We can probably all agree that God works in amazing and unique ways. However, it never ceases to amaze me when I see His hands at work! God moves when you sometimes least expect it.
One Sunday morning at church, we were watching a video from our former pastor and his family who had begun serving God as missionaries in Africa. They sent our church a video showing us all the ways they were ministering to people there, and I was in awe. My heart suddenly longed to be where they were, and I got really excited thinking about it. I turned around and whispered to my Acteens leader, “I want to go there.” She has traveled almost everywhere and has a huge heart for missions. She smiled, and after the service, she was already making plans to go and mentioning it to my parents. The thought of traveling to Africa to participate in missions never left our minds. My Acteens leader, her husband, and another girl who was a good friend of mine agreed to go, and throughout the rest of the winter and into the spring we prepared and planned for our trip. I had never been on a plane before, and my first flight would be 19 hours long. I was excited, though, and blessed to have been given such a great opportunity.
When we arrived in Uganda, we stayed with our former pastor and his family for two weeks and helped them minister to locals. My favorite ministry project was visiting the slum villages on a Sunday afternoon. We spent part of the day making dish scrubbers with some women from the church. We prayed for the people who were going to receive them, that we could be a witness to them and invite them to church. We asked God to speak to them through us and let them want to learn more about His love for them. While we walked through the slum village, we saw many people look at us like we were aliens. And to them, we were. Children would call out, “mzungu!” (which means “white person”) and then scurry off and giggle with other kids. It was so strange to them to see a white person in their village. When we gave them a gift and shared the love of Jesus with them, they were confused, and some turned it down, thinking we were selling stuff. But after we explained that we just wanted to invite them to the church up the road, they accepted it and were grateful for the dish scrubber. I was amazed when they found so many more uses for that thing than I ever would have thought of! We asked to pray with each person we met, but I couldn’t understand much of what was said because the women spoke Luganda to the villagers. But I silently prayed that God would speak to the people in the slums and that they would come to church to learn more.
Our final ministry, and the most difficult for me, included visiting a government hospital for premature babies. Outside of the preemie room, there were dozens of moms sitting around on the floor, waiting for the doctor to let them in and feed their babies. At the door, a nurse gave us hand sanitizer and had us take our shoes off. There were not enough places for the babies to go, so there were a few tables with dozens of babies just lying on them. One baby in particular was extremely tiny and could have fit in my hand. My heart broke for them and for the moms who had to just sit outside and wait. It opened my eyes to their way of life and how much they don’t have. I almost felt guilty for all the technology and methods we have in America that would save the lives of many of those babies, but I prayed for the health of the babies and their moms, that God would heal them and give them strength.
One important thing I learned from that trip was to be thankful for everything I have and to find joy in every moment. These people were so happy! They would sing and dance just because they could; how inspirational! I encourage you to pray for moments, big or small, where God can use you to minister to people. He just might do something amazing!
Kayla Moore is a 2021 National Acteens Panelist from Lewiston, Missouri.