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hillproductions Archives - Team In Faith

Blessed and Broken

A life on the road in ministry for others is a life of adventure. There are people to meet, places to go and, in Uganda at least, beautiful animals to see.

My mission with Team in Faith has taken me to Africa four times since 2012, with another trip just a few weeks off. My relational ministry style has been a blessing to many as I have brought gifts from the Holy Spirit in addition to practical items, like computers, smart phones and money for school fees.

The wonderful thing about it is that by being a blessing to others, we receive abundant blessings. As a pastor friend put it, “we are blessed to be a blessing (to others)…”

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, please and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 NIV

Leaving home, friends and colleagues, for months at a time, doesn’t come without a cost. Relationships are broken, communication is distant. The reality is by losing myself in my work and mission, I lose others, too.

kasese group

Great satisfaction comes when you see lives transformed. In Kasese, Uganda, this year, Team in Faith awarded a grant of $1,000 to four women’s micro-finance groups. The money was to be shared among members for small business loans, family expenses, school fees. Two months later, more than 100 people showed up (photo above) to thank Team in Faith for its support of their livelihoods, with songs, dances, testimonies.

My return to California has been met with a much cooler response. Busy, distracted lives separate me from friends and family. It’s a price I pay for my work on the other side.

When Jesus called his first disciples, he saw two brothers, Peter and Andrew. They were fishermen, casting a net into the lake. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Whoa! How do you think that went at home? “You quit your job for what??”

Their faith in the Lord turned their lives upside down. The world has never been the same.

Home Away From Home

Have been back in the USA for about five weeks after half a year in Africa. Working most days each week but finding time for recreation. Have introduced my Team in Faith organization.

It feels different. This is no longer my home.

edh county

My heart and mind are with the people of Uganda. Beautiful people. Grace-filled people. Loving brothers and sisters.

My life in Northern California is quite comfortable. Paved roads. Easy wifi access. Big screen TVs. Unusually dry weather. But something is missing.

Relationships here are usually appointment-driven. Let’s meet! Where, what time? It is unusual, for me at least, to engage many people while on the go. We are belted-in in our motorized steel vehicles. We might see a friend as we pass at 10 miles above the speed limit. Encountering people on the streets here just doesn’t happen. Ten thousand miles away, though, it is a way of life.

Everyone in Sub-Saharan Africa is outside waiting to greet you. The village homes in Uganda are small and it is typical to sit outside and watch the world pass by. As I walk the 500 metres to the vocational college each day, I meet and greet a dozen people or more, surprising many with my local language skills. Even in the small town of Kabale, I will pass many people who may look at me with curiosity. An exchange can form a friendship. This most basic human interaction is really what sets apart my life there from what I experience here.

I met one of my Ugandan friends in an LA suburb last weekend. Far from from his homeland, he and his wife live in an apartment complex. He studies for hours each day, waiting for his chance at a medical residency. His social life is very quiet behind closed doors, a far cry from the life he loved and left.

In recent years I have been fortunate to travel a lot and visit many countries in Europe and Africa. The different cultures are beautiful and fun to explore. America, for many in Africa and elsewhere, is a dream destination…a veritable Disneyland of opportunities and entertainment.

BGH village church

We enjoy a standard of living unmatched by any culture in the history of the world. Most of the world can only dream of this.

I prayed for the chance to experience life like most of my brothers and sisters. God honored that. I’ve been fortunate to live Uganda for most of the past three years.

I am at home now.

Whose Life is This?

I thought I was managing well early on. Focused on sports as a youngster. Got myself educated, practiced journalism. Read sports on TV for a time. Thought I was on my way.

That was before I learned it’s one thing to ask God to bless your plans. It is another to have him show you his. They’re already blessed.

Decades after my TV sports career ended, I’m happier and more focused than ever. Not without trials or doubt but through faith I am being taught some valuable lessons.

One of God’s greatest disciplines is that of patience. Our quest for instant gratification is humbled when we get a glimpse of the eternal timepiece.

God’s time meets our expectations.

bp enoch preach

In Ecclesiastes 3, the writer says “everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.” He has set the right time for everything.

Why wait until my sixth decade to find this peace that passes understanding? Couldn’t he help me out 20-30 years ago?

