We left the airport at Entebbe, drove to Kampala, and checked into our hotel in the section of the capitol city where westerners stay. This is the area where Americans and Europeans typically dwell while in Uganda. We then went to the money changers and thanks to Daniel Lugumya’s financial savvy, we negotiated an excellent rate of exchange. There is one decent road in the entire country, and that is the main route that connects Entebbe with Kampala. The rest of the streets are dirt, sand and potholes. Daniel described the traffic as “organized chaos.” There are no street lights or stop signs, and everyone just “goes for it.” The traffic is always bumper to bumper and I never saw as much as a fender bender all week long! There is a unique connectivity among the Ugandan populace, and in a way that is difficult to even explain, they have an incredible sense for one another. A “oneness” if you will.
The homes and businesses are not much more than slums. There is a shortage of utilities everywhere, and plumbing is nonexistent in all of the neighborhoods we entered. The infamous Middle Eastern “hole in the ground” was observed within small outhouses, and very little if any privacy was afforded. Rain pushes sewage straight through neighborhoods. After Daniel left us at our hotel, he stayed with his sister in one of the innumerable third world cinder block homes that dot the landscape throughout Kampala. I felt awkward, yet Ugandans want to treat westerners better than themselves because they know we are use to it. I was amazed at observing the Ugandans’ attire, and how they dressed for church services. They are all very poor, yet they manage to obtain fine looking clothes to wear when they go to worship. Why is this? Simply because it is a priority with them.
Why go on short term mission trips? For one thing, one can see what the Lord is doing around the world, and a mission trip affords the opportunity to have a hand in it. I have never been on such a trip without observing and participating in professions of faith and people being won to Christ. People respect Americans who leave our comfort zones and lives of relative ease, cross salt water and share the Gospel with folks who lack our understanding and education. I am glad I went on this trip three years ago when I had more energy than even today! When the Lord is through with me, I do not want to say: “Could have, would have, should have.” Do you know what I mean? Thank you Jesus for helping us to obey You.
After resting briefly in our hotel rooms, we had dinner together, and then went to Jesus Commissioned Ministry Church for an evening service. We had services nightly in a revival atmosphere. I spoke a message to start with, and felt great chemistry with Daniel Lugumya who translated my English into Ugandan (Swahili). I was tired, spent and satisfied when I completed the well received message. After all, we traveled from Chicago to London to Uganda, acclimated ourselves into the city of Kampala, and then the Lord lifted me up to preach a message at the end of the day. Game over, right? Wrong. Daniel suggested for me to preach another message following the singing of a few hymns and special music. My flesh did not want to but I wanted to because I never did this before and I wanted to put God to the test. The Bible (Paul) says: “When I am weak, then I am strong.” God gave me strength that I did not have. I know our daughter Jessica sensed my weakness and prayed for the message. I am so glad that I was given this opportunity and challenge. The Ugandans love the Word of God. I was humbled to preach to several pastors that evening who came to our service. Ugandan church services last until whenever. Whenever the Holy Spirit closes them. This service lasted well over two hours and the wonderful people thought nothing of it. THIS is why I like mission trips. They are a spiritual reality check.
The close of this service and return to our hotel, brought us to the end of a very long and productive day.