One of the ongoing debates we hear is whether it’s wise to spend the money traveling to Uganda so much. Wouldn’t it be a more efficient use of resources if we just sent funds over? That way more people could be served. I mean, painting a building or installing gutters can be done by just about anyone, right?
This is certainly a question of stewardship but it’s also a reflection of our western mentality to maximize time and money. God’s economy is a little different though. Yes, good stewardship of resources is critically important, but in our mind there’s no substitute for being present. Our God is relational. He didn’t send a check or wire funds. He sent His Son, in the flesh, to dwell among His people.
By being present, we bless others in ways that money can’t. I can buy a meal for you or I can sit down and break bread with you. The latter is a picture of the Kingdom and much more encouraging to the brethren. Rather than simply receiving food, they receive the encouragement and support of knowing that someone cares enough to show up. That’s huge! Especially when you’re in prison. Matt. 25:36.
Also, by being there, God blesses us. I wish we could recount all the incredible blessings we’ve received simply by spending time with the children and our friends in Uganda. Not necessarily by doing anything for them, but by just being with them. They encourage us as much (if not more) than we encourage them, and the body is strengthened as we share our experiences with our friends back home.
Could we save more money by not going? Absolutely. Is our God big enough to provide the resources we need to carry out the ministry He’s called us to (including travel)? You bet He is.
We should emphasize that our desire is for as much of the ministry’s funds to be spent on behalf of the children. So we made a conscious decision that everyone pays his own way to travel to Uganda. No ministry funds are used for team members to travel there, leaving more resources for the children.
Yes it’s expensive to travel to Uganda and we exercise wisdom in planning our travel. But we still go.