Worship in Uganda

As I sat this morning after breakfast, waiting to be picked up for delivery to God’s Care Church, I met another guest here, Hazel Seavey.  She is working with an organization called Heart of Africa, essentially helping widows launch micro-businesses.  She described the process of start-up funding, training in basic business practices, and establishing a sustainable structure for ongoing indigenous oversight and accountability.  I loved the emphasis on sustainability. I wonder if our government considers that before doling out grants.  Will the work continue when the initial money runs out?  That seems to me an essential part of good stewardship, and may be the difference between a handout and a hand up.

I am familiar with Heart of Africa, because I met their director, Mike Henderson, in the very same room on May 25, 2013.  Here is what I wrote then:

“Today we were joined for breakfast by Mike Henderson, whom I met last night at supper after I could not help but eavesdrop on a conversation he was having just down the table from me.  He’s a fascinating American who has worked for decades now in Africa.  He has been involved with many organizations.  He says he starts them and then moves on.  He is currently working with Heart of Africa, which provides grants for Africans with specific projects in mind.  He was meeting with an African veterinarian who is looking to establish a trade school, and there may be future involvement with God’s Care Ministries.  Mike gave me a copy of a devotional book he has prepared for trips like ours (why did I not think of that?), and out of it he read a devotion for us.  He mentioned at one point being in Nairobi.  I asked if he knew Karl and Debbie Dortzbach.  I haven’t seen them for 20 years, since our time at Redeemer OPC in Atlanta.  He not only knew them, he knew them well, and had seen Karl only a few days earlier.  Wow.”

And now, after meeting Hazel, I again say, “Wow!”  I pray for God’s blessings upon Hazel and her team here, and for Mike Henderson and Heart of Africa.

Then I was picked up for the ride to church.  A few random observations:

1.  Being a pastor in Uganda is very different from being a pastor in America.  I must ride in the front seat.  I am not allowed to carry my own bags.  And I must sit in a seat of prominence in the church.  It’s all a bit much for me, really, but it could potentially be offensive and would almost certainly leave issues for Pastor Victor if I resisted.  Still, as over-the-top as it might seem to me, if I had to choose between the excessive respect and deference given my office in Uganda or that in the U.S., well …

2.  The honored seating I mentioned was to the right of the congregation, perpendicular to the congregation.  The Praise Team sat behind us, like the “Amen Corner” of some older church structures.  In front of me was a nice coffee table, with a pulpit Bible, some potted plants, a bottle of water, and the sports section of an English newspaper.  Don’t ask, I have no idea.

3.  The offertory was a congregational procession.  Two beautiful and elaborate baskets, shaped like large urns and suspended from a T-shaped structure like scales, was moved to the front center.  The left basket was for tithes and offerings, the right for building projects.  Those of us in the honored seating had our own basket, and what we gave was quite a bit more conspicuous.

4.  Joyful tears came to my eyes several times as we worshipped in song.  That portion of the service lasts for well over an hour, by the way.  Most songs last something in the 10-minute range, singing first in Latooro and then in English.

5.  I was overjoyed to see my friend Peter, and to learn that he would, as in years past, be my translator.  I dearly love this gifted and humble brother.  When I first met him in 2009, he and wife Betty had a five-year-old daughter, Gloria.  When I came in 2011, they had a newborn son, Gilbert.  In 2013, they had another baby, Jonathan.  And this time, they have one-month old Joel.  I teased that I must keep coming to Africa so that Peter and Betty could “multiply and fill the earth.”

6.  It’s hard for me to be a guest preacher.  Anywhere.  Even in the U.S., I feel that I can’t grasp the congregation’s needs or challenges.  Moving across cultures only multiplies that sense of deficiency.  But I’ve learned to ask God to lead by His Spirit and speak to people through me despite my ignorance, and to guard my lips so that I do not say anything harmful.  Come to think of it, that’s not so different from preaching where I pastor, it’s just that I’m more aware of my limitations.  And may I say that even with this extra weight of responsibility, I do love preaching.

After church, Pastor Victor returned to the hotel with me for lunch and some welcomed private conversation.  I’ve always had such respect for him.  As we spoke of our families, our personal struggles, our joys and burdens in ministry, my respect deepened with every word.  He is a man after God’s own heart.

Priceless: The hilarious silence and quizzical look on Peter’s face when I said, “To understand what the Bible means by ‘meditate,’ you must think of a cow”.

