Friends! I’ve made it to Kampala safe and sound. Totally jet lagged and sleep-drunk at first, but safe and sound. I even made it with ALL of my trunks and bags! If you’re familiar with my last trip over here (or with the way life goes for me in general), you know the significance of this small victory.
In the picture above, I’m sandwiched between the two Sarahs of team Bundibugyo. Sarah Crane is on the right, and she’s a dear sister-friend. Did my heart serious good to be tackled by her at the airport. Sarah Wentworth is on the left, and she’s joined the team since I’ve last been here. It’s been a joy to get to know her the past couple of days! They’ve both taken such good care of me.
People keep asking how my flights were, so here are some fast facts:
- 3 planes
- 18 hours physically sitting on said planes
- 2 layovers
- 3 Colgate wisps in various airport bathrooms + 1 change of clothes
- 1 hour of turbulence that made me fear for my life (tropical storms = subpar flying conditions)
- 5 airplane meals
- 2 movies + 6 sitcom episodes
- 1 confusing moment when a Dave Barnes song was played over the intercom
- 20 minute wait in the customs line for a visa
- 4 bags that all arrived when they were supposed to. A Ugandan miracle.
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better journey. I could feel the prayers, you guys! One precious friend told me her mom woke up randomly at 4am, calculated that I must’ve been beginning my second leg of the trip, and prayed for me until she fell back asleep. To say I have an army of prayer warriors fighting for me would be an understatement.
Then I crashed at the hotel and slept until 11am. That was a gift, honestly. The 24 hours following were spent taking care of logistics here in Kampala. I got a Ugandan SIM card for my iPhone, exchanged cash into shillings, bought a 5-liter jug of water to keep in my hotel room for drinking and brushing teeth, found a couple sweet surprises I never thought I’d find…
…bought a dress…
…Found a random sign that sums up my entire life too beautifully not to share…
…Just in time for me to try to take my first shower on this continent only to find that the water wasn’t working. Worked fine for both Sarahs a few hours before this moment. Sarah Crane: “Ashland, honestly. This is amazing.” Me: “I don’t have any words.”
And that’s about it! Your arrival recap. My emotions were a little rocky when I first got here, but sleep has proven to be the magic medicine. It also helps immensely knowing I have so many faithful prayer partners loving me through the hard stuff. Today I had a very real moment of knowing without a doubt that this is where I’m supposed to be right now. The Lord did not have to give me that peace, but he chose to. We serve a good Father.
Kampala has been great for transitioning, given the availability of salads, iced coffee, the occasional KFC if I’m feeling really homesick, and the quality of room and board. I know I won’t get these things for much longer once we head to the mountains, so you guys can rest easy knowing I’m eating ALL the things. No complaints here. Jesus has provided more than I even knew I needed.
Tomorrow we’ll stock up on groceries and other items we can’t find near us on a regular basis; and on Friday morning (the middle of Thursday night CT), we’ll drive 6-7 hours west to our Bundi home. Then I’ll finally connect with the rest of the team! I’ve gotten so much iMessage love from them today, and I know it’ll be a sweet reunion.
- Smooth travel with no unforeseen problems or hiccups
- Arrival of all bags on time
- The comfort of seeing familiar teammates’ faces with huge welcome signs waiting outside baggage claim
- More communication ability to my people stateside than I thought I’d have
- Finances being processed without any trouble
- Minimal jetlag so far
- A decent iced coffee
- Safe travels to Bundibugyo from Kampala on Friday
- Continued affirmation that Jesus is guiding me here, especially when my heartstrings and emotions want to pull me away from that truth
- Intentional times of rest as I gear up to head to a week-long vision retreat with the whole team next week
When I stop and think about how GINORMOUS my sending family is, I get overwhelmed and tear up in the best way. Every time. Maybe it’s residual exhaustion, maybe it’s Jesus reminding me that I’m never in this alone. My love for you all stretches around the globe and back.
The next time you hear from me, I’ll be home in Bundibugyo!