Who: Allee Rodenbaugh Where: Kaabong, Uganda When: Summer of 2012
What was the biggest thing you learned during your travels? I learned that our goal should be God Himself, not joy, or happiness, or peace, or even blessing, but Himself. And if we submit to that calling as Christians every moment of every day, the result will be true obedience. Working with a people group who is desperately lost, I was challenged to find joy, not in my circumstances or ministry successes, but in the living and faithful God.
A lot of people say they felt their life changed after traveling to Africa. Was this true for you? If so, how? Absolutely. Now, I wouldn't say Africa changed me. I would say the gospel did. I had been to Africa before this trip, and in that time I experienced the overwhelming joy of seeing Africans who knew Jesus and lived with reckless abandon to the gospel. It was life-altering to see people who physically had nothing but were spiritually full of God’s word and the joy that comes from knowing Jesus. This trip was different than that. The Karamojong were spiritually dead. They didn’t know Jesus, and they found their joy in Friday night village raids, like Americans find joy in Friday night football games. But in the midst of it all, I got to witness the power of the gospel bringing light to the lost and lonely, which I believe is the most beautiful thing that can be seen here on earth.
It opened my eyes to the unreached and the need for the gospel to go to the ends of the earth. It was a reality check that this life is fleeting, and Jesus didn’t give us life so that we could live how we want. He died to set us free, and experiencing that freedom leads us to desire to see other people have that same hope. I think Jesus is still using this experience a year later to convict my heart to remember that the gospel demands everything, and the Lord is engineering my circumstances... so I have no other option to depend on Jesus and allow his Spirit to work in me and through me.
Was there a specific person/people you met that had an impact on you? An elderly woman named Longolomae. One day while heading to town, my teammates stumbled across a woman hanging herself in the distance. She hadn’t been hanging for long enough to kill herself, so they did all they could to get her down and try to find help. They took her to the hospital, and the hospital rejected her, saying, “She wanted to die, let her die.” So instead, we took her in. We sat and prayed with her, and tried to feed her and make her better.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we found out through a long string of events that a wicked man had stolen all of her land and crops. It was all she had, leaving her hopeless, so she tried to take her life. But God engineered it so that my teammates would stumble across her at the exact right time that morning.
The Lord put a heavy burden on my heart for Longolomae. For the rest of my trip, I would walk to her village, bringing her water and biscuits. We didn’t speak the same language, so at times it was difficult. But I prayed that the light of Jesus would be revealed to her. To this day she still does not know Jesus as her Savior. But I am reminded of his unfailing love by His grace that he extends to her daily, even though her heart is hardened. Every day I pray that the Holy Spirit would change her heart, and reveal to her the hope of Jesus!