Cooper-Sande: February 2009

The Joy of Africa
I have been back in Uganda for less than a week, but I have again realized the many reasons I love ministering in Africa. I have experienced a range of emotions-as I usually do when I am in the continent of Africa. My heart has been overwhelmed with both joy and sorrow as I see and hear a variety of things. Nevertheless, today I am going to focus on the joy of being in Africa because I truly do love Africa very much.

As I see the love, kindness, and generosity of the Ugandan people my heart is filled with joy and gratitude by their efforts to welcome me. I have always been deeply encouraged and inspired by their thoughtfulness toward me. It amazes me that I am coming here to bless them; and yet, I myself am so richly blessed by them.
As I hear them speak their local languages and try to speak the language myself, I am filled with joy. I love when their faces light up as they hear a muzungu (white person) speaking in their native tongue. I still have a long way to go in my language learning, but it is definitely progressing. Actually, I have been focusing on Luganda, but soon I will be back to learning Lutooro. (I am currently staying in the capital city to finalize some details of the children’s village before I go to Kyenjojo, and they speak a different language.)
As I see the beauty of the land and gaze at the breathtaking views in the sky, I remember that God showers his love on us in so many ways. We just have to take the time to notice them.I love the joy of ministering to the African people. As I find opportunities to touch various people and show them the love of Jesus, my heart dances within me. I don’t think I could experience any greater joy than when I see hurting people smile as they hear the story of Jesus or am given the opportunity to watch their eyes twinkle as they are being touched by the Lord.I enjoy seeing and hearing the familiar sights and sounds of an African street or village-especially the voices of the children. How they fill my heart with joy! Their “muzungu” shouts, their conversational efforts (“Muzungu, How are you?, Bye.”), their cute complexions, as well as many other aspects capture my heart every time. As I sit in the crowded taxi, ride the Boda Boda (motorcycle), see the small shops and the various house structures, and cross the crowded streets, I am quickly reminded that I am back in Africa.
Finally, the sight and sound that I love most is when I see the Ugandans dance and hear them sing praises to the Lord. I am always deeply moved by their passion and sincerity. I have realized that when they worship God, they do it wholeheartedly. When I visit Africa, I find many of the people here know what it is like to own little material possessions and suffer in numerous ways; however, they have also found the joy that only Jesus can give. They have discovered portant truth that if you have Jesus you have everything. They have faced many sorrows and disappointments, but they have concluded that Jesus is always faithful and will never disappoint his children. They express gratitude with their voices and their hearts for the Lord’s love and faithfulness. They comprehend that the true ingredients for peace and joy are not to conquer the storms of life or remove them, but to learn how to dance in the rain. I pray that these lessons will continue to transform my life and the manner in which I live.
I thank God for giving me the opportunity to come to Africa. The Lord is using all of the experiences of my life in Africa to teach me more about Him and His ways, as well as strengthen my walk with Him.