WMM Uganda Trip: Visiting Orphans, Training Leaders
Wow. What a day. It’s fairly late as I’m typing this. We packed a lot into our day today, and it’s taken me quite awhile to prepare the photos and video.
Still, I’m filled with joy after the day’s events. Our team spent some memorable moments with children in a local orphanage during the morning hours. In the afternoon, we went to the East African Gospel Academy, the school that Kurt and WMM team helped plant.
It’s hard to put into words what it felt like to spend time in fellowship with these precious African souls. I had a distinct awareness during the day that I felt so fortunate to be here with these fellow believers. It’s safe to say this was a highly impactful day for me.
It started off simply enough. Kurt and I enjoyed a complementary cup of coffee while soaking in some sun rays this morning. Our conversation touched on some topics that both of us feel challenged by. Our sweet server Betsy kept the coffee hot and the smiles brimming.
The hotel manager Charles stopped by to introduce himself, and he was, as the British guest down the hall said, “a fine old geezer.”
While we were having coffee, we noticed a church service taking place in the hotel conference room. When the service let out, several children were sitting at the tables nearby, and it wasn’t long before we were talking American politics…these kids were bright.
Another amazing African individual who deserves mentioning here is Charis. He drove us home from the airport when we landed, and has been our faithful chaperone for most of the trip. He’s a stylish guy, as you can see.
Our first destination of the day was an orphanage run by EAGM co-founder Brian and his wife. Apparently they simply started taking in children off the street. Now they have around 27. We were invited for an impromptu church service in their home.
Before we even got to the door, we could hear a chorus of singing children. It was a most beautiful sound. As we entered, they kept right on singing.
Brian and Samson each spoke briefly to the children, introducing our WMM team. Next, each of the children had the opportunity to stand and introduce themselves to us. They have such wonderful names…like “Immaculate” for example!
Next, each of our team members was invited to share a mini-sermon. I was greatly encouraged by what the other three shared. I found a last minute analogy somewhere in the back of my mind, so I shared about how Superman and the apostle Paul relate, and how God is the strength in our weakness.
Afterwards, we were given a tour of the premises by Brian. They have many needs.
Brian’s adorable daughter. I’m not kidding when I say that I had her bawling about 3 seconds after this photo. I tried to get her to laugh, but my plan backfired.
Despite their shortage of resources, they still fed everyone present an enormous meal. We found the rice and spicy beef to be quite tasty.
Naked baby African boy chasing goats for the win.
Brian’s wife Edith was a quiet, beautiful, servant-hearted woman. I wish I’d had the chance to get to know her better.
The children flock to me instinctively. It’s the camera.
Switching gears, our second stop of the day was the East African Gospel Academy. It’s a small, unassuming building along a busy Kampala highway. No sooner had we entered, than Kurt had popped a squat and begun training the leaders of the school. For the next few days until the conference begins, he will be working with the school leaders to prepare them for the actual conference.
Since I could only get so much footage of Kurt teaching, Anthony and I wandered the streets a wee bit. Let me tell you just how strange it is to be the only white person in a very busy city center. I’ve had this experience before (Fiji, India, Nepal), but it’s been awhile. I was reminded of what it feels like to be a minority. It’s not the most comforting feeling.
Thankfully, many of the locals were friendly, and most of them who I asked to pose for pictures were willing. One very stern-looking man gave me quite the finger-wag when I asked him. Probably should have read his body language a little better. But I’m telling you he would have made for an excellent portrait.
There are a few key student-leaders at the academy. Elijah was one of my favorites. Unbelievable heart for music and for the gospel. Be sure to see his interview in today’s recap video below.
Frank. See his smile. He radiates. Looking forward to being buddies with him.
On the far right, Moses is another exemplary student-leader. So there’s Elijah, Moses….and Frank. Is that a Bible name?
For those of you who donated money to our trip campaign, here are part of those funds in action. We were able to bless the school with several packs of new guitar strings and a few other music-y knick knacks (I’m a photographer, I’m not required to know musical terminology). As you can see by Frank’s aforementioned smile, he was delighted.
Brian led the entire gathering in a spirited prayer, and we said our goodbyes for the day.
Today’s recap video features some slo-mo coolness and plenty of African gospel singing:
They tell me more training is on the agenda for tomorrow (technically today at this point). I’m going to hit the hay so I’ll be ready for another Ugandan adventure.