Today’s blog is by Lyn, Joanie and Aaron. This will be the last update from SeaSide as I (Rachel) leave to greet the new group in Nairobi. I know the team will have more to report such as the night spent in a mud hut so I will try to catch up when I return to Tororo. Please pray for this fabulous team as they leave Uganda on Sunday and the new team as they travel to Uganda on Sunday afternoon.
Thursday began with an early morning hike up to the top of Tororo’s highest mountain and since we are over 4000 foot elevation to begin with today’s climb put us up over 5000 ft. Our group was led by Tom Eggum and there were about 20 of us, the largest group that he has ever led. We had to navigate some steep terrain with metal ladders bolted into the mountain side in some places. Lot’s of us had rubbery legs at the end and a few took some spills coming down the bottom of the climb where there was loose shale. We celebrated our ascent by singing a couple of songs and praying for our continued success in the ministry here in Uganda.
Today I had the opportunity to join a group of people and go to Smile Africa Ministries. Right when we arrived, before stepping off the bus, women were already helping us off and taking the stuff we had brought. We had the chance to wash the women’s feet and pamper them with tea and foot massages. We sang and danced for hours (it felt like) and taught children how to brush their teeth properly. A highlight for me during the teaching time was actually brushing my teeth in front of all the children. Some started to giggle when the toothpaste got all over my cheek. Right when we were finished with the lesson, we passed out toothbrushes and paste and soap to the children. It was so amazing to see one child rip through the toothbrush wrapping and already wanting to brush his teeth.
A moment that really touched my heart today was when I met a little boy named Joseph. I think he was three years old, maybe even younger. A woman walked up to me with him and asked me, “Would you like to hear his testimony?” She began to tell me the story of when his mother gave birth to him; she couldn’t afford to keep him so she left him in a place like a ditch, or a pit. Her neighbors, who had known she had given birth to a child, asked her where he was and she told them what she had done. They went and searched for him and he found him and he was still alive. It was an absolute miracle that he had lived after being put in a pit. They named him Joseph as an allusion to the Bible story of Joseph, and how he lived after being put in a pit by his brothers. Holding Joseph was a real life example of the lesson Pastor John had taught us that each and every person is important to God.
Anyways, it was a real blessing to experience so many things today, I felt God through every touch and hug of a widow. I saw God in every smile of a child, and I heard God working through our team and leaders and the Smile Africa team as we sang and encouraged each other.
(hi!! This is Aaron. I’m hijacking the computer for a second! We’re having a good time! PS, don’t get sick here! PS #2, there’ve been some AMAZING jams! PS#3, hi!)
We also bought 3 manual sewing machines (foot peddle driven) so that the women of our village (Mumatumba) can start their own business. 1 of the machines will stay at Smile Africa to support the business that they have already started there. We also bought educational materials for Mumatumba which included pencils, writing materials, scissors and other material. Our church is getting close to being finished with the decorative colors being applied; the fascia is purple signifying royalty which is at the highest point of the church and the other colors are cream and a hue of red signifying the blood of Christ. There’s been a lot of hard work in getting this painting done with Seaside women like Yvette Jacobson and Noelle Bannon pitching in right along with the men. The men of Uganda are somewhat awestruck by this.
Desiree Hensley has been out at the village every day this week and has been building the relationship with the women of the village along with other Seaside women who have come on different days. Through this effort that have been able to have Bible studies and discussions that have today has led one of the women to Christ. These experiences continue to happen every day which is an amazing thing to witness. Our medical outreach team was also at the village today encouraging women to come in and get treated. Eventually we will have the clinic finished which will then allow regular medical days set up for the people of Mumatumba.