A Brighter Day

Today was a brighter day all around.  Some expressed that they had trouble sleeping after the sights and experiences of yesterday.  I understand.  But even as we debriefed last evening, I had a different sense of things than other team members.  My view is that yesterday, God brought us halfway around the world for such a time as this.  We were there to bring hope, comfort, and peace to people who had just suffered life-changing trauma.  I see that as an extraordinary honor.  Despite the horror and sadness, I slept with the fulfillment of being used by God.

This morning, we had the happy delight of distributing clothing to sponsored children.  It was a bit haphazard by American standards.  We simply did the best we could to match children with clothing that fit.  Often, the proportions of American clothing are simply off.  Uganda children are typically thin around the waist, though they may have a distended stomach.  And they have disproportionately large, thick, leathered feet.  I found it humorous that some of the pants the boys were trying were “skinny jeans,” and, honestly, some of the kids could scarcely get their feet through the pants!

The distribution occurred at God’s Care Church.  We did not have the van, only a Rav-4.  They offered to make two trips, but I chose to walk and Leigh wanted to share that adventure.  I set off at least relatively sure I knew how to get there.  My confidence was unfounded.  I took a left one road too early, and had almost ascended the hill on which the church sits before I knew we were on the wrong trail.  In God’s kind providence, a young man came by who both spoke English and knew exactly where the church was.  He pointed to a trail that started exactly where we happened to be standing, and as he said, it took us straight to our destination.  Let’s see a GPS do that!

We ate lunch at the hotel.  While there, a group of students came in.  They were serving in an 8-week volunteer program through Duke University.  They were just passing through, but I take this also as providential, for just a few minutes of exchange with them surely lightened our hearts.  It was also nice to meet their guide, Bright, who was wearing a shirt for an African Children’s Choir and promised to email me info.  God’s blessings to Jon, Sierra, Duncan, Charlie and Shelby.

Then it was off for an afternoon with the children.  They put on a wonderful program for us, featuring some singing, some dance, some poetry and a brief play.  We loved it!  Then we got to interact with the children for awhile.  I distributed most of the Shared Threads T-shirts that had been donated by Daniel Alexander.  If you’re not familiar with the concept, please check out www.sharedthread.org.  I took a tour of the boys’ home, then sat with five or six of them to just discuss.  One in particular was extremely sharp.  Chance Godfrey talked of the Scriptures (he knew a number of passages by memory), local Ugandan culture (he has very definite views of the King of Tooro’s policies) and life in America (as he imagines it).  I was fascinated just to listen to him expound his views, which were well-conceived for someone on 12 or 14.

Then it was back to the hotel for supper.  I’ll want to turn in early, for I’ve been asked to preach at one of the services tomorrow.  I look forward to seeing the expressions on the faces of those who experience worship in Africa for the first time.  I’ll have my camera ready.

Favorite Business Name of the Day:  A company that sells mobile minutes named “Holla!”

Change of Mind for the Day:  I thought I didn’t like mango until I ate one tonight.  I remembered a little slimy and somewhat bland.  Tonight’s mango was juicy and tart.  Maybe it was papaya I don’t like?

Quote of the Day: “Caleb, you hardly ate any of your goat!”

The Day We All Dread

 

Immediately after breakfast, we learned that a terrible accident had occurred.  The report was that four Americans were injured and two were killed.  That proved inaccurate.  We went to the hospital to pray and be of whatever help we could.  There were learned that the non-Ugandans were not American, but Korean.  In the ward we found two men and three women who were being treated for varying degrees of injury.  The two men both had leg injuries requiring stitches.  They spoke some English.  The woman was more severely injured.  Her face was bruised, one eye swollen shut, and I believe she had internal injuries.  Her husband of seven months had been killed in the accident, but she has not yet been told.  Indeed, none of them knew, and this presented some difficulty because the two men kept asking his whereabouts.  I responded with a technical truth, saying that I was a pastor who had come to pray, but I was not associated with the hospital and did not have all of the information.

As I spoke with them, I was told that they were with an organization from South Korea.  I could not tell if it was a Christian or humanitarian agency, but both of the men gladly allowed me to pray for them.  Eventually, four others from their agency came.  One thought I was from the hospital and so began to ask me questions.  When I said I was a pastor, he said, “Ah, yes, we are all pastors, too.” 

