Arrived at Abu Dhabi!

Good evening everyone!

We have had a long day of travel starting at around 7am this morning and its now local time of 2300 in Abu Dhabi. We will be taking off at 0235am local time.

Sorry we didn’t get a chance to blog on the Safari however we were hampered again by the internet connectivity. We stayed at a beautiful safari lodge overlooking the park and we enjoyed a day and a half of spotting all the different animals. A personal highlight was waiting in the road for a large elephant to cross the road!

Thanks so much for all your support. We look forward to seeing you at Holy Trinity tomorrow, we are due to land at 0735 at London Heathrow so the expectation is that we will be back around midday. We will keep you posted though.

Good night and see you tomorrow!

Darren

Safari

The team have very limited wifi so have asked me to update you. They have arrived at the Safari lodge and in Simon’s words ‘WOW’ It is a beautiful place with stunning views across the park.

Susan Greener

Simon Greener Blogs on the presidential celebration and dinner with Bishop Sheldon

A long Sunday

On Sunday 5 of the team (Chris D, Jacob, Josh, Jonny and myself Simon) were invited by Bishop Sheldon to the celebration of the Baptism Anniversary and Thanksgiving for the President Yoweri Museveni. This was held at St Luke’s Church Kinoni in the grounds of Kinoni Academy (the girls’ school we visited earlier in the week).  The programme started at 9am and we thought we should be there near to 9am and after we were on our way we then heard from the Bishop that he was not leaving until near 10 and we could go with him….too late we kept going.

Our journey to the celebration was delayed by a rather large lorry which not only had a container load but also a large water tank on the back and a load on top. Unfortunately, the top load got snagged on an overhead power cable. We spent about 10/15 minutes watching as they tried to unsnag, the easiest solution would have been to reverse, but no the crew decided to climb on top of the lorry and use a branch to lever the cable over the load. Eventually they were successful.

There were already many people gathering when we arrived, we went to the Archdeacon’s house to wait the Bishop, but were summoned to follow a local minister to our seats at 10am. Chris D wanted to take his camera in and at security we were stopped and Chris not allowed to proceed, he decided to wait for the Bishop in the hope that he could get him through (no such luck as Chris missed the Bishop). The rest of us were ushered to our VIP seats in a tent near the President’s tent. We were all sitting under tents to shade us from the sun. As we passed through the crowd a group of girls from Kinoni, started chanting Josh, Josh, JOSH. I think they were more excited to see Josh than the President.

The service started on time at 10am. The various ministers processed in with the Bishop but no Chris…He arrived about 30 minutes later less camera bag and sat with the other ministers. The whole service was delivered, bar a few sentences in Runyankole (the local language). Got the gist of some parts but most of it went straight over our heads. Jacob got talking to a young lady Liz who interpreted parts for us. But I had to tell him to be quiet at one point as we were in prayer, just because it was in Runyankole was no excuse Jacob for not knowing what was going on.

The seating was cramped, Josh had no room whatsoever his knees were firmly in the back of the person in front. Bishop Sheldon spoke for what seemed an age but a reprieve from sitting was given as we got up to take communion.

Everything seemed to be going well and on time except that the President had not arrived. He was supposed to be there for 11:20 at 12:20 we were still waiting. Credit to Bishop Sheldon and his team they manged to continue keeping the crowd of 5,000+ entertained.  1pm he finally appeared 1pm! 1½ hours late!!!!!!

The President and his wife then had Communion, we had entertainments (a choir, dance group and a local singer) then speeches.  ‘How much longer do we have to sit’ was the cry from the Bristol contingent.  A brief relief was giving as Bishop Sheldon mentioned Chris and had him come to the centre and then we were mentioned and invited to stand and greet and be greeted by the President a wave to each other.

The speeches went on and on, the President spoke for almost 1½ hours. He had the crowd laughing but no standing ovation, oh how we wished for a standing ovation just to be able to get up and stretch our legs but no such luck. It does not seem to be a Ugandan thing. At the end of his speech he then invited people up to greet him and despite the guards wanting to control this he did not turn anybody away.

