6-24 Finally in Africa

Well, we've been in Uganda for about 5 hours now. And for the most part my body is staging a full revolt against the sleep deprivation it has experienced during the nearly 30 hours devoted to travel. Not to mention that the night before our departure I slept only 1 hour. Because of my 1 hour night, I was able to sleep well on the first flight and reasonably well on the second.

Enough of that.

A very strange and thrilling moment took place as our plane made its final decent into Uganda. I had the weepie (I'm gonna blame that mostly on the jet lag) emotional kind of feeling of thrilling satisfaction that what I first had as a vision 5 years ago is now my reality. 5 years ago I listened to Rick Warren talk about his own journey toward a personal commitment to Africa, poverty, and AIDS. He gave a challenge to all the pastors present to personally visit Africa and see if God would allow us to leave without a commitment to make a difference.

Well, I didn't have to visit to know that God wanted me to make a difference. My heart was a flame within me as he spoke and I rose my hand in commitment to go to Africa. I came home and told Rhonda that it needed to happen. And we both kind of said, "....OK..."

Every time the idea of a missions trip crossed my mind I would research missionaries and missions organizations that I could possibly partner with in order to fulfill the commitment that I felt inspired by God to make that day. And time after time, the objectives of the missionaries or organizations were not aligned with what God had put on my heart.

Then one of my friends, Annie Phipps, shared with me some of the things she had experienced in Uganda with World Outreach Ministry Foundation. And I began to research that. I finally made contact with the founder of the organization, had dinner with Ron DeVore and the trip got in the planning phase. And then I felt relieved. That's all, just relieved. I felt like the obligation of fulfilling my commitment was finally in motion and my sense of failure was being lifted. Relieved.
Well, today it was not relief. It was overwhelming anticipation to be a part of God's mighty movement to love forgotten people who face the biggest challenges on our planet: the challenge to live without clean water, the challenge to defeat HIV when your culture and education do not help you to do so, the challenge to create a positive future for a country filled with orphans, the challenge to see God in any of it.

While I am exhausted and have nearly fallen out of a chair, dozed off in a public shopping area, and dropped my head in my plate of dinner, I have only excitement about being with God in His mission.

I'll give you updates as I can on twitter, facebook and here when I get a chance. But I will not have much internet access for the next few days.

Uganda is beautiful. Lush and green tropical beauty. Cleaner than nearly any country in the same economic situation. AND since we are nearly AT the equator our days will be 12 hours long as will be our nights. And tomorrow I will get to stand on the equator, experiment with water swirling in opposite directions on either side, and loose about 5 pounds just for standing directly on the equator. But let me say, Ugandans are beautiful people with great features and deeply meaningful smiles.

Thanks for your prayers. Continue to pray. Tomorrow we will begin our work with orphans, then 2 days of medical clinic to follow. Then worship and ministry on Sunday and the clinic and well installation on Monday. That's the plan so far.


Sarita Allen June 24, 2009 at 10:21 AM  

Awesome! I'm so blessed to be a witness to what God is doing in your life and in our church. These are exciting times and I'm excited to hear more of this trip. We're praying for you here at home! God bless all you and team do!

Peter P June 26, 2009 at 10:14 AM  

Thanks for the update Bruce.

I'm so glad you arrived safely!

I look forward to hearing more about what God is doing in you and seeing the working out of that in the next few years.

I love the fact that you had to point out that if you have 12 hour days, that means you will have 12 hour nights too. I might not have worked that one out :-)

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