checkpoint, but in doing so joined into the suffering of Luke who left his pillow at home.
Our biggest surprise in landing at the Ugandan Airport was being greeted by 3 Mizungoos (white people). We were under the impression that Shane would be the only other American that we would be working with during the Winter break but we learned that these Americans decided to extend their stay of one month to almost six months.
And let me tell you, these people are awesome. Josh and Tiffany are married and are missionaries from Colorado. They’re a lot of fun and have fully embraced the vision and structure of CLD within months. They are the ones who have lead us around and taught us how things operate. They were on mission to travel to several destinations all over the world with Uganda as just one of the stops, but they felt the calling to stay their entire duration here, with Shane.
So what have we done so far? Besides a night of comatose sleep that a band of fog-horns couldn’t interrupt, we woke up at 9:00 for daily devotions with all of the other American and Ugandan staff workers at CLD. They were really excited that we brought Bouge and his guitar along, being a human jukebox for worship music.
We then had a quick orientation including the history of CLD and their vision. This vision includes a 7 step priority list that they use to restore people groups that they are coming into contact with.
None of these are tackled without first conquering it’s predecessor. Have a look to try and understand the vision for how CLD plans on restoring Ugandans:
- Safe Housing @ Night
- Self Sustainability
- Family Empowerment
- Complete Restoration
“We didn’t know what to do so we prayed a lot. Over time, God showed us a list of priorities. We looked at them and just realized that it’s pretty logical. We don’t go to villages and build a school when the town is starving and dying of AIDs. It makes sense” -Shane Gilbert, CLD Director
The rest of the day was taken up by a visit to the local farm (a part of thesustainability aspect of the vision) and also the Kid’s House (a part of the family empowerment aspect). It was an amazing afternoon and we dove right into Ugandan culture.
Spiritually, we are focusing on an interesting tidbit we extracted from John 1 that spoke of Jesus coming to make his dwelling among us. Jesus didn’t just come down and spend a few minutes with us in shallow anticipation of going home, but he made us his home. As Americans going to a third world country, it could be very easy to isolate ourselves from this whole experience while we look at our clocks and wait for it to be over. But there’s more.
How do we dwell in Uganda, where God has clearly called us and is clearly working? How do we experience everything here so that it’s more than just a vacation for our senses and a few good stories upon our return, but so that it is a full life transformation of our views on God and the world around us?
We are constantly asking ourselves, “What are we doing in order that we dwell here for the next 3 and a half weeks?” Learning how to dwell here with God will teach us and provide insight for how to be constantly dwelling in relationship with God, which is something that will extend beyond this period in Africa.
Because I’m being timed and wicked exhausted, that’s all I’ll leave you with for now. I really wanted to just let people know that we are safe and running the race that God has put us in here in Africa, understanding that it’s not a replacement of but an extension to, our walks with Christ in Amherst Massachusetts.
Tommy, Virginia, Luke, Kristen, Bouge (David)