In March 2015, I was approached and asked if I would be interested in joining a team of football coaches, on a trip to Uganda; in order to deliver a coaching programme for local teachers. Being a huge football fan, and also having experienced Uganda one year earlier, I couldn’t get signed up quick enough!
Over the next 12 months our mission and plans grew beyond what we imagined. Now we planned to go to both Rwanda and Uganda, putting on a three day camp in both countries. We also decided that our football coaching should have another purpose; our goal was to equip teachers to instil Christian values and life skills through the medium of football and various other sports.
Over the last two weeks I have met some truly amazing people. I have had the opportunity to spend time with teachers from all backgrounds, all with different stories. I have had the opportunity to spend two weeks with some of the Fields of Life Staff from Uganda and Rwanda, who have inspired me by their commitment to God’s plan in bringing hope to East Africa. I have also had the pleasure of receiving many wonderful greetings, at a number of Fields of Life schools that we visited on our travels. Each and every child is a testament to God’s faithfulness in transforming the world one life at a time, and their joy has challenged the foundations that underlie my happiness here in Northern Ireland.
One moment that struck me particularly hard was when we visited a Fields of Life School in Kigali. After walking in to a nursery class, and being mobbed by an army of smiling faces, I noticed one little boy sitting on his own on the far side of the classroom. He was the only child I saw that day that looked unhappy. So I asked his teacher what was wrong with him. It broke my heart to hear that only weeks ago he had arrived because his parents had been killed in the current genocide in Burundi. The trauma of seeing this had literally left this boy speechless ever since and he refused to interact with anyone.
While I continue to pray for that four year old and his future, I give thanks to God for Fields of Life. The work they do brings hope to children like this. That young boy now has a chance at life and a chance to recover from the horror that he has been through.
I cannot recommend getting involved in Fields of Life enough. It’s great to play even a small part in transforming lives in East Africa. However, East Africa has gone a long way in transforming my own life and my way of thinking. For that I’m so grateful.