People keep asking, “How was Uganda?” and I am never sure what to say. It is hard to summarize such a powerful and impactful three weeks into a sufficient answer. I keep replying with “Good” and if I’m feeling really adventurous I’ll respond with, “Good, it was a great experience.” And that’s true. The trip was good. And the trip was an incredible experience. I’m just not sure how to use words adequately enough to describe what we experienced in Uganda. It was beyond description. I can describe what I did, but I’ve yet to find the words and phrases to explain what I felt. But for now I’ll simply write out three major things that I learned or was reminded of while on the trip.
Joy and sports are universal
Never will I forget the literal squeals of joy from a child simply dribbling a basketball. Joy is part of the human experience. As is sports. No matter the language, culture, or religion of people, sport is something that can bring people together. The first day there was hard because they didn’t know us and we didn’t know them, but through sports we bonded and created friendships that I’m sure we will never forget.
Everyone deserves a chance to play
As we figured out the schedule, there was a considerable amount of time we had to fill. Someone brought up the fact that the children would just want to scrimmage, and I said something like “If they want to play, why we don’t just let them play?” Then our leader Drew raised a point that struck me profoundly. The reality is that these children rarely have the opportunity to learn the game. Often, they don’t even have the basics down for some games, and that since we were there, we should teach them what we knew. This way, ultimately, they were able to enjoy the game even more. Sport has such a cool role in society everywhere. And everyone regardless of their situation deserves a chance to truly play. To learn and improve so that they may enjoy playing even more.
God is God and Ministry is Ministry
No matter where you are, you’re called to serve. For our team, we were called to serve in Uganda for three weeks. But even though we were called to serve in a different continent, we still served the same God. Even after a full day of traveling we were still under the same God. God is big and His love is big for us. But furthermore, His call for our lives is big. Regardless where I find myself, I’m called to serve. As I return to my dirty, stinky laundry, I am called to serve. As I sit on long bus rides and find myself awake at unruly hours preparing for a game the next day, I’m called to serve. It doesn’t take a couple plane rides to be called to serve but rather a willing heart. You never know where He will lead you, whether it be Africa or elsewhere, but God is God. And to God be the glory.
One night at devotions we read Psalm 48, and verse 10 stood out to me. It reads, “As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.” So your praise reaches to the end of the earth. That’s true. Hard to fathom, but true. Whether it be Africa or here in North America, the same God, our creator is worshiped and praised for all He has done and will do. Looking at what He has done with MOAM and the individuals involved, and will continue to do is amazing and without question deserves praise to God. Only He could plan this small adventure we experienced in Uganda within His grand plan.
-Ryan Francis, Student Manager, Liberty University