The following is an adapted excerpt from an article submitted to One More Child by Adam Hollingsworth. We are grateful for the opportunity to share this story with generous supporters like you, in the hope that it will make a difference in the life of one more child.
They touched the hand of a muzungu.
I often wonder if there is any value to a short-term mission trip. What can we really do in a week, when the needs are present every day of the year?
Sure, we distribute clothing. Give candy to kids. Visit school classrooms. And talk about Jesus.
But does it really matter?
This was my thought during a home visit in a village near Kamonkoli. It was a typical visit. A multi-generational family with lots of children.
When folks nearby heard we arrived, they came running too. My favorite part of these visits is shaking hands, being silly, and talking to the kids. There is a BIG language barrier but smiles and laughs are universal.
What confused me is after shaking hands and sharing smiles, many of the kids would laugh and run away.
One of the ministry staff members saw the look on my face and said, “They touched the hand of a muzungu.” That did not help my confusion. The term “muzungu” applies to any Westerner because of their presumed wealth.
THE VALUE OF A MISSION TRIP
What I learned is that just our being here lets the people of Kamonkoli know that people from far away care and are interested in them. A visit from a muzungu, a touch of hand, a smile, a laugh actually does matter.
I was also told by some of the ministry staffers that visits from Americans help the locals learn a new mindset. Believe it or not, they learn family planning from us. Ugandan families have up to 12 kids. Then they hear that we often only have two or three kids, it helps them think about family size and the cost of much larger families.
For the kids in school, they hear about our career paths. They ask us about college and all the different opportunities that result from a good education. It gives them a vision of what is possible.
It’s bizarre to think that just a short visit from Americans could be inspiring. It is especially bizarre to think that I could be an inspiration. But the Ugandans here look up to us; they are eager to learn from us. They simply love being in our presence.
So here is the question for you: Who is in your life, or should be in your life, who would be blessed by your mere presence? A visit to a shut-in neighbor. A call to a sibling you haven’t talked to in a while. A note to an old friend you have lost touch with.
I think the notion of being “touched by a muzungu” is one we can apply whether we are in Uganda or not. It works at home too. It is a touch that means you love, you respect, you care.
So, tomorrow, whose hand will be touched by a muzungu?
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