Guest contributor: Dustin Warren traveled to Uganda with Bright Hope in September and powerfully shares about his experience…
In the Book of James, it tells us to go out and visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction (James 1:27). I have been blessed to have the opportunity to help those who were fatherless and widowed.
See, I just returned from a short missions trip from Uganda to build Christ-centered relationships. I can tell you, I truly have seen God’s glorious hand at work in this beautiful country as He was changing men’s hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.
There are over 50 different clans in Uganda, and it’s typical in their culture that the fathers are superior in the families, and they usually rule their families sternly and severely. From some of the stories we heard, it was said that children usually run and hide when the fathers come home.
When I heard some of these stories at our conference, it broke my heart—until I heard the stories of all the good these men were doing. And those stories outweighed the bad.
Thanks to the help of the organization Bright Hope, the men of Uganda are learning how to become better, more loving fathers to their children. Men there now have a father’s club where they all come together to get equipped to help bring forth a fathered generation that will bring change to the country.
You normally think of poverty when you think of Africa, but what is poverty? Is it a lack of material things or is it something else?
Well, with the help of Bright Hope, they helped me realize that poverty is not just people not having the materials they want, it’s actually a mindset where people feel hopeless and inferior. This is how most people were brought up, but it’s a mentality that can be changed with effort and hard work. These men and women are also being shown the positive ways they can reap what they sow. I’m happy to say their hard work is paying off. They’re becoming more successful in farming, raising livestock, and breaking cultural barriers to become one in Christ!
It was truly humbling to see these people happy and so connected to one another. At the end of it all, I believe we have something to learn from them, and they have something to learn from us, because I have seen many walls being broken down on both sides… including some walls I didn’t realize I still had up until this trip.
I thought I was going there to just help them, but they also helped me. I believe this is Proverbs 27:17 at its finest: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” When we come together, we can sharpen each other’s minds for the better!
I was fatherless growing up, and because of that experience I’m glad God placed Uganda on my heart. I believe God is going use me and all of Uganda to reflect the true image of the Father. As Psalms 68:5 says, “Father of the fatherless and protector of the widows is God in his holy habitation.” So, we shouldn’t be afraid because our Father will always be watching over us!
There are so many stories that can be said about this trip… A great highlight of this trip was that one of my team members had the great honor of praying with a man who saw what Christ was doing in the villages and opened his heart to Christ!