Trip to Uganda

(The following report from Tim was sent as part of a mass email to Stony Point Presbyterian Church in August of 2005. Weeks later, the congregation of several hundred gathered when Tim's "UGANDA" film premiered, which was received by the crowd with a standing ovation and many tears.)

Dear Friends,

I didn't even have a clue what to expect before we went to Africa.  I had been told ahead of time that it would change my life, but I didn't quite understand how that could happen until it really did. The last night we were there, some of the Canaan workers asked me how Africa compared to what I had expected it to be, and I told them that I had absolutely no idea how sweet the people over there would be, and the kind of hospitality they would show us.  Minutes after we first arrived, we were served bottled water on an elaborate silver-looking tray.  It was clear that whatever they had, they gave us the best of it.

A few hours after we got there, some sweet little orphan girls that were around 11 or 12 years old started writing me precious letters saying things like "Dear Tim, I love you so much.  Thank you for being my friend.  I greet you in the name of Jesus" and went on and on... it just broke my heart.  They even wrote letters to my mom and brother after I told them they were back in America.  I know I already said this, but Everyone there is so incredibly sweet and warm-hearted.

When we drove around Uganda, most man-made structures looked to me like they were still under construction because there were dirt piles wherever you looked and random bricks on the ground...a big mess.  It was powerful to see a nice man riding a bike when a van zoomed by and stirred up a ton of dust on him.  Here in America, people would yell and curse if that happened, but the old man thought nothing of it and just continued on his way.  Also, we enjoyed reading the odd billboards.  There were slogans that must have been trying to sound dramatic, but just sounded rather funny to us "Mzungus" (white people). They would have one word, then a period, then about two more words, and another period, such as "Maximize. Your potential." or "Join. Our World." or "Go. Everywhere."

I had been thinking that when we went to Africa, we would all be in dusty old t-shirts and shorts, but the people there actually dress up nicely! (or did at least for us).  They wear suits and ties and nice dresses (which have probably all been donated from America) when they are in front of us to show respect.  So of course we dressed up all the time to show respect back to them in long pants and nice shirts and socks and shoes in the hot equator sun!

They treated us all like celebrities there, which was a little neat to experience for a while in some ways, but at other times, we wished that more of them would have realized that we weren't exactly royalty.  Whenever we would ride on the roads in a van, everyone on the street waved to us and some even screamed!  We would just wave back as we rode along up in the van, as if we were in a Disney World parade or something. And so many of them asked for our addresses and emails (I even gave a few people there my web site just for the heck of it, and the next day they came back and told me they went to an internet cafe to see it and enjoyed it).

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