Out of Africa: Lessons learned along the journeyRich Stigall
From Marsha Campbell,
Journeying home, two questions were posed to our team: What have you learned about orphan care in Uganda? What are you taking home from your experience?
Following are some responses from our team travelers:
Those who have lost so much can be so loving and polite accepting of others and thankful.
The African communities don’t need the Western world to “drive their cars” for them. They just need us to give them a helpful push to get started on their journey.
The widows and orphans just want to be loved, hugged, valued and listened to, just like all of us.
I learned from the orphans and their Mamas about the depth of love, contentment and spirituality they will gladly share at any time. To watch them break into song to praise our God is truly an uplifting experience.
Bishop George said that “God has made somebody out of nobody.” I believe that we saw that quote come alive as the children and the Mamas have been given a home and someone to love. They have been given the gift of once again feeling like somebody when they were nobody. I also believe I am the luckiest woman alive as I have not had to experience the losses of either the orphans or the Mamas. My problems now seem so very minor.
Women have such a hard time in the third world country. From sun up to sun down they are at work serving and working for their children and husbands. They have to trudge miles to get water early in the morning. Back to feed children the meager food they have before they go to school — if the mothers have put away enough money so the children can go to school. Women can be seen working hard in the fields with literally back breaking work. The chores at home are simple but also back breaking and with no modern conveniences like we have. They wash clothes in a pail of water they collected that morning, they cook food over an open pot maybe in a separate structure outside the main home. They sweep their dirt floors with a broom they have to bend over to use. Yet, many women love the Lord through all of this and express their joy. We also discovered they don’t have opportunity to share their burdens with other women. Perhaps if they could share they would have some relief in their life.
I am taking away LOVE, TEARS, JOY, FAITH, LAUGHTER & HOPE.
I want to remember the love, hospitality and acceptance of our hosts. I want to remember the faces of the children as they are cared for and loved by the adults of the Father’s village, I have hope that they can find life and make a difference in life as they grow older.
I want to remember what “being saved” means to the people of the Kabale. I heard story after story from the women of illness, and fear, and abuse that God saved them from. It is quite different in our country when we say saved. We are not “saved” from nearly as much as the women we met in Kabale. They are so grateful to God for what He has done in their lives. They burst out in song and praise at any moment. They are not afraid to express their love for God.
I also want to remember that the language of love for Jesus is the same all over the world. We can definitely worship God together whether we are in Africa or the US. We have so much in common when we are believers and serve the Most High God.
I have a desire to never forget the feelings I have had of reaching across cultural differences with love and understanding.
In spite of their lives filled with death, without their own family and daily survival, they possess a depth of faith that is enviable and a joy for the Lord that is visible and audible! Dancing and singing praises!
I truly felt that on this trip we were able to go on a divine appointment to experience God where He is truly working and know that He works in “BIG”ways! To realize that a year ago, these orphans were homeless and now they have a home, a Mama, food and a community that supports them is a little bit hard to comprehend. But the picture that will stay forever in my mind is that on Sunday morning each one of these children were in church kneeling at the altar praying to the same powerful God is enough to bring tears to my and anyone’s eyes!
Life for African women is hard. They do not have the sense of freedom that choices and conveniences afford us Americans. But when African women dance, they know how to move! When they dance they can feel free. Watching the women dance their native Kiga was one of my happiest memories, the graceful and exultant moves were the embodiment of joy and celebration of the community of women…sisters of the soul.
One of the greatest things I experienced was the African sense of clan. The tribal connection was so very strong through extended relations. The pride and love of connection were amazing. I think this was one of the reasons the local church so embraced loving and caring for the children who had been orphaned. Every Saturday morning, people from the community come and work together in the garden to raise food not for themselves but for the children of The Father’s House. These are poor people themselves, but they sacrifice each Saturday in the hot sun to toil in the garden so the children will have good food. Amazing care and love!
Faith in God can bring great joy no matter what our circumstances. The people of Uganda had a faith that came from total trust in Jesus to provide for their daily needs. The spiritual leadership of the church was strong, involved and encouraging. One quote was: “Now that you have seen, you are responsible.” The question for me is how will this responsibility affect my life; what changes will be made in my life now that I have truly seen? How must I respond?
Now that I have seen, I DO feel responsible on so many levels. I am responsible for keeping these dear children, their community and country alive in my heart and prayers; I am responsible for sharing their stories; I am responsible for engaging all with open hearts and hands to join on this unfolding soul-full adventure. So, I humbly invite you into this amazing mission, by yourself or with your circle of friends, join and embrace Africa and her children with me.
Godspeed on the journey,