Reflections on our life and lessons in uganda
Yesterday we made the long trek from Kampala to Gulu. It was somehow one of the most stressful and enjoyable drives I’ve ever made.
Stressful because driving in Uganda is not for the faint of heart; really it’s a sport for adrenaline junkies. As soon as we left the parking lot of the hotel where we enjoyed the weekend after graduation we had people trying to kill us at every angle. You can’t go a foot down the road without 14 boda-boda (motorcycle drivers) cutting you off and almost removing your sideview mirrors with their heads, but you better go that foot down the road because if you leave a foot of space between cars someone is going to squeeze a 14 passenger taxi in there.
But one of the most enjoyable drives ever for a few reasons. First because it was great quality time spent with Kristin where we could really enjoy each others company. We spent the five and a half hour drive laughing about the things we saw, how driving here is so different than driving in the states, how you never see a military truck with 3 guys sitting on top behind loaded .50 cal machine guns driving down I-70, and if you did you would never pass it (I did). How two people can spend five months living in the close quarters of a small round hut, but still be able to laugh together and desire to be around each other is not a testimony to us at all but to God’s work in our marriage. It was enjoyable because we were going somewhere we’ve never been before, but we know that God has some work for us to do. There’s excitement when we know that we aren’t just moving somewhere for a home or a job but because the first priority here is ministry; man, that is enough to get me amped up. And finally it was super enjoyable because of the scenery. I think of all the places in the world, God has called us to one of the most beautiful. We were on a road paved only this last year though lands basically untouched by human influence, thick lush forrests, and dense swamps for miles, some hills, some mountains, some flatlands, more trees in 100 square feet than Colorado has in the whole state HA. But the most beautiful spot was where the road crossed the Nile river. Just upstream, we could see about a 20 foot waterfall coming down over jagged rocks and where the pillars of the bridge when into the water there were 10 foot swells in the rapids, with amazing jungle overhanging the waters edge. AND MONKEYS! right on the side of the road we saw only one chimp, but its the species that is known for breaking into Kent and Becca’s house, so who knows what more we will see while we’re here. We also saw about 4 dozen or so baboon, so that was pretty great; just a gentle reminder that the creatures we share this beautiful area with can rip our arms out and eat us for lunch…
So Gulu is a really beautiful town, by far the lasgest town in northern Uganda and one of the biggest in the whole country, and it’s growing fast. Kent has shown us arround town just a little bit, it’s all still confusing to get around, obviously, and we’ve met a few of the folks involved in the ministry. Kristine is the Nolleys day security, Adam works security at night, Jimmy is one the disciples with Terebinth who assist Kent with teaching the monthly class. Later on today, we are planning to meet Pastor Fred who leads Calvary Chapel Gulu, the church that Terebinth ministries is under. Kent has three different ministries he wants us to get our eyes on and pray specifically about a vision of what God would have us to do here in Gulu, and how we should be getting plugged in with the small group of missionaries from around the world here in Gulu and plugged in to Calvary Gulu, and to the different ministries that could use help and support. Since we just got here yesterday, there isn’t really much else to say, it’s all a little overwhelming still. We are certainly happy to be here in Gulu and feel like we’ve reached our destination that we set out for so long ago. We are pleased to be a part of what God is doing here.
Kent shared with us this morning some of the vision of Terebinth and what sets it apart from the church that it supports and what I found very interesting is the simplicity of the vision. We are not chasing after big dreams of school and church networks accross Uganda, but we have something much easier in mind. Kent’s vision for Terebinth and what we so easily fall in line with is to 1. Simply teach the Bible, and teach how to teach the Bible 2. Disciple 3. Serve. Teach, disciple, and serve. It’s exactly the pattern we see that Jesus takes with His twelve disciples in the gospels, and it is even evident throughout Acts and the epistles. It is what we are well equipped for and frankly I think if it was more complicated than that we would be stepping outside of what God has called us to everywhere we go. It fits so perfectly into the great commission and God’s commission on our lives.
Even with this clear agenda ahead of us, it is easy to feel a lot of uncertainty of what our future in Uganda is going to hold. But, one thing is sure “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”