It’s nearing midnight and we’re just getting settled into bed under an ornate mosquito net. The fan above us is humming, set at “high”, but the African drum beats that were present the last few nights can’t be heard. My feet, perched atop the mattress, are done whining to me about when I’m going to put them up and my face is slowly relaxing out of the perma-smile it’s been set in all day. I let down my hair, still wet from an early morning shower, a mixture of humidity and the sweat you can only achieve if you’re packed in a hot room cheering on a dance competition with hundreds of teenagers. The music is still in my ears…or maybe it’s them ringing…or maybe it’s the crickets. No, it’s definitely the crickets now. In a few hours they’ll be silent, too, as if they understand that all of Uganda has given today its best and needs the rest.
Today (sigh). Today was so full: our bellies, our schedules, but most of all, our hearts. It was Day Two of the Youth Conference and it couldn’t have been more…fun? No…that’s not the right word. Fulfilling. That’s it. The older group (13-22?) has been challenged by Ugandan testimonies and inspired by multiple Reverends’ preaching while the younger group has played field games, done arts-and-crafts, and - their absolute favorite - hung on every teenager we brought from Life West.
So many things in the past two days have given me pause to wonder at God and the people around me. The main thing I noticed is how much the teens on our trip are growing into who God has fashioned them to be. Those ministering to the young kids have run around, relentlessly, smiling and running and encouraging and holding littles while those with the older youth entertained them (there were some hilarious dances) and expertly answered on-the-spot panel questions that were posited toward Life West in one session. Sitting up there with them, the adults on the team were in awe of their thoughtful, Scripture-filled responses to their Ugandan peers.
The teenagers attending conference, likewise, brought so much wisdom to the table. They have a great depth to their faith and know church doctrine and scripture to a degree I’m fairly certain I haven’t attained yet. They are filled with joy. They all seem to thoroughly enjoy being together.
The food is delicious. The people are amazing. The team at Amiina is tireless - or rather, determined to share the Gospel in the midst of exhaustion.
I’m barely able to keep my eyelids open and tomorrow is coming soon, so I’ll sign off by letting you know that the people of Uganda are winning many of these Westerner’s hearts.
-Becca Vander Klok