Others were injured, too, and at least one Ugandan was killed.  I prayed for Mark (a small boy), for Jonathan (a young man who suffered a severe gash across his back and neck), and for Kenneth, who appears to have suffered the least injuries.

We also went down to the morgue, which was nothing more than a small shed behind the hospital.  Some prayed.  Others sang praise choruses.  I tried to circulate among the people, find those who were effected as opposed to the merely curious, hold them, pray for them, and offer comfort as best I could.  As we were there, a pickup truck pulled up with yet another mangled body from a separate accident.  Three more badly injured young men came to the hospital over the next hour, and I can only presume they were in the same accident.

We offered our prayers.  We offered words of comfort.  But I think most importantly, we offered our presence.  We were there in a time of crisis.  We stayed until an ambulance came to transport them to a larger hospital in Fort Portal, did all we could to keep calm in the midst of chaos, and assisted in any way we were asked.  We had nothing to offer of medical value, but I believe the spiritual value of what we did today was significant.

I pray, and ask you to join me in praying, for Wan Seok Ryu; for Joon Sik Cho; for Young Sun Park; and for the family of Jae Kuni Young.

We returned to the hotel, where I sat down to write this entry.  A television is in the background broadcasting the news that Great Britain voted to withdraw from the European Union and that David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister.  Strange how insignificant that seems to me just now.

Breakfast with Betty

I slept well last night.  I’m so happy for that.  Yesterday, I was so tired that I felt I might fall asleep standing up.  So I’m grateful to God for a good night of rest and the sense that my body is normalizing.

As I served myself at the breakfast buffet, another hotel guest said hello and we struck up a conversation.  Betty is from Kampala, though she grew up in western Uganda.  She was trained as a midwife.  Through her nursing experience, she became connected with I.O.M., the International Organization for Migration.  Her job is helping to resettle refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”).  Her husband and four sons are back in the city, and she says they cope well with the travel schedule required by her job.

I was moved as she described the struggles of taking people who have abandoned every possession and fled to a place of refuge outside their homeland.  I think that, like extreme poverty, it may be possible to sympathize with the refugee, but impossible to empathize.  How does one put himself into the shoes of someone who is not only starting over, but doing so in a strange land?  No wonder God requires His people to show kindness to strangers.

Betty is a sincere Christian.  She said that she often has opportunity to remind people that even when they have nothing left of the material world, God desires for them to be well spiritually.  In some ways, I thought, that makes our jobs similar.  And, of course, in other ways that makes our jobs polar opposites, since my ministry falls more naturally into the realm of 1 Tim. 6:17-19: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” 

I pray for God’s rich blessings upon Betty, her family, and her important work.

Ministry Among the Children

Today was full and wonderful.  After gathering together for prayer, we moved over to the Orphans Village.  On Thursdays, they have an afternoon time of “Bible School” which looks very much like VBS back home.  The ladies spent some time planning out activities for the 360 children.

I went with Alissa to tend to a child at the McFarland Memorial Medical Centre.  Dennis is 11 years old, but has the appearance of a child of five or six due to extreme malnourishment.  He is presently suffering from several maladies, including malaria.  When he first came some days ago, many had simply resigned themselves to his inevitable death.  But Caitlyn, a worker who has come from Mike Fraunfelter’s church in North Dakota every summer since 2013, was determined and begged God to spare his life.  I believe God is answering her heartfelt cries.

When I first saw him, he was in bed with the lethargy of the extremely sick.  Alissa had contacted a nutritionist who had referred her to the hospital in Kyenjojo, where Baylor University helps sponsor a nutrition program.  En route to the hospital, I held Dennis for stability (the roads are in horrendous condition), and I could feel every bone, every rib.  They saw Dennis there, and provided packets of nutritional supplements for a month.  When we retuned, it was lunchtime.  We felt awkward eating in front of Dennis, and several shared their food, though his malnutrition actually limits what he’s able to ingest.  I began to play a bit with him, and it did my heart good to see him smile and even laugh a little.

After lunch, we conducted the Bible school.  Kids played some version of “Duck-Duck-Goose,” chased each other with water balloons, and generally had fun with organized games.  I taught Bible stories.  Rather than deciding which story to tell, I simply asked what story they wanted to hear.  The final tally was: The Prodigal Son (3); the Lost Sheep (2); God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt (2); and Samson and Delilah.  I tried not only to tell the story, but some applications to our own lives from each.

Vivid, Sacred Dream

I mentioned in my previous post that I’ve been having “vivid dreams.” I write this post at 3 a.m. specifically to record one of them.

