Dearest of Dears,
This logo H3 with the faint outline of the continent of Africa in the background and the scripture verse is from a tee shirt I wore during a medical/dental mission outreach hosted by our African church, New City Community Church (NCCC).
NCCC has been host to this medical outreach for many years. Elder Mike volunteered for me because this is the first year there has been a dental ministry with the medical. I was reminded of my first mission trip.
A medical/dental team from the States flew to a remote village in Honduras called Teupasenti, to bring the good news of the gospel and then help with medical and dental needs of the people.
Michelle was fifteen (15) years old and she was just learning Spanish as a second language. The doctor I worked for allowed her to be a part of the mission outreach team.
She has some comments from her trip to Honduras:
On the first night we were in the village, a baby was born right in the room where we slept! Mom told me a baby was ALMOST born on the first day of the medical outreach in Uganda. But the doctors decided to drive the mother to a hospital to deliver the baby.
I was surrounded by a growing group of children who were so gracious, welcoming me and helping me learn more, as I asked them, "¿Qué es esto?" while pointing to the object I wanted to learn the name of.
I recall Mom telling me she had learned, "Escupa aquí" telling the dental patient to spit in the cup she provided. One night our group of women bathed in the river, and I remember the current was strong and the water was cold.
The people stood in line day and night in the pouring rain so they would not lose their place. Women nursed their babies right out in the open. That was a shock for a girl of 15, but really, where else would they go? The amount of people asking for help was staggering and the medical/dental team worked so hard!
H3 medical mission outreach was put into motion by Gerald Sseruwagi. One of the pastors from the States told me the story of attending seminary in Hinds County, Mississippi, with Gerald and the beginnings of H3 – Head, Heart, Hands for Africa.
It seems that Pastor Gerald persuaded some young men who were in seminary and medical school to commit to come to Africa on a year to year basis to bring the gospel and free medical aid to people in Uganda.
I had the wonderful privilege of working with two professional Ugandan women: Agatha, a dentist; and Leonine, a dental hygienist. Both women are well educated and both are enrolled in advanced university courses to stay up to date on their profession.
Our dental chair was a plastic chair where the patient rested their head in my two hands and got ready for dental extractions or dental hygiene cleaning. I sterilized the dental instruments over a charcoal cooker.
It was truly "bush" dentistry – so many fond memories of that first mission outreach in Honduras came to my mind. Except this time we were in the Kampala suburb of Lubowa working out of a room at African Bible University.
Would anyone like to donate a mobile dental chair and unit to this outreach ministry?
Under a tent near the dental room, NCCC Pastor, Rodgers Atwebembeire, was involved in one-on-one counseling for people who had already heard the gospel preached in another tent while they waited for medical and dental care.
Pastor Gerald was the mentor of Pastor Rodgers. Pastor Gerald had been the one sitting in that tent doing one-on-one counseling many years ago.
Pray for the seeds of the gospel to take root in the hearts of the people and bear the eternal fruit of new life in Christ.
Pastor Gerald had a long vision for these medical outreach clinics. After the Americans leave and return to the States he envisioned leaving behind Ugandans who continue the work, including Ugandan pastors who would mentor the people who heard the gospel.
Ugandan medical interns from Mulago Hospital were working alongside the medical doctors from the States. Their supervisor, Dr. Nicholette, from the school of medicine, is a long-time acquaintance of mine. She is ready to help in our ministry when the three scholarship students, who are studying the courses necessary to apply for medical school, complete the requirements.
Dr. Nicholette also told me that she and her husband have a transition ministry because of the tremendous need for help when young people reach 18 years of age.
Pray for Ugandans to begin to use their professional skills to serve other Ugandans.
Berea Reformed Baptist Church, Pastor Julius and his wife Grace, hosted the team on the third day. Berea Church arranged for the team to use a local clinic to minister to the people in the community surrounding the church.
Pray for Berea Church to continue to be a church that loves and serves the community with spiritual and emotional support as well as caring about physical needs.
In His providence, God allowed me to see many friends during these three days. I have mentioned Pastor Julius and Grace. The young man who served us at the pizza shop and a young girl who served us in a coffee shop when we lived in Lubowa are now attending NCCC. They were serving as interpreters for non-English speaking patients.
Pray that you will be reminded to pray over your food when you eat in a public place. Someone is watching and you never will know how God will use your bowed head and words of thanks to minister to other people.
I met Dr. John Carson and Sarah, on their way to teach classes at ABU. They invited Mike, Yoweri and me to celebrate their 50 years wedding anniversary with them and their children and grandchildren! What a treat for us to be included!
Their American family will join them here in Uganda for this celebration. Melissa and Chris from Fayette County, Georgia, were serving on the Berea Church team. They have a transition ministry in Mukono, Uganda, and it has been too long since I last saw them.
I have too much more to tell you! I will save it for later.
And besides, 1 Peter 4.10 says it all. "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace."
I really have turned the public media M&C Guardian Trust web page over to the OS. Now that we have gone public, the OS appeals to a wider audience and says things people want to read. I still sometimes call the Internet the "interweb."
On coming to Africa, I wrote a weekly letter, The Ordinary Missionary Day, to my closest friends, my "Dearest of Dears." The group grew to a larger audience than expected.
The OS decided to write a letter, "No Cheetos in Uganda," one day when he came in from town very annoyed because he could not find any "crisps" (Ugandan for chips) on any supermarket shelf. The man must have his chips!
That newsletter received so many comments because it was wild and crazy like the OS. People began mailing Cheetos to him and bringing suitcase loads when they came to visit in Uganda. His take on the medical/dental outreach was too irreverent for me to allow him to write it.
From your dear friend and Ordinary Missionary,
I Love You,