He then presented gifts to the Diocese of Ankole which with the other gifts he had given we think totalled about £100,000

Then relief it was over, 3pm 5 hours after the start we could finally go to lunch. Yes, the VIP tent again about 4 tables away from the President. Rev Bobs our host made sure we were seated first and served first. A really good buffet of Ugandan fayre. But rushed for us as we needed to get back before joining the Bishop for supper later that evening.

It was an interesting morning/afternoon as we learnt the President who is a Christian believed that God had spoken to him and told him to be more open about his faith and that is why he wanted to celebrate his Baptism in this way. He spoke about his faith (one of the few parts in English) and how much this meant to him and influenced his life.

The evening was then spent at the Bishop’s house for supper, again an excellent meal and great to be there with the Bishop his wife Alice, his mother, the Rev Newton (a larger than life character. and other members of the Bishop’s staff. It was a meal with friends.

Alice told me that the Mothers Union had reported back on our goat house building skills on Wednesday. Good news, we had done a good job and what is more we used our hands and got them dirty. The village and the Mothers Union were really pleased with all our work efforts.

A really good end to a long long day.

One of the things we all noted was now much the Church was involved in, the programs they operated and how much they interacted in people’s ordinary lives. It was truly amazing seeing how the Church worked and through them how the love of God is shared the people. A real witness.

Simon Greener

Editor –

Today was our final full day in Mbarara. We had a tour of the town with Brian and visited several markets and shops and bought some gifts for folk back home. We are all ready for our early start tomorrow at 8am to travel to Queen Elizabeth national park. We are all feeling excited about it and even more so that our drivers have given us some lovely new t-shirts to wear for the Safari! We dont yet know what the internet facilities are like but if they are good and we are fortunate enough to get some pictures we will try to post a few.

Thanks for your support in Prayer! We are also excited to be joining the St Michael’s Stoke Gifford group too and sharing in all of our experiences with them too.

Blessings

Darren

Saturday at the Kinoni CDC and visit to Mbarara High School (The Bulls empire)

Josh Moore

The morning started with the regular breakfast of 6 slices of toast for me and a cup of tea! We then packed bags full of games and crafts to take to the compassion project at the Kinoni CDC (Kinoni Child Development Centre). We arrived to yet another warm welcome of songs and dances by the children in the project. The story of Moses parting the red sea was acted out again to an audience of 250 ish children who loved to see us chase the imaginary Quail. We then split the kids into groups doing; parachute games, football, frisbee, friendship bracelets, flags, and music. After a hectic hour of activities, we found that the news of ‘muzungu’s’ playing games had spread to all the children and youth in town. The next hour got even busier as we had to occupy 70 extra kids into some of our activities. By the end of our second hour we were shattered and the lunch that was offered was wolfed down by our group. After we heard two heart-felt testimonies from ex-CDC kids, come compassion staff members. A well-deserved rest was followed by a trip to Mbarara High School where we were offered yet more food and sugar filled drinks! We were lead through the school to hall packed with roughly 450 students who were mid-worship. We joined them in worship, before leading it ourselves. I shared a small testimony on the contrasts of British and Ugandan life, Jonny then stood up to preach on ‘Knock, Ask, Seek’. He crushed it in front of a raucous full crowd! We finished with worship before we decided that bed was good plan for our tired minds. Mukama asimwe (praise the Lord).

Final Sunday in Mbarara

Sorry again for the delay we have been very busy!

We will do our best to capture the last few days and catch up on our last few days. On Friday we went to Igongo to the cultural Ankole musuem and Saturday we were at the Child Development Centre with Compassion. The Saturday was great, very challenging but very good! We will find someone to capture their thoughts on this. On Saturday evening Josh and Jonny spoke at the Mbarara high school in front of 300-400 boys and did amazingly well. More to follow on that too!

Here is what two of our three groups got up to this morning on our final Sunday in Mbarara.

Kandis and Joe are the Bloggers for the first two groups.