In this dream, I was at a fast food restaurant, like a McDonald’s, which I apparently owned. I had the run of the place and was as comfortable as if I were at home or in my office. It was a holiday, and the restaurant was closed. But I was there to meet my good friends Greg and Debby Chambers. We were going to share a meal together, using the dining area as our private banquet facility.

I let myself into the building and began to turn on only the necessary lights. My cell phone rang. It was Greg informing me that they were about to arrive. As I made my way toward the kitchen and turned on a light there, I saw the nose of Greg’s car. (Strangely, it was not his real-life car, nor anything at all like it. It was a bright red muscle car of some type, perhaps a 70’s model Mustang Mach I, replete with that Formula I sound of a Harley under the hood.). He was inching through the drive-through, and I realized immediately that he was going to play a prank and inform me of his arrival via the drive-through window. Being equally playful, I ducked below the window so as not be seen, thus foiling his clever plan.

As Greg found a parking space, I went to the door to let them in. They had not made it to the door (in fact, during the entire dream, I never actually saw Greg and Debby). But there was a family standing there, curiously looking about, trying to figure out why the restaurant was closed. I explained that we were closed for the holiday. The father expressed understanding, but asked if they might use the bathroom since they had stopped there for that purpose. I agreed and admitted them. I wanted to head back to the kitchen area, so I simply left the door unlocked so they could depart when ready. That turned out to be a mistake. I looked up from whatever I was doing to discover that others were beginning to trickle in.

One family was standing at the counter, staring at the menu as if to decide on their order. I went to the door and locked it, to prevent any further entrants. Then I approached the family at the counter to explain that we were closed, and that I had only opened the door to allow the previous family access to the bathrooms. They were surprised, but understanding, and so I escorted them to the door, unlocked it, and saw them out.

As I locked the door behind them, I turned to realize that yet another family had come in quietly. It was a Chinese family of some size, a middle-aged father and mother with at least five children ranging from elementary through high school ages. They were in the process of settling into the wing of the restaurant where the bathrooms were located. I wanted to catch them before they were seated, and so quickly addressed the father. He was dressed in a dark blue parka with fur around the hood, much too warm for the season. I thought to myself that he might have recently arrived and was still adjusting to the local weather.

As I spoke to the father, the family huddled around him, a bit clingy. It seemed that he spoke some English, and perhaps they did not, so they were sticking closely together for reassurance in this moment of uncertainty. I explained to the father that the restaurant was not open for business, that I was meeting friends there for dinner and had unlocked the door only to let one family use the bathroom. The look on his face was something greater than confusion, just shy of panic. That look alerted me to the reality that something else was going on here. Something was wrong.

He said he understood, but asked if his family might stay in the wing while I ate with my friends. He promised most sincerely that they would be quiet and that we wouldn’t even know they were there.

That’s when the reality of the situation hit me. I looked him in the eye and said, “You are homeless, aren’t you?” He shook his head unconvincingly, as though trying to maintain his dignity. “Do not lie to me,” I insisted. “Tell me the truth. Are you homeless?” He stared back at me unresponsive. I took him by the shoulders. I raised my voice. I was demanding. “Tell me! Are you homeless?” As though he were yielding his deepest secret under interrogation, he began to nod and hold back tears.

I could not hold back mine. I lost it. I utterly and completely lost it. I began to weep uncontrollably, almost hysterically. I was embarrassed. I grabbed him in a bear hug. I did so to embrace him, yes, but my primary motivation was to prevent him from seeing my complete meltdown. I cried so hard, I shook.

And I knew I had to do something. This was no longer his problem, or at least not his alone. His plight was my plight. God had brought him, with his beautiful family, to my door, through my door, into my domain, into my embrace. And I had no idea how we were going to solve this, but, by God, we were going to solve this.

Then I woke.

I told you it was vivid. Somewhat nonsensical (does any dream make perfect sense?), but highly emotional. I can’t help just now but reflect that the word “vivid” comes from the Latin for “life.” And I‘m wondering if this dream is meant to be more than life-like. Is it supposed to be life-changing for me? Life-giving to others?

I’ll not get back to sleep tonight, I know that. I am not supposed to sleep now, but to consider. I have that sense that this was a sacred moment, an encounter with the Holy. Moses didn’t ask for his Burning Bush, and I did not ask for this. As he found himself, quite accidentally, on holy ground, so do I. And I don’t know yet what it means, but I know it means something … something significant. And here at the beginning of ministry in Kyenjojo, I need to—I have to—ponder what that might be.

