Billy Abwa is one of the team leaders for the young people's group from Templepatrick Presbyterian Church who are presently visiting CMSI Global Partners in Madi West Nile Diocese, Uganda. His first experience of Uganda had him reflecting on what 'counts' as mission.
"The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad" (Psalm 118:24).
As dawn broke in the bustling yet serene city of Entebbe, nestled on the banks of Lake Victoria, I found myself surrounded by the refreshing hues of a new day at the Sunset Guest House. This lakeside retreat, a gateway to the heart of Uganda for many, bore the joyful promise of the day the Lord had made.
This small slice of Eden was filled with fellow sojourners, who seemed immersed in their own world, engaged deeply with one another. Their voices, echoing in the dining hall, were filled with critiques and opinions about the latest films, actors, and stories, a discourse steeped in individualistic perspective. I couldn't help but note the prevailing sense of self that overshadowed our shared surroundings.
It soon became clear that, like me, some of these folks were here for a short-term Christian mission. Whenever they prepared to head out, they would gather in quiet unity, offering prayers before dispersing for their designated tasks. This sparked a thought in me - if we were here as ambassadors of Christ, spreading the Good News, wouldn't it be beneficial to extend this spirit of fellowship to those in our immediate vicinity? Vincent, the driver who picked me up at the airport, Sharon, who welcomed me, and all the other members of the cleaning staff I encountered, may well be built up by a word of faith as much as those ‘targeted' as the object of our mission.
Brimming with hospitality, our Ugandan hosts made the guesthouse a haven of friendship and approachability. Yet those of us who were purportedly here to spread goodwill, seemed to overlook these potential connections within our temporary home.
The Apostle Peter advises, "God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10). Thus, our mission is not limited to pre-scheduled outreach events; rather, it is present in our every interaction, no matter how small. The guesthouse was as much a ‘mission field’ as any other location. Every conversation, every shared meal, every smile was a chance to spread the light of the gospel. Our mission is not just about doing the Lord's work in preordained settings; it's about recognising that God's work is ongoing, everywhere, and with everyone.
We are all guests in God's creation, and every encounter is an opportunity to share the Good News, irrespective of our agendas. The mission field is not a specific location, but rather a state of heart and mind that sees every interaction as a divine appointment. As ambassadors of Christ, our responsibility extends beyond our planned activities to the people we meet in our everyday lives.
Whether we find ourselves in a tranquil guesthouse in Uganda or bustling streets elsewhere. Our task is to be messengers of God's love, making each day truly one to rejoice and be glad in.