In Oct. 2 IssueBy Kim GrahamRCN Reporter
Concerns turned to blessings when a local mission team traveled to Uganda last month.
After bombings in Uganda last summer, the prayerful mission team decided to continue with their trip and the rewards stretched from Uganda to Kentucky.
The 16 person Christian medical mission team provided medical care to nearly 1,500 patients during 6 days of clinics.
"This team worked really well together," said team leader Roland Moore. "God bound us all together and we didn't get ill with each other even sorting medicine into the wee hours of the night. God was in it the whole time."
As the team travelled, the Ugandan people would be out in the road greeting them with songs and cheering.
"They were very hospitable hugging everyone and giving them flowers," said Russell Springs United Methodist Church Pastor Jim Kingry.
He said the Ugandan people carried everything for them and wouldn't let the team unload or load any equipment anywhere they went.
The culture in Uganda is to be cheerful givers even though they have very little even for themselves and their families.
"When Ugandans welcome you into their home, they give you a gift," said Moore. "Most of the time, the gift is cloth."
Knowing this, the team brought over bolts of fabric to replenish their supplies.
Though they live impoverished lives with scarce food and primitive housing, they will offer all they have to those who visit them.
"If they have company, they'll kill their only chicken to feed their guests," Moore said.
He said you see the hungry children in their family and think "why are you killing your only chicken for me?"
Joining together to contribute their unique talents and training, the mission team worked around the clock to bring healing and sustainable improvements to the remote Arua District.
"The whole team worked on the medical team from registration, to triage, to praying," said Kingry.
At the clinics, everyone cooperated to assure that as many people as possible received medical care.
"Most of us were not medically trained but we found something to do to help," Moore said.
The medical team saw cases of leprosy, malaria, tuberculosis, and typhoid.
The most wide spread illnesses are water-borne due to a lack of clean drinking water.
"What a blessed opportunity to be able to provide healthcare to the children and adults of Uganda," said mission team member Chris Gosser, LPN. "(The Uganda Mission trip) was truly one of the most humbling experiences in my medical profession."
Faith carried the team through whether they knew the outcomes or they heard about healing after their return home to Kentucky.
After returning, they learned that Enza Amitye, a 13 year old Ugandan boy treated for a broken leg after falling from a bicycle, has hopes of becoming a doctor after receiving a splint that will help him heal so he may walk again.
"The heartbreak was for the ones we couldn't see," said Kingry.
"We were running out of time and medicine and had to leave without seeing everyone who came for treatment."
Another boy, who showed up in a wheel chair on the last day of clinics, hoped to see a doctor but the medical staff was not equipped to help him.
"The thing I will remember most about my trip is my encounter with a young boy in a wheelchair," said Moore.
He said he knew they wouldn't be able to treat the boy's seizures but he couldn't just turn him away so he brought him the only medicine they had left - a worm pill.
Moore said it broke his heart that he had nothing else to give him so he took off his hat and gave it to the boy.
A picture he took of the boy smiling with his new hat is a keepsake Moore will treasure along with the memory of the boy.
"If I never accomplish anything else in life, that boy's smile is a legacy worth leaving," said Moore. "To God be the glory."
On the final day of clinic, Moore had the unenviable job of telling folks who had stood waiting many days that they would have to go home without seeing the doctor.
All the medical team had left were worm pills.
When he came out and began to hand them out, the people still waiting in line applauded him.
"There is sincere joy in serving God but also the sense of the overwhelming need over there," Kingry said.
During the last four days of the medical mission, Pastor Ted Beam and Pastor Jim Kingry led a pastors' training school in which 35 pastors and lay leaders participated.
The training consisted of Biblical and theological foundations from the book of Genesis and practical discipleship instructions for the pastors to share with their laity.
"There was a sense of hope there," said Kingry.
"They were eager to learn. We really enjoyed that time. They are the people who will work with the congregations on their spiritual foundation."
On the Sunday morning that the group got to participate in the dedication service for Mt. Sinai United Methodist Church, Kingry said it was a great joy to see the Christians from Arua worshipping, singing, and praising the Lord in their new church building.
He said Arua District Superintendent, Rev. Mannasseh Toko thanked the Russell Springs United Methodist Church and the Uganda Mission Team for all the funds given to build the church.
Rev. Toko said now the people will not have to stand in the rain or hot sun to worship God.
Back home in Kentucky the mission team shared their stories with the RSUMC congregation.
"This is such a wonderful, supportive church. We came back here and there's so much excitement," said Kingry. "Folks want to know how to help. Even 6 year old kids came and asked how they can go on a mission trip."
Providing medical care, funding construction of churches, donating bibles, and funding spring water protection systems will leave the Ugandan people with tangible signs of hope for a better future and faith in their fellow man.
"While it is great to accomplish things like providing medical care, building churches, and donating items, the main goal of a Christian mission trip is to share God's love with those you meet," Roland Moore.
"You think you are going in order to bless the local people but you end up getting even more blessed yourself."