Stories of change: Mother gives birth in Mabira forest – Part 2

Part 2 of my friends’ story
Recently, my wife and I traveled with a Ministry team to Jinja. We visited the Muslim family of a couple that we picked from Mabira last year September (Does this story ring a bell?)
 
Yes, the couple we picked having given birth along the road in Mabira forest. I last communicated when the couple visited us with the baby last year and how the community made a request for us to visit them. The parents and community implored us to name the baby and we gave him the name – Moses. 
We left on April 20th 2017 to visit our new friends in a place we have not been before.  to us. We traveled, branched off a few miles to Jinja town into the jungle on a 17 km rough road heading to a remote fish landing site. The distance seemed so long because of the bad road!
With several phone calls to our hosts for direction, (occasionally getting lost), our host eventually met us on the way. We passed areas known as Benghazi and Kandaha (Please this is not in Libya, but this community is predominantly Muslim and maybe it explains why they adopted these names), then to Nakagga our final destination, the road was very steep and rugged.
 
We eventually reached our destination and found the family waiting for us with excitement, they welcomed us with lots of hugs. Evidently the over 20 people receiving us were all Muslims, with occasional Islamic greetings. They were curious to meet us and share their joy and thankfulness for God using us save their son and wife.
 
We had coached ourselves as a team not to use any of our Christian jargons.  They prayed, ululated, praised and did everything in Islam. We felt the joy of the Lord, praying that the Grace and love of Jesus would be evident in and through us the whole time we were there. And true, they experienced Jesus as we heard one –by- one testify and we were greatly touched. “This is love, thank you”, the grandparents said. “You have greatly honored us, enduring our bad roads to come to us shows love”.
We never quoted any Scripture or even prayed but every moment with them, freely interacting and sharing life was so God honoring and glorifying. No mention of Jesus but fully expressed during the whole time we were there. ‘’Oh, God is good me seeing this day!’’ another said.
 
Pray God helps us build authentic relationships with the couple and the community through other visits as we trust God to guide us on how to proceed. 

Stories of change – Mother gives birth in Mabira forest

Below is a story of change from my friend Barham. This resonates with my heart on so many levels. That what God has called us to is the gospel in action as we go along. Lets not waste the opportunities.
Recently what looked like one of our usual mission trips where you have already figured out what to do, this one was unique. I confirmed you can never predict what God is up to. The day was Monday 19th September 2016 when we set off for a conference with the Pentecostal Pastors in Mbale. There was a heavy down pour that day all the way to Jinja.
Reaching the middle of Mabira Forest, at a distance we saw a car stop and as we approached, it sped off. On the roadside were two people, a woman seated and a man standing near his bodaboda.
He tried to stop us, but we were suspect they could be thieves and so we drove a little further. However, we were convicted to stop and reverse kind of risking our lives. The man came near our car and immediately told us his wife had just given birth on the road side and needed urgent help to take her to Hospital. The temptation was so great to give excuses (imagine with me please), but we don’t know how we were all moved to compassion and swung into action.
We prepared a seat for her: shivering and holding her baby wrapped in her husband’s jacket, the only cloth available with them and blood stained. At that time, our lives and comfort didn’t seem to matter. Blood all over hands; we lifted her with the baby into the car. To create space for her, one of us had to jump on a bodaboda with her husband and in heavy rain. We then sped off to a nearby health center we didn’t know where.
We finally found one, with two elderly nurses who were very helpful. They needed to lift the baby first but then discovered he was still attached to the mother! Now here I got a bit scared. The nurses looked for gloves only to get a pair but of the same hand. We were getting worried.
We just wanted to lift the woman and the baby inside for the much needed help but the nurses restrained us saying we don’t have gloves. They never knew we had been lifting her bare handed. That’s when it downed on us that actually we had all along been exposed to blood!!
They went back and forth until they got some but again there was no razor to cut the Umbilical cord and other gadgets to stop the bleeding after. One of us run down to the trading center and brought a razor. This Muslim couple was on a journey from somewhere and had no clothes with them, so they were not prepared in any way. That meant that we had to buy essentials both for the mother and baby.
This trip to Mbale was by faith and so our resources were very limited. Immediately the story of the Good Samaritan hit us (Luke 10:25-37). Verse 35 says the Good Samaritan paid for all the bills and verse 37 tells us to do likewise. So we obeyed and paid the bills, money for bed sheets, mother’s and baby’s clothes, prayed with them and exchanged our Telephone numbers for future follow up and since then we have been in touch.
From there, we went for our other mission but the Lord had taught us great truth: His Compassion, Servant hood, Humility, Love and Generosity. It’s very easy to have a great seminar on all these topics but the application of any one of them can be very hard.
We were challenged to have a functional first aid tool kit in the car for any eventuality.
We experienced the Gospel first hand and to this we are thankful to Jesus and pray the Lord continues open our eyes to many of such opportunities and to move us into action.
The parents have since dedicated the Baby to us. ‘’This is your baby and we want to bring him to you, give us an appointment”, the parents have repeatedly told us. “Our parents and relatives want to meet you, when are coming to see them”? They inquire.
Give thanks to God for using us boys as inexperienced Midwives (???) to rescue the situation.
Please pray that this experience will translate into their hearts the Love of Jesus and thereby embrace Him as their savior.

