Our Next Team Headed to Kampala Uganda is Leaving Today

Uganda Team June 2012

Today our church sent off the next team that heads over to Uganda. This is our second group to go over to Uganda this year, and we have 2-3 more teams headed over to Kampala Uganda in the coming months. This team is a great group of seniors who have saved, found donors, and been preparing for months to get to the point of this photo above. In just about 24 hours they will put their feet on that red Uganda dirt, and somewhere in the back of their mind I know they will be thinking, whoa, we are in Africa.

I’m really looking forward to hearing all about how they are able to partner with our brothers and sisters in Christ in Uganda. If you would like to follow along as they post, you can head over to Rusty Hutson’s blog. If all things go as planned, Rusty will be sending blog posts over to the church as often as possible once they get on the ground and get to the house. Their first day is going to be a five hour drive out into rural Uganda, so once they get back from that first day on the ground we should start to see some new posts. To see more about past trips just click here or Uganda in the drop down menu at the top.

Heading to Entebbe International Airport for the Long Ride

This is the last trip post before we get on the plane in a few hours. I will continue to post some photos from the trip over the next several weeks and months as I go through the thousands of images I’ve taken over this trip. I can’t reflect over this trip any more, especially since we really have no distance in time for all our experiences over the last 7-10 days. For now I will leave everyone with the photo above that sums up our awesome driver, who took care of us the entire time. Everyone who has been over knows what this photo means. We love Eddy.

In this post are some shots of us in the crazy fast Eddy van along with one of Olive we all just loved. She was a super nice lady who went with us just about everywhere. It’s hard to sum up this trip. I think I probably will find it hard to sum up the trip for months to come, but overall it was a learning experience, a humbling experience, and hopefully one where we lived out the love of Jesus.

They are Hidden but Not Forgotten

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

This is how our team started the day today.

This verse from Isaiah was on all our hearts as we headed two and half hours out of our comfort zone, into the Ugandan landscape, to visit some children that we have been praying for and about, for months now. Words just can’t describe the day we had today. How do you explain the heart of God in the midst of nine people who only want to follow a call that none of us seemed to understand, and in many ways, still don’t? I know there are just some days when you can feel God’s presence moving and working more than others. I think we all go through days like that when we feel farther away from God’s presence, and then there are days, like today, where God’s presence is so tangible that you wonder how you can keep time from moving forward.

Today we visited the first of two very special children’s facilities in Uganda, escorted alongside a ministry group that has been working very hard over here to be the salt and light to these very special children. We spent the day interacting with these kids, and we worshiped with these kids in a way I don’t think any of us expected. There wasn’t a praise and worship chorus sung, there weren’t any lights or electricity, it was just a few African drums and the voices of about 100 people, mostly kids, singing in a way only the Joy of the Spirit can provide.

The photos here (and this text) represent our day at this facility today in a way that is meant to show part of what we experienced throughout the day. These weren’t the photos I liked necessarily, they were the photos that the entire team picked out to include. As if the day wasn’t incredible enough, all nine of us waded through about 1,500 images and narrowed them down to these 16. Some images weren’t included here and were as powerful as any image I have taken in my 20 years as a photographer, but all of this was done with purpose and conviction with these kids in mind.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

This is how the day ended.

Almost Finished with an Initial Review of Uganda Photos

I have been back for almost two weeks now and it has taken me this long just to get through an initial run-through of all the images I shot in Uganda. What’s amazing to me about the images we captured is how many individual stories there are, waiting to be told, at some point down the road. I tried to go to Uganda with as few preconceived notions about I was going to be able to shoot as I could, and I’m glad I did. Not really having any idea what I would be able to capture gave me the freedom to shoot journalistically per se.

Looking back at the entire shoot in it’s complete unedited form showed me a greater story that is impossible to tell in one blog post, or even several. That’s the great thing about being part of something bigger than just an individual process, and I love that about the mission work our church is involved with in Buloba. It’s not about an individual effort but a collective group of teams over many years building countless relationships with people. Now that I have gone through the whole set of photos over the next few weeks, a little at a time, I’m going to post some short individual stories that came through to me.

A Long Flight but We Have Arrived in Amsterdam

So, yes, that was an incredibly long flight, wow, and only a 10 hour flight to go. We are sitting here at the gate all glad to be on the ground for a while, even if it’s only for an hour. Wouldn’t have been all that bad except for the several thunderstorms we trounced through out of Atlanta all up the east coast. One of the rougher flights I have been on in a while. Unfortunately a girl in the front of the plane lost it but we weren’t too close to her. I had a ton of pics to post but no plugs in Amsterdam anywhere (or on the plane for that matter) so I’ll post more later. Next stop Africa. Thanks for your prayers.

A Letter to My Family, Friends, and Supporters as I Leave for Uganda

My dear family, friends, and supporters: As most of you know by now, I am on a team headed for Africa this Monday, July 25th (see Google map of Bulboa, Uganda). As I have prepared for this trip, especially over the last few days I have been thinking about all the people that have actually made this trip possible and I wanted to say thanks. In many ways I feel God has been leading me to take this trip for more than 15 years, and in some form or fashion you have played a part in making it happen, and for that I thank you very much.

As we fly out of Atlanta on Monday I would specifically ask for you to pray for our team, for my strength both physically and mentally, and for Deborah at home while I’m away.

Our team follows many others as our church continues to strengthen our ongoing partnership with Buloba Community Church and African Renewal Ministries (ARM), and that’s what this trip is about. It’s not an attempt to bring a western Christianity to an African community but to partner with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as they do the work for God that only they can do. After talking with the team that just arrived back on Thursday I know a lot of our time will be spent installing rain catch systems for local residents during the day (think cisterns for rain water) and holding soccer camps for the kids in the evening, two things I know very little about. So please also pray that our words and actions towards all those we meet along the way will be filled with Christ’s love.