“For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.” Job 33:14-16

Entebbe to Kyenjojo

Today we made the long trip from Entebbe (which locals pronounce very much like “intubate”) to Kyenjojo, a trek of about 5.5 hours. My day began at 4 a.m. only because I could not sleep. I went downstairs and struck up a conversation with the security guards, Pacras and Anock. They told me many things about Entebbe and the districts from which they come, but mostly they wanted to know about the U.S. (“America” as they call it). Where was my home? How big was my state? How does one go about coming to seek a job? Will Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton win the election?

After some time, I felt like I might get a bit of sleep, so returned to my room, and woke again just as the sun was rising. I was surprised to find that I was the only one at the breakfast table. I don’t remember jet lag being this bad before. Is it because I am older? Because my memory is faulty? Because this trip was a bit more grueling than in the past?

I’ve also noted some other minor health issues. I can tell that the medicines are having a cumulative effect on my body. I am a bit jittery. And I have begun to have “vivid dreams.” They aren’t necessarily bad dreams, just unusual, somewhat nonsensical and even a bit psychedelic. I’ve heard of others having these, but this is my first experience. Far out!

What is new to me: A delicious fried green served at breakfast. The cook told me it was spinach, but Alissa says it is really “dodo.”
What is old: Planning to leave at 11 a.m. and waiting until noon for the transport.

When we did head out, I saw all the usual sights. One village after another, each one begging the question “why?” And it seems that there are people everywhere, each manning a shop of some sort, but no one visiting someone else’s shop. I’m sure commerc takes place, but to an American, it seems like much ado about nothing.

I made a note to myself last time I was here to record some of the business names, so different from our business names: “Amazing Bar;” “Amicus,” “Shalom Videoz;” and (my favorite due to its directness) “Pork Joint.”

It rained again today. It is unusual for the rainy season to extend this far into the year. Usually by June, Uganda is expecting dry, hot weather, and there is some small degree of confusion about the cause of this new weather pattern. The more educated think it has something to do with climate change. The less educated think it is a plot by the government.

When we arrived, we were greeted by many old friends: Pastor Victor, Godfrey and Sam from God’s Care Ministries and also Margaret from the Royal Tooro Cottages Hotel. It is simply impossible to believe that it has been three years. We picked up right where we left off. What a blessing, the communion of saints.

At Supper, we learned to say (well, tried to say) Sam’s full name: Bananga Byiange Kiwe (pronounced “chewy”) Omatomato Kise (pronounced “chi say”) Incota. After several attempts, he said, “Perfect.” That’s his kindness, not our accuracy, speaking.

Reunited in Entebbe

We had a fifteen hour layover in Doha, Qatar. Hamad International Airport is modern and hospitable. We found a nice nook in the Food Court, with two tables and a padded bench. At each terminal, a “Family Lounge” featured something like chaise lounge chairs which made napping easier, but that was countered by jet lag.

I had thought I would not eat until the morning flight, to let my body adjust to the seven hours I had just gained. But that 2 a.m. sandwich the night before apparently sent the wrong signals to my stomach, because at roughly the same time I gave in to the hunger pangs. I ordered from the airport Burger King. It cost roughly $10 for a combo, which I suppose should be expected at an airport. What I did not expect was the larger size and superior quality of the food.

It seemed to take forever for our morning flight to be listed with the departures, but it eventually showed up. Then, 30 minutes before boarding, the flight info was changed to a Royal Air Marocco (that’s how they spell it) flight. I was told that Qatar Airways had subcontracted with them for this leg, so it was no problem. But when we got to the gate, it still showed the original info. This was confusing for those who were trying to communicate travel status to families back home.

The five hour flight to Entebbe had one hilarious moment for me. I woke to realize that lunch had been served and all five of Team Uganda was asleep. The attendant was in the aisle only one row behind my seat, so I signaled to her. “Am I too late?” I asked. “No, she said, “What would you like to drink?” I then realized hers was only a beverage cart with no hot food. “Actually,” I said, “I was hoping to get a meal.” “That’s not a problem,” she said, “I will get one for you.” She went back to the rear of the jet and I settled in for lunch. Then, a moment later, she very efficiently placed two cups full of liquid on my tray and scurried back to her routine. It took me a moment to realize what had happened. When I said I wanted a “meal,” she heard that I wanted a “beer.” By the time I put the pieces together, she was too far behind me to get her attention without causing a scene.  Plus, a man was beginning to come from the front of the plane to collect trash. What was I to do? Well, what would you have done?

