(The following post is written by Man Up and Go Champion Matt Palmer, who also sits on the Board of Man Up and Go. Read more about Matt’s Bio HERE.)
There was a quote on the wall in one of the houses in which we stayed, and it said, “Traveling: It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
Well, I have certainly been speechless for a period following our return from Uganda, and I am home now and still trying to reconcile two worlds, mine and the one I just left behind. The culture, the people, the overall experience…. words hardly do justice. I will simply start by saying that God is alive in Africa. His hand was at work all around us, and He is doing a great work through the Man Up organization and the lives of our ministry partners. Men like Samuel Mwesigwa, Andrew Victor, and George Kooli are on the front lines ministering not only in their churches but also in the communities in which they live. These men have hearts bent toward service to those who need care, and it was a joy to support and serve alongside them as we ministered to the orphans, cared for the widows, and encouraged the men in each of the communities we visited throughout Uganda.
I left on this trip with the understanding that God was going to change me, but I didn’t know how and I was shocked to reflect back on the trip and see what God did in me during the short time I was away. Shocked largely because even though I tried to go into the trip without any expectation or assumption, I was still surprised at how God used my time in Africa to convict me in the following way.
Our ministry partners in Uganda left an impression on me, which later became a conviction as I prayed and reflected on my life and routines back home. To say these men exhaust themselves in service to God and their fellow man is an understatement. They demonstrate a selfless devotion to the people in their communities, and the results are evident.
One quick example involved a pastor who was caring for our team, in addition to the various other ministries he has under his care, and in the midst of a large event and with everything going on all around him, a sick child and his sister approached and let him know that their parents were gone and they didn’t know what to do. The pastor had staff present who could assist, but instead he quietly walked away with the children to discuss the matter further and see what could be done to help them.
For some reason that one event touched me the deepest, and my conviction is to be courageous and work tirelessly to engage the world around me and adopt a more humble spirit of service that reflects the example set by Jesus Christ. Being back in the States and settling back into my routine, it’s hard to understand how to put this into practice, but I have examples throughout Scripture and a tangible memory of my time in Uganda to which I can refer back.