It's that time again! Cullen Ecoffey has written the fifth article in our Throwback Blog Series! He will provide us with his stories, experiences, and testimony during the 2019 Managers on a Mission Trip to Uganda.
Although we've rebranded to Uncommon Sports Group, the lessons the Lord has taught us and those that attended our events are still important and impactful. Read below to learn about what the Lord did during the trip:
My Managers on a Mission (MOAM) Summer Impact trip experience began through Twitter. I found out about MOAM because they followed me, and my reaction after looking at their profile and website was, “This is way too good to be true.” I applied and got accepted to attend the Summer Impact Trip to Uganda, and every part of my experience since the moment I showed up at our Summer Impact Team training was just that: way too good to be true.
What God has done in providing a community of Christ-centered servant leaders within sport, to grow together in our walk with Him has been surreal. Meeting and connecting with so many other members of sports teams, all attempting to grow spiritually left me with more energy than I ever have had before for my walk with God.
I attempted to approach our team’s summer impact experience without any expectations and accept what God had planned for us. I never thought that his plan would include us all coming together to pull our bus out of the mud, running with hundreds of African children away from the rain, praying for over seven more people as they chose to accept Jesus Christ as their savior, and getting baptized in the Nile. The lessons that he has placed in my life through my teammates and all the people we encountered on our journey are things I will take with me for the rest of my life.
Even before our trip, I knew I was in for something special just by chatting with my teammates at training. Each person on the team brought something unique to the table and had noticeable energy toward trying to grow in their relationship with God. I thought that there was no way that I could match their passion for Christ and was unqualified to be able to go with them on this trip. However, once we all began our journey together, I realized that we all were at different points in our spiritual journeys, and no one expected me to be anything but myself.
Being able to share in the experiences God was putting in our lives and how they were impacting each of us provided me with a tight community to share my faith that I never thought I’d find. Being vulnerable and sharing my true testimony for the first time with a large group of people terrified me. However, the acceptance and outpouring of love they showed me afterward showed me I don’t have to be afraid to be myself. I can be who I am in every moment of every day because I know that God has placed the experiences he has in my life to be able to connect with and grow with the other souls he places around me.
I’m unsure what I expected from the Ugandan people that God has come to place in my life, but I can assure you it isn’t what I found. The happiness of the people here doesn’t come from any materials you have brought them or resources you have blessed them with. They are happy because you exist and are with them at that given moment in time.
They have shown me an appreciation for life and the people we get to do life with that I have never experienced. They are far more respectful than any other people that I have encountered in my life. When we would go out and do street evangelism, even if the people we encountered didn’t accept the knowledge we were giving them, they would give us their time and listen. They appreciated us taking time out of our days to spend with them.
My journey has been a little bit different than the rest of my teams due to the fact that mine is still ongoing. I am in Uganda till August 8th, and God is still using the people here to continue to provide me with lessons each day. The main lesson that I have begun to realize is that although my background and where I come from is so different from the people I have encountered here, we still have so much in common.
In Uganda, they have grown up knowing relational blessings. In the United States, we have grown up knowing material blessings. At the end of the day, though, we are all people experiencing the blessings and trials that God is placing in our lives so that we may know him better, help others know him, and prepare us for eternity.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Cullen!
Thank you for your time, and God bless!