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Ugandan Missions 2014

Three members of Riverside UMC, along with several friends, journeyed to Uganda on June 9 - 23 to minister to our Christian brothers and sisters there. Please keep the team and our Ugandan friends in your prayers. Check back for updates from Rev. Steve Waldorf.

Sunday, June 22; 6:24 PM EDT:

We are about to board our delayed plane at 2:00 AM Uganda time! Will be home soon!

Friday, June 20; 9:45 AM EDT:

We changed our plans and had a morning of sleeping in and sorting the remaining drugs to leave with our various supporters. This afternoon we exposed the team to the wonderful traffic jams & moving through a town of 3 million people to take them to a Ugandan/American fast food establishment and then to shop for genuine Ugandan souvenirs. After tonight's rest we will head out early for a trip up the Nile to view wildlife, and on Saturday on a safari before heading back to the Entebbe airport and home Monday evening. Thank you for remembering to pray when you read these blogs. We have so much more on a spiritual level & photos to share with you when we get home!

Thursday, June 19; 1:11 PM EDT:

Today we travelled to Jinja, the beginning of the Nile River and Lake Victoria, and conducted a medical clinic and pastor training with a church membership mostly below Uganda's poverty level. So very poor, yet such hard workers! Lots of Malaria. Their pastor I have watched work tirelessly for years without any pay and without any outside assistance. Yet the faith and passion of these people! Afterwards his extended family had us over for a supper of tilapia, chicken, fresh melon and pineapple, cabbage salad, vegetables and roasted potatoes! A real gift for us and sacrifice on their part. Life is quite fulfilling when shared in Christ!

Wednesday, June 18; 3:22 PM EDT:

Has been a long day! Pastor's responses at the institute were insistent that the training has been so helpful that they want us to help create a yearly two-week seminar that will provide them an opportunity to gain some type of accreditation towards ordination. I wish we could find churches where you live who would sponsor churches; pastors who would sponsor pastors; and individuals who would sponsor individuals to make a difference in the communities of the world. They are so many stories that must be told.

The clinic worked until sundown today. The glasses are almost gone!!! Tomorrow we begin the next leg of our journey to do clinics and evangelism as we work our way back to Entebbe. Thank you for praying deeply and often for this ministry. We can tell it so very much!

Tuesday, June 17; 3:09 PM EDT:

I wish the internet was strong enough to send pictures! This team works together as well as any we have ever had! The clinic has served Bwakama for the second day. Had some traumatic cases including sending an infant to the hospital. The school met with Gwen to work on matching government requirements with the current curriculum. The local pastors at the institute have come up with a request and a vision that would offer them much more adequate training to enable them to touch the people and their needs for Jesus. They have so much passion and zeal for their calling! Pray hard for this mission, please! We want to help them meet the needs around them that seem so overwhelming!

Monday, June 16; 3:07 PM EDT:

Today was a day of variety and fruitful ministry. The clinic, teaching, and eyeglasses teams went to Bwakama where they were greeted by the schoolchildren dancing and a parade from the bus to the church. It was a colorful, vibrant start! The eyeglasses have been very welcomed and popular everywhere. Lots of illness and diseases that were heart wrenching. The pastoral institute began this morning. Our capacity was 20 but we squeezed in 26 with teaching on the Apostles Creed, spiritual gifts and fruits, and the vision and direction of the United Methodist Church. Sure wish you could experience it with us.

Sunday, June 15; 8:09 AM EDT:

Happy Father's Day and a blessed time as you worship today! As you prepare for worship, we have just finished worship and now lunch. It is 3 PM here and we are beginning to split pills and medicine in bags for tomorrow's clinic. This afternoon Sally and Dr. D. will be having a UMW information meeting for the women who have asked how to form their own UMW units. Again, thank you so much for your prayers and support.

Saturday, June 14; 3:39 PM EDT:

Today was a good day. We were at Bunyadeti and served much medicine and eyeglasses to a very poor area and lots of health issues. Yet we have never been loved more. We're reunited with Roxanne and Marc. Said it was a very helpful first exposure to the churches of Uganda. Tomorrow we worship 7 hours before most churches in the USA! We will remember you in our prayers.

Saturday, June 14; 12:51 PM EDT:

The day was a scorcher after yesterday's storm. But we had a huge crowd at the clinics today. We have given out 200 glasses in these two days which is low because of the storm, but a good sign of their popularity as just one more way God is blessing. We have been at Fruitful enough that our faces are recognized and all have been welcomed and loved. We have a new pattern at the clinics this year: We all work at the setup together, run a nonstop clinic seeing illnesses and heartbreaking lives that make us realize how blessed we are; followed by local pastors preaching, telling stories of Jesus, and singing songs, followed by working until all have been served or darkness is almost among us. Thank you for your support & prayers. I wish I could transport you here to feel it for yourself!