Our 10 days of travel takes us from Atlanta to Amsterdam to Rwanda into Uganda and back again. Travel time from the church to Uganda is almost 24 hours each way and is almost 16,000 miles round trip. For those of you who have sacrificed financially for our team I thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those who haven’t had a chance yet, there is always time (especially since I’m raising money for this trip and my October trip together). Even if you can only give $10 it’s still helps tremendously, and is greatly appreciated. You can give online here and it goes straight to the church and is tax deductible. I will attempt to post brief, precise, non-rambling updates, on my blog as I can at https://scottfillmer.com as time allows each day.

As I think about the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us I recognize that we all sacrifice anything that hinders us from attaining that which we most cherish. So to live differently, as we are called to do as Christians, Christ must be what we cherish most (see Psalm 42:1-2, Psalm 73:25). This is why we renounce the world, so that we may pursue Christ. It’s not about making lists of do’s or don’ts. It’s about finding what helps us pursue and gain Jesus, and when we do, we will look at the lesser pleasures we have forsaken and say “I have sacrificed nothing.” I have heard that put so many different ways but it doesn’t cease to be true and is just one of thousands of reasons for me personally going on this trip, to pursue and gain Jesus and to offer the same to others. I earnestly thank you for your prayers and support.

This Time Next Week We'll Be Over the Atlantic

I’m still finding it hard to believe that in less than a week our team will be en-route to Uganda to the scene pictured above. Our church has a team in Uganda right now that comes home on Thursday and that photo was one that was taken and posted a few days ago when they arrived.

I know our culture, church, and climate are worlds apart (well maybe not the climate, it can’t be any hotter there than it is in the south in the summer) but we share the same faith in the same God and I can’t wait to see how that translates from southern speak to African. As I write this post I’m sitting in the electrical closet in our church office desperately trying to get our Internet connection to behave properly after multiple lightning strikes. After working on this issue for what seems like an eternity it got me thinking about where that connection between our two churches resides when not having the Internet shuts down all our work and productivity here and they don’t even have electricity in their church building let alone an Internet connection. Each church reaches a different culture and a different individual and we can no more pretend we are a church in Uganda than Buloba Community Church can pretend they are us.

The one constant is God. It says throughout scripture that God never changes… but you [God] are the same and your years will have no end (Hebrews 1:12 among many other places). The same God we serve here in Auburn Alabama is the same in Uganda and was the same for the Israelites as they marched into the Promise Land. This week is so crazy and for some reason my to-do list just keeps getting bigger and bigger the closer it comes time to leave so I would appreciate all your prayers and your prayers for our team. This is an all-guy trip, their names are below, and I know they would all appreciate your continued prayers.

Bo Morrissey
Christopher Mills
Fred Riggs
Graham Hill
Jason Welstead
Jordan Ross
Mark Fuller
Scott Fillmer
Myron West
Brian Johnson

As always, Thanks so much for your prayers and your continued support for this trip and my upcoming October trip as well.

My Father-in-Law and a Real Dallas Morning News-paper

I am still going through all the different shots from last weekend but pulled this shot out of my Father-in-Law that I just love. I hadn’t seen a news paper in so long that I had to pull out my camera. I love the mix of old and new this shot portrays. To see more shots from the weekend you can go to the Flickr gallery or you can see Deborah’s blog post as well. I will be adding more to my Flickr gallery as I can get them sorted out, but today the photo of the day is my Father-in-Law David reading the newspaper.

On Our Way to the Outer Banks :: Friday Feet



I haven’t posted a Friday Feet shot in a while so I thought I would get a few shots of Ebby before we left tomorrow.  After a long semester we are finally leaving tomorrow for Anderson SC (to worship at NewSpring on Sunday), then to Virginia to visit LU, and then over to the Outer Banks.  One of our favorite spots on the east coast, the Outer Banks, is also one of those gems we have in the U.S. that is very empty once school starts and has some of the greatest locals around.

I am looking forward to spending at least one full day on the quiet beach reading a book.  Till then, meet Ebby.  I did just cut the grass but she is still a little shorter than the grass is tall.

Long Ride to Florida and Key West by Motorcycle

Deborah Honda Shadow

Deborah Honda Shadow

Scott and Deborah

It usually gets to be about this time of year when I start dreaming about being some place warmer where the days are not 50-60* and gloomy (yes I know if you live anywhere farther north than the deep south 50 is not cold, but it is to us).  One of our favorite spots to go this time of year is the Florida Keys.  We have made more than a dozen trips down there over the years but a few years ago we did something different and road our motorcycles from Auburn Alabama to Key West Florida.

You may be saying big deal, who cares, but if you have never ridden a bike, or haven’t ridden more than about 50 miles at a time on a bike, it was a pretty big deal to us.  It is about 850 miles from here to there, and by car, usually takes us two days if we stop in Orlando.  That means long driving time in short light, and cold.  It was a great trip, and goal achieved, but one of the best and most memorable trips we have taken down to the keys (other than this one).  We didn’t make it all the way to Orlando the first night, and we only made it to Islamorada the second night, so it was a whole lot of very sore riding by the time we made it to Key West, but a memory I wouldn’t trade for anything.

So there are a few shots done with a point-n-shoot a few years ago, one while I was riding next to Deb while she was on her Honda Shadow VLX 600.  I was riding a Honda Nighthawk 750 at the time and loved to take pics of Deb while she was riding (of course).  We took many trips on these two motorcycles but this one trip to the Florida Keys was one of our favorite, and in one of our favorite spots in the country.