A Report from our January Mission to Uganda
Last week, Brandon Galford, Mitchell Buchanan, Geoff Hartnell and myself returned from Uganda, where we spent a week progressing several of our operations at our East African headquarters. We were a multifaceted team, with diverse gifts and capacities, and were determined to make headway with the many objectives set before us. Given the limited time we had on the ground, we ran on little sleep, but did so eagerly, with joy and with respect for our Ugandan and Kenyan cooperatives who spearhead our operations in Uganda on the day-to-day. More important than the completion of our operational objectives, we’d all agree, is the development that takes place within them.
As is often the case, some of our best moments together with our team in Africa were spent in worship, prayer and study of the Word. No matter what objectives or projects are on our agenda, this always tops the list.
Brandon used his gift for teaching the Bible on a daily basis for our entire team there. We all contributed in this manner, but he encouraged us in the Word more than anyone. Brandon prayed earnestly for direction on what to speak on. God continued to lead him to passages about serving one another. Over the course of the week he taught from Galatians 5, Matthew 10, Colossians 1, 2 Timothy 1 and a few name-your-own-adventures. Of special note were our cooperatives' teenage kids who were asking some of the best questions during the Bible sessions. These times were coupled with powerful times of worship. Lawrence Ssemakula is sensitive to the Spirit and his promptings pushed our team into some passionate times of prayer.
Brandon, an instructor at our bible college here in the US, naturally had his hand in the educational realm while in Uganda. He was able to sit in on multiple institute for G.O.D. East Africa classes, make assessments, and work with Peter (our lead professor at the Institute) to make all-around improvements. He helped Peter form a course outline for an upcoming class (Introduction to the Prophets). For the current students, Brandon facilitated academic workshops meant to equip them with tools for the classroom.
Mitchell, who works as a booking coordinator for Califarmia (a Nashville food truck), has a knack for understanding how to make a market venture successful. He worked with our Ugandan cooperatives who run The Trade, a business undertaking that helps them generate income as well as offer an alternative to the typical storefront in rural Uganda. He facilitated business meetings where he taught staff how to do cost analysis for The Trade, and introduced systems for Inventory Management. He also ran a new employee workshop that highlighted business basics and vision for how to make a business unique.
Peter's wife Cissy is our chief employee of The Trade and she loves it. We're having to make sure she's not overworking. Mitchell helped her by going through some business basics like calculating profit margins and training store employees on how to keep digital records so that we can more easily collaborate.
Here in the US, Geoff manages Hopewell Farms and is an agricultural instructor for students at The Academy for G.O.D. He and I set out to help organize and improve the structure and efficiency of our bio-intensive farm in Uganda. We mostly worked with Francis, our facilities manager, to create systematized processes to help with more effective farm management and continue to increase crop production. We also facilitated a training day for new farm employees to teach them bio-intensive agricultural fundamentals such as how to compost, proper tool usage, weed management, pest control, drip irrigation basics, and how to process harvested food.
We're all extremely grateful for the productivity of the garden and the fact that we're able to keep hiring employees to contribute towards this end, empowering them with necessary skills in the process. Within days they had adapted some of our workflow and organizational methods and we saw it lead to great enthusiasm amongst the workers.
These are just a few examples that scratch the surface of our time in Uganda. The trip was full, and departure seemed to come quickly, though the work continues. Our team here in the US is constantly in connection with our team there to advance our developmental efforts among the local surrounding communities. We couldn't be more proud to return home with such a positive report of the work happening there.