Thursday night Mark Bertrand from The Giving Circle stopped by after work and offered to take me to a village he has just started working with not far from Bugembe. So I hopped in the car with 5 dudes and headed to the sugar fields nearby. We drove on new roads that I had never seen before. The drive up the red dirt road rolled over acres and acres of sugar cane. The sun was starting to set and it was simply beautiful.
When we pulled into the little village of Kagoma Gate, we were greeted with dancing, laughing and cheers of joy. Mark’s team had recently put in a soccer field and some swings and are currently building a 3 room school. This is pretty revolutionary, because Kagoma Gate Village doesn’t really exist. They are basically squatters that used to work at the local sugar cane field but for various reasons can no longer work there. Many nations are represented here of people that have fled some kind of violence or oppression in Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Northern Uganda, etc. They fled looking for security but find themselves in a no man’s land on their own. There are NO facilities in this village. No electricity, no clean water, access to health care and certainly no access to education. It is amazing what Mark’s team has accomplished in just a few months. Truly his partners in crime–Moses and Ema–are a dynamic and skilled pair that are dedicated to caring for those in most need in their own community.
As we drove away, my heart was filled with grief for these families with so little AND great joy to see what Mark and his team are accomplishing. I was struck again by the magnitude of the need here in Uganda and grateful to be amidst of community of people seeking God’s kingdom here on earth with justice, peace and love for even the lost ones. I was powerfully moved. I was challenged to keep my eyes open for people outside my database and lists. And I was so incredibly encouraged by the transformation that I see just beginning in Kagoma Gate. I told Moses and Ema that I remember photos of AOET’s first children at our our school when it was just a roof and some polls, but today those children are bright and talented teens thinking about University. My heart was filled with hope to think of some of those kids in Kagoma heading to University some day and forging a new destiny for their families.
In a few weeks we have some teams coming and we will be working with AOET’s Health Clinic to provide a medical outreach to this community. Mark says it will be the first medical attention ever for many of the people in this community. I am so excited and blessed that AOET can partner with Mark and serve this community.
Later in March I will head to Rwanda to visit the work of Africa New Life again. This is another dynamic ministry that I see impacting the lives of thousands of children and families in need. Angie Rettman & I have been regularly connecting, praying for one another, being sounding boards and generally supporting each other’s ministry. I am hoping to convince some of the staff in Rwanda to actually help me do some trainings with my staff here and am praying that God continue to guide us closer together in partnership. Over and over I am encouraged, excited and joyful over the work I see happening at Africa New Life and I am so blessed by our friendship.
So, I just took an hour and wrote about 2 non-AOET ministries. I’m sure that breaks some marketing rule somewhere, but that it one of the mysterious blessings of a life in ministry–we are all in this together. Truly. I cannot begin to explain how much I get out of seeing other ministries bloom and grow! I love to see all of the different ways that God is at work and am strengthened to know that He is
making an army of servants to care for one another. It seems like that is what He means when he talks about His kingdom. I think my friends would agree that as we see God show up and provide for the people that we serve, we recognize over and over that He is big enough to care for all of us. And for that, I am so thankful.
1 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[b]
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!