Rachel and I became friends when we were both in Mexico City together 7 years ago.
This is Rachel at the Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Michoacan, Mexico. She, David, and I all visited together in winter 2010.
Our time together in Mexico was short, but God used that time in many ways for both of us. Since then, we’ve stayed in touch (thanks, internet!), and we got to visit Rachel and her husband Daniel in Oregon just after their wedding. Finally, last week, we got to visit again in Uganda!
Honestly, it was an honor to be able to join them at their wonderful home, and spend time with friends during our Africa journey.
First, we had to get to Soroti, where they live. I’m pointing to it on the map, below. The capital, where we started our day, is the red dot on the lake to the left of my hand (labeled “Kampala”). We could either drive forever on lousy roads, or take a short little flight!
We opted for the flight.
Thanks to Missionary Aviation Fellowship, we got to ride in the smallest plane ever (think 12 tiny seats) straight across the country! This was a beautiful way to appreciate the country. It’s called the “Great Lakes” region of East Africa, and we could see why. Except for the mountains, it reminded me a lot of Michigan, with all the trees.
We got to spend time in Soroti doing normal things – like visit Church, and church school, and church projects, and talk about church things. Ok, normal for us! Church workers talk ‘work’ a little too much, even when we’re having fun. But, we really had just flown across Uganda to see what our friends are up to over there!
First, we got to visit Calvary Chapel Soroti, which is building a new church building, and has already started a Ministry School:
One day, we got to join ministry students for their opening devotions, and join them in singing and praying:
The church also has a hospital next door:
IThen, we got to go out to see some pigs, chickens, goats, and other animals being raised. They were SO clean! Everything I know about pigs I learned from the county fair and Charlotte’s Web, so granted, I’m not an expert, but seriously, these pigs were clean AND adorable!
The little piggies didn’t really appreciate all the paparazzi, though. They weren’t scared so much as totally annoyed. Maybe I was bringing in too much dirt?
These animals are a huge deal. They help the students and other local folks survive. Daniel is a veterinarian, and together Daniel and Rachel are missionaries with a focus on “sustainable, spiritually-integrated community development through training and facilitation.” Sustainable development, in this part of the world, means raising cute piggies (amongst other things). Many of the students at their ministry school will not be paid for leading a church, like I will be. They need to learn ministry skills as well as farming skills, in order to support a family while leading a church. This is what “bi-vocational ministry” looks like in the developing world. So, while I’m negotiating health care costs for 2018, these folks are learning how to raise animals. Puts my life into a lot of perspective, friends.
Maybe I’m not really explaining it super well. (because, let’s be honest – what do I know about animal husbandry in any country?!) Maybe this video explains it better:
If you want to know more about their ministry, please check them out at www.danielandrachel.net They’re doing amazing work! Consider supporting their work, too, if you’d like to get regular updates about what they’re doing.
BTW: while in Soroti, in between eating Rachel’s amazing food, and meeting Daniel’s students, we also got to meet with a refugee who is also a pastor. His story is in the next blog post! Stay tuned!