We were asked to rise early to arrive by 8:00 a.m. The Team were up and at breakfast by 6:50 a.m. for our customary cornflakes and toast, to be sure we were ready for a 7:20 a.m. departure. The Team comprised Brian and his wife Agatha alongside Bex, Ben, Jessie and Kandis.

True to Uganda sense of time our transport arrived at 7:40, which left Kandis a little worried. But a short 15-minute journey later we arrived safe and sound at the Nurses College Chapel. Music was blaring from the sound system though few had yet to arrive.

Within a few minutes, we were singing, led by two members of the hosts organising team and as we sang more and more people began to arrive. The Team lead the congregation in two hymns before Brian and Agatha led more singing. It was such a treat to have Agatha (Brian’s wife) with us and particularly enjoyable to see them working side by side.

We sang for around 30 minutes before the service started. It was the most traditional service we have attended in Uganda, with traditional hymns and liturgy.

Ben read Psalm 85, which followed the bible reading for the Nurse’s College. Brian then read Acts 3:1-10 which looked Peter’s healing of a cripple at the temple gate Beautiful. Kandis gave a short message followed by Bex giving her testimony. It was such a privilege to share with them.

After the service, we enjoyed a second breakfast of pop-corn, nuts and bananas. We got to know more about our hosts and their challenges. We finished our time with a short prayer before returning to the hotel for lunch.

May God bless you and keep you…

Joe on the local cathedral service

Both Darren and I were today given the privilege of conducting the main sermon at the local cathedral (St James’).

We started preparations for this a few days ago by deciding that I would give a short testimony followed by the main preach from Darren. We then conducted a little prayer session in our van, asking God what he wanted us to talk on. Bex received a verse from 1 Corinthians (2:9). And it was upon this verse that we built the sermon, and as it came from God it fit in just perfectly with my testimony!

Now to this morning! The big day. We arrived at the Church and soon we were able to visualise the number of people that we would be speaking to. And before we knew it we were introduced to the ministers and were walking down the aisle past the 300-400 people in the church. We were treated with immense respect and were seated in the chancel ready to deliver our testimony and sermon.

I started with my testimony and focused on God’s plan for us, and the Darren brought it home with an awesome word on how God has a place for us both on earth and in heaven.

And make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

Tuesday to Friday update

Sorry for the delay again. We have had limited access after staying with host families. I believe everyone has cherished this unique opportunity and have really enjoyed being hosted by Ugandan families. This update today will cover the Tuesday at the resettlement centre, Mothers Union family life projects in Nyakitunda and our day with All Saints Youth fellowship. The bloggers for these days are Jacob Wain, Darren Williams and Jonny Dobson.

On Tuesday morning, we continued to work at the resettlement passion fruit orchard. The previous day we spent a long time tearing down old vines that had produced their fruit but had now wilted. However on Tuesday I was able to work with Brian, Jonny and Ben to plant new passion fruit vines. This was a great experience planting something that has new life and will grow to produce wonderful fruit. This fruit would then be sold to create some income for the resettlement centre. It was really hard work for everyone over the two days, but I’m very proud of the team for working so hard.

In the afternoon, we had an opportunity to take on the town, we headed into the local markets. It was very interesting to see how much textile recycling and reshaping was taking place. Dozens of Ugandan workers slotted into the sides of alleys and shop fronts. All sat behind singer sowing machines ready to make alteration often from previously worn materials.  I reflected upon how much textiles in the UK are nearly always purchased new. With not many micro industries focusing on textile adaptation or recycling. The Ugandan’s use everything at their disposal whether first or second hand.

In the evening, we went to stay with our host families. Although we were very tired from a long day, we used our remaining energy to get to know our hosts. Over the two days I discovered they were very friendly, welcoming, fun and hardworking people.  On the first evening we found out that the Father of our host family was an English teacher, he said something about keeping some banana trees as a small project. However on the second evening I realised the extent of his projects; a whole acre of banana plantation along with a large pig farm and a local bar. Clearly this was a very hard working and creative family. So it was a great experience to stay with a local family and have a taste of Ugandan life.

