This time last year I had just returned from a life changing trip to Africa.  Hessel is making every attempt to make this an annual trip and this year’s team has just returned.  I wasn’t able to be a part this year but some of my friends and fellow team mates were able to go again.   In my reminiscing about my own trip to Uganda, I found a few pieces of “thank you” letters that I attempted to write.  As the letter states, I had a really hard time completing the letter and I eventually gave up and sent thank you notes with just a picture on the front.

Well, better late than never, right?

Here is a compilation of my many attempts…

Dear Family & Friends,

I would like to apologize for the tardiness of this letter.  I have attempted many drafts and they all ended up crumpled in the trash can due to my frustration of not being able to adequately convey the details of my trip to you all.  I finally came to the realization that I can’t and I shouldn’t try.  Ultimately, I would love to sit with each of you and show you my pictures, telling you the story behind each one and just maybe you could catch a glimpse of my 16 days in Uganda.


I’ve been asked several times what the highlight of my trip was and each time I’ve answered that it wasn’t an event or a moment but getting to know the people.  I praise the Lord that he created real relationships between our team of 12 and the Ugandan people that we had the privilege of serving. We worked alongside Cyprian and Margaret Masembe and Frontier Force Christian Ministries (FFCM).  Their goal is to plant churches in villages where people are not being reached.  There are currently four churches established in different villages and we were able to visit them all and encourage them in ministry through teaching, construction projects (composting toilets & water filters) and medical clinics.


Cyprian & Margaret were so overjoyed to have us, they were literally jumping up and down and hugging us when we arrived in the Entebbe airport.  At one point, another pastor got down on his knees because he said it was the only way that he could express how grateful he was that we would go all that way to see them.  It was a truly humbling experience.  The reality is that I felt the same way toward them.  I was incredibly grateful that they would welcome us into their homes, churches and families and show us what ministry looks like; what loving God and loving people really looks like. 


My primary job was to help in the medical clinics by registering people and distributing the proper medication after they had seen the doctor.   It was an equally rewarding and frustrating experience.  We were able to help so many people but it the end we had to turn away more than we were able to help.   The need is great.


The first Sunday morning I had the opportunity to give my testimony at the “Madudu House of Prayer.”  On the six month anniversary of my dad’s death, I was able to stand in front of a church in Africa and tell them that I have found God to be faithful and compassionate even when life is hard; that He is good all the time, and that the amazing part about being a Christian is not that bad things won’t happen to us but rather when they do, God is there to guide us and give us His peace (that truly surpasses all understanding).  I expressed my gratitude to God for extending his grace and mercy to me which will allow me to be to one day spend eternity with my earthly father and my heavenly Father.  What an amazing promise! 


I want to express my sincere gratitude to each of you for supporting me in my trip to Uganda.  I kept a travel journal while away and my first entry was about how grateful I am to each of you for your love, prayer and financial gifts.  I am incredibly blessed!  Thank you for the part you played in the amazing work that was done in Uganda!








2 responses »

  1. Ashley, It has taken me until March 24, 2010 to finally get to your website and read it. It was wonderful spending time with you earlier in the year and going over the many pictures you had of your trip. But I do love seeing all that you had to say. It always seems to me that when we take the time to write our thoughts, they end up being just what we are feeling inside, not just quickly spoken words. Thank you for eventually putting those thoughts to printed word. I agree with your sister. You are, indeed, an amazing woman. So glad I am part of your family. Love, Aunt Christine

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