Kagera, Uganda- Elim Church today. We travel over dusty red rutted roads. We pass many people walking. Some carry baskets on their heads or jugs of water. Men, women, children on both sides of the road. Motorcyclists with women sit side-saddled as passengers with toddlers on their laps. (Most “taxis” here are motorcycles.)
We arrive at the church. It is in a remote village, and Philip needs to gauge if we can fit the van up to the mud-thatched, tin roof structure. A woman in a long bright pink satin dress scurries to greet us…hugs us, grabs our hands and escorts us into the building. Little children everywhere staring at the “Mazungos” (white people). We take seats at the front. Philip has six more pastors from different churches there. At least eight speak, all in Luganda language with an English interpreter. When David speaks, he asks if anyone has a desire to know Jesus Christ or a problem we can pray for. Most of the church raises their hand and come to the front for prayer. It was beautiful. We sensed the Holy Spirit presence with us together.
Then it started to pour….and pour. With all the dirt roads it was questionable that we would get out. Could we rough it like them? Could we sleep on a dirt floor with dripping rain and no clean water or toilet?
Philip assured us it would be okay. So we stayed and ate lunch. The women had been slaving over a coal firewood pit making food for 200. They serve us mounds of rice, roasted bananas, greens, and a few pieces of beef. So generous; it was delicious.
This congregation is part of a self-sustaining project in which we leased farmland, and they worked the land to produce crops. The crops they harvested already well-exceeded the investment. Praise the Lord! There is a woman in this congregation who has seamstress skills. She offers to train the women so they can become self-sustaining. Poverty is prevalent and extreme here. They must muster the hope to believe that God can deliver them out of the cycle of poverty to give them and their children hope.
We must pray.
We gave them English Bibles, though Luganda is their native language. They need God’s Word in their hearts to help them know Jesus and have victory.
As we leave, the rain stops. We cannot make it down the hill to visit the farm, so we turn around in a driveway. We see a 8″wide by 10″ high woodslatted shack. A child’s eyes peer through the slats…then two, three…four, and a mom and dad tumble out. Their home is half the size of a one-stall garage– more like a lawn shed. “Take a picture!” I squeal to Robert. The children all smile in their dirty-tattered clothes, delighted to see their own picture…maybe for the first-time.
We head back to the hotel and have dinner with a woman from California we met the day before who runs an orphanage there. We share ideas and learn all we can.