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Zillah Whitehouse has lived in Mbarara, Uganda since 2009, working in the Physiotherapy Department at the local hospital and university. Here she talks about some of the positive changes that have happened to her since coming to live in Uganda.
A recent conversation
I work as a member of the Physiotherapy Department at the local hospital and university, developing and teaching a degree course in Physiotherapy. I also attend St Luke’s Chapel, the large Anglican church on the university campus, attended by about 300 students. My life is a busy mix of lecture planning and teaching, meeting with students, time with friends and speaking at church.
In the course of a conversation with a friend recently, I was asked whether I had changed positively since coming to live in Uganda. It was a good challenge. These were some of the answers I gave her as I reflected on my life as a mission partner.
Helping the Healers
After a hard day’s work what could be better than sitting down with your Granny, sipping tea and looking at the stars as the moon rises? Life in Chad is often hard, and working at Bebalem Hospital presents more than its fair share of challenges for Catherine Grier. But Granny Rebecca provides a support network and a place to be, away from the busyness of work. Catherine shares: ‘Granny prays for me, feeds me and is always there for me. After a church meeting or Bible study, we can open the Bible together and encourage each other. We do this in Ngambai too, so not only am I built up in my faith and life, I’m learning more of the local language, as we spend time together.’
Improved recognition of my sinful nature – I have realised that some of my ‘fruit of the spirit’ characteristics were behaviours learnt from godly parents and mentors, not actually from a changed heart. In a different culture I realised how I can be impatient and lacking in self control. Now I can work on this and be increasingly thankful for God’s grace.
Improved ability to share my life – people here are great at doing life together, doors are open and problems are shared. This has helped my ability to be a disciple as well as to disciple. I pray that God will use the different relationships I have to build up the others in the same way I am being built up.
Improved ability to talk about God openly – it is definitely easier to talk about God here because the majority of people recognise he exists! It has been good practice for me to speak more freely in lectures, in one-to-ones with students, with patients and in conversations with friends.
The AIM team here are seeking to work with local churches, like St Luke’s, to see students discipled and embrace their part in God’s mission. It is our prayer that some will be called to unreached people groups across Africa. I realise that my own part in that can only be possible if I am willing to share my life, recognise my own need for God and openly talk about him.