Sunday, January 12, 2014

UGANDA TEAM - New Year's Eve Youth Day

It is amazing how quickly your sense of normal can be challenged. I left the United States two days ago, comfortable with my place in society and my competence level. After two days in Uganda, I’m experiencing an awkward “out-of-place-ness” that I have never experienced before. (At least not since my pimple-faced days as an insecure 6th grader…). I can’t speak Lugandan, and the American culture that I’ve learned to live in only relates to the Ugandan culture on distant, creative levels.  At several points along this journey, I’ve wondered... How could a "muzungu" from middle-upper class America ever connect with a Ugandan youth in a meaningful way?

Enter God’s mercy and grace.

Today we organized a “youth day” for the local church. About 100 kids joined us for a day of games, dancing, singing, and teaching on Christian character. The day unfolded in a way that only our Lord could have orchestrated. The first word I would use to describe the day is "chaos." Our plans morphed into new forms more quickly than we could react, and the American addiction to control and order inside me was rumbling from my core. 

But the second word that characterized our day would be "joy." Unbridled joy. The life that these youth brought into the church today filled my soul in ways I have not felt in a long time. We tried to teach them how to play wiffle ball (a backyard version of baseball), and ultimate frisbee, but the concepts required to play the games just weren’t translating well. Our vision of bringing a new game to Uganda turned into an improvised relay race and an extended limbo dancing competition. And amidst the chaos, the giggling smiles after every swing and miss lit up the church yard. Jesus was in their smiles. Jesus was in their laughs.

Our “objective” for the session was a whirlwind of a failure, but the takeaway from the day was that God is bigger than that. Though our Lord blesses me by including me in his work, he reminds me nevertheless that I am merely along for the ride. His imagination is more creative than anything in me, adding beauty to a world that rarely slows down enough to cherish it.


We taught the youth today that, “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation." Not a better version of their old self, but a new creation. God took our “plan” today and made it a new creation. The youth, my family, and our team were all blessed by God’s intervention. Please pray that the Holy Spirit continues to lead our hearts, words, and energy. It’s only the second complete day in Uganda, and it has already more than justified the two days of sleep-deprived travel that it took to get here. We serve a mighty God! 

-Ben Krause

Maybe one day I'll be big enough to go to Youth Day!

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