Friday, June 13; 3:01 PM EDT:

We were at Fruitful UMC with the medical clinic today. This time it is so different with 3 of our team ministering in other places in Uganda: Bob with Agriculture, & Marc & Roxanne at another church they had been invited to. We worked a long day today right through a monsoon of a rainstorm, wind blowing through the church. But the team continued. Wish I had the pictures to show you, but there is not Intetnet coverage in this area. We return there tomorrow for another day. God is blessing even through medicines that did not arrive and other surprises that are not a surprise to God. Thank you for being so faithful to this mission and the thrilling call of God. We can't wait to tell you the stories.

Wednesday, June 11; 3:56 PM EDT:

Today we travelled across Uganda to Busia. We have now been reunited with friends, had a great supper including all the fresh tilapia one could eat, had team meeting, repackaged drugs, and had team devotions. No pictures yet, due to no network connections. Hopefully soon. Pray for us as we minister at Fruitful Church.

Tuesday, June 10; 7:44 PM EDT:

We are now in Uganda and have arrived at the hotel at 2 am Uganda time. Long trip as usual. God really answered prayer big time in Heathow. They were very thoroughly checking luggage & pulled 6 of us out of line randomly, about 20 from across all security lines. Told us they could not hold planes on our account. But, God was gracious and they held our plane 20 minutes, which the stewardess said was unheard of. We begin tomorrow getting more supplies, organizing and traveling to Busia.

Ugandan Missions 2013

Fifteen Riverside UMC members and friends have returned home from a mission trip to Uganda in East Africa June 15-29, 2013. They provided medical and dental care, health education, assistance with education, and seminars for farmers, pastors, and youth workers. Please continue to pray for Ugandan Christian brothers and sisters. You may read Rev. Steve Waldorf's text diary of the trip here.

Thursday, June 27; 11:31 AM EDT:

Had a great day on the safari this morning! Due to a cloudy cool morning, we saw MANY African mammals!...giraffes, elephants, and even a lion and lioness together, all at different times just 25 yards off the path! There were also many varieties of wildebeest, ibis, antelope, wart hogs, water buffalo, eagles, vultures, and much more! It was so humbling to see so much that God has made just because He delighted in doing so and takes pleasure in creating. He most enjoys creating you and me in His own image. We can't wait to return home and tell you even more about it!

Wednesday, June 26; 2:20 PM EDT:

As I return from my shower, headed toward the Banda I shine my flashlight ahead of me as instructed and find that there is a hippo 5 feet from the door. If I didn't know he was so dangerous, I'd think he was just a rotund cow! Our next to the last day in Uganda was spent seeing some of the wilderness and wildlife native to Uganda. On our river cruise to Murcheson Falls, we saw at the edge of the water: hippos, wart hogs, water antelope, crocodiles, baboons, beautiful birds, and elephants! Our camp is only a 1/4 mile from the water, with a sweeping panorama, and have already had wart hogs, bats, and the hippo wander through the camp. In the morning we will take an early safari then drive all day back to Entebbe to come back home. What a majestic world our God has made for us!

Wednesday, June 26; 3:57 AM EDT:


We did not get into our hotel in Kampala until 10pm and supper until 10:30. Breakfast was at 6:00 am and we were on the road again at 7:00am....on our day off! No one is complaining because all of the serving and ministry has continued to enable us to hear from our God, individually and as a group. Some have made very hands-on commitments. One thing is very clear - God wants people who love Him and love others with all they have. When we respond, God moves! Here we are not providing a helping hand that hurts, or simply rescuing someone for a limited time. This trip is all about partnering and trying to create change that will help our Ugandan friends move closer to being able to serve God to fulfill His vision on their own! When we return, we hope our pictures will convey what you have helped us accomplish! Bless you!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013; 10:22 PM EDT:

(Pastor Steve Waldorf got to an area with a strong enough wireless signal to send updates and pictures. Here's what the team has been doing in Uganda.)

The Pastors' Institute was one of the most humbling events I have ever been a part of, much less the only instructor. These pastors serve without pay, no real training, many without even a bicycle for transportation yet they have a calling and a commitment hard to match. There were classes on Biblical Interpretation, Wesleyan Theology, Biblical Core Values, Church Planting, and Developing Leadership. To hear the needs and experiences of these men & women pastors convicted me of how casually we take our faith in America. God forgive us!

