Our 1st team mission this year was with Center of Praise (COP) Church in Sacramento, California. It’s their first mission going as a church by themselves and we had a team of 14 people. We were excited to have COP partner with Yaaka Afrika to specifically invest in Gomba school, our most underdeveloped school campus.
The team arrived safely at Entebbe airport. We were excited to be able to pickup the team in our newly purchased bus. We purchased it last year to be used on many occasions, including team missions. It was a very comfortable ride, and fit everyone and our luggage quite well.
The first day we drove out to Gomba and got checked into our hotel. We stayed at the same hotel we had stayed at last year. The water and electricity didn’t work all the time, but we were grateful when it did!
Heading out to the school on our first day was great. The kids saw us coming and started chasing our bus.
Some team members were returning, others it was their first time. Crystal (above) brought her son Michael for the 1st time. She got to introduce him to her sponsored students.
The smiles on the kids faces are one of the best things you get to experience when you arrive. Gotta love the eskimo jacket this kid is wearing.
This is an aerial shot of our tiny school that is in need of much development and love. You can see our first brick classroom block in the bottom center. You can also see the small village just around the corner of the school.
We held our nightly crusades in the middle of the town. Great location, minus having the dodge the motorcycle drivers on occasion.
Our team did a great job stepping up and sharing the gospel and loving on the community.
Gomba is in a beautiful region, and while we have had a school here for over 10 years, we have not been able to focus our development efforts here because of our focus on our Toggo school. The school staff and community were incredibly blessed to have a team come and love on them!
The woman conducted a conference focused on the “Keys to Freedom” training which focuses on letting go of the “baggage” in your life.
It was very powerful for many of the woman in the community who were able to attend the several day training.
The men also conducted a several day conference focused on the life of Joshua. It was meant to encourage men to model their lives as Joshua did through his obedience and trust for the Lord’s calling on his life.
One of our most exciting (and exhausting) activities is VBS! We love getting to sing with the children, teach them stories from the Bible and play games.
Kids from all ages get to participate, and often we include the teachers in the games to help give them more opportunities to interact with their students.
During our last few days in Gomba we conducted a pastors workshop, helping to train main of the local pastors in the region.
We got to travel out to Kikyusa to visit our friends at Wonder Afrika. It was exciting to see the new school campus they have built, and some of the new projects they are working on.
We visited Pastor Steve’s church in Kampala, and were able to be a blessing to the congregation through preaching and praying over those who needed prayer.
The second half of the trip we traveled to Toggo. The team was so excited to see our schools and get a glimpse of what investing in a community for over a decade looks like.
The team got to spend a day and pour into the high school students at Toggo High. The school is on break so we were able to talk to the kids who lived in the dorms. The team shared with them about what it means to be a disciple as a young person.
We had beautiful weather when we were there. Toggo is such a beautiful village, both with the beauty God graces it with and the people who live there.
The last part of our trip was a safari to Murchison Falls National Park in northern Uganda. This is our group at the mouth of the falls.
This is an aerial view of the falls. The lower region is not viewable standing from the side of the river where our team is standing.
This is a view of the Victoria Nile river. It is flowing just down river from Murchison Falls, the most powerful waterfall in the world.
A Mommy and baby elephant and Mommy and baby hippo. The Mommy hippo didn’t take her eyes off of us the whole time.
We were treated to a beautiful sunset as we got back and settled into the lodge for the night.
Early the next morning we set out to head out on the “game drive”, the main part of the safari where you see the animals. The goal is to set out early while the animals are still up and about.
We were blessed with great weather and excellent tour guides as we set out for our morning.
If you’ve ever seen a Ugandan flag you’ll recognize this bird. It is called a “Crowned” Crane. They call it this because of the beautiful gold-colored feathers haloing their heads.
We had the opportunity to see a couple giraffes right as the sun was coming up behind them. Giraffes are beautiful and majestic creates, especially up close.
I love these little deer-like animals. They are called “steenboks”. They are very little and look like babies, even when they are full grown adults.
We had the opportunity to see a young male lion. They are quite intimidating, especially up close. We were able to get close enough to this one to take a few pictures.
We got to see a good number of animals and beautiful views that morning before we made the long 5+ hour drive back to Toggo.
The next day we left for the airport to fly back home. Everyone had a wonderful trip. Thank you to everyone who prayed and supported team members on this mission!