I’ve been back in Uganda for five days now, arriving very late Tuesday night. I have been experiencing the seamy underside of missions to the nth degree – administration! Every day has been filled with endless errands, preparing for a twenty day stint out on Buvuma island in Lake Victoria, where I have ministered before. I have

  • been to the bank to convert my funds – had to go twice because I gave up on the line the first time after 30 minutes of one individual standing at the head of the line with some kind of problem that the teller couldn’t sort out – I bailed when a third person appeared from down the street to consult with them about the problem, and came back the next day
  • met with two bishops to plan the twenty days of ministry in a five day Bible Institute and 3 two day church-planting conferences all mixed in with other ministries and then leaving in the middle to make the long journey back to the airport to pick up my wife and return with her to finish out the trip with a women’s conference or two
  • printed handouts
  • trained a new driver/interpreter
  • purchased my own personal generator – no more renting
  • started two Ugandans down the path of self-sufficiency with business startups
  • computed the complex math to determine how much food for as yet unknown numbers
  • purchased said food in bulk from back-alley wholesalers my local team located
  • loaded said food in vehicle
  • scoured Jinja back-alley markets for such items as grain scoops, gas funnels, and rice bags – places no musungu (white person) goes
  • entered the abstruse world of cell phone technology to achieve a package with which to call Gail in the US while in the internet dead-zone for 20 days – hours spent standing in lines, listening to confusing explanations, trying one thing, then another, going back to the store just one more time to get our questions answered – and still not knowing for sure if I’ll have good enough cell service to actually use what I cobbled together at a cost I can afford
  • unpacked and repacked my personal bags for the journey
  • found storage for the stuff I’m leaving behind that I won’t need on the island
  • shared with an Hindu Indian lady who voiced numerous standard philosophies about all paths leading to the same god or gods, who then agreed that she needed to read the story of Jesus in the New Testament to answer her questions, then I scoured Jinja a second time for a New Testament, of which there were NONE (“We don’t sell those anymore because the Gideons give them away for free and no one wants to buy them from us”), so will try to give her a Bible when I return from the island
  • went back to the bank to convert more funds to replenish my now depleted wallet so I’m not on empty out on the island
  • met another “me” about the same age doing similar ministries in Uganda, talked a long time, and will probably cooperate in some fashion in the future – who knows, but the Holy Spirit usually doesn’t waste these kinds of chance encounters
  • etc., etc.

And this partial list occurred all in four days since I arrived in Jinja on Wednesday. I’m leaving tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 6:30 to make the three hour drive to the ferry. I don’t know at this moment if we’ll even be able to fit ourselves in the vehicle among the suitcases, 100 kg bags of rice and beans, generator, 20 liter cans of cooking oil and gasoline for the generator, etc.

All this is the preparation it takes to successfully pull off a mission trip – and I’m the only missionary going on this trip! Imagine what it would be for a group of twenty! Big shout out of respect for the Jody and Trisha Kennedy’s of the world, who regularly take groups of 10-20 into the villages of Nicaragua and other far-off places. I’ve still got an awful lot to learn…

Blogs will unfortunately be blocked out for the next twenty days by lack of internet, unless conditions have improved on Buvuma. So, see you in twenty…