Ever since my family returned from Zaire (now DR Congo) when I was 5, I have had a heightened awareness of how other people live around the world. It seems their struggles, joys and way of life are so different from mine, and that has grown my heart to learn about other cultures and see how I can love them. The question is, can we love them best by going over and living with them? Is that what they need?
About a year ago, before Tony & I were even engaged, we started asking these questions. There are some people in our church who feel the Lord is calling them to move to Uganda for a 3-5 year commitment. Tony & I have known one of the families for a few years, and have seen their journey of finding the right organization and placement in Uganda. We were excited for them when they returned with confidence that they had found the right place.
But then Steve & Bridget did something we didn’t see coming. They extended an invitation for others in our church to learn more about Uganda, and possibly raise up a team from our church body to move to Uganda. To my complete shock, it was Tony who was more drawn to go to the first meeting! I can’t quite explain what happened over the next months, but soon I found myself signed up for a week-long trip to go to Restoration Gateway (RG) with several other people who were also considering moving to Uganda.
RG is in the north-western part of the country, which has been particularly devastated by the LRA over the past 20 years. Though the LRA has moved on to DR Congo and no longer poses a threat to this particular area in Uganda, the area is in need of healing. On our trip last July, we met people who had been taken by the LRA, and miraculously escaped, and others who had been widowed or orphaned. The toll has been great, but the people are ready to work towards restoration.
Obviously, you can see that RG is a good thing, and is working with the Ugandans to bring this needed healing to the land. But still, I can see the thought in your mind, “Haydens, you guys JUST got married. Isn’t this a little too much right now?”. We hear you, and we definitely don’t want to jump into anything too soon. But we are still praying about it, and we just made plans to go on a vision trip to Uganda that our church is taking this May.
We’ll be gone May 19-28, so it’s a pretty quick trip, especially when you understand just how long it takes to get there (there are no Indy-Kampala direct flights!). However, we’re excited to be able to see RG together and interact with the Ugandans and other missionaries there. There are 14 other people from our church who are also going on this trip. We haven’t finalized all that we’ll be doing on the trip, but it looks like we might have great opportunities to get out to the surrounding villages more than we did last year. However it looks, I think it will be a great trip, and we’re really looking forward to it!