God bless you,

 

Jacob Wain

Mothers Union family life project

I was very excited about seeing another family life project after I went to a village in 2013 with the “youth to youth” mission. We went to a different project this time at a high altitude village called Nyakitunda. They have an unbelievable amount of Banana trees here and we were to then find out that this region supplies Mbarara and Kampala and is a large producer of bananas here in Uganda.

We arrived at the Church and we were mobbed by crowds of school children who came running over when they saw us arrive. We then joined the staff and parish minister for a late breakfast and some Ugandan tea. We then headed out into the very dry dusty village and started to visit some “projects” where the Diocese had provided Goats to the local people to help them become self-sufficient. There is a rule though that if your goat breeds and has a female goat that it is given to someone else in the village. If you have a male goat though then you are entitled to keep it.

It was very hot and we started going up a hill back towards the church when we realised that we were actually being tasked with working alongside the locals to build a goat shed! We were surprised but it was a fantastic afternoon and the young people once again worked their socks off with digging foundations and assembling the structure. Big shout out to Joe Porter who was absolutely amazing!

The nails were particularly difficult to hammer into the wood but the locals were amazing and the team mucked in where they could. The team have many blisters to show for three days of hard graft!

We then returned to the Church to have a late lunch and we were treated to a short service whereby the family life projects work was explained and we were given a song about welcoming visitors and a local dance that I would like to call the stomping dance. Once again it was a very special and humbling experience.

The family life project is clearly making a massive difference in villages like this one and it was fantastic to be a part of that. They are building much more than goat houses though and the strong community bond was evident.

We are back with our host families tonight (Wednesday 2nd August) and we have been made to feel very welcome just as we have done wherever we have been. I believe we can learn a lot about hospitality and welcome from our Ugandan brothers and sisters!

Tomorrow (Thursday 3rd August) we are with All Saints Church and we look forward to getting to know them better over sports and a BBQ.

Thanks for your prayers and please keep us in your prayers after a demanding few days!

Blessings,

Darren

All Saints day

For the last two nights, we have been staying with families local to Mbarara, all members of the All Saints Youth. (apparently in Uganda “youth” is 15-35 yr olds). Little Josh and I woke up in the house of Brian/Mugisha Mulinzi, still tired after a late night of rowdy scrabble! Josh would like everyone to know that he did win both nights consecutively, and I would like my family to know that I’m sorry to have let you down and vow to improve my scrabble game for future matches.

After an uneventful morning, we met the All Saints Youth for a hike up a hill on the edge of the town. After first introductions, it became quickly apparent that almost everyone in Uganda has a name from the Bible, except Bobs. At the top of the hill we played various games as a big group and had a good time having a laugh and building relationships. One lesson that I’ll definitely take home is how friendly people are here! You know that moment when you walk past somebody in the street that you vaguely know and you do that awkward nod thing? That particular social interaction doesn’t exist here. I must have shaken every hand and hugged every person at least 4 times.

When we reached the bottom of the hill, the stage was set for the most important moment of the trip: Mzungu (white person) United vs All Saints Youth First XI in the most heavily anticipated football match of the Ugandan season. We started well, with Josh, Mugisha and Paul (who we borrowed from All Saints) linking up well in midfield, and Jacob Wain almost taking a couple of chances up front. But it was the home side that took the lead. Timothy, the Ugandan Messi, placed a long range effort into the top corner. It was at this moment that for a moment heads began to drop amongst the visitors. We were being forced onto the back foot by an aggressive All Saints formation, with what felt 6 men up front. A second goal for the home side looks imminent. But then, step up Jacob Wain. Josh Moore, ever busy in the centre of the park, sent a long ball forward and the man from Stoke-on-Trent gave rapid chase. The keeper, the inexperienced David, came out to meet it. But the nerves showed, as David fumbled the ball, dropping it right at the feet of Wain, who netted from close range. On this occasion, it was Goliath who defeated David. Back in the game, Mzungu United upped the intensity, with big challenges flying in from Brian, and Darren shouting instructions from the back. But once again, the Home side overloaded the box, piling on the pressure. A shot came out of nowhere, and was cleared of the line… by the hand of Bex. The All Saints number 9 stepped up eagerly to take the following penalty. A low shot down the middle was expertly save by Darren, only for the striker to score from the rebound. The visitors failed to put the disappointment of the last goal behind them, and the ball was stolen after the restart. The All Saints attack was quick and devastating, and before the crowd could settle themselves down again after the penalty, it was 3 for All Saints. With Mzungu united 3 goals to 1 down, the game began to turn scrappy, with long balls being sent forward by Joseph Porter at centre back. Amidst the anarchy, Josh Moore picked the ball up on the left and played it to Ben Troth who was a constant thorn in the side of the All Saints defence. Ben and Jonny linked up well down the left releasing Ben in on goal. The shot was well saved by David, and there was a scramble to latch onto the rebound. After a fierce battle for possession in the box, the ball ricocheted off Moore and fell to Dobson, who volleyed in from the edge of the box. The game was back on. In a desperate attempt to level the scores, Mzungu United poured players forward, but it was too little too late.

