Friday, June 21, 2013
First steps and first breaths in Africa
It was cloudy and mildly cool when we left Tulsa. It was very cold in Amsterdam. But then, as the doors opened to the Uganda airport exit, a breeze blew through the doors.
It was very warm. I breathed in a big gulp of the air, just for sheer sake of fully embracing the moment. May, Oklahoma's summer and Uganda's winter, yet it was warmer in Uganda than Tulsa had been.
When we passed through the door, there were several people all waiting for different arrivals. The from a distance we heard, "ORU? Hello." It was Pastor Israel, our main contact.
Pastor Israel is a married man with 5 children ranging in age from 5 years to 17. He also was giving shelter to two other girls in his home.
In his years, Pastor Israel has started around 50 churches spread all out through out Uganda. He also has a boarding school.
We were the 8th ORU team he had hosted, so he and his family were very acustomed to Americans.
His assistant was Pastor Fredrick. Pastor Fredrick is also married with 2 children. He told us he was born Catholic but converted to Born-again Christianity 22 years prior after attending one of Pastor Israel's open air crusades.
Pastor Fredrick seemed very quiet and reserved at first. But in the days to come he would turn out to be one of the most hilarious Ugandans I would meet.
The airport exit had a covering overhead, and as we stepped out from beneath it, I was left in awe and wonder and the brilliance of all the clusters of stars.
Right in the middle of the sky Isaiah pointed out a formation of stars famous for looking like a cross. It was a life changing sight. Never have I seen a sky so beautifully drowning with twinkling stars.
I knew in that moment, Africa was every bit as wonderful as I had imagined it would be.