Well, this is the first day of our visit to the lovely country of Uganda. If you are new to what we do, we thought today we would tell the story of why we come and who we work with.
Ian picks up the story.
Around 4 years ago, I attended a weekend conference in Grange over Sands in the UK and met a Pastor from a church in Uganda, called David Katende. There were around 100 people there, but David and I connected. I had seen him a few days before in Sheffield, in the company of a good friend, Debbie Plura.
I wasn’t going to go to the conference – I had a commitment for the Sunday at church, but I felt the Lord tell me to go. Once there, David and I sat next to each other in the evening meeting led by Gill Gifford.
When it was time to pray, we prayed for each other and I felt that a warmth and friendship would develop between us. The following day over lunch we talked some more, and David invited me to Uganda. I had already heard the Lord say, “When David invites you to go to Uganda, say Yes,” so I said Yes. At that time we both had no idea what that would mean or how we would become friends, co-workers and brothers in the things of God.
Just to be clear – this is not from an organisation at all – just a godly connection of two people.
That first visit was wild and strange. I had no idea what to expect and who I would meet, where I would stay and (most importantly) what the toilets would be like. I had no idea what David wanted me to do and who I would meet.
I went on an Adventure of service.
Since then David and I have been together in all sorts of places, in both the UK and Uganda, and continue to grow in Friendship and Love. David has stayed with us in the UK, and I have stayed with him in Uganda. With this trip our wives meet for the first time, which is very exciting!
Today I arrived for my 4th visit, and perhaps the most important, since it includes my wife Merle for the first time. This is the first year we have felt it was OK for us both to leave the house and boys for a long period.
With one boy away at uni and the other in upper sixth, we decided that it was safe to come. Matthew is a very good boy – well behaved and trustworthy. So we sent the dog to stay with friends, and along with visits from our cleaner, my wife’s sister and some non-Christian friends, we left for another Big Adventure.
This trip would be a little different. On previous trips, most days were taken up with lots of travel and preaching and praying, hoping to serve God well and bring some of God’s love, passion and encouragement to places we visit.
I would usually get a few days’ rest at the end to pray and reflect, then come home.
On this trip we had many more days to spend at the church compound with David and Family, and they had planned several tourist visits that they hoped Merle would like.
David is away in Nigeria for a few days – this was arranged at short notice – so we were met by his family, wife Flavia and children Rebecca, Jachobed and Moses.
We arrived late at night, to the worst storms I have ever seen. Terrible lightning and thunder. I knew that this meant electricity would be intermittent for several days across the city, but I had gotten used to that on previous visits. Flavia explained that the floods are always seen as a blessing from God: “Ian, you have arrived with God’s blessing!”
It made me realise that perspective is everything in life, isn’t it? How you see things – what spiritual glasses you wear – how you allow God to show you a different view – is crucial to becoming “a person after God’s heart” (like King David).
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