Full time was called, All Saints Youth First XI 3-2 Mzungu United. Possibly the best BBQ of my life was there to welcome the tired players and fans afterwards.

In all seriousness, God’s hand was definitely on the day, as we were all inspired by the incredible faith and sense of community that the Ugandan Youth have.

Go in peace to love and serve the lord. In the name of Christ, AMEN.

Jonny

Monday at the refuge for abandoned children

Ben

Hello everyone, thought I’d start by saying how amazing the trip has been so far. I didn’t really know what to expect before I came here but it’s safe to say it’s been an amazing experience so far and we still have many more days to go. Today we started the day off like we have done every day and we had a lovely breakfast with things like toast, cereal but most importantly the amazing fruit Uganda has to offer.

We then headed out to help out at a refuge that takes care of children that have been abandoned by their parents. They take these children in and try to reintegrate them back into their family’s if they can. As soon as we got there the children ran towards us and gave us all hugs so we felt very welcomed as we have throughout the trip. While we were there we helped them harvest their passion fruits which are their main source of income and that saves them from having to hire people to do it for them as the people that work there don’t have the time to harvest them themselves. What we had to do was pull down all the leaves off the vines and also dig some holes to replant them. It was a good experience as many of us decided that we actually enjoyed a bit of hard labour after having some more relaxed days on the trip. After we had finished up for the day (we’re going back tomorrow) we all said goodbye by sharing a banana together.

We then headed to Hillside retreat Nyore where we had lunch which was again very good. After lunch we decided to go for a walk up a some very large hills and considering I don’t like walking on flat land let alone up a hill it was a good time. The best part about that walk was when we got to the top of where we were going and there was village there. While we were there someone said that we should get out the football we had with us and start playing with them. So we did that and when we were done we gave them the football and they loved it. That experience got me thinking about a similarity between the faith of the Ugandan people and also their love for football. From what I’ve seen from my time in Uganda so far the people have a strong love for both God and football. From our time travelling I have seen so many people that may not have the best quality of living or access to some of the most basic things but yet they still find the time to do something they enjoy which is play football. While we were at this village we saw that the boys played football with just plastic bags wrapped into a ball with string around them. Even though they were in a small village and don’t have most of the luxuries we have at home they still found a way to play a game that they love. When I thought about that I realised the similarity in their faith, these people that don’t have very much still have the most strong love for God and still find the time to worship which I find very inspiring. Hope everyone is well back home and although I am loving being here it will be good to share everything with people when I get home.

God is good all the time.

Joe

Hello everyone! Much like Ben I’d like to start by saying how amazing my experience of Uganda has been so far. The people are forever smiling and welcoming us to ‘UG’, and the landscape is so unique in its beauty!

We started the day by going to an orphanage. Although it is not technically an orphanage. It is a sort of halfway house for abandoned kids collected by the police. They are then taken to the centre where they track down their family and with support tries to reintegrate them. Our job there was to clear the old passion fruit vines for next years crops. We have nearly managed about a third of the plot today, but we still made great progress when you consider the enormity of the task. But our work ethic mainly goes down to the many fresh passion fruits that we ate while on the job!

