[ Uganda, Africa Mission Journal â€“ Entry 6 ]
JINJA, UGANDA – MARCH 14, 2012 – Today was a work day, trying to get the playground finished so the kids can come play tomorrow afternoon. It is a massive structure built of solid mahogany wood. Loren found a local source for the wood. He had to supervise as they custom cut the lumber we needed. And it was cheaper than getting soft pine shipped in from somewhere else. So we are using the dense solid lumber. It makes the labor a little more intensive with all the added weight and difficulty drilling, sawing and nailing the playground together. But in the early afternoon a rain shower passed over. It cooled everything off, and as the water washed over us it revealed the beautiful, rich color of the mahogany. It is really quite a fantastic piece of building.
There are five guys – Pastor Dan, Micky, Bill, Gus, and Brian – who are in charge of the construction. They are from all over the United States and they form the nucleus of a ministry that builds playgrounds like this one all over the world, in places like Haiti, South America, the Ukraine, and now Africa. It is their mission to allow kids to be kids in places where that is sometimes very hard and to revel in the joy that being a child of God brings.
There is still work to be done and the rest of us are pitching in, along with the help of some local Ugandan workers. Some of the swings still haven’t made it here. They were in two other lost bags we hope will arrive tomorrow. But half of the swings and the jungle gym and the rope ladders and the rock climbing wall will all be ready for tomorrow afternoon. At two o’clock, the Headmaster of the local elementary school will bring a group of over 100 third, fourth and fifth graders to christen the new playground. Friday the younger kids from the school will come and Friday afternoon kids from Wakisi who aren’t in school (and there are more of them than you can imagine, hundreds) will get their turn. For every group we will have face painting and games and other activities in addition to their time on the swings and the monkey bars. This will be the first time most of these kids have ever played on a playground like this, if you can believe that. Then, at the end, we will gather each group together and let them know the joy they are feeling is the joy that Jesus can bring into their lives every day.
Isn’t it how we should all feel? Like we are swinging on a swing for the first time, the wind rushing over our faces as our toes reach higher and higher into the air. Isn’t that the joy we should feel every day because we have turned over our lives to a Father who loves us with his whole heart.