Yesterday was Nakabango Day! If you've been on a mission trip to Uganda with Hearts & Hope, you know that this day can be chaos! Saturday was no exception, but it was a glorious chaos! Messiah Lutheran in Weldon Spring, Missouri and Nakabango Lutheran Church have been partners since 2006. There is a familiarity that breeds all kinds of connections and a level of comfort that makes you feel a bit like you've just arrived home.
The school put on a magnificent program that included songs, dancing, and poetry. It was apparent the staff had been working hard during the second term!
We met with almost 150 sponsored students and spent time handing out packets, making crafts for their sponsors, and putting together bracelets. Next the men moved to the church building, constructed with help from Messiah in 2010, to paint. They spent a lot of time in the hot sun putting on a fresh coat of paint that changed the entire look of the church.
We delivered more books to the library. This project is something new for Hearts & Hope and it seems to be working. We met with 25 students who each snagged a new book. What a thrill to watch the team sit and listen to them read!! Messiah's VBS kids will be collecting books next week for this library; we can't wait to make another delivery in the fall!
We also had the privilege of delivering a new altar cloth to the church. Many thanks to Barb Wehmeyer for taking Pastor Chuck's measurements of the altar and sewing a cover that fit PERFECTLY! The vice chairman of the congregation was thrilled and recorded a short video to show his appreciation.
After we left the village, we were able to make visits to three homes. This is a time when the reality of poverty in Uganda hits many of the team members. Seeing where the kids eat and sleep can be difficult to accept; it always seems to rekindle that fire that makes us want to help.
We arrived home around 6:30 (how quickly the Sunset Hotel becomes "home"!). Dinner was a festive affair as three of our staff members joined us. Pastor Nicholas from St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Nalwire also joined us as we were able to announce the official partnership between St. Matthew and Redeemer Lutheran in Redwood City, California! What a blessing this will be to both congregations. Hearts & Hope is thrilled about the possibilities.
It was a later night last night but we will be ready to worship in Butangala today!
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.