“God, do You really want us to do this?” My husband Scott and I marveled at God’s leading us to take our three rambunctious sons with us to help lead a Cru mission project to Kampala, Uganda for three weeks. As long-time staff members of Cru, we had traveled to numerous countries with American teenagers and college students, but since we had children 11 years ago, only Scott had gone on those trips. We felt a strong desire to serve together as a couple overseas, but leaving the kids so far and for so long didn’t feel right, so we began to pursue the possibility of serving together as a family. With only about a month to raise it, we watched as God miraculously brought in every penny needed for our family to make the trip. Even nonbelievers from our son’s baseball team donated a bunch of baseball equipment for us to take. We got passports, visas, and vaccinations in record time.
Along with 11 high school and college students and one other adult, our team put on 18 assemblies in Ugandan high schools. Every member of the team participated in skits and talks that emphasized academic excellence, sexual purity, and the gospel. Even our 11-year-old twins were able to act in a funny skit that the student audiences loved. After every assembly, our team spread out to be able to talk to smaller groups of students. The Ugandan teens were typically welcoming, and opened up easily about issues in their life they wanted to address. We found it amazingly easy to share the gospel with them. After speaking to more than 8,000 students during our time in Kampala, 927 of them indicated a first-time decision to receive Christ! What an incredible blessing it was for our family to participate in this work!
The most memorable experience of the trip, however, came from visiting two orphanages. Small children with huge smiles swarmed around us, eager to be held, while the older ones were glad to bounce balls with us and demonstrate a dance. Our boys silently observed the children’s bare feet and tattered clothes, the dirt floors of the sparse classrooms, and the simple meal of posho and beans that we served them. The time there was too short, and our tears came as we boarded the bus to leave.
This is just one of countless stories that have been shared with us by Summit folks who have responded to God’s call to go to Africa. If you feel like God is calling YOU to go, let us know! Summit teams will be traveling to Malawi and Ethiopia in 2015. Visit the Join Africa page on summitconnect.org and sign up for our 3-week Africa class if you’d like to learn more.
Guest blogger Brenda Bartelt and her husband, Scott, are long-time Summit partners. They attend the Waterford campus with their three boys.