We then went for lunch and once we had eaten we went on a trek up a large hill. After an hour or so of walking, we made it to the top and discovered a small community hidden from sight at ground level. There we had an impromptu football game in what was one of the most amazing and surreal moments of my life! I think it’s safe to say that we were all incredibly touched in our own way by the experience.

Then as evening came four of us (Josh, Jacob, Jonny and myself) went to Brian’s bible study. As I’m unaware if you know who Brian (aka Mugisha) is, I will give you a little introduction of his behalf. Brian is the youth work and ministry co-ordinator in the Ankole diocese. He also happens to be an awesome guy who has decided to join us on part of our journey through Uganda. We had a great time discussing a passage in romans 16 to do with false prophets and teachings. We also discovered that unlike bible groups back in the UK where there is a 3 second gap between 2 people speaking, in Uganda you essentially have to cut someone off if you want to talk!

All in all today had been the most rewarding for me in all senses and I look forward to the coming days when we hope to be embarking on similar adventures.

All the time God is good.

Sunday!

Welcome to Sunday! The day we had all been in anticipation about, with the big question on our minds being “what were on earth was church going to be like?” The night before we had been invited to join with the choir to help practice the songs and dances for the following mornings service. As we left, we wondered whether we needed to turn up in lycra sportswear for the morning service, or our Sunday best.

A bright and early breakfast at 6:45am, and we were soon on our way to meet with Rev Canon Bob, dressed in our finest creased shirts and finest flowing skirts. What an amazing time of worship!! We sang, danced and witness the auction of two goats and a chicken – all within a mornings service in Uganda. We were warmly welcomed, and partnered with a lot of ‘amens’ we once again said our well-rehearsed introductions.

After an early breakfast, we returned to the hotel for a much-appreciated lunch. But before the buffet began, we had to plan how we were going to fill our hour with girl’s school in the afternoon. I was set to speak, but always wanting to add a fresh dynamic to every service, I commissioned the team to join me in acting out the story of Moses and the Israelites fleeing from the Egyptians & crossing the Red sea.

2pm we set off to Kinoni Girls School, welcomed in from the gate by big smiles and excited waves from all the students! Our time together started with the young girls dancing and singing worship songs, as we took our seats and clapping along to the unknown songs. Then, it was our turn to teach the school some of our worship songs – Good, Good Father went down a treat!

…And soon it was our time to present our theatrical wonder & for me to speak to the girls about how God went above and beyond as he led His people out of Egypt. As they taught us some of their language, I decided to teach them Hebrew, with the main theme of my talk being around the word “Dayenu” meaning ‘it would have been enough’. As I described how God didn’t stop at enough for the Israelites, so I challenged them to not stop at enough when they show love to their neighbours.

 

Our worship & talk over, we were to head to the playground and finally have a chance to chat with these lovely girls and play some games. I didn’t get much out the door before I was mobbed by smiling girls, stroking my arms and feeling my hair. It was an amazing hour together, playing volleyball and taking selfies…before we were then whisked off to All Saints Church!

 

Meeting back with the youth fellowship at the church, we joined in with their prayer and worship session, with Joe bringing our message for the evening. He was amazing, and I say it here first – God has gifted him! Soon our time was up again, and it was finally time to head off for some dinner and relax as we discussed all that had happened throughout the day!

 

God is good! Aswimwae Yesu – Praise Jesus!

 

Bex. xoxo

Ketty Mushabe

In 2013 a few team members met Ketty who took us on a visit to the work of the mothers union and their family life program. Ketty has been taken ill at the diocese Hospital and a few of the team went in to visit her and pray for her. Please pray for Ketty and for a full recovery.

Resting at Lake Nabagabo

Jessie updates us all on our last couple of days at the beautiful Lake Nabagabo. Right now we are on route to Mbarara and we hope to continue to keep you updated (Internet dependent!).

Our long travel day started off with two separate groups (the early and the late). The early group visited Alice in a nearby school who relied on sponsorship to continue her education.

