We woke up our first morning at RG in Uganda with the rising of the sun and the crow of a rooster. The sounds of the African bush waking continued as I rose to see the children doing their morning chores, scrubbing the porch, getting the water, the Mamas lighting their outdoor ovens and the sweeping sound from their homemade brooms. After breakfast the children headed to school and we headed to the workers’ devotion time. Ryan was giving the devotion that morning and at the end the drums sounded and some of the women sang and danced to the worship music making a shrill sound that indicated the joy and excitement in their praise.
After devotion we made the walk to the dental clinic, a fairly large building with 6 treatment chairs. The local dental officer and his assistant greeted Dr. Jeff and I. They wash and sweep the floors every day before clinic because of the persistent red dirt that gets everywhere here. We set up the supplies that we had brought and got ready for the patients for the day. And soon they came, adults and children alike, lining up to see the people from the States that had come to work.. Before the day was through we would see about 70 children and 15-20 adults.
But what opportunity could we have to show God’s love and gospel here all day in the clinic? Soon we would see how God’s love works in different ways: the older man who had never been to the dentist before but was willing to try with us and how sharing with him how God’s love had sent us other the ocean to this place gave him calmness and joy for his treatment; Morris, the 12 year old boy who wanted to be brave but tears rolled down his face when we told him he needed a filling and and injection to numb and how God gave me the privilege to pray words of trust and comfort over him that helped him overcome his fears and for myself to have hands that were gentle and painless; when Dr. Jeff sang songs from Frozen to help the missionary’s daughter relieve her fears to treat a tooth; for the growing camaraderie with our fellow workers in the clinic, Jasper and Tapesta, and what a witness they were to us after learning what hardships they had personally faced and yet the joy of the Lord was prevalent in them.
This day and the following days of clinic and outreach in a nearby village were long and hard and still I wondered if our work was proving the gospel of Jesus to them in the short time we encountered them in treatment. But when I saw the children at lunch and in the evening and the workers at devotion and walking on the road to and from clinic, some would say “I remember you” and the greeting of Paul to the church of Phillipi comes to mind, “I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
And so now our hearts are bonded in Christ with the Ugandans of Restoration Gateway and the promise that His word will not return void.
Written by Julie Rogers