Parish Project 2006
Becca's Letter from Uganda
Well I've been away from home for just over a year now and a lot has happened. It's been quite a challenging year in many ways and amazing too. I've learnt so much about God, and about myself. People say that when you are out here things are either really great or really hard, and to a certain extent I'd have to agree with that. I've struggled with some things over the last few months but God has been really amazing in helping me through them and looking at things in a different way. God truly doesn't put you in a situation where he won't give you the strength and change of heart to cope with it even when personally you don't have it.
There are some really special things here, like the community that Kagando is - the care and love that's here, the family feel. When someone's ill, or going through a hard time everyone's there trying to bring help and comfort. Then there's the fun that we have all together celebrating a joyful event. It's really special and really feels like the way we are meant to be as Gods church caring for and supporting one another.
Over the last two months I've had two Physios come and stay which has been great. One was from Germany and about to start working for a year in another hospital where she will be the only phyiso; she wanted to get some ideas about how to treat conditions you find over here and how things run. The other was a medical student. It was good fun, I enjoyed learning from them as well as teaching, and was quite surprised by how much I'd learnt over this year.
It's taken me a year to try and make any comment on the church here, but here's an attempt at explaining what I've found. In January at my Mission's Conference an African pastor make a comment on the Christianity out here. I've found that this comment explains quite well the church in this country. He told me that one of the worst insults you can say to someone here is to call them a pagan. To avoid being given this title people want to be baptised and be given a "Christian name" - i.e. a name from the bible. Many people therefore get baptised not because they believe, but so that if anyone calls them a pagan they can deny it by reporting they are baptised and giving their name.
I found it very interesting going to one of the nursing students fellowship meetings. The first year students had just started and they were asked to stand up and introduce themselves. As they did so they would say their name, then came the distinction. Some of these people would report the name of the church they go to, others would declare that Jesus was their personal Lord and Saviour and talk about being saved. I've never liked the question "when were you saved" - as I feel that Christianity is a journey - for some the discovery of Jesus and the decision to become a Christian will happen very quickly - for others like myself it was a long journey, and it's still a continuing journey which makes it so exciting. But the question here is quite apt, as it helps you to understand where people are in their faith and what they know and believe. You therefore have the difficulty that many people will call themselves Christians but still go and consult the witch doctor and carry out all their strange practices. A lot of evangelism goes on here, and we can learn much from it. But unfortunately it is not always followed up. You therefore have many people who've made a commitment, but never had anyone to help them afterwards discover the bible, and help them develop in their faith. To use a metaphor, the river is wide, but not very deep.
Many people at Kagando come to church and have heard the gospel many times. There are also some really strong Christians here who are great witnesses. From discussing with a friend whose been here much longer than me, the two major prayer needs are for good discipleship, and for God to be working in peoples hearts who've heard, but don't know him yet.
Kagando is not just a hospital, it has many other community projects and things it's involved with. I've asked if I can start seeing these, so will write about these in the future. But please if there's anything in particular that you'd like to know about, I'm sure you're not the only one so please ask
via Gordon Gray, and I'll try and write about it.
- Please pray for the people of this area. We had a lack of rain during the rainy season causing most peoples' crops to fail. There's also been an outbreak of foot and mouth in our area and in other areas on the west of Uganda. So not only do people not have enough food, or money to purchase food, their cattle are not well either.
- But please thank God too as we've had rain for the last couple of days which is a huge blessing so pray that we get some more. (It's not just the English who talk about weather)
- Thank God for the growing signs of peace in Uganda, especially that the Lord's Resistance Army are at the peace talks.
- We get a lot of people pass through this place and a really exciting thing that I often see happening, is that the non-Christians are so challenged by the frequent mention of God and the acceptance here that God exists that they often start questioning and exploring about God. They also develop much deeper friendships with the Christian medical students who are also here from the same university. So please also pray for this group of people.
- Please also thank God so much for this year and his protection and provision towards me.