We arrived in the U.S. on Christmas Day. None of us could have imagined the amount of logistical, spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical implications of a team of all ages coming from across the world to minister and sing in a completely new culture!
The integration into their new temporary home was more or less smooth, with the usual adjustments of jet-lagged sleep schedules and brand new foods. The choir was able to stay all together at a conference center, which provided a secure home base where many meals were served, devotions were read, and meetings were held.
Over the span of two months, we visited a variety of churches, schools, and other venues to perform worship, cultural songs, and dance, as well as to sell crafts and present sponsorship opportunities. We were able to sponsor over eighty children in the surrounding communities in Uganda!! We were welcomed by complete strangers and loved by old friends. Lives were changed, and the kingdom was increased.
In addition to many hours of practice and ministry on a weekly basis, the choir also got to experience some really neat times of fun. They were able to hang out with the church in several settings; game nights, dinners, Awana, Fusion, etc. In addition, they had the opportunity to experience Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Palm Springs Celebrity Tours, a day in the mountains, and time at the beach!
One of the biggest blessings that the choir has talked about is being able to spend time with their sponsors. Words can’t express the magnitude of being able to meet and spend time with people who have profoundly changed your life. Sponsors are family, best friends, mentors, and so many other things, and the opportunity to get to know them in person is probably one of the greatest experiences these kids (and sponsors!) will ever encounter.
There were many, many amazing opportunities on this tour. Among them, performing at California Baptist University was a huge hit for the kids! They performed in front of more than 3000 people that morning!
The choir changed lives, and their lives were changed. There were many tears at the last concert at the Bridge as people from opposite sides of the world said goodbye to each other.
On February 21, we flew out of LAX, and after resting for a couple days, we began the debriefing process. As a team, we had times of learning about personality types and how to relate to each other with grace, as well as encouragement to forgive each other in the places where we had hurt one another on the tour. It was a healing time of reintegrating back into the culture! The kids are now anticipating going back to school and starting their new adventures!
God’s faithfulness has been sung from the mountain tops and proclaimed from the pulpits. It has been breathed through the lives of these 22 Ugandan children and their leaders. It has been acted out in the support gained and the friendships forged over the last two months. Because, ultimately, NEVER ONCE has God forsaken us. NEVER ONCE have we ever had to walk alone. Before, during, and forevermore after this tour, our God is faithful. Always and forever.