Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pastor Paul Sorensen
Community Church of Joy

On Wednesday we journeyed out of Tororo over the rolling hills to the village of Sibanga. The highway turned into a dirt road, then a two lane path, which narrowed into a one lane goat path, then no path at all, with the banana tree leaves brushing the side of our bus. As we jostled along, I was surprised once again by the lush beauty of the Ugandan countryside. At the same time, the simple and primitive homes seemed surreal—cluster after cluster of small round mud huts with thatched roofs, tucked between the trees.

Pastor Isaiah, his family and team welcomed us with great joy. Within minutes we listened to about 30 small children in their sharp blue and orange uniforms, voices united with a beautiful song of welcome and thanks for our coming. They squeezed together under a stick covered tent on four poles. Then time stopped for me, as Pastor Isaiah expressed his praise to God for the answer to his prayer of many years—a new church facility, medical clinic, pastor’s house and a fresh water well. Tom Eggum tried to thank Pastor Isaiah, but his words caught in his throat and mine. Tears of joy flowed. We were overwhelmed to see their grateful and joyful hearts.

While some sang and played and danced with the beautiful children, others on our team joined with the pastors of True Vine in painting the pastor’s house, and the latrine. (For some reason, the pastors wouldn’t let Tom or I paint the inside of the latrine!) Others finished the cement work around the well that will serve 2000 children and adults in the village. Then a man inscribed the words Community Church of Joy, November 14, 2008. I am so honored to be part of a church family who sacrificed to bless the world in this way!

The highlight of my day came as I played the “red light-green light” game with the children, and then sang with them. After the first song, their eyes fixed on me, as if to say, “what next?” So I sang with them while others played games, read books, and blew bubbles. So simple but so fun!

We thought the day was over, until Pastor Isaiah insisted that we come to his home for something to eat. So with about 50 children hovering around the door, all 15 of us squeezed into his mud hut around a spread of delicious, warm, banana-flavored meal, rice covered with a meat sauce, chicken, pork, and some of the best beef I have ever tasted. I felt so humbled that this family of 10 children and no money would insist that we be served by them.

This was a day full of wonder and the love of Jesus that transcends language, color of skin and culture. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 came true for us this day—that they may all be one!

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