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Reisverslag Blog 9 - God Bless Jinja
23 januari 2017
Blog 9 - God Bless Jinja
On Tuesday, it was our last full day of ministry in Arua and it wasn’t without its complications. It started off alright as we were supposed to bless the base by cleaning their huge dining hall which they use for all of their gatherings. We had some fun doing that and we messed around and practiced our curling skills here in Africa and got some small cuts from the “well-used” (broken in half) brooms. The girls went to the hospital after lunch for Sarah’s last check-up after she finished her antibiotics and she is doing so much better without any more infections, thank you God! We were scheduled to have a follow-up door to door ministry in the afternoon but we ran into a few troubles. We were supposed to be picked-up at 2:30 by our contact people but they hadn’t arrived by 3:15 and the girls came back from the hospital and told us that we were expected to head to the church on our own to meet the contact people and translators. We finally got to the church and then our contact people weren’t even there! We gave them a phone call and we found out that one of them had guests over and so the other one went over to visit them. It was a little bit disconcerting considering we had ministry planned and they were supposed to help with translating and didn’t even let us know that they weren’t going to be there but welcome to Africa. They’re amazing people but it was a little bit frustrating because it took up most of our ministry time, just a completely different culture. We did have a nice time following-up on door to door and we were able to hand out a couple bibles to the Muslim families who were interested in them. Sarah, John and Geerte were also introduced to the “attacking gospel” by one of the pastors. We were talking to one family and he told all of the kids of the father that their father’s salvation wouldn’t save them and if they didn’t repent immediately that they would be going straight to hell. He found a bunch of very condemning Bible verses and in then end the whole family repented and said a prayer after the pastor. It was definitely an eye-opening experience and a much different way of ministry in comparison to the West. It still was a nice time connecting with the different families and they were very open and got to encourage a lot of them. The Germany team also came back that day from the refugee camp along with a few from the South African team who were sick. We were able to hear some of their stories and sympathized with them from having similar experiences out there in the blazing heat. After that we had our time to say goodbye to the base leaders and we got some delicious cake! The people here were so kind and even though some circumstances didn’t work out here, the YWAM Staff were great hosts. We still didn’t have water or power but we only had one day left in Arua!
On Tuesday the plan was for the boys to get up and go to the men’s prison, and the girls to the women’s in the afternoon, but that got scrapped and we all ended up going to the female prison in the afternoon. We were able to perform a drama for the ladies and Geerte did a great job explaining the drama. John gave a short message and we had an amazing time worshipping with the women and they were all very enthusiastic and interested. The rest of the day was time for ourselves to prepare for travelling, getting all of our things in order, packing our bags, and thankfully, SHOWERING! They got a generator working to pump water so we were at least able to have some showers before heading over to Jinja. The remaining part of the Muizenberg team also came back on Tuesday and it was nice to be able to say good-bye and talk with them about their time in the refugee camp before heading our separate ways. It also was nice timing because when the teams were coming back, we were just leaving so it wasn’t as busy and crowded, definitely a small blessing. We had our last dinner at the base and in the evening we all said our good-byes to the other teams and headed on our last rollercoaster trip with the crazy Texan, Sid. This time it was even more interesting because we couldn’t be bothered to throw our luggage on the roof of the vehicle so we just packed it all in the back with us and wow, it was a tight squeeze! We had multiple suitcases on our laps and there was a barrier of suitcases between us and Sid in the front. We literally could not see him while we were driving. We arrived at the bus stop and bought bags full of chapatis for our Night Bus ride. We were all tired but excited to be moving on the final stop of our outreach phase. We climbed in and actually departed on time! The first time in weeks!
The bus ride was pretty uneventful. We travelled through the night and stopped twice to stretch our legs and get a bathroom break in. We arrived in Kampala within 8 hours, which is totally insane. The bus drivers are actually crazy. They used to drive so fast that they would drive from Arua to Kampala in 6 hours and the government actually had to put a time restriction of minimum 8 hours travelling because they were driving so bloody fast and scarily. They just wouldn’t stop for anything. Anyways we arrived on time and after 30 people came up asking us if we wanted a taxi or boda boda, this hulk of a man walked up to Jonah, wrapped his arm around him (meanwhile Jonathan didn’t know who he was) and said “my brother, let us go to Jinja.” Haha it was quite the experience and it ended up being our driver who recognized us but we had no idea who he was. We hopped in his vehicle and drove through Kampala and it was crazy to see the discrepancy in wealth between a place like this and then the unreached villages or even in Soroti. So much more money and technology was here. There were nicer vehicles, more computers and laptops, real malls, much more like what we are used to back home. We continued our drive to Jinja and it was nice because it was so early in the morning there wasn’t the crazy traffic we experienced our first day in Uganda and we also got to travel the same roads that first day in the country and reminisce on everything that happened that day. About an hour into the journey, John realized he had made a really, really big, stupid oopsie. The wallet containing the team money had fallen out of his pocket on the bus and he no longer had it. Shit. We phoned the bus company but it was more than €400 so any Ugandan which finds that isn’t going to hand it in. We didn’t see that money again and it definitely put a damper mood on the team as they were exhausted from travelling all night and couldn’t do anything but continue their journey to Jinja. When they did arrive in Jinja that was when the blessings came rolling in. First off, it is a very nice house we are staying in with a TV, Wifi, lots of games and books left behind from other teams, and comfortable mattresses with PILLOWS! We were pumped! The boys and girls also have to share a bathroom and their rooms are right beside each other. Het gaat gezellig zijn. It is going to be cozy. It was a very good first impression on the base. And holy moly our first meal was amazing. We had fresh bread, cucumbers, eggs, lettuce, jam, and some fresh salad. Like it is just insane how much we appreciated normal sandwiches after Arua and the refugee camp. It was incredible. The surprises just kept coming as the contact people were supposed to meet with Geerte and Jonathan at 3 but arrived 10 minutes EARLY! And on top of that the contact people brought a SCHEDULE! A schedule for the whole time we are here! Everything planned out! Wow, what a culture shock for all of us! It’s just so good and such a blessing, the whole team was completely shocked and felt so blessed. This base has been brought up and run by a group of Australians and isn’t associated with YWAM so the locals here have really been taught how to be on-time Then in the evening we had potatoes and green beans for dinner. (Which we hadn’t had yet here in Uganda.) On top of all the lifestyle blessings in the base, we also have some amazing ministry opportunities here. We are working closely with a village called the Village of Hope which is all about providing education, evangelism, and practical skills for orphans from the surrounding slums. The children live in homes with 8 children and one mother, all in a small community and they are trying to be self-sufficient by raising funds by farming and providing machinery to the locals for a small price. Besides the village we will be working with young women in prostitution, doing football ministries, working at a disabled children’s home run by the same ministry, and encouraging local churches. Every ministry will be done on the same day every week so we have a routine and can connect with people and build relationships. We are all really looking forward to this time in Jinja and can really feel the blessings here. That was the end of the excitement as we all went to bed early as we were exhausted from travelling and wanted to enjoy our comfortable beds!