Myself and Bex was staying with a retired-retired primary school teacher named Grace. We woke early at 7am for an 8am breakfast. Once we finished eating it was time to throw the last few items into our bags and head back to our base camp (another host, Michael and Vicky’s house). As myself and Bex did our packing, our host Grace went upstairs to get Sam (the husband). After around 30minutes, we thought to call up to find how everything was going. “Grace?” We called timidly, with silence as a response. Being too scared to call again, we waited 10minutes to call again. “Grace? We are ready when you are.” This time our plea was answered with sounds of distant stuffing and door movements; Grace and Sam had fallen asleep.

 

The late group, which I was part of, set off at 10am to meet the early group at the equator. After many photos of the equator line we head towards our beautiful next location, but not before travelling along what felt like the bumpiest road. The hotel was place next to a stunning lake that felt more like the sea. So, like all young people, our first response to seeing this is to run in almost fully clothed. After many thrown balls, our very own Jacob thought to join the game in the water without getting wet. He jumped into a small boat with one paddle with his nicely pressed white shirt and clean blue short, and rowed towards the flying balls. Only moments later, he was surrounded by 17-year-old boy with a cheeky look in their eyes. They all started climbing up on his one-man boat, with the aim to either to become shipmates or sink the boat and its captain. After the laughs from both soaked men and dried spectators subsided, the boys came up with a new game that resembled batting practice. The idea being one boy would sit in the boat with the single paddle and the rest would catch and throw the balls to the batter. This brilliant new game was christened Kanoon-Cricket.

Just before dinner, we did a little walk near our hotel; passing locales, many vegetations and monkeys. Myself, Christ and Simon went crazy with photographing our surrounding, the boys were entertained by the many monkeys and a tennis ball, and the rest travelled between these two groups. We returned from the walk to watch the final moments of sunlight with an astonishing sunset.

We finished off the day with a bible study and song around a camp fire, looking at John and how we must go out and spread the word of God. After our final prays, we played a final game around the fire. This is when Bex turned from preacher into a mafia boss and metaphorically killed us all and her henchmen.

The next day was a truly relaxing day. A handful of us woke at 6am to watch the sunrise and be minorly disappointed by the level of clouds covering the sky and its colours. Two hours later, we all shared breakfast. After eating we all dispersed to relax in our own way. There were readers, footballers, sleepers, swimmers, and photographers. We gather together again after lunch to play Irish Snap and Mr President. During the game, there was a clear winner *cough* Simon Greener *cough* and a clear loser *cough* Kandis Douglas *cough*. The moment Chris needed to meet Brian, he asked us all who would join him. Chris, Chris, Johnny and Kandis climbed back into one of our mini buses and disappeared into a cloud of dust. The rest of us started a game of Mafia before meeting Brian.

Upon the arrival of the infamous Brian, we set up a chaired circle away from the wind to discuss life, the universe, and everything. To be continued

Tuesday and Wednesday updates by Josh, Jonny and Chris

First and foremost we are really sorry for the delay in posting an update to you all. We have had real trouble trying to find good internet access! If you dont hear from us for a few days this will be the reason! Here are some updates that we have been very keen to share with you all.

Jonny

Wow. Yesterday (Tuesday) was awesome. So, it started with a brilliantly relaxing morning at the Boma hotel, just 10 minutes from the airport in Entebbe. This proper sleep was very welcome after 2 flights of about 6 hours each, with too little leg room to nod off in comfort. I soon realised that my recent growth spurts are much more of a cross to bear than I had first thought. We then took a trip through the crazy traffic of the capital, Kampala, where things such as lanes appear to be suggestions rather than law. My latest hobby – looking out the window at all the shop names. Highlights include: “God Cares General Hardware”, “God is Able Beauty Salon” and “St Joseph’s Drug Shop”. The main event of the day were to visit Retrak, a project which provided food, shelter, community and an opportunity to know Jesus for boys on the street in Kampala. After a tour of the site we got to spend some time playing games and getting to know the boys. We discovered a game involving getting tennis balls from A to B as fast as possible. The game, however, was deceptively simple, as Darren still managed to run into his much smaller teammate! We also had to play the most infuriating game ever played – hats and cups. (Ask one of us some other time). Things got real Jesusy when Joseph “Parky” Porter got up to share his testimony with the kids. We were so thankful to God for the opportunity to share our amazing God with these kids. Let’s pray that Joseph’s words hit them deep and touched some lives! In the afternoon we visited the second Retrak project for girls (cue Josh Moore below). We capped off the day with some beautiful worship with the AYF choir, before staying in their family homes. But wait, God wasn’t done! One of the daughters of the choir members had a good hour long chat with a group of us “youths”. The conversation was almost all about God, and he was just simply there! Amen! Here ends the reading.

