Thank you for your questions! Here are our answers:
- What advice would you give anyone looking to engage in short term mission?
KH – Find out as much about the culture, people, language and potential work before you go and as soon as you arrive, settle yourself in with local friends and get to know the area well. Take the first step and trust that God will take you the rest of the way.
OB – If you feel like it’s what you are being called to do then absolutely do it! I never expected to meet such amazing people and feel so at home The experience will be something you will never forget and leave you feel so much more connected with God!
JG – My advice is to jump right in, don’t let fear control you but trust in God. Only go for the right reasons, don’t expect to change the world but if you change one life for Christ that is enough. Take every opportunity, try every food at least once and don’t be afraid to step out and follow God’s leading even if others try to stop you.
JB – Jump into every single opportunity with expectancy that God can work through you. When you enter with this way of thinking, instead of the unknown bringing anxiety, it will bring excitement.
- What is the funniest thing that has happened to you?
KH – The whole of the time I have spent here, I have been giving people a thumbs up which I learnt last week is a potentially offensive political symbol. Oops. (Thankfully it was mainly just to Sunday School children who wouldn’t understand!)
OB – There was a time during rainy season we got caught in the most torrential storm with nowhere to take shelter. To make matters worse, a truck drove past with about 20 army men who beeped and laughed at us.
JG – Maybe not the funniest thing, but a memorable laugh for me was when at a wedding, the preacher went off on a long tangent about how Margaret Thatcher was a great anointed woman of God. The comments resonated with the team (at least two of us).
JB – One of the funniest moments for me was when visiting a market stall in Kampala we got into a conversation about Trump. This was the same week Trump described some African nations as an expletive and the man’s response was, “Look around, is he wrong?”
- If you could take back any Ugandan food, what would you take?
KH – The bananas, which are so much better than the bananas you get in the UK. There is a particular sweet variety which are so small and so good!
OB – Odii which is made from G-nuts which are like peanuts. So essentially it is just really good peanut butter.
JG – Rolex without a doubt.
JB – Same as the above!
- What are you going to miss most about Uganda?
KH – The people! Being part of the church choir has meant that I have spent so much time with the other girls, and we have had so many laughs and jokes that I really will miss.
OB – I have met some of the most incredible people here, people that I just want to be in my life forever! They are all so encouraging and leave me feeling so optimistic and joyful. They are just so in love with God! I’d say that’s what I’m going to miss this most, that and the peanut butter and banana smoothies…
JG –I’ll miss getting lively during the hour long worship sessions on a Sunday morning. The Northern Irish church is not quite a rhythmic as Uganda.
JB – I will miss lots about Uganda; the food, the sunshine, the children and the dancing. But most of all, I will miss the infectious joy that is ever present among the people despite circumstances.
- What is the most important thing you’ve learnt that you can use in the UK?
KH – We had a couple of days struggle when our gas ran out, so we couldn’t use the cooker. I spent an hour and a half trying to light the charcoal stove (thinking back to my days in the Scouts) and eventually managed! (Cheers for the over the phone help, Dad!)
OB – I’ve learnt to ride a very old, very unpredictable bike on busy, pot-hole filled roads.
JG – The most important thing I’ve learnt probably comes from living with three English strangers. Shared living has brought many challenges but I’ve learnt how to cope with different people in tense and emotional situations which I’m sure will serve useful in the future.
JB – I have learnt many things over the last 6 months, but the standout lesson for me is being able to use initiative in all situations. Challenges come all the time and being able to not only cope but flourish is a lesson I will certainly take home.
Over our last couple of weeks in Uganda our formal projects have slowed down, as most of them are naturally coming to an end, this has allowed us all to spend so much more time with people from church. The church has now started a lunchtime fellowship which we go along to. It is half an hour of worship and a short message, organised by some of the university students from the campus along the road. We have made some really great friends, so it is lovely to be able to see them nearly every day before we leave
Olivia and Kirsty have been invited to the Easter production rehearsals (even though we are missing Easter here) to learn some more traditional Acholi dancing, after their wedding episode, which they have displayed in church. Again it’s the perfect way to make the most of the time we have left with the people here.
James and Joseph have carried on with their growing English class, now numbering six pupils! One of their pupils is a man named Solomon, who is learning English in order to be appointed as a Deacon of the church. He has become a good friend to the boys through the English classes, but also to Olivia and Kirsty too. He invited us round to his home where his wife, Agnes, cooked us up a wonderful lunch. We also wanted to return the favour, and none of the family had ever tried “Mzungu Food”. It was safe to say that they weren’t really fans of our chicken curry, although the ice cream went down a treat with the two children (it was too cold for Agnes and Solomon though).
We got to see some of the farmers in the villages with a colleague of our supervisors, Bernard. It was really interesting to see chillies and bananas growing and find out more about the care and skills that it takes to be a successful farmer. James also learnt how hot Ugandan chillies are by taste. Apparently many Indian curries are made using Ugandan chilli powder.
We are so grateful to everyone we have met in Uganda for making our experience here truly second to none! In particular we want to hugely thank our supervisors Tim and Linda Darby for supporting us and encouraging us throughout any situation we have found ourselves in. Also to the rest of the BMS Uganda Team in Gulu and Kampala, you’ve been wonderful to get to know! Finally, the wonderful Pastor Jimmy and Phionah, we can’t put into words how grateful we are for the love they have shown us, making us feel so welcome.
Prayer and Praise Points:
- Praise for the incredible time we’ve had and the growth that we have all experienced in so many ways.
- Prayer for safety travelling home, as Tim drives to the airport (and back).
- Praise for the time we have got to spend recently with our friends and Christian families, which has been wonderful.
- Please continue praying for the Sunday School at UCC, that the initiatives we’ve set up will continue and the children will receive the best possible teaching.