To Kampala and Back
What can happen when five leaders from five different churches commit to each other and to engaging mission together? What opportunities open up when such a team pursues mutuality in a global context?
Pursuing the answers to these questions was the unique privilege that our TrueCity Uganda team had. We are still in the process of reflection and integration of lessons learned, but a few things are already clear–
the witness of unity is powerful–the unity amidst diversity that our team represented became a prophetic sign almost from the time we arrived. It created an atmosphere of openness and joy, a safe space where leaders from diverse backgrounds encouraged each other and built deeper relationships.
- doing mission together forms community–mission creates and deepens relationship, it takes a group of individuals and forms them into family. We saw this on our team and we saw this happen amidst the students and other leaders we interacted with regularly over our two weeks there.
- cross-cultural experiences spark creativity–seeing life through the eyes of others in cross-cultural contexts open up new insights into life realities and how God is at work around us. Each culture has its strengths and weaknesses. Uganda and the cultures we encountered have strengths we can learn from and weaknesses where they can learn from us. It is important not to romanticize or demonize other cultures but to recognize the perspectives they open up before us and the places where we have our own strengths to contribute.
The team’s main activity was teaching and interacting with students at the Impact Uganda training centre. Eight days of 9 am to 4 pm training sessions covering a wide range of topics from leadership lessons from the life of David, to learning to pray for your congregation to the overarching narrative of scripture and many more–we shared our hearts and key lessons God has worked into our lives. It was great to see how God used these topics as a collective witness and how the time teaching together and interacting with the students deepened all of us as well. Regular question and answer sessions became the highlight as we heard more of what was on the hearts of the pastors and students who were gathering. We were amazed at how the Spirit took the teaching we were offering and breathed new and deeper life into it as those from other cultures took what they were hearing and began to reflect on it from their own perspective and context.
We had the privilege of being part of three graduations while we were there. The first week we connected with Dr. Jean Chamberlin and the work of Save the Mothers being done out of the Ugandan Christian University. The opportunity to interact with graduates of the program and hear of their passion to change the reality of high mortality rates among women giving birth was inspiring.
About a week into our time we were part of a graduation celebration for refugee women who had completed a small business entrepreneurship course. The passion of these women to find ways to provide for their families and their joy at having completed the course made the event unforgettable and a real privilege to be a part of.
Our last day in Kampala we participated in the graduation of the 19 students who went through the 3 month leadership training program. Having had two weeks interacting with these students made this event particularly meaningful for us. The dedication and passion of these students to share the gospel in the various areas they are from was a huge encouragement and challenge for us.
We went to Uganda to explore the possibilities of mutuality in mission–would the collaboration that has been powerful as a witness in Hamilton also be powerful in another culture? It is too early to know what the lasting fruit of the trip will be, but there is every indication that the witness of unity grows all the more as it incarnates in fresh ways by crossing cultures.