Quote of the day: “Its not how tall you are, its how tall you feel” – Josh Moore.

Josh

Having reflected on yesterday (Tuesday), I can confirm it was HECTIC. Following on from the Boy’s Retrak, we headed over to a similar project but for girls. While travelling over we found that the British weather had just caught up with us. The rain hammered down and the dry, dusty roads were instantly covered with water.  By the time we arrived at the girl’s centre the roads were swamped, but despite this we were welcomed by joyful dance and song. The 24 girls who stayed there were so please to see us and especially when we opened a parachute up. Darren lead us brilliantly in many active parachute games which brought smiles to everyone’s face. And the joy, that followed when we told them that the parachute was theirs now, is indescribable! Jumping, Shouting and Running! After Bex shared a short yet inspirational testimony we all sung our praises and were sent on our way by yet another tribal dance and song! Once we arrived at our Hosts house we learnt the true meaning of ‘African Time.’ As the locals who we had planned to were, in British terms, fashionably late! We spent an hour in worship and fellowship with the AYF choir. If you meet a member of the team please ask them for video as it is completely worth it! We tucked into a delicious banquet with local fellowship and shared in our experiences. The evening continued with laughter and stories till we ate several of their mini-bananas and were bed ready. So till we speak again, this is the word of the Moore, Thanks be to Josh!

Chris Tasker blogging on day 3 (Cultural day at the Shrine of the Martyr’s and Jinja)

Denial

Mornin’ I wake to the sounds of children nearby in the local school, stumble out of bed and get ready (AKA spends 20 mins on my hair), a quick walk to our host’s house where I’m greeted with a fantastic selection of breakfast food. We then pack ready to visit Namugongo Shrine. Upon arrival we walk into a big circular hall, in the middle a small church sits above a grave we sit in the church and begin to learn the story of the final people who were murdered here, the story starts with the king, everybody worshipped the king. These Christians however refused to worship the king but instead worship the true god, the king did not like this and ordered them to be tortured and then killed. This started with them being dragged on their backs, exposing their spine, this is what Namugongo means, and they were tortured for the next 7 days, with castration, removal of limbs battered and stabbed, some died but othered were kepped alive through it all to be then burnt alive at the end. The youngest of these people was a 14 year old boy. Through this all they sang hyms if they could and didn’t denounce their faith to god, I did not know how to feel but for all of them god must have been working within them, either to help them cope or give them strength, I know that in that situation I would say or do anything to get out of it and I think that’s the same for a lot of people and their courage is inspirational.

 

After that we did not know how to feel and the mood was a bit dark so we went to jinja, a lovely town and then to lake Victoria and the River Nile! We hopped onto a boat and took a tour of the wildlife and saw where the Nile officially starts and becomes separate to lake Victoria. In the middle of the Nile there is an island with shops etc so we docked and looked at the shops, and for the first time I touched the water, I’m in denial about that bit, some photos later and we got back onto the boat, unannounced to us that god is holding back the rain because the moment we got off the boat it started to rain and after a few minutes the heavens opened to a downpour, I certainly see god working in the little things!

A sleepy ride back and then we were back with our fantastic hosts who had prepared an amazing meal! Of bright and tasty things, a great discussion about Uganda, Brexit and the governments and I was ready for bed! After some time on the internet I went back to our room in the building across. Hopped into bed and after some Netflix went to sleep.