The final day in Kampala was sunny but hazy and hot, while stories of cold and mist delaying flights at Heathrow were on line. For Frank and Jill there were a series of meetings through the day.
First, with Dorothy Kisaka. She is a Kampala lawyer with a passion for leadership in the Christian community. She is the Haggai Institute representative in Uganda. She has provided useful cultural advice to Love Africa as we have thought about changes in leadership and personnel in the projects we support, how the projects develop their strategy and other people related matters. We had a very useful discussion. She is visiting the UK later this month to graduate with a masters degree at York Minster and visit her brother in law in Aberdeen (will it be cold?) We hope she will be able to visit St James and meet at least some of the members of the steering group
Bishop Simon Peter and Bishop Franco (the General Secretary of PAG) stepped out of the multi faith meeting on HIV to have lunch. Simon Peter was keen to hear about our experiences at PAG Soroti and the other parts of the trip. PAG is completing its strategy review for where they will place their outreach emphasis after 2015 when the Millennium Goals will end and the emphasis on HIV will decrease. He expressed concern that the Church will have an increasing role in HIV/AIDS relief as aid organisations move on.
PAG is keen to welcome the planned St James Resonate youth trip to Uganda in August next year and he wants the trip to visit at least 1 PAG centre where the young people from St James and a PAG community can interact.
Simon Peter is visiting St James in March next year as part of the preparations for the Love Africa gift day. He is a very gracious man and a good speaker with great perspective on the Church, aid and the relationships between the West and Africa. He stressed that he is very keen to be involved with St James on the next stage of Love Africa.
Just after Simon Peter left for the conference the travellers from Apac returned with Jane and Michael. They were grubby and weary but full of their experiences, the welcome they had received and the outreach work of the churches. There was the chance for Andrew, Chris, Heather and Brian to repack, refresh and enjoy the Sheraton for a few hours.
Frank's final meeting was at 6pm with the Board of ACET. Paul arrived about 6.30pm and David Kabiswa (Paul's predecessor and now a Board member) arrived about 7.30pm. It was unfortunate that the other Board members were unavailable but we had a very full discussion about ACET following on from the previous day with Paul, and how St James and ACET Uganda can work together in the future.
By the time we finished it was 9pm and Ken had arrived with the ACET van to take us to Entebbe for the flight. It was a hectic drive back though the late night Kampala traffic and a last chance for the group to enjoy the Uganda experience. Security was as usual intimidating but cursory. The airport was quiet despite 3 flights to Europe leaving within an hour of each other. Our flight was delayed by about 90 mins ("late incoming aircraft due to mist at Heathrow") but we were promised a fast flight time.
Andrew, Chris, Heather, Brian Jill and Frank boarded BA62 to Heathrow after a great 9 days in Uganda. We have been extravagantly welcomed and seen firsthand the value of visiting to encourage the people in the churches, marvelled at the effectiveness of God's church reaching out in love to communities and individuals and heard many moving testimonies of people without hope being transformed by God's love. We have seen and heard successes and failures, heard about the struggle for financing and wondered at the sense of reducing government commitment to HIV when the prevalence is rising. We met many inspiring Godly people in our projects who give their lives to God’s service and to the service of people in Uganda. So, a pretty typical exposure visit.
Many thanks to the 10 travellers and their families for supporting them on the trip. We have some ideas about sharing experiences from the exposure visit for people who are interested. Thank you for your interest in Love Africa, for following the trip and most of all for your prayers for the group.
Please join us in prayer:
To give thanks for the vision and work of Love Africa and all the supporters at St James and elsewhere.
Give thanks for the thousands of people touched by God's love through Love Africa.
Give thanks for the work of our partners ACET, Tumaini, Rahab, UWCM, CFE, PAG Soroti and PAG Apac .
Arrived back to a misty and frosty Heathrow, so cold compared to Kampala. That should be everyone safely back home after the various travel adventures. Time for everyone to reflect on what they experienced and how this may shape their future service.
End of the Love Africa Exposure Visit 2014. Let me know if you would like to go yourself in the future.
You may be aware that we have an email list of Love Africa prayer supporters. If you are not already on the list and would like to be, please let me know. At present we do not send regular prayer letters but respond to specific prayer requests from our LA partners as they make them known.