Saturday, July 26th, 2008
by Dave Peters
It’s hard to believe we are packing up tonight and getting ready to go home. The trip has been a whirlwind of activity. On Monday my (biological) daughter Rachael and I spent a wonderful two hours with our adopted daughter and sister Hellen. She is a wonderful 20-year old woman who finished secondary school and has started a two-year program in catering (culinary) school. She comes from a small village 15-20 miles from town and is boarding at school in Tororo. She spoke fondly of life at home with her mother and six siblings, whom she misses dearly. At home days began at 6:00 am working in the gardens, preparing meals and tending the goats. In the evenings the family gathered together and told stories from the Bible, studied and prayed together.
I spent time this week with Irene, the hospital administrator at True Vine. Rachael and I met the hospital staff and toured the facility. Later in the week Irene invited us and our friends Katie and Alana to visit her for the day in Mbale, a large town an hour’s drive to the north. We toured the regional hospital there (where I would confidently admit myself or my children), a local school and a children’s bible class. We were treated to wonderful lunch at Irene’s home with her family. It is hard to describe the extent of the hospitality that was shown us. We were treated to the most delicious Ugandan food which all of us thoroughly enjoyed. I was given the special honor of eating the gizzards from the roasted chicken which were delicious (no kidding!). A photographer took pictures and we were honored by a special cake cutting ceremony.
I also spent time this week with several pastors from Kenya who have come to True Vine to lead a training program for the pastors. More than 40 men and women serve churches throughout the region. Our good friend Pastor Chris Nyantika from Nakuru, Kenya, shared with me the heart-wrenching story of the violence there earlier this year in which he lost his church and home and barely escaped with his life.
Life is real here, and it is experienced in a way we seldom do in the States. We seldom experience life and death situations or are faced with hunger and extreme poverty. Yet these are common occurrences for many people here. The Ugandan Christians have a strong faith that is rooted in these difficult situations. They have much more in common with the people of Jesus’ day than we Americans do, and I think they understand the gospel message in a more profound way. This is part of what draws us here and binds us together with our dear friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. Once this place gets into your system it is hard to get it out. I am sorry to be leaving so soon, and I am already planning my trip back next year.