By MARK MAYNARD / AFA
MOYO, Uganda – The Amy For Africa Mission to Moyo’s main objective was to bring joy to the Ma’di people.
Based on the receptions the team received every day and the priceless look on the faces of the sweet children, I’d see it was mission accomplished.
But the joy we shared didn’t come close to the joy we received.
Who knew being obedient to Jesus could be so fun?
Don’t get me wrong, we worked hard all week. Nobody has had a real shower in more than a week. We, uh, don’t smell so good and nobody is complaining. The team grew tighter and tighter as the week progressed. We saw the needs on a daily basis and it broke our hearts daily as well.
On the last day, a family of nine showed up at the last minute. The father wanted his children to have shoes for the first time. We made sure that happened even though we were closing shop. The Ma’di people are proud and will work with you. A group of 32 pastors that Bro. Floyd Paris had contacted slept on mats in a church during the entire time we distributed shoes. They worked with us in delivering the shoes, passing them out at distribution sites and, well, simply blessing our socks off.
I told the good people at Samaritan’s Feet, who we partnered with for 26,000 shoes, that this Mission to Moyo was going to be EPIC. I was wrong. It was better than EPIC!
Our last stop was at the site of the United Christian Expedition’s model farm. The Penne Paris nursery school children from Vumgbala treated us to song, riddles and sweetness extreme. We interacted with the children, the adults and told them that JESUS LOVES YOU! When we put on shoes, we did the same.
We were greeted with dancing and, like the other stops, we danced with them. The Gorilla danced not once but was also called up for an encore on what should be a video gone viral before the day is over.
It was an incredible journey each and every day. We were so well taken care of by the ladies in UCE’s women’s vocational training at Floyd’s compound in Moyo. They cooked for us two times a day and were so worried about what we thought of them. We taught them some American ways, including coffee over an open fire and crispy bacon. But they taught us what it means to love from the bottom of your heart.
The pastors inspired us, the women taught us gratitude, and we all learned a little slice of missionary life in Moyo. No running water, electricity flashes, mosquitoes who liked me best (unfortunately), white ants (termites) that you can actually eat and bunking in a room with three other men who can snore with the best of them.
We didn’t pass out all 26,000 shoes but almost. And we have been assured that the rest will be put on feet of children in the coming days. We each were moved beyond words at the end of Friday’s distribution when we gathered with the pastors at Floyd’s compound and shared with them. What a special moment. These are great men of God who are trying to make a difference in their community of Moyo.
God’s love was the talk of the district from government officials to the people who couldn’t wait to see that busload of mazungas come to their village.
We are leaving thankful for what God has given us, hurting for the people in Moyo who have so little but inspired to do more because of the people here. May this journey bring each of us closer to Jesus Christ in the coming days, weeks, months and years.