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Students Share God's Love in Pearl of Africa

August 9, 2013

"I met a man who accepted Christ after I had the opportunity to share who Jesus is with him," Munger said. "He told me how thankful he was that a white woman from America would come to the slums of Kampala and sit in the dirt to tell him about Jesus."

Eight students and one staff sponsor recently traveled from OBU to Uganda to share the love of Jesus Christ with the people they encountered. During the three-week trip May 31-June 23, the group helped build a church and taught English lessons at a school in Mityana; taught Bible lessons at a government school; and shared the Gospel message in the slums of Kampala. The team also encouraged full-time International Mission Board personnel who live and work in Uganda.

"I had been told … all about what God is doing in the lives of the people there and how the believers are being raised up to follow and to serve the Lord no matter what the cost," said Munger, a sophomore psychology: pre-counseling major from Harrah, Okla. "The people are encountering God through the obedience of the ministries and missionaries that are there now. When I was told this, I wanted to be where God is working and moving and couldn't think about going anywhere else."

Representatives from OBU pause with members of the church they helped build in Mityana, Uganda, following a morning worship service to dedicate the church.

A century ago, Winston Churchill labeled Uganda the "The Pearl of Africa," a title which reflects not only a land rich with crops such as banana trees, coffee, avocados and jack fruit, but also the Rift Valley scenery and the lush countryside. While in the beautiful African nation, the team encountered challenges such as communicating with the nationals and organizing plans, but the OBU students tackled their tasks with fervor.

In Mityana, the group helped build a church funded through much effort by a small congregation. The jobs proved to be both physically and mentally challenging. Team members hauled more than 50 wheelbarrows of dirt to establish a foundation, completed with stone work and concrete. They also stripped poles to be used as railings around the perimeter of the church building and varnished poles for the roof. Later, they had an opportunity to worship there alongside Ugandan Christians.

"Worship with such a beautiful body of believers in a church we all built together was an indescribable experience," said Monica Mullins, director of student success at OBU who served as the team's sponsor. "We were humbled by the welcome and thanks we received from the members. The fellowship throughout the morning between us and the church members was some of the sweetest we have experienced."

Children at the Mityana Orphanage School in Uganda peer through a window as they watch no-bake cookies being made by OBU students. The OBU students exchanged cultural experiences with the children during a recent cross-cultural trip.

In the afternoons, the team taught Bible stories to children attending Busubizi, a local primary school. The children returned the favor by teaching the team how to make a broom and performing talents for their visitors. OBU team members also taught Bible stories and English at Mityana Orphanage.

"Drawing on her 13 years' experience teaching kindergarten in America along with her five years' experience here in Uganda, Krisann provided excellent guidance and leadership to the students as they prepared for this important task," Mullins said of the team's missionary host. "The families have done much to point us to God, and we are honored to be part of their ministry in Mityana."

During the final leg of the trip, the group traveled to Kampala, the largest city and capital of Uganda. Divided into ministry groups working with local churches, some team members shared their personal Christian testimonies door-to-door in a poor neighborhood. Others exchanged cultural information and shared their testimonies with high school students at a secondary school, where 10 of the students accepted Christ as their personal Savior.

"God is good, and it was so cool to see Him work and to be a vessel in His wonderful plan," Munger said. "The pastors give up all they have to be obedient to God's call on their lives, even if it means they have no income. They have faith and trust God to provide. God does provide, and they survive."

The OBU students encountered the very real and evident struggles Ugandans face in daily life, but they also observed the Ugandan's perseverance. One 11-year-old boy told them, "I have learned that suffering is not the end of life." The American students were challenged to move out of their comfort zones to share their personal stories with strangers, discovering the great reward in attempting a risky, yet genuine, connection with others.

"When we step out on faith and surrender our fears and insecurities to (God), even if it is scary, there is no limit to God's power," Munger said. "The week we were in Kampala, more than 100 people accepted Christ, and many more were encouraged in their faith. I saw people who … truly want a relationship with Christ, and just to be a part of it was humbling and rewarding to me."

The team made the journey as part of OBU's Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach, which sends dozens of students, faculty and staff annually around the corner and around the globe to share their Christian faith.

"People are out there waiting to hear about Jesus, so we must share the good news we have with the nations, as well as our neighbors," Munger said. "It is not easy to say 'yes' and go, but it is completely worth it."

Visit the OBU GO Center Web page for more information.