Today, our series of posts by mission team members continues with some thoughts from Shelby Schlie.
Since coming home from Uganda, I have been constantly reflecting over the time that I had spent there. Friends and family have asked me how it was, and my simple response is always “amazing.”
The energizing spirit of the Hearts and Hope staff that we had worked with was amazing. They were so passionate about their work. They were so willing to help or answer questions. They were compassionate and empathetic and kind. Although they were strangers at the beginning of the week, I now consider them great friends!
The characteristics of the people who lived in the villages were amazing. One of my favorite parts of the trip was Margaret: a women in Nalwire who invited us into her home. Her house was made of mud and timbers. There was no electricity and there were only curtains used to partition the single room. However, what immediately stuck out to me was the images of Jesus that she had hung all around her house. Despite all problems that she faced, her pride, strength, and joy came from the Lord. It was an amazing picture of a God who provides, and of a women who put her trust in her God.
Working in the villages was amazing. I loved seeing the joy of the children when they would open their sponsorship packets. One of my favorite moments happened in Kainagoga as I was sitting next to a girl (around 7 years old) as she was opening her packet. What really struck me was when she started to cry (tears of joy) as she was opening the school supplies. At first I was surprised. Like what 7-year-old cries at school supplies?! That’s when it really hit me that it is a HUGE deal to sponsor a child. Although it seems like a simple gesture, sponsorship gives so much joy and so much hope. It really changes lives. Being able to see that first hand was amazing.
Finally, our God is amazing. I think it is easy to go to a place, like Uganda, and see so much poverty and curse our God because of it. However, this is not the case at all. We can do nothing to earn his favor, however he gives us his favor anyway. God’s hand is in Uganda. He cares so much for his people. He provides for his people. He put his only son on the cross to die for his people. He loves his people. I was constantly in awe of his love and in awe of his beauty. He gives us what we truly need: his grace.
Ephesians 2:4-5 says: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
This is the promise that we get to live in every day! I am so thankful for that!
My trip to Uganda is one that I will remember for the rest of my life. It was truly amazing.
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.