Tomorrow We Fly to Uganda

It’s 7:30 in the morning here, Eastern Standard Time. My fingers automatically begin to move on my lap the way they have done for the past week or so every time I check the clock. (Yes, I still count on my fingers.)

Count up to eight. Eight-thirty, nine-thirty, ten-thirty . . . three-thirty. It’s 3:30 pm in Kampala. Tomorrow, we begin the long trip, passing the sun as it sets in the west only to greet it again when it rises over Uganda.


Here’s something dumb about me: I’ve never liked telling people how to pray or what to pray for. It makes me uncomfortable, probably for stupid reasons, one of them being I believe your conversation with God is personal and intimate and if he would have you pray for me, well then he’ll need to let you know.

I don’t feel that way when others ask me to pray for them, but when people ask how they can pray for me, I get twisty. It’s not rational, I know.

I am a mess.

But here’s the thing: we would appreciate your prayers for this trip.

To get us to Uganda, yes.

But more, the reason I agreed to get on a plane across the world again was because I believe in the work Compassion is doing on behalf of children living in poverty and I want to help get kids sponsored.

I will write what I see, but I am fully and completely and humbly aware of the simple fact that what I see may not be exactly what is. It will all be seen through the filter of my own culture, experience, and privilege, but I’m asking you to follow along with me anyway.

The truth is, we will be walking the carpeted floors of airplanes and airports nearly the same amount of time as we will be walking on the dusty clay of Uganda. Our time in the country is unfortunately short.

But I ask you to follow along with us anyway.

And on a ridiculous note, I will be traveling with my sister. That isn’t ridiculous by itself, it’s fantastic.

But the ridiculous part is that when we are together, we get sisterly. Laughy. Jokey. Idiotic. Just ask Tsh. Or any person who has ever traveled with the pair of us. My kids tell me I have a laugh that only comes out around her. They always know when she’s the one on the other end of the phone based on my voice. For us, it’s a great gift to have each other. For others, I’m not sure gift is the word they would use.

sistersHere we are just before recording the Art of Simple Podcast with Tsh. We had to share a mic and earbuds for an hour. To say we were giggly is an understatement.

I feel like I need to issue an official warning to our fellow travelers: I’m sorry. Laughter and snorting might manifest itself at awkward or inappropriate times, causing me to do something personally embarrassing or worse, culturally offensive (dear God, please no, anything but that).

sisters in ugandaBut I ask you to follow along with us anyway.

And I also ask for grace.

Would you be willing to forgive us our inability to fully express and always accurately interpret what we see?

Would you come along by reading with an open heart? Would you pray for us even though I’m not even sure how to ask that without feeling weird?

Most importantly, would you consider sponsoring a child in Uganda? You can click here to see some who are still waiting.

Our posts begin on Monday. If we can get an internet connection. That could be another thing to pray for. You know, if you want. Whatever. I’m not the boss of you.

I have problems.

Here are some ways for you to follow our trip:

If you want to keep up with all of my posts while we’re in Uganda, simply continue reading the blog as you normally do.

If you would like to read what everyone else is writing, too (yes! do!) simply visit this page where all the posts that Myquillyn, Jeff, Joy, Brianne, Shaun, Wess, and I write will be gathered in one spot for easy reading.

On that same page you will also be able to watch to see how many children are sponsored daily – with a goal of 400. Here’s how it looks today.

our goalThanks for your prayers, and for forgiving me my awkwardness in asking for them. I hope you’ll follow along.


  1. Nancy says

    Can’t wait to hear all about your trip! You asked for advice for flying. The last time I flew (to Israel a year ago) it had been so long since I flew that everything was new. Especially the TV-thingy on the back of the seat in front of me. I was so enamored with it that by the time I finished checking out every TV show, movie, arcade game, trivia game, cartoon, music channel, etc. that was on it, I didn’t have time to watch an entire episode of anything….because we were at our destination!! No, it wasn’t a short trip. There were a lot of options on that baby. Hope your trip goes well. Having someone to giggle with will definitely make the time go fast.