Small actions do have big impact

So like most Ugandans I find myself complaining about this and that which is not proper or not working as I would like in this beautiful country. In the same breath I remind myself that there is a lot working and I should focus on that instead of complaining. Again I am reminded that it is so easy to complain and see mountains out of other peoples actions while I diminish my own actions and how they contribute to the overall functioning of this country.

I was having this conversation with ‘myself’ as I waited in a terrible traffic jam where we barely moved. As we painfully waited in the long line there were others who chose to drive past and form parallel lines which worsened the traffic jam because then the movements were paralyzed. We all know that when we maintain the one lane in a place made for one lane, the cars move faster. It was very frustrating and tempting to get out of the proper lane and squeeze into the ‘illegal’ lane so that I move faster but then God reminds me that small actions like that eventually lead to the big actions and also affect the general outlook of the country.

The best example of this has to do with trash that we find all over the place especially in the urban centers. It is very sad watching someone throw rubbish out the window of a vehicle alongside the road. Maybe they do not see how their one plastic bag or bottle, or whatever affects the face of the city and country and negatively the environment. This is the same for things to do with all sorts of pollution form personal level and business that choose to release sewage in our lakes and rivers.

I think until we question how our everyday actions fit in creating a better or worse world, we will continue to complain about what is going wrong without seeing how our own actions contribute to this. My prayer is that we make deliberate efforts in contributing positively to our world whether it be’s in how we use energy, water, food or keep our environments clean. Remember that it is easy to see how corrupt our government is and yet we oversee our small actions like paying the Askari to let us in beyond the visitation hours.

Thank you to the production and Guest experience teams at Worship Harvest Kati Kati

downloadOn Sunday I had a trip starting early morning and I needed to pick the client and send him off for his trip. I woke up as early as 4.30 am to finish up some work and called the tour guide at about 5.30 am to consider picking me before 6 am so that we can make it to the hotel by 6.30 am. I normally find my way to the meeting point before the trips but other issues led to my inability to travel there. Anyways thankfully we make it in time for the trip and even have to wait for the client to arrive in the hotel lobby. So I sat in there pressing several buttons on my phone until he arrived. We exchange pleasantries and were ready to enter the car and start the trip.

I requested the driver to drop me at Kati Kati – one of the locations for Worship harvest Sunday Service. I have been attending this church for a few years and I am always thankful for the cleanliness and orderliness of the place. I knew that a certain team of people comes in early every Sunday to set up and I truly appreciated them in my heart of hearts but I had never fully comprehended what they go through to set up every Sunday. Goodness, it is lots of work! I was at Kati Kati about 7.20 am and I found 2 members of the production team waiting for others to arrive. Meanwhile the rain was not relenting and so I imagined the hustle of people making it on time amidst the rain. Eventually the vehicle with sound system and children’s church items arrived after 8 am and ‘we’ had to set  in such a short time. When service was ready to start I smiled knowing that most of the people attending have no idea the energy and commitment that goes into setting every Sunday.

Thank you to the the production team and guest experience team at Worship Harvest Kati Kati that is committed to work behind the scenes to give us a pleasant Garage experience every Sunday.

