I know that it is difficult for some people to receive letters of appeal or direct appeals for money from me when they know that the ministry initiatives I am raising money for are going to be in Uganda. It is no secret that I grew up in Uganda and so I fully understand that it is difficult for some because it seems like I am asking for funding to go on holiday to visit my parents. NOBODY sends out letters of appeal asking their friends and family for money to go back to their homes or countries and visit their parents and friends. You do it using your own money! This is what I call the Pink Elephant of my fundraising efforts.
I feel like I need to address this Pink Elephant.
Let me tell you a little more about me that you may or may not know. I have lived in Canada for 10 years now and for my first 4 years I returned EVERY year. I got married 4 years after I moved to Canada to a wonderful Canadian woman and so our journeys to Uganda have reduced because it is much more expensive taking 2 people to Uganda than it is going alone. We go once every 2 or 3 years as we can afford it
Every single time I made the trip back, I spent a significant amount of it working with worship teams and leaders as an extension of what I was doing before I left. I usually go for 3 weeks and without fail, 2 of them are always spent working on some kind of leadership initiative. After a couple of years of doing this on my own I resolved that I was going to make my journeys back to Uganda more intentional not only be involved with a ministry initiative, but to also bring some people from Canada along with me that I currently work with.
For those of you who do not know my journey, I became a leader in Canada only 9 months after I left Uganda. So most of my leadership 10 years ago and to this date is largely influenced by my experiences in Uganda and the people that poured into my life while I was living, studying and working there. I had the great and unique privilege to not only sit under some incredible men and women who were INTENTIONAL about raising me up as a leader, but I was also handed the kind of leadership positions that people with a lot more experience than me should have held. My evolution as an individual and as a leader did not stop when I moved to Canada and I will freely admit that there is much about the way I lead now that is influenced by my experiences, education and internships. I am the leader I am today because of the influences I had both in Uganda and in Canada.
I revisit ministry partnerships in Uganda because I am grateful to people from all over the world that took time to impact me – most of them were Ugandans. I view my trips back to Uganda as a way to give back to the country that somehow created a leader out of an insecure, unpolished person. I also view my trips back to Uganda as a way to pay it the time and effort that was poured into me forward into emerging leaders. I say this with great humility and astonishment that God could use somebody like me: many stories in Uganda and Canada have changed simply because of my involvement and many more stories all over the world can change if I remain faithful to my desire to train leaders just as I was trained. I also return to share many of the valuable lessons I have learned as a Ugandan-trained leader navigating his way through leadership in Canada.
If you think that I am a valuable leader right here in Canada, then you’ve gotta believe that there is a Ugandan who could benefit from a conversation with me… a young person that has the potential to be involved in changing stories of individuals, churches and communities and that person is worth investing in. You’ve gotta believe that there are more than just several men and women more talented and articulate than I am, that can make a positive global impact that currently live in Uganda and I am determined to find them and pour into them.
So… yes, full disclosure… I WILL see my parents when I go to Uganda and it will be so good for me to connect with them. My parents are some of the smartest and most empowering people I know. Being around them is like being in an oasis. I WILL see my sisters and brother and nephews and niece. I’ve missed them so much and seeing them will be good for me, my wife and my daughter. I will see my best friends in the world – Chris and Lynnet, Moses and Sara, Angela and Sam… the list goes on, and we will laugh about the past and catch up on what has been happening in their lives recently. But MORE IMPORTANTLY I will also be spending most of my time – 2 weeks in total actually – working with people who were like me 3 or 5 or 10 or 15 years ago trying to make the same impression on them that was made on me so many years ago. I will be doing this by helping out at a leadership bootcamp and through working with Cherish Uganda.
Here’s the thing. With or without your financial and prayer support I am going to Uganda in August and I am going to work with leaders. I did it for many years without ever writing a letter of appeal or letting my congregation and friends know what I was going to do. I am THAT passionate about it. However, with YOUR support financially and through prayer, myself and the team of people that I have assembled for this trip can have a bigger impact than we would without it. I realized that by involving more people in the process and in the journey, my trips back to Uganda could have a bigger impact than if I went alone. I hope that all of you that value my leadership will consider helping me make an investment in a young impressionable man or woman who was just like me back then.
I hope that all of you that value my leadership would consider praying for me and supporting this ministry exchange financially because I really do believe that if I am faithful, by God’s grace I am going to have the opportunity to speak into the life of somebody that will have a far greater impact than I ever could. It is the reason why I do not mind that there is a “pink elephant” in my fundraising efforts because being a part of changing the stories of individuals, communities and churches is such an exciting and empowering journey and, frankly THAT important.