Annie Keeshan shares love, faith on a summer mission trip to Africa
With a heart that yearns to serve and a spirit that desires to cross the borders of her comfort zone, Annie Keeshan, a Lincoln senior majoring in international studies, was called to travel to Uganda for six weeks. Keeshan traveled with the Navigators, a Christian ministry spread across college campuses throughout the United States.
Keeshan first heard of this opportunity in a meeting at a conference in January. “Immediately, my heart leaped out of my chest,” said Keeshan, with a large grin. “They described a little about the trip and what we would be doing, and immediately I knew I was going to Uganda this summer.”
After months of planning and coordination, Keeshan and her team boarded the plane and headed for the country of Uganda. A long 24-hours between airports and planes and a six-hour drive on bumpy, dirt roads later, Keeshan and her team arrive to their destination of Mbale.
As the car drives up, children run excitedly chasing the car yelling “Muzungo,” which means “white person” in the Ugandan language.
Keeshan traveled with five girls and two team leaders. “We worked with two separate ministries while we were there,” Keeshan said.
For the first half of the trip, her team worked with Mission Moving Mountains, which is a ministry that works to teach people different techniques to provide for their families more sufficiently. For example, they teach the people different agricultural systems, which will help them understand how and when to grow their food better to have a more successful crop.
Keeshan described one of the phrases she learned about before traveling to Uganda. “Complicated problems require complicated solutions.”
Rather than going to a third world country, “fixing” a problem and leaving, this ministry focuses more on the individuals they are helping and providing them with the basic knowledge to go on to help themselves and their families. Focusing more on the individual provides a better opportunity to spread the Gospel as well.
“The most rewarding part was getting to experience the people, hear the stories and love on people,” said Keeshan after describing the experiences she had.
It wasn’t all work and no play: some fun moments Keeshan experienced included their car breaking down where wild African animals were roaming, eating fun foods with strange textures and being able to spread the love.
“We ate a lot of rice; rice was almost in every meal,” Keeshan said. For breakfast, the team usually had porridge and during the afternoon they would have a break where they would drink hot tea and share stories. “The team itself was very joy-filled and very energetic, and there was never a dull moment. We would sit and laugh aimlessly for hours,” Keeshan said.
After arriving home a little over month ago, Keeshan said she misses Uganda, but also the friendships that were built and the love that was shared during her time. She plans to go back in the very near future.
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