May 20, 2016
On the morning of the second day of the conference, many of us were exhausted, but all of us were excited for another day with the African pastors. The conference began with one of our teammates from Truett Seminary, Mulenga Chella, sharing his testimony. It was the most moving testimony I had ever heard in my entire life. Mulenga was falsely accused of a crime while he was travelling as a missionary, because of a man who he was getting a car ride from. He was thrown into prison, during that time where he spent one night in human feces, nights in rooms filled to two times their capacity, where three men had to share a one-man cot. While he was in prison, the criminal whom he had been falsely accused tried to commit suicide, but failed, and fell into a comatose. Though advised by the prison warden to let this man die, because he was a very wicked man, Mulenga nursed him to health, by taking care of him for two weeks. No one knew why Mulenga was doing this, for surely he would look like an accomplice of this guilty man. Nevertheless, Mulenga nursed the man back to his health. The man asked Mulenga to pray for him, because he, and everyone else in the prison for that matter, knew he was a man of God. For the remainder of the time in prison, the man would weep whenever he saw Mulenga, because Mulenga showed him such undeserved love. When the time had come for trial, the criminal confessed all of his crimes and plead for the innocence of Mulenga, because a man that loving does not deserve to be punished for the crimes he did not commit. Mulenga’s story was what got him a scholarship to come to Truett Seminary, and he is now a pastor at Christ Life Church Zambia and Littleville Baptist Church.
At the end of his testimony, we jumped right back into business. The speakers were the same as the day before, but with more difficult topics and the addition of teammates Alena Otis and and Maggie Bremer. Jenna and I got to speak together again, this time about the importance of maintaining a budget. The feedback from all of the pastors was just magnificent. It was unbelievable to me how many would come up to me afterwards and remember my name from the day before, and how they had so many questions and by God’s grace I was able to answer. One particular gentleman said he was so encouraged that he would have to get a picture “sharing tea with me.” (A part of Ugandan culture is very British, as it used to be a British colony).
At lunch we got to feed the neighborhood kids again, which was delightful. We then had the Bear Pit, which is a spinoff of the tv show Shark Tank. Betsy Arce and Collin Plotts had been discussing with a group of selected businessmen and women about their businesses and how they would be the best company to receive funding from our “Bears.” The winner was Pastor Annette, who received a laptop as a prize. She was a full-time teacher at one of the most prestigious schools in Uganda, but wanted to start a school where she lived because there were no schools anywhere close. She had already begun building the school, and only needed 50 million shillings to finish the building and begin teaching. This sounds like a lot, but it is only $1,400. The amount that we can help with a small amount of money is incredibly remarkable.
The conference concluded, and with that a combined feeling of relief and satisfaction settled in. It was an extremely successful first conference at the new PDN site, one that will hopefully be historical as the organization continues to grow.
To celebrate, we went to the Kampala mall and enjoyed some milkshakes, which was a nice little surprise from Jason.
We then went back to the hotel and met up with the Go Fellow Youth Ministry, where we had a Ugandan barbeque and played what I call Ugandan Frisbee. It is basically Ultimate Frisbee, but where the Ugandans make all of the rules and cheating is acceptable and tackling your opponent happens more frequently than it should. Nevertheless, the Baylor Bears still dominated the field and took home the victory. Afterwards, sharing a meal together with the Ugandans our age was a wonderful experience, where we got to learn all about the differences in our youth culture. One highlight was finding out that all American dessert is considered “baby food,” and that they very much disliked Pop-Tarts. The night ended will, with singing and dancing, and my heart was content, seeing the love of God in my age group even all the way around the world.