Uganda trip - Show Mercy International Primary School

Part I of VI
Mike and I with volunteer electrical engineer Eric, waiting
for the flight to Uganda at Heathrow.
On this trip, I’m going to write this blog differently. Instead of a daily journal of x’s and o’s, I’m going to try to convey things I’ve felt God spoke to me, or ways I’ve seen God working, or perhaps things I’ve learned about mission or the ministry we’re working with. Hopefully this will be a blessing!

The basics of the trip are – we have a team of 15 engineers, architects and surveyors coming to help a ministry called Show Mercy International. Show Mercy’s motto is to ‘mobilize, empower and inspire people to live on purpose’. They accomplish this through three platforms: children’s homes and programs, a medical clinic, and mission’s teams. This is the second EMI trip with Show Mercy – in 2009 we came and master planned a 25 acres site for mission’s guesthouses, children’s homes, medical clinic and staff housing. That original project is now mostly constructed and we are staying on the site, in the buildings EMI designed. It’s a great EMI success story!

For this project, we will master plan a new primary school and leadership training center on a 14-acre parcel a few hundred meters from the current site.
The current site, designed by the EMI team in 2009.

The survey team - heading out to start. The pressure is always
on the surveyor to get the site survey done as soon as possible
since the architects have to wait to see what the shape and
topography of the site are before starting the master plan.

If there were action movies about engineers, this would be
a movie poster in theaters the world over.
Monday January 27th
Riding on my umpteenth plane flight across the world to join another EMI project trip, I don’t know what to think or feel. On my first trip, I was a tangled bundle of nerves and fear, almost in shock of what I was doing. Now, 1 month shy of 8 years on from that trip, it all feels so routine, so normal.

In some ways, because I’m not full of fear, it’s hard to feel the emotion or connect the mental dots that this is something I’m doing because God called me to do it. Shouldn’t that be the case if I’m doing something for God? Shouldn’t it be scary, or hard? Of course, leaving Alisha & our life together for two weeks is very hard. In fact, I hate it really. I love our life together and really have no desire to do anything separate from her or the boys. But I will say, once I’m gone, I’ve grown to settle down quickly into my ‘trip mode’, albeit with the feeling of having half of me not there.

But nonetheless, I do believe God has called me to EMI. I know that he has led me on this path, first giving me the engineering abilities and training, and then helping me learn how to lead teams of all sorts of designers, and then giving me the opportunity to learn about the bigger picture of how he wants to use both missions and development work for his purposes. He’s brought people and circumstances into my life that have allowed me to learn about all kinds of things that relate to not just EMI, but the global effort of Christians and Christian organizations trying to help people in need around the world, help give them an opportunity where none existed, and ultimately to point them to Jesus as the one who sent us in their time of need.
Hearing the vision whilst sharing the 2.5 square feet of shade.

Taking a break - transitioning from a climate whose weather
systems are dictated by the North Atlantic and North Sea to
one dictated by Lake Victoria isn't easy. (i.e. it was hot).
So yes, I may not feel some of the same, faith-stretching pains and fears I used to feel on project trips. But, that’s a sign of the work God’s done in me, and the preparation he’s given me for whatever lies ahead in the future. Because if I know one thing about God – though he delights in our achieving things or growing to new levels, he is not interested in our achieving ‘comfort’ in this life. Contentment? Yes. But that contentment is found in relying on him, regardless of whatever new and stretching circumstances he brings our way. In other words, God never loses sight of our potential, and will always keep us growing towards it.

Schooling a little Ugandan child. If I'm honest, this is a
masterful job of shielding a clear 'shirt grab'  from the referee's
vision (with my left hand). 
It's not all fun and games on EMI trips though. There's plenty
of time for lounging around too.


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