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
06/2018 UPDATE ON THE UGANDAN ORPHANAGE - Phase 2 is complete. Phase 3 begins July/August, 2018. The Meals-to-Go Fundraiser for Phase 4 is November 3, 2018.
The 2016 Mission Trip was June 12-18, and we worked with Habitat for Humanity in Lake County helping rebuild after the devastating 2015 Valley Fire. Eight of us from Ukiah got the pleasure of going over to help Habitat in their rebuilding efforts. We spent five days completing a variety of projects including putting in a trench to provide well water to a house; finding, uncovering and capping water pipes; building a fence; and clearing and organizing one of Habitat's storage units. We couldn't have done it without all the support from the FPCU church family which included prayer, giving and helping with the tri-tip fundraiser. See the July Presbeat Newsletter for more on this mission trip. You can learn more about the rebuilding efforts in Lake County at Habitat's website http://lakehabitat.org/
Our previous Mission Trip was to Waco, Texas. We traveled to a farm and learned sustainable farming. This farm is part of an organization called World Hunger Relief. This organization teaches people from developing countries how to farm in a way that is low cost, uses the materials at hand, and will last from year to year. Then the people whom they train go back to their home communities to put these ideas into practice and teach others how to farm sustainably. Former FPCU church members, Randy and Amy Fish, are now ministering on the World Hunger Relief farm in Texas. It is their calling in life to help run this farm so people in other countries can have the tools they need to live off the land where they live. You can learn more about World Hunger Relief on their website http://worldhungerrelief.org/