Home at Last

39 hours is a long time to travel. By now were airport experts, we know the drill. Its funny to watch the rookies at the security checkpoints - so naive, so innocent. No you can’t leave your shoes on, no you can’t take those items on a plane, and yes - you do have to take your laptop out of the bag

6 hours to Dubai, 12 hours in layover, 15 hours in the air, 6 hours in layover, 1 hour in the air…

10 days in Uganda, nearly 4 spent in the air - but the trip was worth it. I can honestly say I think each of us have come back changed. We spent everyday together, crammed in a bus with strangers to us. Forced to breathe unfamiliar air, eat unfamiliar food and pushed out of our comfort zones.

We shared highs, and lows together - we banded as a team and as a family. We laughed, we cried, we prayed we preached. We helped change a bit of the world, but our own worlds are completely changed.

Arriving in Uganda I think some of us weren’t sure what we were doing there, and even questioning why others who have gone before us have such a love for the place and the people. It was foreign, it was dirty, there was nothing familiar and it was obvious that we were outsiders. Leaving Uganda, we left family. One person on the City Church team told me, “It’s so hard to say goodbye. You wonder at the end of it all was it worth it becoming friends or would it have been easier to not be so close?” I think that’s a testament to this team. Nothing worth doing is easy, including putting yourself out there for strangers on the other side of the planet, but at the end of the day - it was so worth it.

I am proud of this team.

Kevin - he was the wild card, with a recent surgery and a stiff body he wasn’t sure he could make the trip, and we weren’t sure he should even go. He was a kingpin, an anchor to the team - after all he was Jesus (in the skit) mixed in with a bit of Neo from the matrix also. He did climb some rafters in one skit. Ask him about it, it’ll make a good story.

Brian - reignited something in him. He became our documentor, but beyond that - he was a viking warrior. At least his beard braided at the chin made him look like one. His laugh is contagious and he was always up for a good time. Something happened in Brian it was evident to all of us, and I know that as great of a guy that Brian is, he’s coming home even better.

Maddie - she is a fireball. All in. That’s how she joined the team. She got baptised and felt she had to go to Uganda, and she was all in from there. Full of some fun stories and experiences and tons of life. She’s one heck of a dancer as well. When students would just stare at us, she would go straight at them and get them to loosen up with some fun and a smile.

Leah - Leah emanates love. From the moment we would arrive at a school Leah was beaming. I don’t know if there is a memory I have of her that doesn’t have someone holding her hand or braiding her hair. At every turn Leah was hugging someone in comfort, or dancing with someone in joy. She cried when others did and when she shared her story we were all moved.

Pam - The newest addition to the team. Pam was a lot of fun and she loved those kids. What’s even better is they loved her. A teacher by profession it was obvious right off the bat that she has a heart for the students. Genuine love is so needed today, and when Pam was with the people there was no question she was for real with them. She’s quiet, but don’t mistake that for timid she is strong!

Shari - Shari was late to the airport on arrival day, we thought we were going to have to leave her behind. Only for us to find out she was there before anyone else was waiting for the trip to start. Shari’s smile was electric, her heart so full of love. As a substance counselor she’s seen her share of hardships, but like so many others on the team she loved those students. At one point Africa got the better of Shari but she’s tough as nails and she beat it. When we had a hike that was hard for 20 year olds she championed it. If I was ever in a pinch, I’d want Shari in my corner any time.

Eric - If you know Eric, then you know. Who can sleep on life threatening taxi ride in the middle of african bush? Who can sleep in the middle of a Safari? Only Eric. The man can sleep anywhere on earth, he’s proven it time and again. Beyond his amazing sleeping skills, Eric shows up at 110% I never saw less than that. He was the life of the group and I am glad for him. When we didn’t have any speaker equipment to sing or dance too, Eric showed up with Parkour and got the crowds going. He can dance, he can jump, he can even catch a frisbee while doing a handstand (I speak that in faith Eric.) It’s like he was made for this trip, tailored for this moment in time. He was the life of the team.

Sarah - Watch out world, Sarah Herberholz is coming atcha! What can she not do? Single mom extraordinaire. Roman, I hope someday you know how much of a hero your mother is, and how much she loves you. Sarah never stopped smiling, the whole trip. Ok when she shared her story and it got real maybe for about 30 seconds. For someone who has experienced what she has to have the joy she has is uncanny. I truly believe she’s going to conquer the world. Uganda was blessed by her and I can say the entire team was also.

Noah - Roll call? “NOAH?” Noah was a stellar team mate. Humble and eager to help. Noah got tossed to the ground 11 times. The team didn’t get the difference between acting like you throw someone on the ground and actually throwing someone on the ground, so Noah got tossed. Every time he’d get up covered in dirt, and then go right to it. Dancing smiling and interacting with the students. When approached about preaching and giving an altar call Noah said, “Sure, I’ll do it!” When tossed into a very uncomfortable situation with a girl possed by a demon Noah said, “I’ll go pray for her.” Noah was always ready to do whatever was needed. I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes in life.

David - The man of many talents. David is amazing. Really he is, like a prodigy. Who pulls a song out of their hat that they haven’t sung in 3 years and only knew the lyrics vaguely. 3 minutes later is leading a crowd in the song. Who preaches with 5 minutes notice and gets the whole room saved? David lives up to his namesake - a warrior poet. There is little that David won’t accomplish and I am grateful for him on this team.

I am blessed that I got to be a part of such a great team. Love you guys, thanks for making this trip one for the history books! I want to give a huge shout out to all those who supported this team. Whether in prayer or in financial support, we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you so much. Also to some of the businesses in Bend. Beach Hut Deli gave us about 50 frisbees to give away, Trampoline Zone about 20 hats and some stickers, Bonta and SunRiver also some stickers. To kids who have never seen a frisbee or will never afford to buy a baseball cap - these are huge. Even to get a sticker from America was a huge deal to them. Thank you so much!

Luke.