Home after three months in Uganda and a meeting to debrief with Dr. Scott Kellermann, the missionary doc who started it all…
Truth is revealed in many ways and sometimes from the unlikeliest sources.
One of my former bosses, a TV news director in Monterey, Calif., once bellowed a comment across the newsroom I’ve always remembered: “It’s all there, if you know where to look.” What he was referring to was the obvious. It’s right in front of you. Sometimes it blinds us. Open your eyes or your mind and you will find what you’re looking for. It’s right where it’s always been.
As I count down the days to my second African sojourn in 10 months, many incredible stories and and video opportunities await me near the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and among the lives of the Batwa Pygmies.
Education and health care are of primary focus. The Batwa Development Program (BDP) provides education for Batwa children. Batwa women are trained to knit and tailor clothing.
The Batwa and their neighbors receive health care visits to their communities by the Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH) and BDP. They learn about the importance of pre-natal care, hygiene, clean water, sanitation and nutrition.
From our experience it will be like going back in time. Supporting the Kellermann Foundation through the BDP and BCH can improve the lives of the Batwa.
I will document and report the work that’s being done. I hope and pray that I know where to look because everything awaits me there.
Walking into Faith Church after my first international sojourn, the first person I saw in the sanctuary was Scott Kellermann. This unexpected meeting with the missionary doc and friend would begin conversations to open the door to the next chapter of my video ministry abroad.
A return to Africa has been on my mind ever since I left Nairobi, Kenya, for London last June. Since the July encounter, Scott and I met several times to discuss a trip to the Bwindi compound, with hospital and school, to live and learn about the lives of the Batwa pygmies in the African jungle. As Scott and I sat down to talk, he looked me in the eye and agreed that once you’ve been to Africa, it gets into your soul and you got to go back.
What is it about the place that tugs on you? As simply as I can put it, to survive is to succeed. Depending where you are in sub-Saharan Africa, everything is hard. Transportation and potable water are two things we take for granted at home. They are not easily accessible. In Africa, as a visitor, your focus is on making it through the day. Putting on airs, or building phony facades is not necessary, for where are you going, or who are you trying to impress? Parts of you begin to get stripped away leaving only the essential you in this environment. That is what I love about Africa. I begin to see what kind of man I really am.
Scott has been encouraging and challenging. The lives and history of the Batwa his foundation serves is compelling. The government of Uganda forced them out of their ancestral home in the Impenetrable Forest to make a refuge for the mountain gorillas. The pygmies are now a nomadic tribe with no land of their own, no modern skills. There’s a need, he says, to get their story recorded before the elders leave us.
How exciting to capture scenes and accounts of an ancient life on video. Every day I think and dream of stories, anticipate production challenges. But I also wonder whether I’m good enough or serious enough to see this through.
It would be easy and stress-free to stay put. It’s a long and expensive trip. I’ll leave home for three months which burdens my family. But what can I gain from agonizing about these issues or emotions? I’d lose focus on the things I need to do before I leave. The thrill, adventure and communion with the Holy Spirit far outweigh my worldly worries.
Through prayer, I’ve given God all my concerns for this upcoming trip. His peace and direction have come quickly, soothing my spirit. What a feeling. What a God. What an opportunity he’s presented me.
I’m all in.
I can’t wait to tell my new friends in Uganda my story of God’s faithfulness.