Soon after, we touched down. I loved watching the faces of those on African soil for the first time. Autumn was sitting next to me, and I was tickled because she actually squealed with glee.

When we deboarded, I found the totes carrying supplies neatly together on the floor by the carousel. One had been opened and inspected. The others were just as they had been.

Just as we finished gathering our luggage and began to move through customs, Brlinda and Kirsten arrived. They had been rerouted through Dubai. It was confusing and harrowing for them, I know, but I see the Lord’s mercy that after all that had happened, we arrived in Entebbe within 10 minutes of each other.

One small glitch – their personal checked bags arrived with them, but their totes of supplies were not to be found. We filed the paperwork for a search. Our hope is that they will arrive on the Turkish Airline flight that Belinda and Kirsten were originally rescheduled to take.  If so, they will arrive at 2:55 s.m. and we can pick them up before our trip to Kyenjojo.

Paul was at the airport to collect us. It made my heart happy to see him again. I stayed behind to help Belinda and Kirsten, and to deal with the luggage paperwork, but the others went on to the hotel and we joined them when we wrapped up. The Acacia Beach Hotel is a a new one for us. It sits directly across the street from Lake Victoria. I stepped out on the balcony, took in the view, and breathed deeply that comforting, familiar, dark-roasted, earthy smell of Africa.

Fun moment – watching monkeys scramble through the hotel parking lot, climbing the walls and scampering up the roof.  One had a baby clinging to her underside.

Food – ordered “Kuku wa Nazi,” chicken in a coconut sauce, with Basmati rice, which I washed down with my favorite drink, a Stoney Tangawizi.

Blessed Are the Flexible …

For they shall not be bent out of shape.

Just before we boarded our plane in ATL, we heard from Belinda and Kirsten that their flight was delayed.  They had to return earlier than the rest of us and so had a separate itinerary on Turkish Airlines while the rest of us were flying Qatar Airlines.  Their delay was going to cause them to miss their connecting flight from Istanbul to Entebbe, and they were told they would have to spend the night in a hotel in Istanbul (arranged by the airline, of course) and arrive in Entebbe 24 hours late.  I spoke to someone at Turkish Airlines to ask if they had a reciprocal agreement with Qatar that would allow Belinda and Kirsten to fly with us instead, but the answer was negative.  Then the airline rep offered that it might be possible for them to change their itinerary once they got to Istanbul.  Instead of spending the night and flying directly to Entebbe, perhaps they could catch a flight to another city (e.g. Nairobi) and then go on from there.  That might save considerable time.

As I write this, they are still in the air, and the outcome will not be determined until they arrive in Istanbul.  So we are praying  And we are confident that our Father does all things well.  In fact, I’ve already thought of one particular blessing, however this works out.  Belinda has been a bit nervous about arriving in Entebbe several hours before us.  I’ve verified three times that a rep from God’s Care Ministries would be waiting for them to whisk them off to the Airport Guest House to await our arrival.  Now, all of that is resolved.  We will be in Entebbe first and be there to greet Kirsten and Belinda.  I think that will calm a few nerves.

Most Puzzling Moment: Waking at 4 a.m. to be served a sandwich, which I thought was breakfast right up until I was served breakfast three hours later.

In the WTMI but I have to note it anyway category: In the airport in Qatar, the men’s rooms have attendants who escort each visitor to a stall and clean the seat before his eyes.  Awkward … but I could learn to live with a service like that!

 

Wheels Up!

We had a wonderful send-off from Barnwell. People in both services laid hands upon Team Uganda to send us off with God’s blessing and with theirs. Immediately after the service, we gathered together, prayed, and it was off to ATL.

We had a smooth trip to ATL, and then a smooth check-in at Qatar Airlines. The only thing close to a surprise is that the flight leaves an hour earlier than our itinerary indicates. But even that was no problem, because we passed through the shortest TSA line I’ve ever experienced. 5 minutes. A hop, skip and a jump later, we’re all sitting in the waiting area for our flight to Doha, Qatar.

Happy Unexpected Moment: Shaking hands with NBA Hall of Fame member and fellow traveler Dikembe Mutombo.