Today, in Kabale, Uganda, I accompanied Bishop Enoch to a funeral. I was not looking forward to the event. Funerals here are usually very long, four- hour affairs in which one is seated throughout.

We drove a short distance to where the funeral service would be held. Shade tents and chairs were set, but few people were about. The deceased’s brother, known as “The Professor,” was nowhere to be found. We waited about 45 minutes before returning home for lunch. We’ll try again later.

After lunch, I was anxious about going back. It will be too long, I fretted.

Off we went.

My worldly view of things is not God’s view of things. I may have been anxious but God had other plans. I entered a small house and sat with nearly a dozen women, mourners and supporters for about 15 minutes. I greeted them with my Rukiga, to which they responded.

A bit later we went to meet “The Professor,” to negotiate the order of the service. He spoke very good English, greeted me with interest and asked where I was from. Turns out he has been to Sacramento on several occasions.

We all headed to the tents where several hundred people awaited us. I took a seat in the second row; the only muzungu in the crowd, a distinction I appreciate and to which I am accustomed.

Fellowship and understanding were the order of my day from God’s view. Whereas I was apprehensive at first, it turned out to be a blessed time for me, joining those in attendance.

I never expected to have such a rich life of experiences in Africa but this is not my life. God’s plan for me is to see and experience, share and grow with his people halfway around the world from home.

I’ll never settle for anything less.

An Appeal and a Promise

My friends, I am completing my fifth month in Kabale, Uganda, where I volunteer at AICM’s Vocational Training College. In a country where more than 80 percent of college-age kids are unemployed, learning marketable skills to create a job or find work is necessary.

The college has an ICT program to train computer science students. However, the machines are more than 10 years old. They are slow. They cannot run modern programs. Students here risk falling further behind their counterparts around the globe.

Team in Faith, a public charity helping education projects in Uganda, is asking for your support to purchase a network computer to accommodate nine terminals. This system will run the latest software and help train people who can hit the ground running with practical experience. We have received a good quote, which is listed below.

AICM

Would you please consider a gift to help us purchase these items and make the Vocational Training College the ICT leader in SW Uganda.

Donate at teaminfaith.net. Your gift is tax-deductible in the US and I promise it will make an immediate impact. Thank you.

A Conversation with God

“Hi, God. You around?”

“Hello, Patrick. Top of the morning to you. I’m here. I know you’re feeling a bit low. I want you to tell me how things are going for you. Are you with me or trying to do things by yourself?”

“Yeah, well, I think my faith in you is being tested again.”

“Why is that? Have I not fulfilled my promises to you?”

“No. No. I know you are here with me in Uganda. You sent me here. You’ve made provision for me here. It’s just, well…I don’t know…”

“Come on. Tell me what’s on your heart.”

“You know, I’ve done the best I can. You’ve put me in challenging situations from the start. I haven’t complained about any of that.”

“So what’s the problem again?”

“I’m lonely.”

“Lonely? But I am right here. Every minute. Every day. 24/7.”

“It’s not you. It’s me. Somehow, in someway, I get distracted. I lose sight of you. Then I find myself all by myself. I get anxious, I look for you…but I don’t find you right away.”

“Haha. Where do you look for me?”

“I try to focus on my work. I try to pray harder. I retreat to a quiet place.”

“That’s where you find me? Are you sure?”

“No, that’s not where I find you. There’s an emptiness in my stomach. I am lost. ‘Kobuzire,’ as the people say here. ‘You are lost!’ I don’t feel as confident, or as powerful as before.”

“Patrick..I agree with you that your faith is unsettled at the moment. Don’t worry about ‘why’ or what you’ve done to create your discomfort. Look for me. I am near. A friend who calls or visits and lifts your spirit, that’s me. With friends and strangers, I am with you. You are with me.”

“But sometimes I feel I’d rather just be alone. I’m an introvert, you know.”

“You’re a ‘people person,’ Patrick. That’s why you are well-liked and successful here. Stay with that. Trust in me. I am with you always. I don’t want to see you struggle. I have given you life and skills. I have made a way for you.”

“You make it sound so easy, God.”

“It’s not ‘easy,’ Patrick. Simple, yes; easy, no.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re most welcome. I’m always here.”

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