This month is Bombo month. You ask, What does that mean? It seems it’s always Bombo month. Well, it means that we raise the funds to conduct the 2017 Bombo Medical Mission in August. In January, we recruit participants to go. In June, we will gather physical donations. In July, we pack the tubs. And in August, we pray and go. So yes, it’s a big deal around here.

As we prepare to open our 10th medical mission, I must say that each year there is a sense in which we face the unknown. The first year we were just clueless. Well, I was. It was a steep learning curve and a shock to the pastoral system. That year we spent half the week going back and forth to Entebbe, trying to pry our imported drugs out of customs. By Thursday (and one very patient Les Smith) we secured our drugs — which a day later we packed up for the next clinic. Since then our experiences have been rich. Rain. Earthquake. Chickenpox. TB. Burns. Often decisions of life and death. But not too often.

The mission is an investment. Financially, but personally too. We are building relationships with people that will last forever. Some dear friends have died in these 10 years, but a reunion is coming. The joy on the faces of those in Uganda when we show up each year is priceless. We arrive with surprises for the cooks and books for the pastors and hope for the people. They get treatment for their disease, or eyeglasses so they can read, or that tooth pulled so the pain will go away. I wish everyone could go to Bombo at least once. I will never forget last year’s reaction to a simple wheelchair. Overwhelming joy.

So yes, the medical clinic is a big deal for us, it consumes a lot of energy and stretches our lives. And, yes, it’s a big deal to the patients. But…it is an even bigger deal to the church in Bombo. The church spends months preparing everything, training everyone, and yes, limiting the number of volunteers. With all the patients and local medical staff — they can’t include everyone who wants to help. It takes over 100 church volunteers to make the mission possible and they turn people away. Ushers. Guards. Cooks. Supply storeroom workers. Cleaners. Sound techs. Musicians.

We aren’t the heroes. The people of Bombo are the heroes. I firmly believe that. They sacrifice much to put this mission together. It costs them something — including their money. Yes, they take offerings and encourage people to support the clinic with their shillings — and they do it out of their poverty.

We help the church of Bombo to communicate the love of Jesus. They make a huge impact in the community with this clinic. It provides them with a voice to share the love and grace of Jesus. And to me, that’s worth everything. We enjoy a deep partnership with them, and to be honest, we benefit most from that. Eternity will be filled with the stories of those who saw the love of Jesus one week in August. Thanks for your part in that journey. Give generously, by the way!