Thursday, January 26, 2012

Uganda Prep Time

In less than 4 weeks I'll be on a plane... Uganda bound! Woot Woot! The excitement is building and the prep work is under way! This past weekend the entire Uganda team was able to get away for 24 hours for a time of planning and team building.

(Side note: bare with me on this little tangent... ) While some of you might cringe at the thought of "team building" and roll your eyes to cheesy ice breakers, I'll have you know- I LOVE IT and truth be told,  deep down I wish every social situation in life required people to be silly and get uncomfortable for the sake of breaking down the ridiculous walls we have up in our lives! You see, this passion I have for team building is in my blood, it's inevitable when you work at a camp for 5 years! I mean, think about it, day in and day out, I was surrounded with people playing goofy games that had awesome names like "Giants, Dwarfs, and Wizards" and "Mosquito Tag", and "The Borg", along with "Rapid Fire"(my favorite, I might add!), and "Lilly Pad Landing" and the ever so popular "Chubby Bunny"! Oh and don't even get me started about the fun we can have with trust falls, and blind hikes, and the spider web! Makes me smile just thinkin' about it! (Oh how my inner-dork is shining through right now!)

Okay, I'm back! Thanks for sticking with me, back to this weekend! As you might have guessed, my heart was happy because Friday evening consisted of "get to know you" games, and a team building exercise!

We went around the table taking turns reading random and funny facts about one another that each of us had turned in prior to the retreat. We had to guess who said what. I'm always amazed at the things I learn about people and I'm even more amazed at how quirky people are! From one person's favorite childhood food being the school's cafeteria salisbury steak to another person who has a deathly fear of velvet/velour?! Gotta love it!

Team building exercise: We were each given a role to play, and our objective was to get from one house to the other where our "safe zone" was in under 20 minutes. My "role" was that I had no legs, obviously unable to walk, but I couldn't mention that I had no legs to anyone. If any of us mentioned what our role/aliment was, then we had to start all over. The group consisted of someone who was blind, someone with with no arms, someone who had paralyzing panic attacks, someone who was deaf, a nay-sayer, someone who fainted every time the nay-sayer disagreed with the group, an 85 year old who was only able to say "huh, I didn't hear you", and a headstrong leader who told others what to do and thinks they're always right. Well... you can only imagine how difficult communication was given our aliments! Hence me getting dropped by Carrie here because she had to faint while carrying me because Nancy, the nay-sayer, disagreed with our plan of action!

So here I'm rethinking how in the world I'm going to get someone to carry me all the way over to the other house! Notice  Nancy, the nay-sayer yelling, "No! This is not a good idea!" She played the role well! As we started to figure out everyone's roles based on their behavior, we were able to communicate a little better- but it wasn't very pretty, that's for sure!
This is the oh so eloquent "hand off" of legless Hilary... to the blind man, mind you! Yes folks, that's right- after much deliberation it was determined that the only one strong enough that was able to carry me was the BLIND guy! He had to have his eyes closed the entire time and carry me outside, in the dark, along an uneven stone walkway! Talk about nerve racking! Shawn (blind guy), you most definitely got your work out for the night! Sorry I ate so much for dinner, that had to have added a pound or two! (o;

I made sure the others kept Shawn (blind guy) on the path! But quite honestly, I'm not sure the others were of much help considering (Brett, to my right) had no arms and couldn't catch me if I fell, (Bekah to my left) was getting more scared with every step leading to a full blown panic attack, (Nancy, behind me) disagreeing with every word spoken, and (Jeff, behind me) was just busy bossing us all around. I'm glad to announce that we did in fact make it to our "safe zone" all alive and uninjured! And I'm pretty sure we're all closer for it!

Saturday consisted of quality time digging into the material we'll be teaching while in Uganda for the conference that we're hosting for Hessed International's Ugandan pastors and their wives.  The ladies from our team will be teaching on marriage (my section is on Successful Marriage-Building Strategies- Joshua particularly likes the chapter I teach on "Keeping Your Romance Alive"... such a guy!) and we're also teaching on Health and Hygiene (lot's of talk about germs and how they're spread & ways to conserve water). We were able to run through teaching our topic and get feedback from the group, which resulted in the unanimous decision that I talk too fast and need to slow down! (No surprise there!) But it was good to get a feel for how we want to present our lessons and hash through any questions we might have.

My favorite part about Saturday though was when we all shared our life stories with the group. Each of us went around the circle and vulnerably and honestly shared about how God had transformed our lives! There is something incredibly powerful about the testimony of 9 people, all from different walks of life, sharing the common thread of God rescuing us from our sinful self and witnessing the beauty that comes from His redeeming love! I am so honored to be going to Africa with this incredible group of imperfect people, who are desperately seeking God's story for their life! There is no doubt that God has woven this team together for His purposes, all with our different strengths and weaknesses to accomplish His work while we're in Uganda!

I'm so stinking grateful for our team leaders who put their precious time and effort into making this weekend happen.  Thank you for realizing the importance in getting away, even just for 24 hours, to establish team unity! Thank you to the rest of the team for showing up with open hearts and sharing the same passion for loving God and loving others! This trip... it's gonna be good!


  1. Oh my goodness, I am so EXCITED to hear how God works through your trip to Uganda!!! It's gonna be amazing! And you and Jody would get along great, because he loves all those get-to-know-you type games too! Haha! :)

  2. Thank you for a hilarious and beautiful recap of the retreat. It was such an amazing time and I am blown away by how much this team puts it...their time, energy and HEART in preparation. Can't wait to travel with you, my friend!

  3. I loved hearing about the weekend from my husband, but its great to hear it from another perspective! I can't wait to hear the stories when you all return! :)

  4. Umm, is it crazy/sad to go on a mission trip to Africa just to go to the team-building retreat? If not, sign me up (but don't make me the one with no legs...I'm WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY to heavy, even for Sean)! ;o)

    All kidding aside, sounds like you all had just the time you needed to connect before you take this amazing journey together. Way to work, God!


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