Travel Thoughts: Reflection from Derek Bargatze

[Written May 6th 2015]

Our team of three men was greeted by another team of three men: Lawrence, Peter and Francis. I am eternally grateful for my friendship with these men. By profession, a teacher, a farmer and a builder,  but we know them to be much more than that. These men are our team. Together we are servants of God--able to do more together than apart. 

On the plane, I reflected on 1 John, and the repetition that our love of our neighbors is a reflection of our love of God.  When I went to East Africa thirteen years ago, I met a new set of neighbors and assumed responsibility for them from that point forward. I want my life and this trip to be characterized by love--the kind of love that is informed by God's Word.

As we drove through Kampala, all of the memories of years past came flooding back. In the city, very little has changed. Grown men and women are sleeping on the sidewalks, young teenagers set up midnight kiosks to try their best to make money. I was reminded of how dark it can be on the streets of Kampala, and not just because of the lack of electricity.

Once we were together, we all rejoiced as we recounted memories, talked about what the Lord is doing with our families. Tomorrow will be the first time I see our compound, where we've been able to implement sustainable practices and the community here dwells together. These men say that it's lighter there. 

Everyone is bragging about Bombo getting a paved road. I know that God has done a much more impressive work in the hearts and lives of these men I share a taxi with. I'm happy to be a part of God's development work. Pray for us as we invest into the true pearl of Africa--the people. 

Derek Bargatze
SLAM International Director
On the Field in Uganda