The week in Jinja was all we hoped for. Physically we had great rest, away from the constant press of needs and sorrow that weighs us down in Bundibugyo. We had clean beds and quiet nights, three meals a day prepared by someone else without any struggle on our part, gardens for sitting and praying and meditating, sunshine to invigorate our soppy souls, a pool for splashing and playing and connecting with the kids, spectacular sunrises and slow evenings that slipped into darkness by Lake Victoria. Socially we had a good stretch of days to be with our family and our team, singing and praying, listening and learning, and having riotous silly fun in a summer-camp kind of way in the evenings. Spiritually we had challenging teaching about faith, pointing us to the grace of God, leading us through the reality of forgiveness and the impact of grief. One morning we all sat in a circle around the room and put to words the sadness and anxieties and difficulties we anticipate in the transitions ahead (9 of 16 adults on the Bundibugyo team finishing terms and leaving in the next year . . . ), and then talked about hope and how we could see God drawing us into intimacy with Him through these losses. My personal analogy was that we feel as team leaders like the parents of adolescents who are gaining independence and moving on (those who are leaving to go into other work or ministries) yet suddenly have found ourselves unexpectedly pregnant (getting ready to receive and nurture 5 new team mates in the next few months too!). The last half of the week was focused on approaching God as our Father in conversational prayer, using solitude, silence, and Scripture to enter into true communion with Him.
Many people prayed for this time, and from the little I’ve heard from others it was significant in the hearts of other team mates too. We were greatly impacted by the ministry of the Batstones and Donovan Graham, visits like theirs are quite rare in terms of coming along side us in Bundibugyo and then pouring themselves out for us in leading the retreat. I’m sure that the prayers of many paved the way for powerful work of the Spirit. And the kids (21 of them!) were happy too, having a program put together by four Ugandan pastoral/youth workers from a large church in Kampala. We are grateful for God’s abundant provision of wise counsel and peaceful rest.