Blog entry and Pictures by Daniel Hobbs.
You’ve probably heard it a million times. “You go to help them, but in the end they help you.” A cliche statement. The more you hear a statement like that, the more you want to vomit.
The weekend before I left for Uganda, I proposed to my fiancé Sarah. The week after that proposal was filled with dinners, surprise parties, and a whole lot of social events that clouded my mind. It really seemed like the enemy had used the best event in my life to distract me from what I was preparing to do in Uganda. By the time the trip came around I really just didn’t want to go. Yep. I said it. After being blessed with the ability to go. I, Daniel Hobbs, was thinking,” it’s just not the best time to go…”
At one of the parties I went to, I sat down to talk with an uncle that I look up to very much. He is a successful businessman, a hard worker, but I don’t consider him a very strong christian. Sure, he believes in God, but he doesn’t practice faith. I started talking to him about Sarah, our plans, etc… and when I told him about my 3rd trip to Africa he said something that got to me. He said, ” You know, those people need help, but you gotta start thinking about yourself and your family.” And he went on to give me more advice, but that killed me. It stuck with me.
I know that he doesn’t fully understand why i do what I do. I know he thinks I am crazy for working at a church. That doesn’t mean I don’t love him. That doesn’t mean I won’t listen to his advice anymore. It just makes me realize the disconnect in those who haven’t been on a trip, or don’t understand the necessity of sending people. They don’t understand what makes us travel for 24 straight hours or go without a shower for 10days. They haven’t traveled on a bus packed with other loonies and luggage to go see a bunch of orphan kids that speak English you can barely understand.
It is hard to explain these things to someone who hasn’t been on a mission trip, because when you come back, you usually talk about the parts of the trip where you were struggling. You talk about using the restroom in a hole with flies and mosquitoes flying up out of it. You talk about eating weird things, and making sure you don’t drink the water. You talk about getting a crazy equator sunburn, and 12 hour bus rides on a seat that feels like a few metal bars and cardboard taped together.
Those are the things you talk about.
You forget to talk about the other things. The things like 14 year old boys telling you that you should be a pastor, when they can quote scripture from books you forgot existed in the Bible. You forget to talk about how the elderly, known as JaJas in Uganda, got down on their knees in thankfulness and pure joy when you brought them a couple dollars in sugar and soap. You don’t tell them about the orphanage in Kyoterea, that is truly a beacon of light in a very dark place. You forget to talk about the things you saw, where you knew God’s direct hand was working like you’ve never seen it before.
God gave me an interest in photography and travel. I am definitely an amateur at both, but I want to use them to tell the story of what God can do. The tale of what He is doing with a Kick-boxing Champion/disk jockey, turned Ugandan preacher, known as “Pastor JJ”. Of what God can do with a group of orphan boys and girls in the middle of nowhere in Africa. Or the story of what He can do with me, a clueless, graphic designer, from Tennessee. I want to do this in faith. I believe God can use us just the way He intended to when he created us.
Spend some time looking at the pictures posted here. Try to see through the eyes of the people within those photos. And last, but most importantly, ask God what He is asking you to do when it comes to Uganda.
God is working there and He wants you to be a part of it.
So, I’ll end with this. I went to Uganda thinking I would be helping them, but so far every time I go back, the experience and relationships I build there help me more than I could ever imagine. Please, don’t vomit.