Was Africa different?

Since the start of January I’ve visited churches in Durham and Sunderland, York, Cambridge, Newcastle and Kampala (Uganda). 

Meeting with 32 different churches in this time has blown my mind.  The diversity of tradition, vision and experience has been fascinating. 

In the UK I support local churches in fulfilling their callings amongst students.  In Uganda my friends Rachel, Edith and their team work to support local churches in fulfilling their callings in their communities too.  It was amazing to experience a similar work in such a wholly different context. 

One church there wanted to see their village be more economically sustainable, so Edith taught them to grow cabbages both in the church grounds and in their individual homes, to eat and to sell for profit.  Another church’s village needed toilets and a church building as worshipping in the rainy season under the tree was less than ideal.  So Edith and the team taught them how to make bricks out of the soil on their land and the toilets were in the process of going up as we arrived.  

The needs of those churches were so different because the needs of their communities at that time were different. 

Its really challenged me as to how we support local churches as Fusion but also as to how local churches see their callings when it comes to students.  I wonder what the needs of the students on your doorstep are?  I wonder how we can help you find a way to meet those needs. 

I expected my visit to Uganda to be something wholly out of the norm but the overriding feeling was that it had been a wonderful week like any other.  Here were people working out what it looked like to love their neighbour, serve their community, follow their God.  So many things were different yet at the heart of it they were asking the same questions - what does it look like to love God and love my neighbour today?

I can’t wait to get back on the road this week, starting with Birmingham, and meet with more amazing individuals with that same light inside of them.  To see how others are reaching needs, serving God, loving their neighbours.  I’m excited to continue to work out what it means to have met family on the other side of the world and to have recognised sameness in each other alongside the strangeness.  What it looks like to be diverse and united, here and there - I still have no idea.  Its a privilege to be working it out alongside such inspiring individuals. 

I took this amazing trip to Kampala with Tearfund Rhythms, definitely check out more of what they're up to here

Pippa Elmes

Ministry Training Leader

Pippa supports those in church based student ministry to do their job really well. She loves challenging churches to work with students and equipping them to pioneer new mission opportunities to reach students.                     

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