Our last two days in Uganda were in my opinion some of the best we spent there. The fellowship we shared with believers from around the world was encouraging. What was even more encouraging was hearing the true gospel being preached by people from around the world, and to worship together with them.
On Sunday morning, we went to church at Community Bible Church of Kubamitwe, which is the church on the compound of S.O.S. We first attended Sunday school, where 4 Kenyan pastors who were also visiting shared the gospel and what it meant to them and to those attending. After they shared, two of our pastors shared as well. It was amazing to see such unity of message between men from across the globe.
After Sunday school, we all migrated over to the main worship center for service. Over 300 people were in attendance there, and the church was packed to the brim with people. Worship began with some lively worship music, including drums, a piano, and a large group of singers up front. We sang songs like Mighty is Our God, 10,000 Reasons, and How Great Thou Art, with English and Lugandan words mixed together. It was really special to hear familiar songs be sung in the native language as well as our own.
After singing, Shannon, the head of S.O.S, preached a sermon about spiritual warfare. He talked about how God has power over the evil forces of this world, and preached against those in Uganda who try to cast out demons. After the sermon, there was a short question and answer time, and we got insight into the culture of Uganda during this. People asked about their ancestors turning into demons because that’s what they had been taught, and they also asked about going to witch doctors to be healed or speak to their ancestors. Shannon continued to stress that only God has power over the darkness, and that the witch doctors are deceivers who don’t understand what they are messing with. It was fascinating to see how the culture had affected the people there in ways we would never have thought about.
After church, we rested most of the day until that evening when we watched a soccer game between S.O.S. and a local village team. S.O.S. won, and it was a fun time with lots of spectators from the surrounding area who got very involved in the game. The audience blew air horns and shouted throughout the game, and when S.O.S. won, someone drove their moped on the field and did donuts while everyone celebrated.
Later that night, we had a special time of worship in Shannon’s living room. His wife played the piano and our group, along with the Kenyan pastors and Shannon’s family, sung hymn after hymn at the top of our lungs, our hearts spilling over with thankfulness to God for all He had done on the trip. That special worship night will be one of the most fond memories I take away from that trip.
The next day, we prepared to leave. We spent the day in the capital city of Kampala, eating a nice dinner at a mall there and shopping for souvenirs before setting off for the airport. After a tense 4 hour drive through traffic, which was only 20 miles and should have taken 45 minutes, we barely arrived at the airport in time to catch our flight, and we set off for home at around midnight. That last four hour journey was certainly an exercise in trusting God for me as we wasted away the precious hours of travel time sitting on the streets of Kampala!
After arriving home, I’ve had a couple weeks to think about the trip and what I could learn from it. One specific conversation I had with my mom about it stands out in my mind, so I’m going to leave you with these thoughts that she shared with me; As Christians, we are called to serve, and not just when it is easy or enjoyable to us. Sometimes we have to be sacrificial of our own time, resources, and desires to serve. This isn’t meant to be enjoyable in the moment, but we must realize that as we sacrifice to serve others, even if it’s hard in the moment, the rewards will come in 3 ways. They are:
- Our strengthened relationship with God. We become more Christ-like when we sacrifice in the same way Jesus did.
- Our joy that comes when we see the fruit of our labor. It could be years before we see any fruit from our service, but when we do, we can rejoice in it!
- Jesus promises that whatever we sacrifice will be rewarded to us in heaven. These won’t be physical rewards or riches, but spiritual rewards and riches that come from the joy that will overflow from seeing Christ face to face. (2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 3:14-15, Ephesians 6:8)
I’ll be back next week with thoughts on my trip to D3 Youth Conference this week!