Some of the AFA crew on Saturday morning after a 22-hour bus ride.

Some of the AFA crew on Saturday morning after a 22-hour bus ride.

ISHAKA, Bushenyi District – When 22 of us boarded the bus to leave Moyo the expectation of a 14-hour bus drive seemed almost too much to bear.

If we only knew …

But by the end of the night the drive along the roughest roads in Uganda got longer and longer and longer. When we arrived at our destination we had logged 22 hours – one for each of the Amy For Africa team. It was 7 in the morning and breakfast awaited – a big pan of fish fingers and goat stew.

Now we were living large.

We are staying at one of the nicest hotels in Ishaka, a 5-star kind of place for this area. The food is excellent – even the goat stew – and they will wash our clothes for 30 cents an item. Not a bad deal at all. We’ve already had breakfast and lunch with a banana fritter dessert that would fly anywhere.

We stepped off the bus covered with the dirt from the dusty roads, aching over the thousands of bumps endured, stiff and swollen but thankful for a safe journey. It’s all part of the memory that will make this trip special in our minds forever. I promise, none of us will ever forget the cross-country bus ride to Ishaka.

We shared snacks, stood (or squatted) beside each other in trenches to relief ourselves. I mean, remember, it was 22 hours of riding. We are squeezed tightly into the bus too, mostly touching shoulders with your neighbor or a side wall of the bus. I looked a little like the Charlie Brown character “Pigpen” stepping off.

Even being half a world away, through the wonders of the Internet, I was able to text with my wife, Beth, for part of the time and share my uncomfortableness. That made my part of the trip much better.

Our bus driver, Aaron, was behind the wheel the entire 22 hours. He was pouring bottles of cold water over his head to stay awake. He drove like it was a video game, dodging the biggest potholes and keeping the bus going. There were speed bumps about every half mile to control speeding.

Behind us, our luggage was loaded into a truck. Another vehicle was behind that one. When a thief boarded the luggage truck, the trailing vehicle noticed. They stopped the truck and our driver, Vu, took on three thieves. He broke one of their arms and chased off the others.

And we never knew until the following morning.

Dr. Floyd Paris preached twice after breakfast to a crowd of about 200 who walked to Blasio’s church for training. Some of our team members – Chris and Amy Compston, Bobby Bowen and Steve Wesolowski – joined him at the church. Amy said the church parking lot was empty but the seats were full.

Tonight we are going to a crusade in town where the crowd will grow from 100 to more than 2,000 before it’s finished. We are expecting hundreds to come to know the Lord. These 22 Americans are being asked to testify to the people. We are so blessed it’s almost hard to stand in front of them but we all have a story and most will share it.

The most important thing the Amy For Africa team can do on this trip is share how Jesus can change your life.