  2. says

    Have a safe trip, Emily! Looking forward to following along your trip and all the updates! And you two are so hilarious and cute together (I listen to that pod cast), I’m sure you’ll keep each other entertained. ox

  3. Melanie says

    Emily, I will be praying. You all sharing your experiences over there is what led me to sponsor a child yesterday. I had never heard of Compassion before until I started reading several blogs over the past few weeks. I wish I could sponsor more, and in time, I am trusting God that I will be able to. I’m looking forward to reading and seeing pictures of the trip!

    God bless you all!

    from a new reader :)

    • says

      Your sponsored child will bless you like nothing else. We sponsor a young girl in Kenya, and it’s touched us in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Blessings for your sponsorship journey!

  4. says

    Definitely praying for you, Emily, for all the things you mentioned. And I can’t wait to follow along with you as you undoubtedly beautifully interpret the Ugandan people’s stories.

    Much love to you, friend. xo

  5. says

    I will be praying. My father worked with Compassion International for more than twenty years (until he retired), most of the years in Haiti, where I essentially grew up. The work that Compassion does is very good, full of integrity, and of eternal consequence. Praying that the work God does in and through your willingness to be used far exceeds what you could ever hope or imagine. May God’s Spirit be with your every encounter, however seemingly small or large.

  6. says

    Oh Emily I am so excited for you. I spent 3 weeks in Uganda in 2010, that’s its own story, but just so you know, the toilet paper is often purchased or located outside before you enter and this discovery just might bring out the giggles depending on the circumstances :-) (maybe that’s its own story too?)

    I will most definately pray!

  7. valerie says

    My family and I just got home from Uganda 2 weeks ago yesterday. Part of our hearts are still there, and I can’t wait to follow your journey. Will definitely be praying for you and your team, asking God to move through you and in you.

  8. Sue says

    Emily, you will love it. I go to Uganda every year, have done since 1991, sometimes twice a year, and my husband is there right now. With our church. We have over 80 churches there across the country, and we have got so many wonderful friends there. The Ugandans are such lovely people, so easy to get on with, though we have learned not to believe quite everything we hear! Will so be praying for you, and following your blog. God bless, have a wonderful trip.

  9. adrienne says

    Will be praying Emily! I sponsored a little boy in the Philippines in response to your blogging :) Now he wants to be my facebook friend. hmmmmm….not sure about that! My soon-to-be 15 year old daughter and my husband are going to Guatemala this summer on a mission trip to an orphanage. I hope it is life changing for them :)

  10. says

    Yes. Yes – to all of it. I understand the sisterly thing, and the hard to write it accurately thing and the feeling weird about asking for prayer. I do.
    But you are on my heart and I will be praying – for safe travels, for your families at home, for the ones you go to serve, for hearts touched with compassion.
    We sponsor two little girls, sisters, in Africa. They are so very precious. It is sheer joy.
    Praying for you Emily!

  11. Rachel says

    I have a sister that gets a special voice and laugh too. Any time we are together we magically revert back to 12 and 14, sister friendships are the fountain of youth :) Will be praying Ephesians 3:20 over the trip that God will do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” That hearts will be touched both at home in the US and that all of the children there will see and feel Jesus in your kind words and hugs. Will be sharing and praying you blow the roof off the 400 sponsored goal! :)

  12. Michelle Holland says

    Praying for you and your sister. Thank you for going. I know that you both will use the gifts God has given you to help us see how He is moving in Uganda. We have been sponsors for Compassion for many years and we urge other to ask The Lord what He would have them do. Again, thank you both for going. PS Isn’t it just like Him to bless you with being together as you try to be a blessing to others. :)

  13. Carol says

    I am so excited to hear about the Compassion bloggers trip to Uganda! I’m not sure what area you will be in… if you just so happen to go to Kabarole Child Development Center a little girl named Esther is loved and prayed for very much!!!

