I Love Uganda Deep Down In My Heart

When Visiting Orphans invited me to lead a mission trip to Ethiopia and Uganda, I will be honest… I was saving my love, energy, and time for Addis Ababa.  I had no intentions of falling in love with Uganda and was not anticipating the intense train wreck heading straight for my heart.   I was really excited to serve and explore a new country, even taking the time to google the two cities we were visiting – Kampala and Jinja.  The best part, I had no idea that God was preparing a big crazy surprise and life changing adventure that would rock my heart.  Here’s some of the facts I studied:

Map of Uganda Uganda is a country of stunning beauty and heartbreaking history of persecution.  It is a landlocked country in East Africa. It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, which is also bordered by Kenya and Tanzania.

Between them, Ugandans speak an impressive forty or more different languages.  This is a result of Uganda’s ethnically diverse history, and the adoption of English as the main language during Uganda’s colonial years.  Uganda is a fascinating country, with a complicated history far too often involving bloodshed, violence and betrayal. Yet the people are among the most welcoming and determined to be helpful that you could meet anywhere in the world.

However, what soon became transparent to me was that Google failed to mention a single thing in any of the articles I read, about the individual heroes I would meet in Kampala and Jinja.  In fact, I wasn’t prepared for the kindness, hospitality, service, joy and love I would witness at every corner we turned.  I had no clue reading from my Google notes, that the children who are suffering atrocities on a daily basis, exemplify what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  I was completely unprepared meeting Pastors and Directors that literally gave everything they had to their congregation or village ministry.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the 7 days I spent in Uganda was the singing.  The children of Uganda love to sing!  They sing doing their chores, going to school, playing, worshiping… and even at bedtime.  I learned a new way of worship through music.  They didn’t have any hymn books or fancy instruments… just their voices and hands and pure joy.  My favorite song was simple… “I love you Jesus, deep down in my heart.  I love you Jesus, deep down in my heart.  So deep deep so down down, so deep down in my heart.  So deep deep so down down, so deep down in my heart.”  I heard that song a hundred times a day and it always brought tears to my eyes.

The people of Uganda embrace with all their hearts the simplicity of God’s love.  The hundreds of children that we had the honor of loving and serving taught us the only reason for living was worshiping God, loving God and longing for His return all day long.  I have never witnessed with my eyes, children worshiping with every fiber of their bodies.

In my next four blog posts, I want to share a story about each hero I met in Uganda.  My dear friends, Pastor Samuel, Rebecca Sorensen, Pastor Isaac and Katie Davis have made a crazy impact in Uganda.  This list does not include the countless children and staff we met along the way, but my four heroes are remarkable and courageous and dream makers and warriors for Jesus Christ.  I hope that you fall deep deep in love with Uganda, too.

Join me this week in celebrating the heartbeat of a country that is rich in spirit and love.  Bloggy friends, I want to know if you will pray about coming back with me to minister in Uganda with Visiting Orphans.  We have a brand new trip scheduled, June 2nd – 11th 2011.  You can sign up today!!  You can FaceBook Rebecca Sorensen and follow her new blog to learn more about My Father’s House Ministry and Royal Hope School in Kampala.

Bloggy readers, Let me know what you think in the comments about worship styles in different parts of the world that you have witnessed that made an impact on your life and how you worship.

Praising the Lord with music in Uganda

(videos by Joe)

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