As much as I enjoyed the smells, tastes, and sights of my Uganda home, what really makes a place a home is the people--the relationships that one has built. It was great to reconnect with David, our driver and his wife and beautiful children. We all went together to Kampala Church of Christ in Old Kampala. Unfortunately, this was the same weekend as the National meeting for NTC leaders and many of our dear friends were not at church. However, we were able to reconnect with several members that were there. It was good to see and hug several of them. After church we met Areyantu, a friend of ours for lunch. She treated us to a Ugandan buffet---the food was delicious but the rich conversations were priceless. She uses to be the editor for Relate magazine but now holds marriage and family seminars. It was good to hear about what was happening in the churches in Uganda, both the growth and challenges they are facing. I enjoyed hearing her and Dave dream about an online Christian East African newspaper….maybe someday in our next chapter….
Jeff Cash a missionary serving in Fort Portal, Uganda for over 20 years came with his 14-year-old son to pick us up and take us to their home for a couple of days before we went on to Rwanda. I can not tell you the joy that I had seeing and hearing Dave and Jeff talk and solve all the world problems!Hearing them tell stories and laugh together and process common ground was a treasure!It was also breathtaking watching the view of the Ugandan countryside.
As we were driving, hearing Dave and Jeff's visit made me think this is what it is like to live in the same town with someone, go to the same church, being lifelong friends and sharing similar life experiences. Living a life as a missionary has a lot of blessings, you get to have many rich relationships with people from all over the world. The negative is that friends come go. I remember on furlough, about 6 really good friends moved away from Rwanda while we were gone. Several new families moved to Kigali, so as expiates do I made a new set of friends. Your relationships tend to build deeper fast because you both are experiencing being stretched in a new culture and in life there you tend to be very interdependent on each other. For example, many times you spend holidays together like family.
I was getting eager to see Cheryl and the rest of their kids. Even though, we had not lived in the same country for many years, we kind of grew up together in our time in Uganda. We had overlapped with the Cashes, 10 of our 11 years in Uganda. These were the best of times and the worst of times, and they did life with us. We have a similar journey and as we moved to Rwanda we still would visit each other and would pick off where we left off. Thanks to FB , blogs and phone calls over furlough we had kept up. This had been the longest time since we had shared the same space. Sitting at the dinner table that first night was so rich. Hearing how their kids were turning into young adults, so wise beyond their years, and seeing the unique friendship that missionary siblings develop, warmed my heart.Although our time with the Cashes this trip was brief, only two nights and one full day, we soaked up our time together. I enjoyed sitting on their porch and visiting with Cheryl.
I love her wise counsel and enjoyed catching up with more details of their joys, struggles-- both their victories and trials. We also laughed a lot! Remembered good times and not so good times…. But could both bear witness to God’s hand through it all. In the evening, we went to a beautiful lodge that overlooked one of the many breathtaking crater lakes that surround Fort Portal for dinner. After dinner we sat by the fire, we were the only ones at the lodge that night… it was good to visit and hear about all the things that God is doing through Jeff and Cheryl and their family. They have been a presence of light in and around this region for over 20 years. They are recognized in this community for doing good, as community leaders, wise teachers, and evangelists. We are so blessed to call Jeff and Cheryl our friends!