Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:10-12
Our time in Uganda began with 30 members of the Kampala church welcoming us at the airport, with signs, cheers and then singing a song dedicated to us as we walked out of customs.
This was completely unexpected, considering the airport in Entebee is an hour drive from Kampala, the shortage of cars, and the time (midnight by the time we cleared customs). Since we were on a plane at least a third full of Americans coming to do benevolent work of some type, at first some of us thought…this couldn’t be for us, could it?
What I saw was a blur of happy, radiant faces, many familiar, some not—men and women throwing their arms open wide, joy emanating off of their faces. I’m thinking the Kampala airport had never seen anything like this!
We walked outside with the church pushing carts or hand carrying our load of luggage (thirty 50 lb. bags bulging with supplies for Ssese and two carry-on bags apiece…60 items!). Then, we were ushered onto the tour bus.
Richard Ahenda, evangelist of the Kampala Church got on the bus to have a prayer with us while the Kampala church members joyfully loaded our luggage into the back of the bus and other vehicles. (It quickly became obvious that no detail was overlooked.)
It was 1:00 am by the time we left the airport fellowship and 2:00 am by the time we pulled into the compound where we are staying for our first four nights. After we unloaded everything, divided into the cottages, we came under the large beamed pavilion for welcome appetizers, singing and prayer.
Hot showers (praise God!) ended the day (at least for those of us who figured out how to turn on the water heaters) and falling into bed exhausted but overjoyed at 3 am.
Nearly a year of preparation, uncountable long hours of fundraising, tests, setbacks and trials (more later)…now seem as nothing as compared to the richness of this amazing welcome.
In fact, Richard and Florence told us that more people wanted to come greet us, but couldn’t come because there just wasn’t room. Get this. They had to die to themselves not to come!
The heart that went into providing this rich welcome was staggering! Such as…
…a pavilion that got finished and roofed to be ready for our visit.
…weeks of prayer and fasting of the Kampala church for our visit.
…a chef (and several assistants) hired to cook and serve our meals.
…a video guy following us around to catch everything; plus a driver for the bus.
…extensive work on Ssese Island that we can’t wait to see.
…accommodations made in advance for our dietary and comfort needs.
I find this a convicting glimpse into the transforming power of following Jesus. Last night helped me better understand Jesus saying, “all men will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.”
But even more, this makes me long for the day I enter the eternal kingdom of God—a welcome that is worth any sacrifice.
For more reading: John 14:1-3, 2 Peter 1:3-11Share on Facebook