I left it all behind when I reluctantly had to leave the warm people and lush, vibrant red soil of Uganda.
I believed God would send me someday to Uganda, after I had a student who was adopted from God Cares School in my class five years ago. I just had a feeling that I would go back with him someday. Quite frankly, I struggled with the thought of spending all the money on the expenses of travel and a flight to get there, when the money could go directly to the school. The opportunity to go to Uganda opened up for me, and two weeks after I signed up for the trip, I got a call that my former student was going on the same trip! God is a miracle worker!
My life will never be the same, and I pray that the lives of those I had the awesome privilege to encounter will be touched, also. I was blessed to see the results of Buyamba's efforts in the gleaming white smiles of happy, joyful students by spending two weeks in Africa, serving alongside a team of 36 with the local nationals.
My expectations of what it would be like were blown apart when I stepped foot onto the campus of God Cares School. It is such a blessing to write a check for capital improvements, send shoes or buy items to help support the ministry, or to send a monthly check to sponsor a child, But to see the fruits first hand of all the efforts made by Buyamba cannot be described adequately in words alone.
A small idea of what it was like can be felt when we walked into the slums of Bukasa and visited the homes where some of the boarding students come from. They were very proud to welcome us into their space, which was only a few square meters wide, to talk, pass out sanitation packages, and pray. I will spare you the details of the living conditions… because they cannot be adequately described, but suffice it to say that it very, very rough conditions. I met with one woman who had not seen her husband in over a year, because he worked 40 miles away. It made me think of my husband's commute to work for many years, which was over 40 miles one way per day. She was no different than I, other than the fact of where she was born. She has huge dreams for her children to better themselves through education. I met another woman who said the government would soon come and level her home, and when I asked her where she would go when that happened, she just shrugged her shoulders. These are the homes of where some God Cares School children come from. We then went to the secondary school, and I met a girl who is studying chemistry, dreaming of becoming an international surgeon. She was articulate, joyful and hopeful for her future. The contrast was shocking. When I left, I might have had an empty suitcase, but I left with a full heart. My dear friend, who is on the trip with me, made a statement that put this trip into perspective. She said that Jesus sent people, not money. The students really care about relationship. They literally fast and pray for their sponsors. They look forward to letters, and pray for the families who support them.
We, as a team, were used as a bridge from Uganda to the U.S. to bless the people of God Cares School. I hope to someday return to these beautiful people, but in the meantime plan to support Buyamba's efforts in anyway I can. I was honored to step into their world and make a difference. I might have left all I had brought with me at the school and come home with an empty suitcase, but I left with a full heart.
Interested in going on our next mission trip? Visit our Mission Trip Page!