Ready for Africa!
On Monday January 13, 2020 Kevin and Shelly Mack will be leaving for Africa. We will be traveling with Kirk and Renee Afman, Shelly’s sister and brother-in-law. Renee is the Chief Operating Officer with the Alkare mission organization for Africa. Our church has been supporting Alkare through the mission committee. Their mission is to provide nutrition to orphans around the world. Pastor David and Cathy Rodriguez will join us while we are in Uganda. The first leg of the trip will be Zambia for one week. We will visit the orphanage (Kabwata) we connected with two years ago. Angela Miyanda continues to run the orphanage and provide loving care for the children. One of the significant changes since we were there two years ago is the government no longer allows orphanages to provide care to children once they reach the age of 18. They are required to move out to make room for younger children. As you can imagine, this creates an enormous challenge for these adolescents who are not ready to take on the responsibilities of adulthood in a very demanding environment. Angela does a heroic job of attempting to find job placements, housing and education for these adolescents but it is a huge task with few resources. We hope to get a clearer picture of the situation and determine how we might be able to help. Kevin also hopes to be able to visit a psychiatric hospital and meet with staff there to determine if there is a way to contribute to Zambia’s budding growth in psychology. Lots of play, relationship building with the children and staff and openness to what God is doing will permeate all that happens while there.
Uganda will occupy the second half of our trip. We will meet again with Pastor John Kamulegeya and Mathias Sserugo, two leaders of the Christian community in the towns of Mityana and Jinja. Pastor John would like to organize a conference of leaders that Pastor David could speak to while in Uganda. Pastors are tremendously respected in Africa (much more so than in the U.S.). Kevin will again attempt to connect with the mental health community in Uganda to determine if he can contribute in a meaningful way. We will accompany Pastor John to the American Embassy to help with his visa to visit us in the U.S. Kevin, Kirk Afman and Pastor David may lead a series of teachings/workshops on leadership development. It could be a very busy time in Uganda.
We have learned that we may have a specific agenda when we arrive but God has very different plans. Our goal will be to remain open, available, patient, loving and kind through all of the challenges, unanticipated changes and different ways of approaching life that brings honor to God and reflects well on our church family at First Presbyterian Ukiah.
Please pray for us as we prepare that we remain healthy and ready for all that lies ahead.
Thank you so much for all the ways you contribute to this trip. This is YOUR mission trip as much as the Mack’s and Rodriguez’s. You go with us in spirit and in love.
Kevin, Shelly, David and Kathy
The finished orphanage in Mityana, Uganda
Some of Pastor John and Sarah’s children and the orphans they care for.
Children from Kabwata Orphanage in Zambia
Pastor John, his family and the orphans extend their deep gratitude and thanks to our congregation and community for all the support they received during this building project. We helped make their dreams come true; thanks be to God! They are moved in and a water tank was installed as well. Click here for Thank you Video
Because we have fully funded this project any further donations that come in will go into our General Mission fund and for our future mission trip to Uganda in January, 2020! Please consider joining us for this next important chapter!
We (Shelly and Kevin) returned from our whirlwind trip to Africa on Tuesday, January 30. We couldn’t have done it without our family at First Presbyterian. There were times we literally felt carried by your prayers. Your generous support was not only appreciated by us, but everyone we met and worked with in Africa thanks you.
We began our trip as the traveling rookies we are. The luggage didn’t come in at the proper weight and they ended up taking my (Kevin’s) carry-on as a check-on. The result was no underwear when we arrived in Amsterdam for a 10 hour lay-over. I purchased three pair of underwear at the airport for $42. I was roundly teased until the luggage didn’t make it to our destination in Uganda and everyone borrowed my nice Calvin Kline’s (money well spent).
We finally arrived in Zambia after 36 hours of travel. We stayed at the orphanage at Kabwata. The children were so loving, kind and joyous that we immediately knew they were ministering to us, not us to them. We were able to make significant relationships and provide love and support to these dear children as well as staff. Zambia appears to be relatively flat and dry. We were able to go on a day long safari and experienced the beauty and wonder of the country. The orphanage was located in Lusaka which is the capital of Zambia which lends an international flavor when you travel the city. The most meaningful experience for me was a friendship I made with Patrick, a ten year-old boy who lost his mother two months ago after his father shot and killed her. The father asked Patrick to get the gun and give it to him. Needless to say, Patrick is suffering from guilt, shame and confusion. I was able to pray with him and give him a little insight into what it might take for him to recover from this tragedy. I will keep in touch with this amazing young man. He has two younger sisters with him at the orphanage who are equally amazing.
Uganda was a very different experience. Tropical, green and lush when you leave the city. Lots of pineapple, mango, avocado and jack fruit. You’ve never had jack fruit?? It is a large(25 lbs) prickly hanging fruit that is extremely sticky (you need oil to clean your hands). Once you crack it open you indulge on pods of deliciousness. We stayed in Jinga for three days on the Nile river. It was surreal to actually put our feet in the Nile river. Gorgeous area.
We spent most of our time with Pastor John Kamulegeya. He mentors numerous pastors in addition to overseeing his church in Nalugazi. We have identified a project for our church to help Pastor John construct the rest of his orphanage. He is currently living in a small home with his wife, five biological children and 15 orphans. His wife is pregnant with their sixth. He has been constructing his home for four years and needs our help to finish the project. Click here for a special message from Pastor John. The mission committee agrees that this is a good project for us and more will be revealed regarding fund raisers. The project will require approximately $8,000.00 to complete. He is a gentle, wise, loving man with integrity and a history of providing good accountability with projects the Alkare Foundation http://www.alkare.org/ has helped him with (school, well and nutrition). We may have the opportunity to return and continue this beautiful relationship. Please be in prayer about what our future with Pastor John and this area of Africa might entail.
Click here for a video compilation of photos and short videos of our exciting Africa missions trip.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your generosity, prayer and love. God is working in this wondrous continent and I suspect He is changing us in the process.
With much love and thanks,Kevin and Shelly Mack