Cornerstone-Buloba Church vs Buloba High School Soccer Match

It’s about 7am on Monday morning over here and since I couldn’t get the internet to work last night this post is actually from yesterday afternoon. As time has gone by on our trip over here the news of a soccer team from America has grown to where Buloba High School (17-21 year olds) challenged the team we could put together between our guys and Buloba Community Church, and they were serious. This was a full 90 minute match, with refs, on a regulation field at the high school with about 1,300 to 1,500 people who came just to watch our team play the local high school.

We had church in the morning, sorta. We went to Gaba Church (Buloba’s parent church) for their service, then headed to Buloba for their service which lasted from about 9am until about 1pm. Brian gave the sermon (via translation) at Buloba Church and Mark Fuller led the men in a leadership talk after the service was over. In between all that I was able to meet my sponsor child’s mother who came to church yesterday because I was there, that was so cool. I can’t wait to come back again in October and see both of them again.

Around 2pm we went over to the High School where we thought we were going to go immediately to the soccer field but first… into the high school for a testimonial time, worship, and then Pastor Isaac gave a sermon (I’m thinking it was his 5th of the day at that point). This was not a Christian High School but the schools are all basically private paid for schools and there is no separation of church and state over here so they basically had an hour long church service before we left for the soccer field.

The photos below are just a few from the soccer game, I think it was probably the highlight of the trip for the guys who actually play soccer. One of the hardest groups to connect with on a Christian level over here, and really anywhere, is the male ages 17-20 and up, and because of the game of soccer these guys were able to make an incredible connection with these young men over here. I didn’t play because I blew out my knee in a soccer match 2 days ago (still hobbling around but not writhing in pain anymore), but it was probably best I didn’t play since I was able to get a ton of great pics from the match. Unfortunately Bo pulled his hamstring towards the end of the game so he is out of commission now too. He says he will be fine in a few weeks but he is hobbling around now too.

Today we are doing more rain catches in Buloba so please continue to pray for our team as we have two more days before we get on that long plane ride back home.

A Special Uganda Soccer Friday Feet Edition :: Part 2

Here is the second edition of the Friday Feet post. It was amazing to see these guys play with no shoes, broken shoes, shoes with no laces, and everything in between, and no body seemed to care, the only thing any of them cared about was getting to play soccer. It was an amazing day, can’t wait to share more photos with everyone. Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day so I’m not sure if or when my next post will be but I and the entire team really appreciate your prayers while we move ahead over here. I know for myself I have seen God work in ways I never dreamed possible before I left Auburn, and I can’t wait to see what the next few days will be like.

A Special Uganda Soccer Friday Feet Edition :: Part 1

I just couldn’t figure out how to eliminate some of these photos so I am going to just do a special two part version of my Friday Feet post. Because we are basically a day ahead these images (except for the one above) were taken yesterday when we went to St. Francis College to play football with the “kids”. These actually ended up not being kids but 17-24 year olds that have lived and breathed soccer-football since they were born.

I never could have imagined how we would be able to connect with the kids and these guys at St Francis and other places just by setting down some goals and bringing a bag of soccer balls. People came from all over the place to play soccer with the Mzungus (the white people), not just from the local schools but from all over the city. From what I hear they are putting together a team in Buloba to play our guys some 4 full 90 minute games over Saturday and Sunday afternoon. It has been so amazing to see doors being opened by God that probably never would have been before just because of a common language of a soccer game. It has never mattered that we don’t speak the same language when the soccer game is the connection.

I have a ton of images I want to post but for today I’m going to do my traditional feet post but I can’t wait to post others. Earlier today we went to Buloba and put up rain catch systems for some “houses”, which needs it’s own post. The rain catch systems are vital and one house we installed I saw a 65+ year old lady carry a 50 LITER container of water by herself that both Jason and I had trouble lifting (we did carry it for her, that was too much to watch). Tomorrow we are headed back to Buloba for Center Day, which is when all the sponsor kids from all the schools come to Buloba Church for a meal and bible study and other things. I’m REALLY looking forward to finally getting to meet Jonaita, our sponsor child. Stay turned for part 2, sorry the pics might take a while to load but I am doing this on a cell connection from African lol.

This first post is from the soccer field when this enormous storm came and no body was going to leave. The only reason they stopped playing was because there was pretty strong lightning around the field. The second post coming up is just feet, that’s it. I wish I had taken a photo of the guys from Buloba who played with no shoes on. Some even played with flip flops (and were great).

Across Lake Victoria to Bethany Village Orphanage Today

I wish I had hours and hours to explain what we did today. I really can’t even yet comprehend what we did but I know we played a TON of soccer with the kids (some very big and fast) today. We started out at the Bethany Village orphanage which was an amazing place with amazing people. It is already almost 1am here local time so I am going to have to just post a few pics and call it a night. Wish I had time to post 100’s more.

