Friday, July 6, 2007

07.06.07 - CC Uganda Blog #6

So as we reach the middle of our 5th day in
Africa we have a lot of things running through our minds. We have now been here long enough to have a handle on the way our days work, the time difference, the food and what we are doing here. We have been running so hard over the last 5 days we are all completely drained. Both spiritually and physically. We pour out and pour out of ourselves and have really enjoyed doing this but it sometimes leaves us not just tired at the end of the day but emotionally drained. We as a team have been in over 18 high schools in that time. Visited with over`5000 students and led countless people to Christ. All of have been amazing and new experiences. We have all appreciated the people of
Uganda and the way they welcomed us to their country. It has been very refreshing to see smiles on faces everywhere we go. Everyone waves and is genuinely happy to see us. We found out late last night that today was going to be a treat of sorts for us. We were allowed to sleep in a little and wake up around 8am, which is awesome compared to the 5:15am mornings of most the other days. The rest of the treat will leave me CHANGED forever. We boarded the bus and went to
Lake Victoria where we boarded small fishing type boats and drove for 40 mins or so to an Orphanage run by the ministry that we have been working with here in the country. Once we heard this is what we were going to do today it made all of us excited. After all this is something that we all had been looking forward to the whole trip.
We arrived and began to tour the massive facility. We found the youngest kids of the trip all around us and overjoyed to have us at their school and orphanage. Hundreds and hundreds of young Ugandans surrounding us. Their clothes torn and dirty and all just wanting attention. This was a very hard thing to see. To see kids just like my 5 year old brother in this way. Without parents or any family to speak of, all living in conditions that are good for Uganda but nowhere near the way we live in America. We are in a country where 95% of it lives at or below the poverty level. A city with a population of 21 MILLION people. A city where a group 19 times the size of
Nashville’s population live in the worst conditions I have ever seen.
As a 26 year old man working for a Church I thought I knew what poverty was. I had NO idea. No idea how to live without running water or proper sewage systems. No idea that everyone doesn’t eat 3 meals a day. No idea that poverty is not just adults. It is a 5 year old just like my little brother Matthew. I look into their faces and hold them and I see him. I see kids that laugh and play just like him and go to what they call a home late at night hungry and thirsty. POVERTY has become real to me these last days. It has a name, Ashley, it has a face just like you and I, it has a country,
UGANDA. It has a beating heart looking for something - something more. We walked through an orphanage where it cost $30 a month to feed, clothe, and put a child through school. $30 dollars!!! I stand in the sponsorship office and ask how many kids still need sponsors and I am appalled by the answer of too many to count. And this is a NICE orphanage.
We all see on the news about problems in places a world away from ours and think it is somebody else’s problem. So I shed some tears and have parts of my heart tugged in ways it has never been before. Get on the bus to go back to our guest house, take out my Ipod and find myself taken back by all of this. All the faces, all the poverty, all the emptiness around me. Then I turn of my IPOD after it hits me. I walk away from kids who lack so much only to turn on the luxury of an IPOD. What are we doing? What am I doing? We are blessed with so much and take the simple things for granted. These kids don’t even know what an Ipod is and I am on my 3rd one since they came out years ago. How many sponsored kids have I wasted on a ipod? Well I now can say at least 3 years for a child. Now don’t get me wrong I understand the differences between our countries and that I do not need to beat myself up for the things I have and others don’t. But after the last week I will tell you that from here on out this week will cause me to question where and how I spend my money.
Uganda has forever changed my way of thinking. I hope it changes my way of acting and I pray as I close this blog it does BOTH to you all.
Jeremy Carlson, Campus Minister
Lisa said,
July 6, 2007 at 7:33 pm
Thanks so much for the updates! I rush home each day to see if there are any new ones posted. Of course selfishly I hope to see one from Savannah–so I can see how she is. I honestly can’t imagine what you all are seeing and experiencing–what I have read has brought tears to my eyes.
I think what you all are doing is amazing! Each and every one of you are in my prayers!
I can’t wait until you all get home so I can hear all the stories.
Please send Savannah my love and tell her that we miss her terribly and pray that she is okay.
Cassie Johnson said,
July 6, 2007 at 1:42 pm
Great job Jeremy!!! I can truly feel your heart for these people. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO proud of each one of you and what you are sacrificing on this trip. You guys all get an extra jewel in your crowns!!!
Sara it was so good to hear your voice, miss you LADYBUG!!

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