It was about a 2 hour drive from the airport to the hotel we stayed at our first night. It was a small building, a lot like a home with 10 bedrooms. There were bug nets hanging over each bed, which was something I had not expected. Pastor Israel kept apologizing for having to have 2 people per room. He seemed to feel guilty that each of us did not get to have our own room. He smiled and was a bit relieved once I finally told him that back at the university we all had to share a room with another person.
Jen and I shared a room. It was so humid our first night in Uganda. We both woke up drenched in sweat and we were both extremely thirsty because of sweating out all of our liquids.
Brushing my teeth and showering was quiet the interesting task while trying to avoid getting water in my eyes or mouth. I ended up using mostly baby wipes to clean my self up.
The 9 of us met for prayer at 8 am, then at 9am we went for breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. At breakfast Pastor Israel explained the best he could about what we would be doing during our trip. Pastor Fredrick talked to us a bit about the trending religious beliefs in Uganda. He said something that was very profound to me, and rang in my ears many times through out our month in Africa.
Pastor Fredrick explained how in Africa, America is viewed as the promise land. Many if not most Africans imagine it as a place where the streets are perfect, families are perfect, everyone has jobs, the economy is perfect, and everyone is on a higher and more intimate level with God than any African. Pastor Fredrick said that when they see a white person, they automatically think that person has something more special than them, and when they find out that white person is American, Africans think of them as a type of angelic being with special powers from heaven.
Pastor Fredrick said that when we pray for people, most of those time the people were believing with their whole heart, soul, and mind, that God would touch them because it was an American praying for them. He said there was a big problem in their culture, of not believing God could use Africans to do great miracles.
When Pastor Fredrick told us all of this, I thought of the woman in the Bible who thought if she just touched Jesus' garment, then she would be healed. But when Jesus confronted her, he didn't say, "You are now well." and he didn't say, "My holy robe has made you well." Instead of saying it was her actions or his that healed her, all he said was, "Your faith has made you well."
I thought about what an honor it was, to be able to be used the same way Jesus' garment was used. That if someone had such faith that God would heal them through just touching an American, that God would use that American to inspire their faith enough to make them well.
I said a little prayer there at breakfast, "Lord, let me be your vessel. If my presence can encourage someone's faith enough to receive what they are believing for, let it be done. And help me, God, to teach the people that it is God alone, and not the American's presence that brings the supernatural."