Today’s the day...
After just over a week in Uganda, we are ready to make the move from big city life to the village of Lalogi, from the comfort and ease of hotels and restaurants to a handmade bed in a concrete, thatched-roof hut and cooking over a small charcoal stove... To say that it will be a much-needed reality check could be the understatement of the century.
We’re ready... we think. We’ve had time to sleep off jet-lag, gather supplies and get a lay of the land. All this is thanks to none other than our Uganda Field Director Walter Ogwang. If we didn’t already know it, this week has gone a long way to prove that this entire operation would not exist without him. His work here on the ground in Uganda keeps the Tuli Initiative moving forward. To say the least, it has been impressive to see him in action. He is truly a hard-working, respectable man of God. We are so thankful to have him on our team. He is such a blessing from God and a picture of what the Tuli Initiative is all about, Ugandans working together for the good of their people to see God restore, renew and replenish their homeland.
We’ve also been able to spend some amazing time with Walter’s family while here in Gulu. His wife, Jennifer, works for another Nashville based organization called Sweet Sleep. She has been such a huge help in making us feel at home here and preparing us for the next few months. The other day, she was explaining to us how organizations who intend to work with the people in any capacity must register with the local government as a Community-Based Organization (CBO). This registration gives an organization governmental permission to work in a specific community. In our case, that’s Lalogi. Uganda’s bureaucratic system, as is the case in many developing countries, is filled with corruption, and this registration process can be painstaking, absorbing precious time and money as you climb the political ladder to reach those from whom you need approval. However, God was gracious to us. What has taken many larger organizations years and hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to complete took us a grand total of one month and zero dollars. Jennifer was floored at how quickly Tuli has been able to progress, and couldn’t help but marvel at how God has paved the way for that through contacts on the ground and our persistent field director. She also informed us today that we will be the first missionaries to actually come LIVE in the village of Lalogi. God could pick any Christian in the entire world, or even just do it Himself, yet He has graciously allowed us the chance to join Him and be the first to live among these Ugandans and share His love with them day in and day out. Is that grace or what??
It will be exhausting and extremely challenging, especially for three clueless Americans, but we couldn’t be more confident that this is the life God has called us to live here this summer. We want to see and understand in some small way how the people we feel called to serve live every day. We want to build real, lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships. We want to see true gospel-centered community take root. We want to see God’s healing and restoration NOW on this broken Earth, not just in eternity to come. And we want Him to use it all to radically change our own lives.
This is where you come in...
We need you to pray for the 18,000+ citizens of Lalogi. Pray for their leaders. Pray for their pastors. Pray God would supply their daily needs and they would, in turn, recognize His provision. Most of all, pray God would open their hearts and minds to Him. Pray they would be receptive of His message of grace, hope and life. Pray that Jesus would make disciples in Uganda.
We need you to pray for us. Pray for a willingness to drop our comforts and embrace the simple life. Pray for a boldness to proclaim Jesus Christ to these people. Pray for our Uganda Field Director Walter Ogwang as he continues to work tirelessly to see Tuli through. Pray for our Ugandan friends Claire and Douglas, who will be living with us in the village all summer long, helping us survive and bridging the cultural and language barrier. Pray we would allow God to change us at the very core of who we are through this experience. Pray for our families as they have surrendered us to go to a place so far away and so unknown.
We’ll try to keep you as up to date as possible throughout the journey... Our hope is that everything we do and say will point directly to Him. We are merely His hands and feet.
We love you all!
To God be the glory,
The Switchboard Team