I'm going to Uganda today. I feel so fortunate to be leading this team of wonderful individuals who have one thing in common, a heart for service.
Frank is our team photographer and videographer. This is his fourth MTI team trip and second time in Uganda. Earlier this year, Frank served on a stove project team in Guatemala with his wife Valerie. Frank is excited to return to Uganda and introduce his daughter Karen to a girl named Brenda whom he met three years ago at our youth center in northern Uganda. Brenda brought tears to our eyes when she told us how she had been shunned by her step mom and father’s new family because she was infected with the AIDS/HIV virus. She desperately wanted to go to school, but her grandma, whom she was living with at the time, didn’t have the money to pay for a uniform. We’ve been told that life has improved for Brenda and she is now thriving.
Frank’s daughter Karen wears her heart on her sleeve. Over the years she has been inspired by Frank’s MTI adventure stories and is overjoyed to be on this team with her "Pop." She and her husband Alan have a daughter, Abby (6) and son, Zackary (3). Karen works in human resources at Frank’s company. I have no doubt that her ability to connect with others will have a transformative affect on the people we’ll be serving. I am grateful to have this kind and hardworking woman on my team!
Pat is a retired educator and community leader. This is her second trip to Uganda and fourth trip with us. On past trips with Pat, I have been awed by her ability to connect with children in spite of the language barriers. She would playfully engage children in games of hopscotch and teach them how to count or recite the ABCs in English. Pat has had the opportunity to travel the world and during this season of her life, she is continuing to travel with a heart for service. Her family and grandkids are thrilled by her new adventures. Pat’s incredible grace and compassion inspires us all!
Pastor Jim is the senior pastor at Pat and my church. He was compelled to join this team because of his respect for Medical Teams International the tremendous work it does around the world and his admiration for the courage and faith of Africa and its people. Jim says, “They inspire me continually.” He and his wife Gloria have two children, Jake (16) and Elizabeth (12). This is Jim’s second trip to East Africa. In 2004, he participated in a mission trip to the Singida district of Tanzania. I am so pleased that he is on our team to share his preaching and teaching gifts with our Uganda staff and our partner pastors.
Eduardo is a native of Uruguay. He has been a worship and music minister for over 27 years and is also a Spanish interpreter, translator and a real estate broker. He has served at my church since 2001. Eduardo and his wife Yvonne have two grown sons and a teenage daughter. Eduardo is passionate about mission work and has been on more than a dozen mission trips around the world. We all are impressed by the song book Eduardo has created for our trip which includes color coded sections for worship, Christmas, traditional hymns and Broadway show tunes for our long car ride sing-a-longs. This is Eduardo’s first MTI team trip and he is bubbling over with excitement!
Teresa is traveling with MTI to Uganda for the second time. She has three grown children. Teresa is actively involved in the lives of her grandchildren Lucy (3 ½) and Max (1) whom she considers a big plus in her in life. She is willing to pitch in to help with whatever is needed. She is very excited to see the changes that have occurred in Udanda since she was there last. Teresa brings good humor and a gentle spirit to our team.
Then there’s me, Deb. This will be my ninth MTI team experience and third trip to Uganda. I have led volunteer teams to Mexico, Haiti and Guatemala. Each time I go out to where MTI is serving those in need, I am reminded of how privileged I am to work for this amazing organization. In my role as Senior Development Officer and Auction Manager in our Portland office, I feel fortunate to work with so many good people who are passionate about making our world a better place. My husband Tom and I have three wonderful grown children, a terrific son-in-law and three adorable granddaughters.
I can’t wait for this adventure to begin!