It's been a busy few weeks of traveling in East Africa. We have enjoyed visiting Kenya, Tanzania and now Uganda. There are so many similarities yet they are each distinct and unique cultures. In general, we have found East Africans to have a quiet, laid back, easy going way about them. We have enjoyed observing them and their cultural differences immensly.
After Mombasa we headed back to Nairobi where we visited our friends we met from CIT (Center for Inter-Cultural Training). We had a great visit catching up on missionary life and seeing their ministry in the Mathare Valley Slums as well as getting out to Crescent Island where we walked with some amazing wild life. We also had a sweet time of fellowship and worship at their church in Mathare Valley. Man, can Africans worship!!!
We then headed to Uganda to visit our last East African country. From the minute we touched Ugandan soil we knew our hearts were forever changed! There is something about that African soil, the gentle people, the children yelling 'muzungu' (white person) from the sides of the road and the culture that works it's way into your heart. We traveled to Jinja where we were spoiled with Southern hosptiality from the sweetest couple one could ever know. Terry and Debbie Nester showed us the true meaning of missionary by the way they live. We enjoyed a fabulous week with them and with various other missionaries and their ministries. We were blown away by all the cool things missionaries are doing in and around Jinja. Everything from men and women's empowerment, orphan care, pastoral training, church planting and ministry to the Lake Victoria islanders.
Terry hooked us up with missionaries that have girls our girls ages so they could make connections as well. We even had a mini reunion with a guy I met at Medical Missionary Intensive training back in 2010. What a small world it is between the missionary community! We had the opportunity to visit Acacia Community Church where Terry pastors.
One of the ministries we visited was the Afayo Project, a work started by Mark and Stacy Luckey and continued by Bruce and Janine Coker. They are helping empower the village of Naigobya by starting a school, a vocational program for aging-out young men and women, and starting a Farming God's Way program. We were utterly captured by this village! The gentle, humble way of the villagers stole our hearts with their warmth and hospitality. What an amazing day spent walking the red dirt roads meeting children along the way who simply wanted to hold our hands. Oh my, how my heart rejoiced in the sweet simpleness of their lives.
On my last day in Jinja I went to visit Heal ministries started by Tina Weir. Oh man what a ministry! She helps empower 175 Ugandan women by giving the Bible training, English classes, sewing and beading. She then employs them. She also has a day care/preschool program for their kids so they can work. What a place of joy as children and women intermingled!
From Jinja we headed out to spend a few days at Murchison Falls to view God's beautiful creation.