What do we do on our trips to Busia Uganda? There is always a medical clinic and the rest is determined by who goes with us. Bob & Sam, County Extension Agents from Georgia just returned yesterday from 6 days of seminars for farmers & following up by traveling the whole country to walk their farms and offer more advice. Brandi is a dental hygienist from North Georgia who has brought a large dog puppet to help children learn the importance of brushing their teeth. She also works in the clinic splitting pills. Greg and Holly have done recreation and singing with the children, and Steve has been working in the pharmacy and began a Pastor's Seminar Sunday afternoon for 3 days. It is so amazing what God is using us to do. Pray for us. We are working 10+ hour days and it is mostly nonstop.

Bill is a member of Mulberry UMC in Macon. He is our "eyeglasses expert" and our photographer. He has also been caught a few times "kidnapping"! After worship this morning at Fruitful UMC, he had several kids in his arms or in tow until we finally left to go back to the hotel for lunch. We are so blessed for everyone whom God put on our team. They all have their own unique personalities and gifts. Otherwise we would not be able to do all that we are doing. Bill had a child crawl up in his lap and go to sleep yesterday as he was fitting people for eyeglasses which is highly unusual as the little ones are the least accustomed to white people!

Saturday. We served 771 over the last 2 days at the Bwakama church! Today we went to Bunyadeti UMC. They are an even more impoverished people. Many sick, malnourished children are present here. Pastor Tomas is such a kind-hearted, committed pastor. He was in the midst of his people all day. At night, after supper, we end our day with a team meeting to evaluate our day and plan the next. A different person volunteers to lead the group's devotions each night. The insight and feelings that they have shared demonstrate how wonderful God moves through our lives.

Friday, June 21, 2013; 12:43 PM EDT:

This is Friday, our second day at Bwakama, the center of our ministry, the center of the Methodist churches of Busia & the home of the school & the children we sponsor. This picture you see is of the people who are waiting to get in the clinic. (Steve's signal was not strong enough to send the picture he had planned.) Some of them waited all day yesterday & were still waiting at sunset. Some slept in the church yard so they would not have to walk in the pitch black darkness & rain up to 5 miles home. With all the medicines you & others made possible, it breaks our hearts at those cases we had to turn away. Cases which would be easily solved with simple surgeries or different medicines. In just these 2 days we will have treated near 800 people & turned away another 300! These numbers do not include the school which we will spend extra time with next Tuesday, another 290+. We are just one team in a sea of need. Bill, our optical minister!, brought two cases of glasses today after giving out yesterday...& he gave out before 1:30p today! Greg is in the midst of conducting his first of 3 youth pastor training seminars. Tomorrow, Saturday, he will be teaching a group of Ugandans & Kenyans. Please surround us with your prayers for healing where we can not; for wisdom, & for stamina. We of all God's children feel most blessed & humbled right now.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013; 5:52 AM EDT:

Update with picture this morning!

Our first day (Tuesday) was spent at Fruitful UMC with a medical clinic, dental hygiene presentations with a puppet (Holly was the ventriloquist for the puppet!), optical clinic, & prayer with the adults, & conversation & fun with the children. This was non-stop for 8 hours! People rotated to where the need was the greatest. People took short breaks during the day and someone filled in for them. This is Pastor Richard's church & one if the poorest areas we will minister to on this trip. We were able to see 450 people between medical & eyeglasses. Our hats are off to Greg & Holly who tirelessly did children's ministry ALL day! When Greg gave out of songs one time, he quickly grabbed some drug instructions & turned them into a song & dance! The children had no idea what he was saying, but shouted & clapped along with him!

On Wednesday we will be back at Fruitful UMC for an even longer time of ministry. We appreciate your support so much! Pray for our Ugandan friends. We really experienced some heartbreakers today.

Monday, June 17, 2013; 3:44 PM EDT:

Well, we made it to the Rand Hotel & Ugandan hospitality this evening! 3 full days of traveling ! We will sleep good tonight. Everyone is eager to get started Tuesday morning. This has been the smoothest startup yet, thanks to our Ugandan team of pastors & people who had meds, connections, & accommodations all taken care of when we arrived. Pray for us to have the energy & sensitivity to touch those who need it the most. Thank you!

Sunday, June 16, 2013; 6:08 AM EDT:

We have just arrived in London! It means we are really on this adventure. It also means we are "halfway" there! As you worship our marvelous God this morning, thank Him with us for making it possible for us all to serve Him together in Uganda. Though we may be "out in front" none of this would be possible without you! Thank you!

Mission Trip to UMCOR

Click for news article

In June 2013, a group of 11 ladies from Riverside UMC and Griffin FUMC travellied to the UMCOR Distribution Center in Baldwin, Louisiana for an 8 day mission trip. The group participated in a church-wide bazaar at Griffin FUMC on November 17, selling handmade scarves, headbands and other items to raise money for transportation costs to and from Louisiana. The money raised was also used for a donation to UMCOR. If you would like more information please contact Kit Benson at akbenson1@comcast.net or (770) 468-4691.

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