Growing from ‘last minute’ actions

 

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I am an adrenaline junkie and this partly contributes to why I do things last minute when the deadline is knocking. I have talked myself out of this habit but I am yet to succeed. I know it contributes negatively to my output sometimes but somehow I find myself back at it whenever I have a task. Some days I have felt so helpless and almost resigned to my fate but  I know that growth requires me to keep on and not give up concerning an area I am convinced I need to improve. I must say that going forward I will pick up again and work towards planning and accomplishing tasks without waiting for the deadline.

Take for example assignments, I can have them for as long as a month but I will still keep pushing them aside until it’s the last day. One given Friday, the electricity was off for most of the day and night ( who makes these decisions at UMEME) and I needed to finish reading a book and a write a report on my reading before midnight. You should have seen me reading the book using the torch from my phone. This lasted up to about 11pm and later start the process of writing the report . Thankful that the computer had enough battery which allowed me work. Once the writing was complete and ready, the internet connections was playing hind and seek with me. It was difficult to attach the documents to the email. Thankfully eventually they attached and I was able to send a few minutes after midnight. The voice inside me (God) inquired why I do not consider doing all this much earlier to avoid the hassle.

And yet it is not only in tasks at work or school but even concerning travel. I usually know weeks prior to my travels and I wait until the night or morning before the trip to do the packing. This is disorganizing because I tend to forget some items which I need on these travels. It’s in times like these that I remember the advice from my dad while growing up. He suggested to me to consider packing my luggage at least one week before the travel ( this was especially in relations to school) because that way when I forget an item I am able to include it before the travel date. He even suggested that I consider making a list of the items I must pack.

Today while thinking about this I almost quickly acknowledged my weakness and accepted it as me but then I remembered that if this is not helping me be effective then I need to drop it and find ways  of growing. In life if we hope to grow, we cannot allow certain areas of our being to go unchallenged but rather engage with them and come up with plans to improve them. I look forward to operate from the ‘not urgent but important’ quadrant as opposed to the ‘urgent and important’ quadrant which is draining. Which areas in your life which areas do you recognize need growth? What are you doing about it? Or are you justifying their existence instead of improving them?

Keeping on amidst uncertainties

When I started Kagera Safaris one of my dreams was to provide excellent inbound travel services to Uganda for people who wanted to explore Uganda on both the usual tourist routes and those off the beaten tracks. I was motivated by my love for travel and the belief that God had gifted us with a beautiful country which I thought everyone should have an opportunity of visiting. I barely had any marketing budget but looked forward to spreading the word out there and hopefully start to receive people looking to visit the Pearl of Africa.

I learned about the travel expos that happen in Europe and America which are our main source markets and dreamed of attending them someday. This seemed such a far away possibility considering that I did not have a marketing budget. However I believe that it costs nothing to dream and plan, so I often found myself researching about the different expos and what I needed for me to attend them. Eventually I had the opportunity of being sponsored for my very first expo through the USADF after being part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders and like they say the rest is history. It took my business on a path of growth that could have taken it years to achieve.

This year I have been growing in engaging the scriptures and speaking life on a daily basis regarding the different promises God has given me concerning my life and His purposes. Previously if something did not work out I quickly dismissed it as maybe not being God’s will.  Today instead of lamenting about the things that are not working out the way I envisioned or not as fast as I think – I speak the Word which is life in the midst of such situations. When the people traffic at this year’s ITB Berlin was much less than expected I spoke Gods Word and He sent us more traffic the next day. These are things I would previously comment about and complain, now I declare the Word. We had a mishap of ground staff striking at the Tegel Airport which led to cancelled flights and late communications but I chose hope through it all. I was not given boarding passes which meant I was on waiting list, I chose to be calm and wait on God and He came through as always. There was bad weather which interfered with the plane landing in Entebbe, we spent about 30 minutes circling Lake Victoria with people screaming. In that moment I remembered Gods Word and spoke it and chose to relax amidst the storm.

As I grow older I am amazed at Gods love and commitment to mankind, He wants the best for us and never gives up on us. That I can confidently say like Paul – For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. That when my time is come and I have accomplished my purposes I will rest. But for now I will continue to use the opportunities my Father opens up for me. That I will continue to encourage others to move out and explore their gifting, looking to the author and finisher of our faith. That yes it can be scary but remember God is on your team. You will do it, He will send help along the way.

