Trip To Uganda

Dear friends,

Thank you so very much for all your prayers for me and our small group of missionary disciples, during our ten days in Uganda. Your prayers and ours were answered far beyond anything we could have imagined. It’s hard to find words that can faithfully express what we experienced; it was certainly life-changing. God willing, I hope one day you will be able to go yourself.

The gracious hospitality of Fr. Lawrence was stellar, during our entire stay. He is pastor of St. Anthony’s parish in Migyera, which served as our home base. From there, we visited several of his sub-parishes – if my memory serves me right, I believe there are 13 altogether. Since it can take up to an hour to reach some of them, Fr. Lawrence is extremely happy that the bishop recently sent two young priests to help him. But even with three priests, given various challenges, there are still sub-parishes that can only have Mass once a month, sometimes every 2 months. Do we realize how blessed we are?

As I think of the whole experience, what stands out above everything else are the people we met. This is the great treasure of Uganda – the people. What first impressed us was their faith. When we went to the celebration of the Ugandan Martyrs in Namugongo, we saw hundreds of people walking along the road side, coming from various parts of Africa, making their way to this Holy Site. One of the priests I met said that some groups had walked for 2 to 3 weeks to get there. Amazing! What am I willing to do for Christ? Is there any sacrifice too great?

The qualities or virtues that best describe the Ugandan people we met, especially in the villages around Migyera, are joy, hospitality, generosity, gratitude and a humble, gentle spirit. I’m sure they also struggle with sin, just as we do, but these are the traits that we continually encountered in both the young and old. It was so inspiring! Their way of life may be poor and much simpler in comparison to ours, but I left Uganda a richer man, enriched by their faith and blessed by the other qualities I mentioned.

On the mission side of things, it was great to see the fruit of the generosity of our parish at work. It was very tangible: the wall around the Rectory, the roof on the parish church, the sacred vessels used for Mass, uniforms and school supplies for so many children, the repainting of school rooms, construction of simple outdoor showers and bathrooms for various families, medical care and supplies. All these were made possible by your prayers and generous contributions. Praise God! Fr. Lawrence mentioned several times how deeply grateful he is for our friendship and all that we have done to help him in this mission.

Among the highlights of our mission trip was meeting several of the children who our parish is sponsoring through school – and what beautiful children they are! We also got to meet a few who had already graduated from college and are now using their education and talents in various careers to improve their life and better their country.

There is so much more to share. If you are interested in learning more about our first mission trip to Uganda, we will be putting together a special day or evening in July with pictures and commentary from the mission group. So keep your ears open for the announcement! I hope you’ll be able to come.

Thank you again for all your prayers and support these past 11 years, for our dear sisters and brothers in Uganda. Many of the people we met expressed their sincere, heart-felt gratitude for our Parish.

Wish you and your families a blessed Sabbath.

God love you,

Fr. Steven

 

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