Friday, April 15, 2011

By:  Angie Simon/L. Butler

Most of our team had an extra early wake-up call today so we could be on the road by 6:30 am.  We bid farewell to our home in Tororo and set off on the long journey to Fort Portal – from the eastern edge of Uganda over to the western edge.  We feasted on chicken-on-a-stick for lunch (twice in one trip – double blessings) and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the beautiful, lush terrain of Western Uganda.  In Fort Portal, we had the awesome privilege of visiting Sunrise House and Outreach to Africa.  Some of the team has sponsored orphans here at Sunrise House so they got to spend some one-of-a-kind time with their kids.  Meanwhile, our other team members got to engage in the sheer, incredible joy of playing with children who relish this time together.  The children had prepared a special program for us and what a blessing it was.  It is hard to articulate how amazing it is when you see such lovely children, who have endured unimaginable hardships in their very short, precious lives, perform with such joy and enthusiasm.  It never fails to produce smiles, applause and even a tear or two.  

Kent and Laura visited Busowa with Pastor Charles and Pastor Peter.  They spent the entire day enjoying each other’s company and fellowshipping together – something that produces immeasurable blessings, but that we so often don’t allow ourselves the privilege of doing back home.

Back closer to Tororo, Angie, Rachel, Pastor George and Donna Comstock embarked on an adventure of their own as they headed to Sigulu Island with a quick stop on the way in Lugala.  Many Africans were travelling with them, but along the way Pastor Wilbur’s car was not strong enough to make the journey, so he, Babra and Pastor Aggrey had to stay behind.  Wandera, Pastor Hillary, Zac and Pastor Godfrey accompanied the team.  When they arrived at the port in Lugala, Angie, Rachel, Hillary and Moses (their boat captain) dressed all the little girls with new pillowcase dresses from Dress a Girl Around the World.  These simple garments, each one made with love and compassion, produce the most heartfelt smiles and unbelieving looks of astonishment and delight every time they are placed on a sweet little girl.  They also brought the World Water Day Walk t-shirts from the walk in Phoenix sponsored by Starbucks.  One cup of coffee at a time they are raising money for a well for this wonderful village.  They took lots of photos and shared the joyous and exciting news that they will soon be receiving the gift of fresh, clean water from a borehole in their village.

After gifts were delivered and pictures taken, they loaded the boat with all of their gear and supplies.  Pastor George and Donna had purchased posho, rice, sugar, oil, flour and salt to give to the nine pastors on the island and they also brought clothes and cross necklaces.  It was quite a chore to load  all of this in to the large, wooden boat via a sturdy metal ladder that you climb up to get in to the boat – there is no dock.  It always reminds us of what it might have been like when Jesus embarked on boats on the Sea of Galilee.  Then they were off for the one and one-half hour boat ride across Lake Victoria to the island.  Unfortunately, the journey can be a bit wavy and bumpy and Donna felt a little seasick, but she was not to be deterred from visiting the island and delivering all of the gifts from Southside Church in Spokane.  Pastor Joram, their sponsored pastor, greeted them on the shore of Sigulu Island and they walked up to his modest mud hut for lunch – a feast had been prepared with chicken, posho, chipate and of coure, fish head soup!  In the corner, the family had delicately placed their water filtration system.  On this island, despite being surrounded by water, access to a clean water source is not available since a borehole would only reach the contaminated lake water.  Therefore, the filtration systems are a life-line for these hardy villagers.  Angie and Pastor Hillary interviewed several families to see how the filtration systems were working and if they were helping improve the health of these people as they hoped they would.  Up at the church the villagers held a program and our team delivered the food to the pastors and dressed another 100 girls with new pillowcase dresses from Dress a Girl Around the World.  Small gestures with big impacts.

They headed home a lot later than they had originally planned – it’s always a challenge to tear ourselves away from these kind and generous people - and found themselves on the water with dark skies gathering above them.  Although they had a bit of light rain, the major rain held off until they reached the shores of Lugala.  And as an extra special reminder to them that God does not forget His people or His promises, they were greeted with a rainbow.

Tomorrow we are off on safari!

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