What is your name and what was your role on the trip?
My name is Lorrayne Carpenter and my role was to provide nursing assistance to the physician while treating sick or injured villagers.
(I am also the resident mom. I bring the food…band-aids…do the conversion math….take care of Dan Davis…!).
Have you been to Africa before? If so, how many times?
Yes, I have been before. I have been part of 4 teams previously.
What was the most difficult part of the journey?
This is two fold for me.
- The planning at home prior to the trip is daunting. I have a husband that is wonderful, but he doesn’t cook, and since we have 4 children (3 at home)they like to be fed ! I prepare 2 weeks worth of dinners to freeze , then make sure the calendar is covered-who goes where, when and how will they get there…pay the bills ahead. You get the idea!
- Raising the funds to go! I have an amazing community of believers that have supported Ben, my son, and me for all of these years. We do a huge yard sale, which takes all year to collect for…but glad we can do it! But, I know that your Dad needs the $ in a timely way, and this is a challenge for us sometimes.
What was the most fulfilling part of the journey?
The most fulfilling part of the journey is watching how the Lord uses us, and then how He changes the hearts of the people we serve. The happiness and gratefulness of the people is amazing. He molds me a little bit more every year. Jesus speaks to me in the solitude of Africa, in a way that I cannot hear at home.
And, how he knits the hearts of the team together to love each other and to be unconditional with the Africans we see. I am somehow connected, in a common spiritual bond, to the other members of the teams. We may not have any contact for a time, but they are in my prayers and we are there for each other.
Were there any experiences that happened you didn’t expect?
No, not really. Every year it get’s better than the last. We are ready for whatever the Lord sends us!
Did you connect with any of the locals? What was their name and story?
I don’t really know any names. But their faces are so familiar to me. We serve in two bigger villages, Nalimawa, and Nagamuli. (sp?) There are people there that we see every year, whose faces are embeded in my mind. I pray for them as I see the snapshot of their face in my mind. There is a young man caring for many relative children that were orphaned by their parents through the results of aids and death. He is serving the rest of his family in a mighty way! There were boys we saw on the street, looked to be 9, 10, 14 years old, that were sniffing glue. They were skinny. Their faces lacked the sweet spirit a young boy has. They were sad and hungry and it really broke my heart. Then, when we got back home, on the way home from the airport, I saw some homeless fellas, that had that same vacant look in their eyes. I asked myself “What would you have me do to serve here at home, Father?”
What would you say to someone who may be considering going next year to HIV Africa2011?
I would say to pray and listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in your heart. Then plan, and make every possible effort to go! It will change your view of the world, and the suffering of the people there! It will change who you are! You will be forever blessed by the amazing people of Uganda and Kenya. I would not have missed this opportunity for anything!