Calloused Hands, Green Thumbs

It’s been another couple of great days here in Africa. There’s a lot of new things that are coming up that I’m really excited to tell you about. Fortunately for you we’re crunched on time so I’ll have to give you the concise particulars!

Yesterday we woke up and traveled to Light the World Church to hear Juran preach about the love of God. It was powerful and painted an image in my head that I can’t get out about the power of love:  the love that comes from a mother can heal the cut on her child’s knee with a kiss, but the love that comes from God can bring you back to life after you’ve been killed. (John 11)

We spent the afternoon learning the taxi system and overcoming my personal fear of getting the team lost in the middle of Kampala. It’s difficult because there are none of the typical architectural cues that give you insight as to where you are. It’s not like getting used to Boston or New York, since everything looks different. No telephone poles, stop lights, 8th Avenues, or “Dunkin’ Donuts.” Instead we’re using landmarks like, “Kasubi Market, the “Demon Tree,” the boda-boda stage, the R. Kelly billboard (yes, R. Kelly is  making his come back in Uganda), etc.

The taxies, which are 10 passenger vans fitted with 14-18, operate more like buses do with routes so memorizing the routes with names of areas and identifying them is crucial. Knowing the exact prices for each stage in the route is important if you don’t want to get swindled. I guess there’s a lot going on but it’s a lot of fun. After some practice with our seasoned American friends Josh and Nate, we were able to navigate back to the CLD house without a hitch.

We spent the whole day today working at the CLD farm. The CLD farm is 20 acres of land that is being cultivated with the dream of fully supporting the Kids House ministry with food and income from the harvest. The last time I was here, there had been a lot of work that was completed including a perimeter fence, a boar hole installation and some land that was cleared (most of it was covered with very thick and very tall bush). No, however, most of it is cleared on the crop side, and the animal side is beginning to take shape.

Luke, Bouge (David) and myself spent the morning clearing 2 acres for the future cow pasture with Josh and Nate. We used machetes, called “Pangas” in Uganda, and manual weed whackers called “Slashers.” Kristen and Virginia spent time weeding the plants with Tiffany that were planted along the termite-ridden perimeter fence that will eventually grow into natural thorny barriers and replace their rotting counterparts. The morning was rainy, which provided a cool working temperature.  In the afternoon, however, the sun came out and made working without frequent breaks near impossible.

It was great to see how far the farm has developed in the last five or so months,  and to see the vision for what it will be developed into. Take a look below at the diagrams:

I think the coolest thing about the farm is that, not only will it support CLD’s ministries, it also exists as a training ground for other Ugandans to learn how to cultivate land, raise animals and farm crops. We’ll be heading back there tomorrow to finish slashing the cow pasture and weeding.

Tonight we stopped in at a “home cell” which is a small bible study group that meets to do church as a smaller community in conjunction to the 3,000 person “Light of the World Church.” We were welcomed and had a bible study with some of the best worship I’ve experienced thus far in Africa. The host even asked us to stay for “Swallowship” time which is the best christian idea I’ve heard of yet. It’s just time to eat and hang out… what could be better?

We learned as we were leaving with our surprise that there weren’t many other Ugandans, that the meeting had ended an hour before we arrived. The hospitality we experienced! They allowed us to stay and to redo their bible study and even give us food… and we came 3 hours late! I certainly learned a few things about serving one another and am starting to understand what my pastor Nate means when he talks about “inconveniencing ourselves for the sake of the gospel.”

More updates tomorrow, there’s a long line to use the computer. There are some huge things that are coming up so keep posted. Planning for Kaliro went really well and we’re briefing the team on Wednesday. On Thursday night we’ll be touring all night to three of the largest venues in all of Uganda with Wilson Bugembe as his personal entourage for New Years. What’s so cool about this? Well he’s the number one Christian Gospel singer in Uganda, and as Shane said, “Since everyone comes to these shows you will literally see every Christian in Uganda in the span of one night.”

With much Love,

-Tommy, Virginia, Luke, Kristen and Bouge (David)

4 responses to “Calloused Hands, Green Thumbs

  1. Be safe! your in our prayers back here! happy new year see you when you guys get back!!!

  2. Today’s blog brought to mind this scripture from Proverbs: All hard work brings a prophet…as it sure sounds like you are all working very hard. When David and his bros. and siss were little, they thought that when you worked hard a prophet would come…..maybe both????? Anyway, sounds like the a multitude is also storming heaven on your behalf and yes, these blogs are a sure comfort to a mother’s (parent’s) soul. THANKS TOMMY for taking the time to post and thanks for the pics!!! You all look so happy…which brings another proverb and NT scripture to mind: He who refreshes others with himself be refreshed…..Give and it will be given to you..a good measure pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured out into your laps. BLESSED ARE YE!!! Love to all!!!

  3. Hi! I don’t have anything special or amazing to say, just want you guys to know we are reading your great blogs and praying for you, as well as passing on news to our friends and other supporters of your mission journey. Will send more news later. Jon and Irina are leaving for Amherst today. We all looked for the blog as soon as we came home last night after a day trip. Thanks for all your good work and the interesting news of your trip. -Lois Showalter

  4. It is so good to see pictures and updates on your trip. Thank you for writing and posting amidst your busy schedule. Luke, I miss you and it is so good to see your picture with those adorable children. I will be praying for your trip and for your friends as you continue to serve. Know that you are in the hearts of those who love you and that makes you close to home no matter where you are. Lots of love and prayers, – your sister Emily

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