Thursday was the day we’d been waiting for since leaving Ashland on Sunday morning. It was the day we would begin changing the outlook of villages in Moyo, Uganda.
We did it with a pair of shoes and an extra large helping of God’s love. These people who came out in droves saw more mazungas (white people) than they’ve ever seen before. Ever. But what we hope they saw mostly was how this group of 13 representing United Christian Expedition, Amy For Africa and Samaritan’s Feet loved on them through Jesus Christ. If it didn’t come through in translation, hopefully it did in the looks on our faces.
Experience what we did and you’ll be changed forever, too. I know we were.
It was time to deliver shoes – and a message – to the children in Moyo. The AFA team was getting tired of travel but it was one more long drive on some roads that couldn’t be believed. They were mostly bedrock, broken bedrock, and a steep incline to Abasu. They seemed better suited for Wile E. Coyote than any real-life vehicles. How could anybody live like this? The Moyo region is a forgotten area which is why UCE is there to help.
Our morning was spent with Moyo dignitaries who are all friendly with Bro. Floyd Paris, our missionary on the ground in Moyo. We visited the Resident District Commissioner John Abimgue and LC-5 Jimmy Vukoni. The LC-5 is like the governor in the United States. Vukoni paid Bro. Floyd the ultimate compliment from the area by calling him a Ma’di. That’s the name of the people in the Moyo area.
They both sang praises of what United Christian Expedition has done for the Moyo area through Bro. Floyd’s leadership. We had free rein to go wherever we wanted and were promised government protection. All week long we’ve had an armed guard patroling the UCE property simply because that’s how much they appreciate us being there. If we are friends of Floyd Paris, we are friends to them.
It was interesting to see how much they respected Bro. Floyd. In fact, Vukoni joined us on the trip to Abasu and even did some dancing with us. (More on that later). Vukoni rode in the back of a pickup truck with Tony Blankenbeckley up these steep, treacherous roads. We did have some entertainment on the travels when we were greeted with girls and women dressed in yellow shirts and dancing. They would clap, dance and sing and then over to pick someone from the crowd to join them. They happened to select me first and I did what I called “Gorilla in the Midst.” I guess I got caught up in the moment. Rob VanHoose said that I would have scored high on “So you think you can dance: Moyo version.” I was joined on the dance floor by Amy Compston, then Kathy Whitely and finally Dr. Maggie Lawentmann, who honestly had the best moves among us.
The dancing girls seemed to enjoy the “Gorilla” dance and our crew got a good laugh and a video that I’m sure to regret.
It took about 90 minutes to arrive at our destination and we were greeted with hundreds of children and adults. They were so happy to see us. We arrived about noon and most of them had been there since 8 a.m. They waited and waited. As a treat, I even gave an encore dance performance. So did Dr. Maggie, who saw so many “patients” that she ran out of the massive amount of medicine we brought (we are getting more).
But we had one problem: Our shoes hadn’t made it to the site yet. A little bit of panic came over us but the “program,” as they called it, went on. Bro. Floyd spoke through a translator and everybody was patient. Then they were ready for shoes and so were we. The truck with our shoes and everything we needed arrived before all the speeches were given. The next five hours were pretty much a blur for all of us. We shared experiences and simply felt blessed.
My what a blessing to be part of such a great experience.
Pray for this group – Chris and Amy Compston, Rob and Jon VanHoose, Rob Barber, Tony and Amy Blankenbeckley, Shannon Luther, Maggie Lawentmann, Kathy Whitely, Whitney Saucedo, Floyd Paris and me – as we continue this mission.