Uganda

The Pearl of Africa

Looking back at Uganda it feels like it has been forever since I was there and it only felt like I was there a couple days. But there was definitely unforgettable stuff at Uganda.

The first was the Ugandan people. These people are so unique compared to any other kind of people I have met. In America, China, and India people are just to themselves but in Uganda everybody talks to everybody. Ugandan’s are a very social people. The way they do church is awesome and beautiful. It’s about a three hour service and half of that is this very energetic worship party. They truly understand how blessed they are to worship their Lord and they worship Him to the fullest! There is alot of clapping, yelling, crying, and very loud singing. Unforgettable. Also while we were at this church I had a chance to teach about 40 kids about the parable of the prodigal son and related to when the son decided that his plans was better than his father’s, he lost everything. When he decided to listen and trust his father for guidance and protection, his father is waiting with arms wide open. And I was then able to relate that with their heavenly Father and that was a really cool experience.

The second was the missionaries. We were in Uganda working with a missionary name Natalie. Natalie is awesome. The reason why she is so awesome is because she is just a normal person. A normal person who has listened and followed God’s calling for her life. For my friends back at home, Natatlie actually reminds me of Tara Cogdell. She has kinda like the same look and same attitude and the same love for the Lord. I just thought it was cool seeing that Natalie is no different than us, she just has been called to live in Uganda. Also it was cool to see that you don’t have to be this well versed preacher to be a missionary, you just have to be willing. Willing to serve the Lord no matter he calls you to.
While staying in Uganda we lived at Natalie’s friend’s house. Her friend’s name was Lexi. Lexi was also another missionary doing other ministry in Uganda. Lexi never imagined working in Uganda. In fact she went to college and got degrees for French history and Islamic studies because she was for sure that is where God called her. To minister to the Muslim women in France. But things happened and just following God’s leading she ended up Uganda. It’s crazy how God works, but his providence is so perfect and intricate that we will never fully understand. But that’s ok, because in all things God is working for our good!

Pray for Uganda. That they will continue to learn and grow in the Lord. You can probably say Uganda is over evangelized. In one city, Jinja, 10 percent of the population is missionaries. The word of God is there, these people now need to be discipled and to grow deeper with Jesus. Continue to pray for this world.

With a breaking heart for the lost,
Ryan

India!!

Hey everybody!!

I am currently in Uganda! This summer has been amazing and nonstop.  It is so awesome to see people who are so deeply in love with Jesus from around the world.

So my time in India started off pretty rough.  While in India our team stayed at an orphanage home.  Our living conditions at the orphanage home we’re really rough.  We slept on air mattresses, we took bucket baths, hand washed our clothes, most of the time we drank hot water, we had no A/C, and the temperature was easily over 100 degrees Fahrenheit the whole time!  The only time we were not sweating is when we took our bucket baths.  So when we went to sleep we were sweating, and when we woke up we were still sweating.  In fact, it was cooler to sleep outside in that 100 degree weather than sleeping inside the orphanage.  Also the first few days in India I had a pretty bad stomach problem where my stomach did not want to have anything in it, which is extremely bad since I’m in this weather and my body does not want to drink water.

In saying all that, that “suffering” we experienced at the orphanage home was nothing compared to hanging out with these orphans.  During my time in India I truly got to see what it looks like to have joy in the Lord.  These orphans are blessed just to have a couple pairs of clothing.  For breakfast, lunch, and dinner these orphans ate with their hands and the food they were eating was certainly not finger food.  During the school year most of these kids don’t even have their own bed.  Also when I say bed, I mean a mattress that is 2 inches thick that is lying on a slate of wood.

Spending time with these children has definitely taught me a lot of things.  The biggest thing that I learned was, having joy and being content in the Lord even when you have nothing.  When having nothing you truly have to lean on God for your strength and comfort.  One of the verses I ran across in my quiet in India was, “But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.  It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought; but when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me.” Hosea 13:4-6.  When Israel got full, with possessions or anything that hinders you from Jesus, they forgot who their savior was, who led them out of Egypt.  And this is what I think is so beautiful about these Indian orphans; they will never be full in anything because all they have is God.  God is their only source of strength, hope, joy, and love.  They love God so dearly.  Every single morning the kids wake up at 5:30 in the morning to pray!  Also to hear about some of the testimonies of these orphans was incredible.  Like this one orphan, after hearing about who Jesus is, went back home and destroyed all of his grandparents’ Hindu statues and pictures.  He was only 5 years old when that happened.

Leaving these orphans was extremely hard.  On the last few days of the trip I started getting pretty close to this one orphan named Saed.  He was the coolest 6 years old in the world!  The only English words I heard him speak was yes, no, and monkeys.  Saed and I would just sit in the tree for an hour and just be monkeys.  I would have full conversations with him and he would not understand a word I was saying.  But honestly, those times in tree will be times I would never forget.  Saed would say “yes” to anything you asked him.  I would ask him where one of his friends was and his response would be “yes”.  It was definitely one of the cutest things to experience.  The only time I heard him say no was when I asked him, “Is there ever a time that God does not love you?”  And he would say no! It was the only time I heard him say no!  Before I asked him that question, I would ask, “Does God love you?” Of course he says yes, but it blew my mind away that he knows that God will never ever stop loving him.  It was almost like that was the only thing he knows, and the best part is that is one of the most important things, if not the only thing, we need to know!  In saying all this about Saed, he reminds me of me.  He likes to cry, just like me… That whole last day we were at the orphanage he was crying in my arms and did everything he could to stay there.  Setting Saed down to get on the bus was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.  God truly started showing even more what it means to love, and I fell so in love with Saed.  Leaving somebody I love like that was miserable.  But knowing that our great God is watching over and protecting these orphans was so comforting!

Hopefully soon I will be able to get another blog up soon to tell you about my time in Uganda.  I will be heading to Slovenia in 3 more days! I love and miss everybody!