“How was Uganda!?”
This is the common refrain I’ve heard repeated over and over again at graduation parties, bible studies, and at church. It’s nice to know that so many people care about my trip and want to see how it was. However, I continually find myself struggling to find the right words to say to answer a question that encompasses such a broad subject. I have found myself stuck in a rut of cool’s, awesome’s, and amazing’s.
The better conversationalists have relieved me a bit by asking “What was your favorite part?” or something along those lines. That helps a bit, but on a 10 day trip it’s almost impossible to choose a favorite moment.
Because my trip to Uganda was so long, I’ve decided to write 4 posts about it. This will be my first, which will mainly be an introduction to the trip.
I decided to go to Uganda when it was announced at my church months ago. I had wanted to go on another missions trip since I went to the Dominican Republic a year ago, and had a life-changing experience. Because of that trip, I had high hopes and big expectations for my trip to Uganda.
Our church recently began partnering with a new missionary named Shannon Hurley, who runs S.O.S., or Sufficiency of Scripture Ministries, in a small village called Kubamitwe in rural Uganda. The team I went with was the first team to visit his ministry. He started S.O.S. in 2002, and officially moved to Uganda in 2006. The story of how he ended up there is fascinating. While attending seminary, God blessed Shannon with a wonderful job that supplied abundantly for him. He became convinced that God was providing these huge funds not for his own personal enjoyment but to begin the ministry in Uganda. How many of us are as sacrificial with what God gives to us?
Shannon started construction of his compound in 2009, which has grown quickly and now encompasses a church of 300 people, a school with grades K-4, 4 missionary homes which house his family and the families of 4 other missionaries who have partnered with him, a new seminary and pastoral training center which will open in the coming years, and an administration building, among other things. He now employs 20 people full time from the surrounding community, where the average monthly wage is under 5 dollars.
His school, Legacy Christian Academy, has over 300 students, and he adds a grade each year. It is free to the community, and is giving an uneducated area its first chance at having a quality education in a safe environment. The local public schools are unpleasant, dirty places where children are literally beaten into submission. At Legacy Christian Academy, students are instead taught in a safe, modern environment and showered with Christ’s love. The truths they learn at school are then brought home to their families, and this has caused a tremendous change in the village.
The culture of Uganda is very dark, with most people having multiple partners and not getting married. There are many Muslims, and crime and disease run rampant. Morals are an unknown subject in the Ugandan culture. However, S.O.S. is reshaping the morals and values of the village it is located in by preaching the gospel, and a large church has grown out of this called Community Bible Church of Kubamitwe. Many people in the village have become believers, and have gotten married and started to glorify God in their families. I was able to see first-hand how God is reshaping the culture while visiting the home of a local family there and hearing their testimony. I’ll share more about that in a later post.
S.O.S. is reshaping the immoral culture of the village it is in through the saving power of the gospel. It is providing quality education, emergency medical care, jobs, spiritual nourishment, and soon pastoral training to Kubamitwe and the surrounding areas. This is the world that I stepped in to on June 5th. I hope you’ll come along the rest of the week as I explain day by day what God is doing in Uganda and what He showed me in my own life.