- Let's call him John… My 3 days with a man who escaped the LRA after being abducted and turned into child soldier at age TWELVE. This story is covered in GRACE!
- Meeting Naguwah… A Ugandan woman who was unexpectingly sold into slavery in Kuwait. My friend Tom rescued her.
- Hanging out with Uganda's favorite musicians and actors.
- A REAL Christian! My new friend Tom.
- Plans for clean water!
- Plans for sustainable homes!
- And MORE!
My first week in Africa has been quite the journey. I've come across many deep hurts, but I have also seen a great joy. This joy comes from such a deep place that I fear many American's will never dig down enough to find. This joy isn't a temporary happiness that comes from buying the next new toy, or having the next best comfort. The joy my African brothers and sisters have can come before, during, or after great pain, great loss, and even unthinkable suffering. How is that even possible? If we are driving in the USA, speed, and then get a speeding ticket, our joy can be derailed for our entire day. The joy they have comes from having Jesus, the real deal Jesus. As someone told me yesterday, "Jesus, plus nothing... Equals everything."
So far I have traveled to a lot of the major cities I've made many friendships with people that feel like I have known them for a lifetime, it's quite crazy really. Tomorrow I get to go to the place that feels like my home, Eastern Congo. Here is a pic of Uganda and part of Eastern Congo, I have been to 1-11 thus far.
1. Entebbe, Uganda: I landed here. It's the third time I've flown into this airport. When I landed I had just come off a 3 hour flight, a 14 hour flight, and a 7 hour flight. I sat by a woman achieving her dreams of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and then a UN Soldier from Brazil. When I landed I was so tired but my adrenaline kicked in because I saw a dear brother of mine Patrick Kisembo, and met a new one in Tom Cox.
2. Kampala is a place I love. It is one of Afica's GREAT cities. The city is peaceful, so welcoming, and full of people with HOPE. This is where we gathered our supplies for water wells. We have about 100 pipes that are 20 feet each. We also encountered AMAZING people. I met with one of Uganda's top musicians and actors. Held a girl that was having a seizure and helped her get to the hospital. Met a girl that was saved from slavery by being put in a Kuwaiti prison until my friend Tom bailed her out and got her a flight back to Kampala. Lot's happened, and hopefully I can blog more about it soon. Summing it all up, we REALLY got to love on some people who needed or doubted God's love.
3. Jinja… We stumbled upon a factory that produces the polypropylene sandbags we need to build sustainable homes… They gave us an AMAZING price! Instead of cutting and sewing them we are able to buy the tubing we need for $800 for FIVE THOUSAND METERS of it. This can build maybe 40-50 homes in my Pygmy village! It was literally $4,000-$5,000 cheaper than anywhere else I have found.
4. Out in the middle of no where Uganda I got to visit a village who was given clean water for the VERY FIRST time like a day before we got there. My friend Tom mentors the company Young Men Drillers in Uganda and they want to start a sustainable solution of Ugandan's providing water (and anything their country needs) for Ugandan's I got to see another water well being dug in action and got my hands a little dirty.
7. In Saroti I was able to stay at Tom's house. On this day I met a former LRA (Joseph Kony's Lords Resistance Army) soldier who was abducted, drugged, and made a child soldier at age 12. He is now 25 and is an AMAZING young man… Honestly, his story leaves my jaw on the floor!
8. Lira… Thank you to whoever the American missionaries are who started a restaurant that serves orange-cinnamon ICE CREAM and the BEST darn cinnamon rolls in all of Africa! (I think they may be the only cinnamon rolls in Uganda, at least)
9. Gulu is a place that was really affected by the LRA and devastated in times of war. Our former LRA rebel friend, and now INCREDIBLE man of God was able to reminisce on times he was sent into the city to play with the kids but to spy on where government soldiers were and other kinds of needed data. We also went by Sister Rosemary's place, she won the 2007 CNN Hero Award. The sisters showed me how they built full homes out of plastic bottles filled with sand in their banana village.
11. We are waiting to go across the border in Paidha, Uganda. Today I split from my team I've been with, some new brothers, who honestly are like family now. I head into Congo with Patrick and we are PRAYING everything goes smoothly.
More to come! Thanks for any prayers, shares, and comments!
LIVE to love, LOVE to live.