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  • Writer's pictureSharon Morse

Watoto, Uganda - Elena Gadea

My name is Elena and I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

In October 2019 I went on a short-term mission trip to Uganda, organized by my church “Faith Tabernacle Church” This was my first time traveling to Africa and my first time going on a short-term mission trip.

My church supports missions and partners with several missionaries and mission projects in different countries.  One of these missions is Watoto in Uganda. This year we supported a home renovation project. Our congregation donated enough money to renovate a whole house in one of the Watoto villages. We worked alongside the workers doing our best under their direction.

The first Sunday there we attended service at Watoto church in Kampala. I asked God “Lord, show me why I am here” He answered through the message: “Live beyond blessed” Love your nation, but be a blessing to others. Also learn to be content whatever the circumstances. The pastor gave this example: “to cook; you need a recipe and ingredients…Jesus is the ingredient to be content. (Philippians 4:11-12)” I took that with me for the rest of the week and it will stay in my heart forever. I saw how content people were there serving others in Jesus’ name.  We don’t know what is going on in people’ lives but Jesus knows, and He brings peace and gives them the strength to keep blessing others. I understood God wants me to spread this message.

When we were working on the reno, I went for a short walk around the village with two other team members.  In our walk, God peace and love surrounded me, and I felt his presence as never before. I felt like He was hugging me and saying to me “look what I can do for my children when they trust me”.  “Oh Lord” I said, “Thank you for taking care of your children”

The days ahead we visited Baby Watoto in Gulu;  the babies are here due to many reasons, some have been abandoned,  the mom has died at birth, or the mom is serving jail time and there is no one to take care of them.  We got to spend some time with the babies. I got to hold a baby girl named Charity. I call her my baby girl.  I looked at her closely and asked myself, should I ask what her story is, but God spoke to me and I said: “my sweet girl, doesn’t matter where you came from or what your story is, what matters is that God loves you  and you are going to be fine.

We also visited the Neighborhood women center. Here women get trained in different occupations to be able to sustain themselves. They learn about God and that there is hope for a future they thought didn’t exist for them.  What impacted me here was to see how these women become disciples in their own neighborhoods. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Watoto is an amazing ministry. It is so well organized and complete.  From taking care of the babies, building villages for the children, giving them a safe place to live, a mom that loves them, provide education for them until they graduate from college or university, have medical care and now they are helping the women from the community. This is what God can do when we trust him and obey his call.After witnessing what God is doing in Uganda through Watoto, I want to bless people by showing them who Jesus is.  He is the ingredient to be content. As a Sunday school teacher, I want our kids to have a heart for missions not only in words but with actions. Like Watoto said, we are raising future leaders. We need godly leaders.

I learned that when we answer His call and are obedient to His word, nothing is impossible.  What a great example we have in Pastor Gary Skinner, (Watoto Founder) who said “Yes” to God’s call, moved from Canada to Uganda and since then, we have seen amazing things done in Uganda in Jesus’ name.

When it comes to my ministry at church, I will never go to say “we can’t do this” because if it is God’s will, things will be done. I learned that everything is possible when we work together with integrity and excellence when doing God’s business.

Our mission field is at home, work, schools, the streets, wherever we go, there are people who need to hear the gospel, words of hope, encouragement and love. People need to learn to be content despite the circumstances and only Jesus can give them that. Visiting Watoto showed me that when we do things God’s way, we can build a Village of Hope.  We can’t do things on our own, we need Him and we need each other. We need to work together with God’s guidance and then, only then, we will accomplish extraordinary things.

Time has gone by since we returned home, but I always remember the children, the people we met, the places we visited.  Uganda and Watoto will always be in my heart. God bless this land and its people. God bless Pastor Gary Skinner and his family.

I have to say that Jesus to the Nations (J2N) played an important role in my decision to go on this trip.  I have been attending the conference for many years and the message brought by the speakers and testimonies of God’s faithfulness planted the desire in my heart, thanks J2N for your prayers and support. Thanks to  my church for supporting missions… And then He told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15 NLT)

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