Submitted by: Kristi Kiely - May 16th, 2010


By Jenna Nelson

Hello from the incredible country of Uganda. Today, being Sunday, we had the opportunity to attend a church service in the same slums we visited yesterday. Two groups went to Kitooro, one to Bwaise, and the other to Nateete. I am thankful to have been a part of the 3.5 hour long, 2 sermon worship service at the Kitooro site. We sang, clapped, jumped, spun around, sweat, and praised the Lord for 1.5 hours straight. It was unlike anything I have ever experience. The church was in a small tin-roofed building, small stage, and led by Pastor Benjamin and his wife Margaret. At the Bwaise church, our head coach was caught by surprise when she was handed a microphone to grace the congregation by singing “Let it Rise”, meanwhile Vice President of Westmont, Cliff Lundberg, and the rest of the girls at this church added hand motions while they sang along. Before the service, Frank, one of the Sports Outreach guys, approached the group asking, “So, who is preaching?” Jeremiah Kiely stepped forward asking, “How long?”, “Maybe 1 hour?”, surprised Jeremiah replied, “How about 15?”, then Frank, “45?” which was then negotiated down to 30 minutes of preaching with about a 5 minute prep time. I continue to be amazed by the way Ugandans worship. Many of these people live with very little, among trash, roaming cows, and sewage floating down the trenches, yet they are so thankful for God’s providence. Their faith and life is so deeply rooted in Christ it is inspiring and beautiful.

After church and lunch we went to the market. Twenty girls were given an hour to barter and buy African goods. Maybe you’ll be the lucky recipient of the many beautiful scarves, bracelets, pictures, and dresses that were bought.

We then went to the Ugandan Jesus Village (UJV), one of my favorite places so far. Unfortunately we were only able to stay a short time, but during that time, God’s presence was clearly evident. The UJV is home to about sixty boys and girls from 5-18 years old. The majority of the children are orphans from the Acholi tribe in Gulu who have witnessed unspeakable actions because of the 23-year-long war. These once violent and hard-hearted kids and have been transformed into loving, singing, and dancing children of God. Many of us could not keep from crying from the hardship these young children have already had to go through. But, praise God, they are now free, safe, and saved because of the grace of God.

Each day I am more humbled and amazed by these people. In no way have we come here to “bring the Gospel”, God is life here. He reigns, sits on the throne, is Lord of all. I am thankful for God’s provision upon our team in getting everyone here. We are being changed. It is so evident. I am excited for what’s to come. Gulu is going to be a totally different experience than here in Kampala.