“Last November, a group of us – from the BART churches, from West Malling and Offham churches and the Headteacher from Trottiscliffe School – visited Uganda to experience just a snapshot of the work of Fields of Life. During our time away together, we found our identity as ‘Team Haggai’, after an Old Testament prophet who was challenged to do some building for God.
Fields of Life is a charity committed to sharing the Christian faith, by collaborating with local communities and churches in East Africa, to change lives and build hope through the provision of quality education, clean water, health promotion and other community based projects – a very particular way of building for God.
We visited four schools supported by Fields of Life. The schools had nothing like the resources we expected for our children.
Nonetheless, each school had joy, a sense of opportunity and a very real sense of the presence of God.
On the classroom walls we saw the things they were learning were not so different from our own schools. In one school, the children sang of the child who, unlike them, had no education, no future. We can hope and pray that the children who sang that song might grow up to be people of change in their country. The precedent is there. There are young adults in Uganda now who had the opportunity of education in Fields of Life schools and they are already making a difference.
And then we visited a fifth school, Opir. The school in Opir is not yet a Fields of Life-supported school. Pray God one day it might be. Their classroom walls were bare and so were many feet. Yet in Opir there was hope too.
We were there to commission a new well; clean water, nearby at last, for the school and the local community, instead of a stagnant and dangerous lake. Now, after a 15km walk to school, the children can at least have a drink. What further change may flow from this start – of clean, accessible water supply?
Wherever we went, people in the schools and in the villages acknowledged that the source of the change and hope is God. At Opir they thanked God for opening the hearts of people like us – visitors from the UK – to support them. We were humbled.
The joy in God that we met everywhere was inspiring and infectious and still lifts me. Four thousand miles apart, yet we are connected and we share in something very special.
The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, ‘I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel’ (Phil 1: 3-5).
Team Haggai came back from Uganda with a passion to keep a partnership going with the people who touched our lives in Uganda. That’s why this recent news of the financing of a new well is so exciting; because these funds have come from the generosity of people, locally, who have responded so amazingly to Team Haggai’s stories of Uganda. In particular, funds were raised at a marvellous Quiz Evening that Team Haggai ran a few weeks ago.
I hope and pray that our partnership will go on growing, that still more people will get involved, that we can support more school and water projects that are changing lives and building hope, and that, with our partners, we too may be filled with joy at God’s provision.”
Rev’d Linda Shuker
God… will satisfy your needs… You will be like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)