Sunday, April 29, 2012

Our Uganda Itinerary and Donations Requested

We have two teams going to Uganda in June. The first team has about 10 people going and the second team (the one I am on) has about 12 going. We just received our itinerary today for our time there - kinda nice to have so my friends and family back home can know how to pray for us each day...

Day 1 - Leave Tulsa @ 12:31 p.m.

Day 2 - Arrive in Entebbe, Uganda @ 9:50 p.m.

Day 3 - Travel to Lira, Uganda (7 hour drive)

Day 4 - VBS at Calo Me Lare

Day 5 - VBS at Calo Me Lare

Day 6 - Spiritual Retreat

Day 7 - Hut-to-Hut Evangelism

Day 8 - Free Day

Day 9 - Church

Day 10 - Work Day

Day 11 - Travel to Murchison Falls

Day 12 - Day at Murchison Falls

Day 13 - Travel to Kampala, Uganda and spend the day shopping; Depart Entebbe @ 10:55 p.m.

Day 14 - Arrive in Tulsa @ 4:50 p.m.

The following is a list of things we'll be taking with us to the orphanage we'll be working at in case anyone would like to help us gather needed items...

* Shoes - for boys and girls (ages 3 to 9)

* Black Barbies and dolls

* Toys - Legos, Lincoln Logs, blocks, puzzles

* Rechargeable Walkie Talkies - for the guards at the gate

* Canon hp640 black ink cartridges

* Soccer balls - deflated

* Art supplies

As always, we thank you for your prayers for both teams going. We know it's going to be a great life-changing experience for us all!

Relief vs. Restoration

We had a team meeting today to discuss our upcoming trip to Uganda. I can't believe we leave in 6 1/2 weeks! It's time to really start preparing mentally and spiritually as it's a pretty emotional trip. I've been reading books and thinking a lot about orphan care lately and everything always comes back to how we go about taking care of "the least of these". So many Americans have good intentions to help those in need but we miss the mark when we go into a third world country and give "hand-outs" instead of "hand-ups". We need to stop having the mentality that we are better than them and that our "American-ized ways" will solve all of their problems. Instead of going in and trying to "fix" things, we need to partner with them and work alongside them.

We watched this great film today called "Helping Without Hurting: Reconsidering the Meaning of Poverty" that makes my point much clearer than I could put it...


I love these great quotes from the film that really make you reconsider the how's and why's of helping those in need...

“It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned we are, good intentions are not enough. It is very possible to hurt people in the very process of trying to help them.” – Brian Fikkert

“You can disperse all the aid you want, but the reality is the next day those people are hungry again. So if you want to feed nine million people every day that may help, but it doesn’t change their well- being.” – Tim DeTellis

“When people describe their poverty they don’t point to their circumstances, their health, or their even their finances. They typically point to their sense of self worth. For many, this sense of worthlessness just so happens to visibly manifest itself in their material poverty. We feel a sense of pride because we feel like we’re making a difference, unaware that at the same time, we might actually be making the other person feel less valuable.” - Sam Roberts

“As the outsiders flying into any country, anywhere in the world, you can show up with the mind set that you’re bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth. And I think if you think you’re going to change a nation in a week, you must be pretty arrogant.” - Tim DeTellis

“It would literally be better if those North Americans would just go golfing and never leave home than go around hurling shoes, hurling t-shirts at people, undermining local business, and making people feel more ashamed than ever before. Yes, they should just stay home.” - Brian Fikkert

 “The primary mistake that most North American churches make is that they provide relief in inappropriate contexts. The vast majority of people around the world are not helpless, and we shouldn’t treat them as though they are.” - Brian Fikkert

“Relief is literally providing something for somebody that they cannot provide for themselves. Once the crisis is over, once the bleeding is stopped, people are actually capable of participating in their own improvement.” - Brian Fikkert

“Restoration is a developmental approach that comes alongside people and walks with them. A restorative approach allows us to bring our gifts to the table, and the person being helped brings their gifts to the table. The other person’s situation is improved and both of us become more like what God wants us to be.” - Brian Fikkert

“People think of [mission work] in terms of an experience rather than a relationship. We see people as a problem to be solved. God sees people as people to be known.” - Brad Bandy

“For God to really use you it does take some commitment, I believe, to do things long-term in relationships. Through relationships you learn to help people restore their relationship with God, and that’s the only way to have permanent, long-term change. Anything else is just temporary.” - Tyler Williams

“You can’t develop a long-term relationship with people on the ground by parachuting in for a week and leaving. You can’t do it. What you can do is develop a support system for the people who are working on the ground. Support them. And let them articulate what role you can play.” - Brian Fikkert 

“There’s absolutely no question that our primary function is to get behind the local [church] who’s already there. Ask how you can support what God’s already doing there as opposed to assuming that there’s nothing going on there and we’re going to bring it all in.” - Brian Fikkert

“The goal is that they understand they are made in the image of God, that they have an inherent dignity and worth and capacity. Ask them a series of questions in relationships that can help them to rediscover who they are and that they can actually do something to affect change in their lives.” - Brian Fikkert 

“An asset-based approach literally says to be people, ‘What gifts do you have? What are you good at? What skills do you have? What abilities do you have? What are the good things that are already happening in the community?’” - Brian Fikkert

“Asking people to be the solution to their own problem, putting Christ as the center of the human condition, allowing them to innovate, so that when we leave...Guess who stays? Guess who becomes a part of their own solution? The people that live there, work there, that die there. That’s what empowerment really is.” - Brad Bandy

“The essence of the Kingdom of God is that it’s what we’re all longing for, we’re all looking for. We all want to be whole. We all want to experience life as God intended. It means seeing brokenness in the slums in India and brokenness in Manhattan and realizing that, while the brokenness looks different in each place, there’s brokenness in both places. There’s brokenness in me.” - Brian Fikkert

“We go into these situations to help mentor, to help better another person’s life, to help them. And really, in the long run, we really see where we’re the ones being helped. We’re able to see how God touches our heart, how we learn things that God has for us through these relationships.” - Tyler Williams

“We think blessing is upward mobility, you know, God’s going to come in and make your life more successful. But that’s not the case. You’re here to be a part of a long-term solution, which is God addressing the human condition of both of us.” - Brad Bandy

So much to think about and so much preparation to be done. The summer will be here before you know it! The countdown to Uganda continues!