Of leadership, the youth and the desire to be a Chef

On my last day of the Burundi visit, I prepared to start my journey early morning so as to have enough time for  the border delays. Border crossing in Africa (in my case its mainly been East Africa) can be a nightmare of sorts requiring so much time and worse if you are using public transport and are several people on the bus. My hope is that in the future this is improved to ensure faster movements of goods and people because like the old adage “Time is money” we cannot afford to keep losing such an irredeemable resource.  Again I think part of it is used by some government workers to maybe frustrate and show power which I find unnecessary.

Well the beautiful thing was that I was ready to start the journey back to Kigali where I had an 8 days safari with clients from Norway. I needed to be back in Kigali the day before they arrived. I arose early morning before sunrise to be ready because the driver had promised to pick me up at 6.00 am. By 6.00 am I was in my hotel lobby waiting for him but he was nowhere to be seen. It clocked 6.30 am and was getting frustrated at his time keeping. Eventually after several phone calls he arrived way after 7.00 am and to my shock he said he was not traveling to Kigali. Who does this? We had previously agreed, if he had decided not to travel he should at least have informed me? But I know that ‘all things work together for good to those who love God…’so I decided not to dwell on that and instead thank God that he has at least come and is taking me to find another taxi.

Again I sat in the behind seat but this time between two young gentlemen who were slim and so there was no squashing of my hips. After greetings it was silence as we waited for the car to fill up and we start our journey. The first part of the journey we were mostly quiet, spent enjoying the scenery and then the conversations started. I later learned that on my left side the young  man was a Congolese studying in Kampala and on the right side was a Burundian also studying in Kampala. They both spoke highly of Kampala and Uganda a country they will have their student lives shaped. It warmed my hearing how they enjoy their time in Kampala-Uganda and how they find Ugandans to be generally nice people welcoming to foreigners. In fact one of them hopes to stay even after school. I looked at my imperfect country and thanked God that He gave us a heart of welcoming all people who later make it their home. I know that as a country we have challenges of leadership at all levels but yet God gave us such a beautiful country, one needs to travel within Africa to appreciate the freedom, fertile soils and beautiful scenery.

Our conversations were about so many topics. We agreed that we are all struggling via leadership in small and big ways. We agreed that for some reason the leadership is pretending about the youth explosion and choosing not to invest in them. So then how do we bring change in countries where governments love to use the youth to carry out their ‘dirty’ work instead of equipping them with different skills to contribute significantly to the economy. It is as if they enjoy having them desperate then they can easily give them a gun and ask them to engage in situations of killing their fellow countrymen.

From the conversations what remained on my heart was the conversation about what influenced their courses at the university. One of them was very passionate about Chemistry which he opted to pursue at University. Originally he pursued Environmental science because he was made to  believe that there was lots of chemistry course units but later realized that was not the case, so he was now going full blast in Chemistry. The other is pursuing international relations which he clearly hates. He loves cooking and everything to do with food, in fact he wants to be a chef but his parents will not hear of it. His father does not want to hear of the idea so he has been pushed to pursue the course since he is currently in no position to pay his own tuition.

I do not know what it is with parents forcing children to study things that are not of interest to them. I think it has to do with this mentality of white collar office jobs versus blue collar jobs. In my view people will excel regardless of the course or choice of work. Maybe they will never be the richest people and rightly so because job satisfaction cannot be compared to the amount of money one amasses  while on this life journey. I quickly encouraged him to still pursue his dream of being a super chef even as he pursues his studies, he was quick to share photos of the food especially the different salads he loves to make. He shared how his roommates are forever glad to have him because he can never tire of cooking for them.

I love to encourage young people to pursue their dreams. For them to know that the journey is not necessarily easy but that it is possible to excel in whatever field they are interested in because after all it is God who gave them the desires for that particular field. They need to start small towards this dream and God will surely send help as they keep on the journey. I hope to meet these young lads again soon and see how to be of help on their journey. And of course the chef will do the cooking as we discuss and share ideas of how to live out fully the life God has given us. For now it on and forward for me, continuing on the journey of encouraging people to pursue the dreams, start that business or organization, study that course and generally keep on the move and never to give up because they have the help of the Almighty.