Team 1 arrived a few days ago and it already seems like they have been here for a while. They are eager, ready to serve and they are HAPPY to be here. I love seeing JOY everywhere I go in Uganda. It makes life so much fun when a team shows up just HAPPY to serve and HAPPY to be here. That is how I would define this special first summer team of nine HAPPY members: Lisa, Jodi, Brian, Lisa, Claire, Sarah, Cate, Shelby, and Paige. A team of happy servants.
They have been challenged in many ways so just arriving makes them happy. There have been many obstacles that would make most team members develop a negative attitude. But not this team. They are strong and ready to see what the Lord has in store for them.
Their eagerness to serve in any capacity with a smile on their face has planted a permanent smile in my heart. They have held babies, helped with preschool and crafts, served and loved on mamas, run a kids club in Masese village, visited village dances, rode with Moses on the the Nile River (seriously), led an African church's Sunday School, AND it has just been three days. They have a busy two weeks ahead of them and they have already captured the love and passion that captured my heart a few years ago.
I see the joy on their faces as they serve. I also see the joy on the faces they are serving. Short term teams are so wonderful and valuable. I wish that we could see this side of Heaven all that God will do with this HAPPY team, but we know that we will not. What we will see is JOY that is contagious spread among people that often cannot communicate. They have learned in three short days that LOVE is a universal language and that even if words cannot be shared, a smile, laughter, dance and hug is understood loud and clear. The team brought bags of goodies and purses to deliver to all the staff at Amani Baby Cottage and sheer JOY was seen everywhere. What a blessing it is to give and to see the love and joy that comes from it.
Seeing Jesus through the eyes of the people we are serving is easy. Today, the women in the Bible Study at Masese partnered up with another woman to have an accountability partner. They were told to encourage each other and as I looked around: I saw women hugging each other, women encouraging each other, laughter everywhere, the teens in a large circle with hundreds of children laughing and playing, and I realized that this team with this group of people is much bigger than all of us. God is at work and revival is happening and we are humbled to be in the middle of it. I looked behind the group and a lady was encouraging a sweet, older man. Pastor Andrew interpreted for me and we learned that the man had lost his wife. She drowned a few months back and her friend was encouraging this sad man. She was telling him that God would provide and through tears he thanked us for telling him about God. Sometimes when we think we are doing something for a group, we don't even realize who all is involved with what God is accomplishing.
The team gives devotions, testimonies and shares the most joyous moments throughout the day. I listened to all nine and I am reminded of God over and over through their words, their actions and their happy, serving hearts. Team 1 is here and HAPPPY to be in Uganda!