Final Uganda Meeting Before We Leave in Two Weeks

We had our last full team meeting today before we leave for Uganda in two weeks. This meeting was all about soccer, and we played and/or practiced with the team, in conditions that have to be much like we will see in Uganda, 95*F and 100% humidity. Since soccer is such a big sport, as far as the rest of the world goes, this team was put together with soccer in mind, and has several very talented coaches, and then there’s the rest of us. The rest of us, me being one, are the ones hoping not to be trounced by 10 year old Ugandan kids on the soccer field.

As it gets closer and closer to our departure I seem to have more and more questions rolling around in my mind, but none that really need answering. I’m excited to see how God is going to use our team, how He is going to use our individual gifts to impact those we come into contact with throughout the entire trip. Brian (team lead) put it to us like this today. We are not going over there to continue the western transactional mission field of old where we show up and try to hand over the prosperity gospel to someone. We are going as partners in Christ, to come alongside other Christian brothers and sisters, to worship with them, to do what our scripture commands, to love one another (John 13:34).

I’m not sure what that looks like at this point, but that’s fine. I’m preparing best I can and not going with any specific expectation other than for God to be there, come along side us, and guide us. We are walking where others have prepared a way, and in this case literally, we follow a team leaving tomorrow who arrive back about the time we leave.

I’m taking a book along I bought back in 2009 and just haven’t had time to read yet called The Life and Diary of David Brainerd. Brainerd was an early American missionary to the American Indians in New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania and someone Jonathan Edwards often wrote about as an example of a true, selfless, missionary for Christ. While I don’t really consider our lives similar in almost any way, I do hope to learn more about the history of those who went before us.

As always, I am still trying to raise support for the trip. You can always make an online donation to the church here, even $10 helps. Thanks!

Patience Results in a Magnificent Sunset :: Saturday Summary

Above is how my day ended yesterday, but what was in between was almost a blur. I know today is Sunday, but I’m doing my photo Saturday Summary today. Sunday’s in the summer are usually a little more laid back but they haven’t been so far, and yesterday was pretty incredible, and exhausting. Within two services we had more baptisms than I could count (pics here), a Uganda team trip meeting (for the October trip), four video sessions shot for our small groups (see April’s blog), a quick trip to Starbucks in severe lightning storms (see photo below), then another Uganda trip meeting (July trip), which was semi-rained out but still took place.

Uganda 2011 July trip update: So our Uganda team is leaving at the end of July (details here), just four short weeks away now, and is commissioned to (among other things) put together a soccer camp of sorts for the kids. The team is all guys this time, and for the most part, skilled in coaching soccer, except for me who will be behind the camera. We follow a full mission team that leaves the U.S. mid-July and we arrive in Uganda about the same time they leave to come back home. We have been meeting together as a team to get to know each other and plan the trip, and yesterday was one of those this-is-what-we-planned but this-is-what-happened-meeting. We were going to meet at a local soccer field and everyone was going to get some practice in, including me with my camera. As lightning bolts rained down we all ran for cover, stood around for an hour getting to know each other better, got out on the field, kicked the ball approximately two times each and scattered when the next lightning bolt came down in close proximity. I did manage to get one shot of Jason kicking a soccer ball to prove that we both got our practice in, sorta.

Driving home about 8pm last night I was so tired I couldn’t really think straight at that point and then all of a sudden the sun burst out of the storm bank just above the horizon line and I pulled over to the side of the road where I could see the horizon (not an easy thing to do in Alabama where you can’t see more than 20 feet because of all the trees) and got the shot at the top. The beauty that only God can produce in the sky with a mix of clouds, rain, lightning, and sun was a truly magnificent end to the day (it didn’t matter that the storm had fried my gate and I couldn’t get into my own property when I got home… but that’s another story).

As some of you may know I am still trying to raise money for these two mission trips, and every single donation helps no matter the amount, even $10 will go a long way when combined with everyone else’s donation. If you would like to help visit the info page or make an online donation here. Thanks!

Should Auburn Prepare for Hurricane Fay?

Has anyone else here in the southeastern part of Alabama (namely Auburn-Opelika) been following the progress of tropical storm Fay? That’s us below, just about between the 8 on “8 AM Sun” and the “D”. Doesn’t actually look like it will reach hurricane strength now, but it keeps going back and forth.

I usually follow hurricane season via the National Hurricane Center from NOAA pretty close sine we have a small interest down in the gulf coast right now (our sailboat). It has been a while since Auburn was hit by a tropical storm, but they do get up this way once in a while, and we could really use the rain.

Tropical Storm Fay

This has been a crazy track to follow. First it was going into the Gulf, then up to Atlanta, then out to the Atlantic, now, the latest has it moving right over our area, just south of Auburn-Opelika? Not only does it seem to change by the hour, but it seems to be moving very very slow.

If it moves over the Auburn area, it isn’t going to be here until Sunday (right now). Earlier predictions were giving us some rain by Wednesday (tomorrow). I would be happy for it to wait until Sunday, I was planning on photographing the Auburn Woman’s Soccer on Friday against Grambling State. Seeing that it is the opening game of the season, I don’t think they want it called by a hurricane.

Here is hoping we get hit with a good soaking of rain, but after the woman finish playing soccer on Friday.