In June, a group traveled to Uganda for an Edify vision trip to catch a glimpse of the work God is doing through Christian education. They visited Edify partner schools and met school proprietors, shared stories and laughter with the children and heard how the Ugandan people were fighting the effects of poverty and how God is at work in another culture. Cecie, one of the trip participants, took the time to share about her experience, what she observed and what she brought back home with her.
I have always felt a calling to go to Africa. After a visit from the African Children’s Choir to my son’s school, it became an even greater desire. A member of our team, Jill, was familiar with Edify trips, so we were excited to visit schools they partner with in Uganda.
There were so many obstacles to overcome before even boarding the plane, the biggest being fear. I would be leaving my kids for an extended period of time, my first time ever since becoming a mother. I would be traveling to a country that would be so foreign to me. Would I be safe? What if I got sick? Despite my questioning that was rooted in fear, I felt a nudging that encouraged me to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Africa is such a unique environment. It is raw in a way that is both shocking and beautiful at the same time. I found that people in Uganda depend on God in a way that I did not think was possible.
Being born in the United States has given me an unbelievable advantage and opportunity, however I now see how it has shielded me from full dependence on God and fools me with the illusion of self-reliance. Uganda made me see how small I am and how big God is.
It made me inspect my own faith. Did I really trust God? Did I really see each and every blessing in my life as coming from His hand and not my accomplishments or “good” decisions? It also made me realize that some of the things I worried about before arriving had no basis.
I saw so much joy in the Ugandan people. It made me realize on a deeper level that joy is a choice. What choice was I making in my own life? Was I going to look at the things that I wanted to be different and let those weigh me down, or was I going to appreciate all the things that are right and give glory to God, no matter how small?
One evening our team shared dinner with a group of local Edify partners. I was humbled to meet so many dedicated Ugandans who have made improving their country their sole purpose. These individuals had such a passion for spreading the gospel through education and having a lasting impact on future generations. It made me realize the true scope of Edify’s work and what a key piece of the puzzle Edify plays in helping the wheels of education continue to turn in countries around the world. Everyone I met through my experience, from the school directors to the teachers and local trainers showed me what real service and sacrifice looks like.
Returning home, I brought back some big takeaways: 1) Joy is often a choice 2) God is always present, always with us. Now I am looking to Him more and more, rather than constantly letting myself be distracted by the things of this world. And 3) the strength of the Ugandan people is inspirational. I like to believe that I brought a piece of that strength back with me.
Interested in learning more about going on an Edify trip? Learn more here!