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Uganda 2010 Mission Trip

Arriving Home

Submitted by: Kristi Kiely - May 25th, 2010

By Kristi Kiely

Greetings from Santa Barbara,

We are back and everyone made it home safe! I would have written last night but once 2 p..m. came (midnight for us) I turned into a Zombie and there’s no telling what this entry would have looked like. So, let me catch you up our last three days…

Saturday morning we got up and drove to Parra Lodge (a safari lodge in northern Uganda). It was an interesting switch back into an affluent culture but still in Africa. Once we arrived we went straight into our first leg of the safari: the Nile River. We got on a boat on THE NILE (which is still somewhat bazaar to say) and cruised on up to an incredible waterfall: Murchison Falls. On the Nile we saw hippos, crocodiles, elephants, more hippos, various birds and still, more hippos. It was an incredibly beautiful place full of wildlife.

Our Last Day in Gulu

Submitted by: Kristi Kiely - May 21st, 2010

By Kristi Kiely

Greetings from the end of our trip,

It’s Friday evening and we have finished our time in Gulu. Sorry for my absence in yesterdays blog…computer access was limited. First I must say, Happy Birthday Dan! Dan spent his 55th birthday here in Gulu doing some of the things he loves most: building a piggery and being serenaded by our women’s team at dinner.

Yesterday, we spent ALL day working on various projects (from digging to building a piggery) in the “bush” as they call it here in Gulu-meaning those that live deep in the bush in huts as part of small villages they are trying to rebuild after the war. It was a long and fruitful day. It felt good to work with our hands to the point of exhaustion. Nicole and I also shared the hard task of holding the cutest Ugandan baby! After our long day in the trenches we had a wonderful dinner (some of us had goat) outside under the Ugandan sky.

Gulu!

Submitted by: Kristi Kiely - May 19th, 2010

By Kristi Kiely

We arrived in Gulu yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon after crossing the Nile, feeding Baboons and taking about 6.5 hours to make a 4.5 hour trip. It was a long day but we made it. For those of you new to Ugandan history, Gulu is in the north where there was most recently a civil war. The people here have experienced major trauma and are in need of both great love and education. A lot of their civilization, or way of living, was taken from them and they are struggling trying to find a way to get back to that point. After the rebel war NGO’s filled this area handing out food and other necessities.

Our 2nd Match!

Submitted by: Kristi Kiely - May 17th, 2010

By Kristi Kiely

Greetings from our last day in Kampala,

“You are most welcome” as they say in Uganda. Thank you for enjoying this journey with us in Kampala. Today was our last day in Kampala and it was a great day.

We enjoyed our last morning devotional with the Good News team. The devotional times have been such a strong time of worship, prayer and learning God’s word. We are most thankful for them and sad to leave them behind. Following the devotional time we went to play again with Hearts United (the female version of the Good News team). Our girls love working with the women, getting to know them, love them, show them Jesus and empower them. The time we have spent with Hearts United has been such a gift. After our morning playing with the young girls we drove to Entebbe to play our second match. Another one-of-a-kind experiences: 5 minutes to warm up, people on the sidelines EVERYWHERE (even right next to me while I was coaching), I had to step into the game (we only have 1 sub)…etc. We won again on a goal from Haley Yurtin (goal number 2 for her in Africa)! It was a great game and we were able to spend some time sharing in small groups after the game with our opponents.

Church

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.

Digging a Trench with Your Vice President

Submitted by: Kristi Kiely - May 15th, 2010

By Kristi Kiely

It’s Saturday night and we have had a full day. The girls have been incredible: strong, brave in their willingness to share, joyful and patient. They have continued to surprise us with how willing they are to immerse themselves quickly into whatever we are doing. Praise God. We are very proud of them. I also continue to be so impressed with the leadership of this group. Dan Ribbens brings years of experience and wisdom. Jane Williams brings a beautiful voice and wonderful presence as our worship leader. Diane and Cliff Lundberg have been wonderfully interactive with our girls and getting to know them. My husband has embraced his role as “Peach’s Wife” or “Coach’s Wife” and for that I am grateful. And most impressive is Rodney Suddith, our group leader from SOI. The man is brilliant, really funny and filled with God’s spirit. We have a lot we can learn from him.

Our First Match!

Submitted by: Kristi Kiely - May 14th, 2010

By Kristi Kiely

Today was both an INCREDIBLE and incredibly full day. I will start as I usually do with our devotions. We got to the SOI office at our regular time ready for worship and a reading of the Word. As we started to worship there was something different. The volume was the louder, the time more personal and free. At one point, I closed my eyes (full of tears) and just listened. There is something so powerful when brothers and sisters in Christ come together in worship.

Soccer – The World’s Language

Submitted by: Kristi Kiely - May 13th, 2010

By Kristi Kiely

Greetings from Uganda, from Kampala, from the Sports Outreach staff and from the children at Nagulu.

We greet you with a message of peace and love from the Ugandan believers.

Our three favorite things about Uganda so far (day number 2):

1. Chapatti (the best tortilla’s ever- found out today it’s because it’s soaked in oil)
2. Worship- the worship from the people we have come into contact with has been inspiring and beautiful.
3. The universal language of soccer- we tend to earn greater respect after we run a clinic with the kids.

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