I’m going back to Uganda!

The dream that began when I was there last October has grown and expanded and taken on a life of its own.  It’s gathered momentum and interest. It’s generated plans and projects and new ideas. And it has become a passion and
mission not only of mine, but of my friend Tabitha and a number of other people who want to see this dream become a reality.

If you’ve been reading my column somewhat regularly in recent months, you know that one of the things I did in Uganda last year was visit Ki-Mombasa, a place where hundreds of young girls are living in filth and squalor, working as prostitutes and selling themselves for the equivalent of 30 or 40 cents.

Tabitha – who grew up in Uganda and now lives here in Minneapolis – read a newspaper story about Ki-Mombasa while we were still preparing for our trip, and we decided to go there after our other business in Uganda was finished.

Both Tabitha and I fell in love with the shy, soft-spoken girls we met that day, and although they were hesitant about talking to us at first, they’ve come to trust us and to know that we’re not going to abandon them. Tabitha is now “Mummy” to the girls, whom she’s visited a number of times during her several trips to Uganda. And although I was there just once so far, they know me as Auntie Betty, and have told Tabitha they’re looking forward to seeing me when I come back – which is going to be very soon.

Our dream for the girls is to build what we’re calling a Miracle Village, where they can live and work in a safe environment, earning enough money to support themselves and their families through jobs they can enjoy and take pride in.  Although some of the girls would like to make jewelry or work in a hair salon, we’re also exploring other business enterprises and opportunities for them, including some that will involve working the lush, fertile land that is plentiful in Uganda.

A few of the projects and endeavors have already begun, or have been put into place and are just about ready to go, thanks to people who have heard about what we’re doing and have jumped in to help. Most of them have a lot more knowledge and experience in this type of project than we do – for which we are extremely grateful! But we’re learning as we go along – by trial and error, by luck and determination, and by the grace of God and others who have also become a part of our dream.

As with my first trip to Uganda, I spend equal amounts of time in a state of near-panic, wondering what I’ve gotten myself into and realizing I’m in way over my head, and in a state of awe and wonder that I’ve been entrusted with such a sacred and significant responsibility. I’ve never in my life felt as called by God as I do now, and I know that it’s Him, not me, who’s directing traffic and sending me where I need to go.

So I’m praying, I’m planning, I’m packing, and I’m preparing to walk in faith to wherever this journey takes me next. I know I will be going back into Ki-Mombasa, as well as to some of the other cities I worked in last year. But I’ll also be going to some towns in a totally different area of Uganda than we were in last time. It’s going to be an adventure, and it’s going to be a challenge. But I’m looking forward to it more than I can say.

Tabitha and I are planning to blog while we’re in Uganda – provided we’re able to find a few spare minutes and a working Internet connection all at the same time – and our blog will be on the African Missions Outreach Organization’s website. So if you’d like to keep track of us while we’re gone, log on to www.amooblog.wordpress.com. You can also find some photos and information from last year’s trip to Ki-Mombasa on the “Uganda” tab of my
website, www.findyourburiedtreasure.com.

Either way, I hope you will keep us in your thoughts and prayers.  Not just us, but the girls in Ki-Mombasa, their children, and everyone involved in the Miracle Village that is already starting to take shape.

And thank you for being a part of my life, my stories, and my dreams!

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on August 23, 2012.

© Betty Liedtke, 2012

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