On the 8th of September, a CSYMA team of Youth Ministers and leaders set off for the fifth Uganda Mission in anticipation of what the next two weeks would bring. When they arrived, the CSYMA Team combined with key CSYMU (Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Uganda) leaders for the mission.
The first phase of the mission was the East-African Teacher Formation Conference began with nearly 150 teachers and Church leaders from 15 Dioceses across Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya gathering in Masaka, Uganda. The Conference inspired teachers and leaders to create centres of the New Evangelisation in our Catholic education system whilst deepening their own faith grounded in a renewal of their vocation as teachers.
This lead into the school visits that presented the basic Gospel message to about 5000 students across five days in the Dioceses of Lira, Kasana – Luweero and Kampala.
The team were also involved with mercy eorks including the Masaka Women’s Prison, Kampiringisa Juvenile Detention Centre and Nsambya Babies Home.
Overall, it was a powerful mission and we are looking forward to deepening our connections with Uganda in the future. Olivia Niethe said, “with a mind purposefully absent of expectations, I was innocently unaware of the profound impact the next two weeks would have as they so tangibly revealed the love, joy and peace that is God.
This was revealed through the three main components of the mission trip: the East African Teacher’s Formation Conference, School Visits and Mercy Works, which each though unique in their own experience are inseparable to the overall power of the mission. Throughout the entirety of the mission having the opportunity to connect with others be it a teacher from South Sudan, a member of the Uganda Team, a child at the Juvenile Detention Centre, a group of students, a prison guard or a baby cradled in your arms, touched my heart. Through the people of Uganda, I became totally and completely wrapped in a love, joy and peace, and in this my heart found home.”
With the CSYMI vision deepening across Uganda, including the recent support of the National Education Secretariat, it will be incredible to see the East African region continue to bring youth ministry to life across their Catholic schools. Returning to Uganda again meant maintaining the relationship that has been cultivated over a number of years. Returning CSYMA Youth Minister, Hannah McMahon, captured this when she said that “returning to a place that holds such an incredible place in my heart I had no idea what to expect – however God provided exactly what my heart desired without even realising I needed it. With my highlight being able to witness the joining of two completely different people and cultures through the undeniable everlasting love of Jesus Christ.”
CSYMA cannot wait to return in 2019 and beyond.