After arriving in Uganda and spending the night in Kampala, Nicholas (FOH staff) and Sam (two Sam’s woo!) drove me up to Lira. A good seven-hour trek that resulted in lots of laughter, agriculture talk, dreaming, singing, and even some sleeping. Throughout the drive we stopped for lunch, bought roasted sweet plantain from the market, and interrupted a group of baboons crossing the street. One even jumped up in our window! Thanking the Lord that it didn’t jump in mine because that probably would’ve ended with a wild reaction. As if all those experiences weren’t enough, there was quite the VIEW too. Seven hours of incredibly lush scenery contrasted against the deep red dirt of the ground. There is no questioning why Uganda is called the Pearl of Africa.
Besides the vast beauty of God’s creation in this place, I immediately knew there was something more, something undeniably unique about Uganda. It’s the people. Never in my life have I met more welcoming, hospitable, selfless and encouraging humans – and this is only day one!
In trying to understand and know them deeper, I asked Nicholas and Sam what they were most passionate about. In my head I was expecting a career-oriented response, such as becoming a professor or improving agriculture efficiencies. To my surprise, nothing job specific ever came up in the conversation. Nicholas responded that he is passionate about leadership and equipping the younger generations to lead with truth. Meanwhile, Sam’s desire is to serve the community in as many ways as possible. WOW. Can you imagine if everyone in the world had passions that aligned with the wellbeing and empowerment of others, like these two men, rather than selfish goals we so easily tend to run after?
What if? As this two-word question lingered in my mind, it got me thinking. Why? Why did all the Ugandans I met here on my first day care for me and love me so well, considering I was a stranger in their country? You see, friends like Nicholas and Sam care deeply about others because it comes as an overflow of the love that Jesus Christ has already poured out on the cross for us. They’re not just “good” people, because really, are any of us good? No. But they do know a good God. The God who came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28). The God who underwent the most horrific punishment possible, the crucifixion, despite His absolute innocence. The God who loves us so much that He would give up His life so that we can walk in a restored relationship with the Father (1 John 4:9-10).
How do I know faith in Jesus is what motivates Nicholas and Sam? How could I not. Everything they do points back to Him. From the start of our seven-hour journey together, to every meal, to the conclusion of our road trip; it all began in thankful prayer to the Lord. They know His love for us and want others to know it to. That is why Nicholas, Sam, and many other Ugandans I’ve met, are serving as the hands and feet of Jesus right here on earth.
What if we all did too?