Oli Otya! (Translation: “Hi, how are you” in Lugandan)
TIOIA (tee-oh-ee-uh). TIOIA stands for “This Is Outreach In Africa”. TIOIA is a phrase we like to use in frustrating and/or unusual situations and it was the most used phrase over the past week. We were scheduled to leave Jinja at 6:00am on 11/26 for a small village called Kachinga, located in Western Uganda, 9 hours from Jinja. We rented a 14-passenger van through a friend of a friend and the van started having issues before we even got on the road.The key wouldn’t turn in the ignition, but we were able to get someone to fix it well enough for us to drive. We ended up getting on the road at 10:30am. We made it safely to the village and settled into our two rooms. Each room fit three twin size mattresses with about 6 inches to spare on each wall, and we slept five girls in one room and five boys in the other. Thankfully, we like each other because we were tightly bundled together each night. One thing I realized during our time in the village was how much I take water for granted. Not just clean drinking water, but running water. We took bucket showers, which consisted of scooping rain/well water from canisters outside into a bucket and then scooping it out by the cup to rinse off. We started wagering a bottle of water when we made bets with each other because it was the most prized possession for the week.
As far as ministry goes, we spent most of our time traveling around the village teaching/preaching in churches, doing door to door evangelism and we also helped out at the local clinic, testing for malaria and praying for people. Everywhere we went children would stop what they were doing, point and scream “mizungus!” For a lot of them, we were the first white people they had ever seen in person. Almost every afternoon we organized soccer games at a field and many people turned up to play. People would stop on the road just to watch the mizungus play with the locals. We saw a handful of people come into a relationship with Jesus, and prayed for over 50 sick people. People from the village even brought their children over to the place we were staying asking us to pray for them. We had the opportunity to sing, perform skits and share the gospel with two of the local primary schools one morning and between both schools, the gospel went out to over 600 children. Once again, the Jesus Storybook Bible was a big hit and not just with the children. The pastors we partnered with spent a lot of time at our home and every time I looked over, one of them would be reading or they would be huddled up reading the stories together. We gifted them with it the day we left and they were really excited to have it!
Monday was our day off and we were able to drive further west to see some wildlife. We saw lots of antelope, buffalo, warthogs, and hippos, but sadly no elephants or giraffes. It was here that we started to have some major issues with our vehicle. Our starter motor had previously died, which means we had to push/roll start it every time. During the “safari”, the clutch died. After about 3 hours on the side of the road a guy on our team was able to fix the clutch. However, shortly after that the fuel injector lost power. Thankfully, we broke down in front of a mechanic shop so we were able to pay an electrician to re-wire that. We finally got back to our village at about 8pm, and packed for our 9 hour drive back to Jinja the next morning. The trip back started out fine, but then the fuel injector died for the second time about ¾ of the way into the trip. It was soon after we fixed that problem that we lost all oil and were found on the side of the road for what seemed like the 10th time on the trip. With more oil added we continued to move forward. Due to the lack of oil in the van previously, it had some problems and ended up overheating 23 kilometers from our destination. So close, yet so far away. We decided to give up on the van and called our hosts in Jinja and asked them to come pick us up. We finally got back to the Discovery Center after being on the road for 12 hours, and we were so thankful to finally be back “home”. We took showers and brushed our teeth with running water and we hopped into our individual beds with mosquito nets. We found out after a couple of nights in the village that we had bed bugs. I never knew those things really existed, I just thought it was part of a fun nighttime children’s rhyme. To kill the bugs and eggs that were still in our clothes and sleeping bags, we had to run everything through boiling water when we got home. It was an all morning affair, but we are thankful to be bed bug free.
We leave Uganda tomorrow afternoon to head back to Australia for one week of debrief, and then it’s back to the US for this girl. It was difficult to say goodbye to the people we have grown to know and love over the past 6 weeks, but I am hopeful that I will see them again one day.
- The Lord kept us safe throughout our journey to and from the village, and although we had some rough patches, we all came home without any injuries.
- Both of the girls who got malaria have recovered and are almost back to 100% again and God has continued to protect the rest of the team from it. We are thankful!
- The Lord was faithful in continuing to lead us into opportunities to share the truth and love of Jesus.
- Please continue to pray for Florence’s family: Florence lost her mother-in-law last week and was having a hard time with it. We stopped by yesterday to bring them some of our clothes and to pray for them before we left, so we were thankful for that opportunity.
- Please continue to pray for safe travel as we fly back to Australia. Two of our team members left today and the rest of us will fly out tomorrow.
- Please pray for my transition back to the US. I am sure I will experience culture shock among many other emotions upon arriving. The Lord has blessed me with a house to stay in for 6 months and during that time I will continue to seek His guidance for the next chapter in my life, waiting patiently for Him to reveal what He has planned.
I’ll leave you with some pictures until next time.