9 March 2012 – The Journey Back Begins

I can’t say that I’m happy about the title of this journal or that I’m currently laying in a bed in Kampala because tomorrow night I will be headed back to Chicago, but I can say that I am joyful for what God has done this week and I’m excited with all that He has yet to do.

This morning started out a lot like the others (with breakfast as our little team) only I finally showered before going to it. We prayed and ate together (our last breakfast as our small part of our team) and then packed. We put all of our stuff in my room and headed over to ABIDE, one last time.

At ABIDE, it felt like every other day for the first bit, but after a while, it started to settle in that this day was not like the others.

Bill and I got to show the guys our iPads during the computer class, which was fun, but made my throat hurt more (as it has hurt all week) and got me to go through my water far too quickly. But then I got to teach and I think it went well for my first time teaching a class (Hopefully I can get some feedback from Matt by email as we didn’t have time after my lesson).

Then we had lunch with the guys. We had good conversations, but the fact that we were leaving within a few hours became very evident.

I recorded some videos of some of the guys and Bill did as well and I hope to piece some of these together to do something for ABIDE as well as give you an idea of how awesome this ministry is.

After that, I got pictures with my ssebos (Amos and Daniel) who I had both done the share care prayer with (evangelism on our first night) as well as the small group last night. I also got a picture with Peter who I had not gotten to know super well until last night and today.

After all of this, we got to have one-on-ones with the students (assigned to us) and I got to be with Daniel. This was an awesome time that was incredibly affirming to me as a leader and I hope it was very affirming to him as well. I felt that it was a very blessed time and I believe that God spoke through each of us to both of us.

Finally, it came time to say goodbye.

Matt had one guy, Peter, summarize the feelings of the ABIDE class. He did a really good job. Then Matt opened it up to us.

We each spoke, starting with Bill, followed by me, and ending with Kevin.

By the time it got to be Kevin’s turn, you could tell that our words were impacting Matt deeply as we were being very affirming and encouraging of the amazing ministry that we got to witness and participate in for this past week. By the time I sat down and Kevin began to speak, my eyes started to tear up.

We then went to the middle of the room, as the Trinity trinity with our arms around each other and the ABIDE class and staff surrounded us and prayed for us. I definitely teared up a lot during this.

I cannot even begin to explain the impact that each student and staff member had on me or how challenged and encouraged I felt by our time spent with them.

I went into this trip with a lot of uncertainty, but I feel that I am seeing quite a bit clearer now.

We all said our goodbyes one-on-one, which was really difficult, and then we took a family photo. Matt gave us a card signed by all of the guys and we each got ABIDE shirts (which I will wear proudly). We also got a picture with Matt as the “first American” ABIDE class.

We headed back to the hotel to get our stuff and then hit the road. It was a long drive, but we made it to the guest house in Kampala (about 4 hours later) and were welcomed by a big dinner filled with lots of meat (which was welcome) and followed by some sugar cane. This, and getting to see our team which we had been separated from all week, made it a little less bitter that we had just parted from our family.

There was a little separation and we didn’t quite assimilate completely as a whole group, but I think tomorrow when we share together about what happened at the different places, before “hitting the town,” it will fill in the blanks and give more cohesion to the group, right before traveling back to the states again.

I’m glad to be able to share a room with Bill and Kevin again.

I’m also excited to see what God has in store for us, for the ABIDE class of 2012, for the nation of Uganda and the world (through the class).

I started seminary on a bitter note of wanting to be here. I’ve now had the opportunity to come back and spend more time here and…there may be another opportunity some time soon. The least I can do is be content.

God has brought me here and that is all that matters. I am thankful for His provision and I will follow joyfully wherever I go next.

Uganda, unless God has something different in mind, I will see you again.

ABIDE class of 2012, as long as we are living, our paths may still cross; however, if our paths do not cross on this side of eternity, you can rest assured that we will be together in paradise.

It’s hard not to smile when you look at the big picture; it brings all of the little messes together and gives them purpose.

What a loving God we have.

Mukama asiimwe.

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