Friday was our first full day of Jinja and the first day of ministry. We woke up nice and refreshed to some freshly baked, warm pancakes which were AMAZING. Honestly the food here is so good, you will hear lots about it. So after a hearty breakfast we got time to relax and enjoy the most of our beautiful home. After some time of rest, we headed over to the Village of Hope, our main destination for ministry for our 4 weeks here. As soon as we got there, a horde of children were there to welcome us at the gate. When we stepped inside we all had anywhere from 2-7 children on each of us, grabbing our arms, our legs, our hair, anything they could get a hold of and walking with us. The kids just wanted to climb all over us and they were quite the distraction when we were trying to get the orientation. We started swinging them upside them, swinging them around in circles, and just having a great time with them and it was so cool to see how happy they were to see us. This was the time where they showed us the farm and the projects they were working on to raise their own funds and become self-sufficient. It’s just so inspiring to see that they are really investing in these kids’ lives and not just helping them on a superficial level, but trying to help them become functioning members of society and to help out their own communities when they leave the camp. We also got to meet the mothers of the camp, 10 in total. As mentioned earlier, there are 8 kids staying with each mother so there are 80 kids here in the village. After the village orientation and playing with the kids, we refueled with some more sandwiches and went for our town orientation. Jinja, is not like any other Uganda town we had been to before, it is so western. The locals are walking around in western clothing, people are driving new cars and there are way more cars, and there are sooooo many more tourist shops solely run for tourists. We also saw more muzungus in those first few hours in Jinja then all of Arua and Soroti combined! It also is the perfect location to end at because there are a lot more souvenir shops to buy gifts for people back home which is perfect because we don’t have to pack it around the rest of our outreach. In the evening we had LASAGNA, with real cheese and beef, wow what a luxury! Seriously the food here, AMAZING! God is good!
On Saturday Geerte and Jonathan left to the airport a few hours away to pick up our pastoral visit from back in Heidebeek. Since they were gone the whole day Josh had the opportunity to be put in charge of the ministries and be leader for the day. We had soccer ministry in the morning with some kids from the village and that went fairly well. These kids don’t have an organized soccer team so they didn’t have the best skill or discipline because they haven’t been exposed to soccer trainings at all but it’s nice because we get to train with them 3 times a week and really invest in them. We broke our team into pairs and as partners we get to be personal coaches of 3 different groups in the team; Geerte and Sarah with the girls, John and Josh with the older boys, and Jonathan and Steven with the younger boys. It’s so cool that we get to have trainings with them for the next 4 weeks because we can really connect with them and get to know them on a personal level and see the children grow. After that we went back for a short break in the afternoon and then headed back to the village in the evening with the 3 english-speaking boys and Sarah. We got to do a kid’s program with them and teach them some silly songs and play some games with them and try to learn their names. Again it’s so exciting here in Jinja because we get to see these kids so often and build a connection and relationship with them so it was a great start to the ministry here. Josh also did a really good job of leading the team and his organizational/administration skills were very much appreciated. When we got back to our compound, Geerte, Jonah and our pastoral visit, Mirjam were there to greet us. It’s really nice to have Miriam around as an encouragement and to bring back word from Heidebeek and just as another familiar face to talk to. She’ll be here with us until Thursday and it was great because she even brought some mail and Dutch treats along with her from the Netherlands! And although she wasn’t feeling well from travelling and went to bed early but she is feeling much better now.
That’s all that’s been happening here in Jinja but we are having a great time! We are so blessed to have this a final location especially after some of the frustrations of Arua. We all feel really blessed with the amazing food, the amazing staff/contact people, and the great hospitality we have received here at Hope Builders. Everyone is healthy and has lots of energy and high spirits. We’re all looking forward to the upcoming ministries and things God is going to do here in Jinja and we are all so thankful as to how everything has played out for our outreach so far. One more location and then we’ll be back home! See you later everyone!
23 januari 2017 22:20 | Door: Francis Bruining
Sounds like you are having an amazing time.Keep up the good work and enjoy yourselves.
24 januari 2017 12:17 | Door: Margot Boomsma( Oase kerk)
Great to read your experiences with God. Indeed, he is a great God.
John 3: 33-34 : " For this one (the christian)-send bij God- speaks God's words, for God's Spirit is upon him without measure or limit". An encouragement!