I decided to write this blog post to answer the question that I will inevitably get: How was your mission trip?
Really, how do I answer that question? It was good? Fine? Went great? Glad to be home?
It really was good and fine and great and I really am glad to be home. But there was a lot more than that. The 10 days spent in Uganda were some of the most difficult, uncomfortable moments that I remember having, but also some of the most rewarding and eye-opening times of my life.
Traveling is hard. It’s especially hard for me. I cannot get comfortable on an airplane. I don’t think I slept for more than a couple of minutes here and there for the entire flight (approximately four 5-hour flights and two 6-hour flights.) The buses were small. We had no water a few days. We took mostly sponge baths at the guest house. We ate food that I’m not sure what it was called nor am I sure what it was.
But that’s just first world comfort problems. The real difficult was driving deep into the villages and seeing the utter poverty that thousands of people live in each and every day. Granted, I was viewing these people with my American eyes through the lens of privilege and comfort, but there is no doubt that the people we visited last week were some of the poorest people I’ve ever met. They lived in mud houses or shacks. Their beds were small mats on the floor. Their clothes were dirty and tattered, coming apart at the seams. Their children were either completely naked or nearly naked. They had little food and no running water; yet many of their faces beamed a smile from ear to ear when they saw us.
We went into the villages and gave dresses to the girls, some clothes or flip-flops to the boys, and whatever sweets (candy) we had. Boy, did they love the sweets. We gave away the yarn dolls to the small children, and we shared the gospel and prayed with every family we came across.
It was both heart-wrenching and yet strangely optimistic to be there. Like, who are we kidding? Their need is so big. A bag of clothes will not fix this. Certainly a piece of candy will not fix this. Yet they people were so happy. So thankful. So genuinely glad to see us.
The worship service at the church we visited was loud, worshipful and heavily-attended. The little sanctuary was packed with people young and old, singing at the top of their lungs songs I didn’t know and a few I did. Yet, all I could think about was this was surely a foretaste of Revelation 7:9-10 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the lamb!”
For everyone who thinks that Heaven will be full of white people singing in English, you have a huge wake-up call coming. I experienced more of Heaven in a little church in Uganda than I probably ever had in America.
So, how was my mission trip? Exhausting. Difficult. Uncomfortable. Did I cry? A couple times. Some bad tears of stress and missing my family back home. But mostly good tears. Tears for these people who have so little yet love so much. Tears knowing that their sufficiency is in Christ. That when you don’t have food to eat or a roof over your head or clothes to wear, that Christ is enough.
How was my mission trip? Worth every penny. Worth every waking moment in that too-small airplane seat. Worth every ice-cold sponge bath I had to endure and malaria pill I had to swallow.
When I see my daughter’s face light up when she gets to play with the village kids. When I see God confirming in her heart over and over again her call to missions. When I see God stretch me out of my comfort zone. When I see God care for and protect my family back home.
How was my mission trip? It was good. Fine. Great. Glad to be home.