07.12.2006 // Bill Bachman Trip to Uganda!



I was recently on a mission trip to Uganda, Africa to a little city named Aura. I’ve been on three overseas mission trips now (Turkey, Peru, and Uganda) and am always amazed at how these experiences really stretch you and give you much needed perspective. The trip centered on a four day festival with an evangelist named Dan Owens and a coinciding US worship band (with me as the drummer). It's a lot of fun to play for 20,000 people in a culture that's all about rhythm & dance--worship is nothing like that here in the states!
After a couple days of travel (with a sightseeing break in London), we finally arrived in Aura, Uganda on a dirt airstrip. There were many people there to greet us and everywhere we went people were very friendly and excited to see us white folks. It’s a very poor area in which the people live in huts and walk or ride bikes to get around. All the roads are dirt and there are little 6’x6’ wooden “stores” scattered about where you can buy the daily necessities (if you can afford them). The people love to wear brightly patterned clothes and it’s charming how they never seem to match. Many pastors there were dressing up since it was a time to celebrate and seem official; we couldn’t help but notice that their suits didn’t fit right and had tattered spots where they’d been mended at some point. When you see how joyfully they sing and dance though, it is clear that they’re happier within their standard of living than most of us Americans are in ours. Everything they have there is dirty, old junk by our standards, but the people in Uganda made it clear once again that money and material things have absolutely nothing to do with happiness.
The festivals were held in a big field with shadily rigged-up stage and were very well attended, I believe that on the biggest day there were over 20,000 people. The locals played with great intensity and it was awesome to watch their passion with the music. Then it was our turn! With no rehearsal or sound-check, we were prepared to kick in when suddenly the power died. It became drum solo time & I played an extended solo that the people really got into (and consequently I had a solo every night!). Once we were powered up again we kicked into some American worship tunes, but with a driving groove that’d make old white folks want to leave with concerns about their pacemakers. The people were dancing & clapping and we were feeding off of each other’s energy. I loved playing for a huge crowd of people who really appreciated what we were doing, it was one of the more rewarding musical experiences I've ever had! Of course, all of this music is just a tool to honor our Lord Jesus Christ and draw people to Him. The evangelist Dan Owens closed each night with a powerful sermon followed by an alter call. All of the elements worked well together and it was awesome to watch hundreds of people come forward and give their hearts to Christ night after night.
Along with the evening crusades, during the day we went to hospitals, schools, and orphanages to help out where we could and spread the good word. These daytime events really stretched me a lot. I'm an open Christian, but generally not the “aggressively reaching out proclaiming Christ to people who may not want to hear about it” type. I'll never forget being in the hospital’s HIV ward surrounded by about a hundred people who know that they’re soon going to die and suddenly being the one to proclaim the gospel and pray over people. No matter how old or young we are, we know what we know about God and our relationship with Him. My prayers were always answered and God always came through giving me just the right things to pray for and the boldness and confidence to do it. It was awesome to see so many prayers answered right there on the spot, people healed, demons cast out (yes all of that stuff is very real!), and so much good done in the name of Jesus Christ. About one in ten people there has AIDS and there is a major need for medicines, treatments, education and supplies for healthy living. I strongly encourage all of you to help out those in Africa whenever you see a chance. They have so much to offer and it’s tragic to see so many lives unnecessarily cut short. The people in Uganda are beautiful and God loves them all just as much as anyone & everyone else on this entire earth!
Overall, I’d say that this Uganda mission trip was a blast musically, and spiritually a healthy stretch. Many needs were met, many churches were strengthened, and hundreds of people made the most important decision of their lives and came forward to give their lives to Christ! I'm humbled and thankful that I was invited and able to go and believe that the Lord is well pleased with the whole event. God is good!




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