  14. Samantha says

    Thanks for sharing a little bit of what you’ve been up to~ 😉 I just started following your blog because I’ve read & loved reading two of your books!

    I wish you (and your sister) all the best for your trip~ I’m pretty sure both of you can keep each other entertained on the plane for a while, haha!

    What does it matter that you have a mess of problems? :) I know God has many great things planned for you in Uganda, not matter how short the trip might be. 😉

  15. says

    So so so excited to follow you all on this trip!

    I don’t know if I told you this but my mom just retired from working for Compassion for the last 17 years.

  16. Lois says

    Emily, I’m so excited for you and your sister and your “team.” I follow Joy as well and was thrilled to read that she will be along on this trip. My prayers go with you all–for safe travel and for a life-changing experience. I cannot wait to read all about it. God go with you.

  17. Charlotte says

    Praying for ya’lls ministry! My compassion international child, Barbra who I wrote to for 7 years in Uganda, passed away of malaria this past September. I know that ya’ll will make such a differenc eover there. Thank you for what youre doing.

  18. says

    Have a safe trip. I don’t comment much, but I mentioned your marriage article in my Weekend Superlative links on the blog and told about how you’ve become a household name in our home. 😉

  19. says

    Definitely will be praying for you all! When I read the title of your post I offered up a prayer before even reading. When I began the post I had to smile – before you even brought yourself to ask God had spoke to my heart. Oh, how He loves us.

  20. Cassie Stphan says


    I’m preparing for a mission trip to Uganda in August! So, I’m looking forward to reading your posts. You will be in my prayers.

  21. says

    Emily, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Uganda over the years (but not for about 10 yrs now) and its a place you will fall in love with, particularly as people are so open to the Spirit and God there. It will break your heart and mend it too. Enjoy. Don’t be afraid. I know you’ll recognise and value the spiritual richness as well as the material poverty. And be as honest as you can, whilst also realising that its hard to process your experience in the moment. It takes weeks if not months….I also used to work for World Vision (UK and International) so know a bit about sponsorship. Bless you. I’ll be praying for you. Sx

  22. says

    Hi Emily,

    I sponsor an 8 year old girl in Uganda and my 8 year old daughter writes back and forth with her. I would love to go and take my daughter one day. Have a great and safe trip.


  23. says

    I wish I could stow away and end up with you!!! I would love to meet our sweet Namara…I wait for pictures of her..and my only hope, when they come, is for a BIG SMILE!!! Have a wonderful time & HUG every one of those kids…and, maybe, one will be ‘our’ girl!!!

  24. Kim says

    Emily, I came upon your blog through the Compassion site – I love what I see! I’ll be adding you to my reader. :)
    I’m so anxious to hear about your trip to Uganda. I am a 4th grade teacher in Holland Michigan and my class and I are sponsoring a boy in Uganda. I know the chances are few, but if for some crazy reason you ended up visiting his village (Kabale Village) and you came across him (Moses Ndiwalana, 10 years old) we would be giddy to see a couple pictures! We’ve sent him a couple letters and have received one back, but so much time passes between our correspondences. Pass this information through your group too, if you don’t mind, in case anyone gets to his neck of the woods.
    Thank you for making this trip and being willing to share your experience. We will be tuned in for more details…..

    Here’s our class blog where you can learn more about Moses:

  25. says

    Emily, I hope you have a great trip and enjoy the country! My husband and I just moved to Kampala, Uganda from Michigan a few weeks ago to teach at a school. There is a lot of need in this country and it’s awesome what you guys are doing! We’ll be praying for you!

  26. Jenny says

    I just began sponsoring a child in Uganda in December. I am so excited to follow your journey and I will pray for your team when I pray for my little boy, Deos, each day.

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