Being able to represent UBC at Restoration Gateway has been one of the the most amazing experiences of my life. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to go to Uganda on my first mission trip. This trip has revealed to me, on many different levels, how I should not “put God in a box” and doubt Him or what I can do through Christ. I think many of us often find it hard to believe that we can give something good to the world around us, or make a difference in people’s lives. We believe in what God can do around us, but not what He can and wants to do through us. For me, on this trip, I really doubted that I could do good in a week with two suitcases full of yarn. I doubted that my knitting could have as powerful an impact on the residents of Restoration Gateway as dental and medical care or ministry teaching. Though I was sure I would be able to assist quite a lot on this trip, I doubted that my God given talent would be very useful.
Thank goodness God is not limited by our lack of self confidence! In three days I was able to teach thirty five women to knit. Each day I taught a different pod of mothers at Restoration Gateway to knit. We sat in a circle and they picked out different yarns to work with. After a quick lesson, we chatted and laughed for several hours. The women truly seemed to enjoy having a break from their daily routines and being able to have community time with one another during the brief lulls between chores and errands.
Later in the day, I would go into town with Joyce to meet with some of the local women of Karuma. Specifically, we met with a collective of local women, who due to unfortunate circumstances, are forced to prostitute themselves to make ends meet. They have formed a group in order to support one another and learn crafting and job skills. The first day I arrived, the women welcomed me with big smiles and quickly pulled me into the center of their group and picked out their yarn. I noticed one young lady not interacting and learned that she was deaf. I sat next to her and handed her supplies. I began to show her how to knit and she perfectly mimicked everything I did. I was completely blown away and by the end of my hour long visit, she was quietly knitting away on several inches of fabric. The next day, after teaching another group of house mothers, I returned with Joyce to the local women and was surprised to see even more women waiting for me. While I sat in their circle and taught, I noticed a group of children gathering on the sidewalk watching us. When I looked up, I saw that they had picked up sticks and string from garbage piles on the street and were trying to knit with them! I happily pulled them over and gave them their own supplies. They learned quickly and were very happy that they could keep the soft and pretty yarns I gave them.
On the third day, we went on our outreach into the village ofJambia. I was able to work with a large group of women under a tree while they waited to be worked on inside the meeting hut/temporary clinic. I was not expecting so many women, at least thirty, to be there and only brought supplies for ten women to learn to knit. None of the women spoke English and I needed a translator to explain everything to them. Again, God proved that He is never limited by our understanding. Instead of leaving because there were no supplies for them, the women who could not learn to knit gathered in circles around the woman who had supplies and watched intently and made helpful commented on what the women should do to knit correctly. They all took turns and shared the supplies, so by the end of the day, every woman had a chance to try knitting. My translator was incredibly helpful and kind. A church elder in his village, I don’t think he expected to spend his day with a group of women explaining to them how to knit. While I worked with one group of women, he worked with another, explaining to them how to knit and even grabbing his own pair of needles and yarn to demonstrate! When it was time for me to leave, all of the women prayed for me to return to them soon and to bring back enough yarn for everyone.
The entire trip I prayed for God to bring clarity of mind for myself and to all of the women who I ended up teaching. I was totally blown away when I would teach because every single woman understood what I showed her and by the end of the lesson was knitting very well! Even if I only had an hour to teach five women, they would all end up knitting beautifully. When I would come back the next day to see how they were doing, their work would be nearly perfect, with no mistakes.
On Thursday we went on a safari through Murchison Falls National Park. We were able to see so many beautiful animals up close. The gorgeous landscape of Uganda was truly on display during the safari. It solidified for me that our God is the ultimate crafter. He has knit this world together perfectly and uses every person to weave beauty into His creation. When we step back and let God work through us, when we stop putting God in a box and believe His promises, the overflow of creativity and beauty will be immeasurable. I am so grateful that I was able to experience this first hand while sharing my God given passions with so many women around me.
Written by Morgan Bame