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Headmaster Philbrick returns from Uganda Mission Trip – The Double Blessing Effect

In late June, I was blessed to join a team of folks from Epsom Bible Church doing mission at the Word of Life Bible Institute and International Christian School in Kampala Uganda. We served in several capacities, and now that we are home, we have experienced that beautiful, “blessed to be a blessing” phenomenon that accompanies a good mission trip. Making the trip more special for me was experiencing it with my wife (Kate) and son (Joey ’23) who each had their own part of our overall work.

My primary reason for going was to work with the teachers in the Word of Life International School. The school offers a well-developed program of study for kids in K-12th grade. At the end of our first week, I led an intensive 2-day conference for the teachers, ranging from 40-60 folks each session. They were long days, under the leadership of my new African friend, Headmaster Arthur Murungi. As I have found in past mission trips, God brings me to men just like myself, doing a similar work in another part of the world. It makes me laugh to think of us all doing God's service around the globe, and then spending eternity together! Arthur expected a lot of both me and his teachers, our day being 8-5 each day! I taught on "Biblical World View Education for the first day and "Differentiated Instruction" the second. The response was wonderful, and perhaps God is already creating some kind of part 2 of this great story.

Early in our second week I spent two productive days with Principal Arthur and his leadership team of department heads. We focused mainly on communication and supervision/evaluation. As much as his school is developed and so much larger than JRHS, Arthur and his team are very young at their jobs (only 3 years), and I was able to share methods, procedures, systems and practices that inform my leadership, all learned over time.

While I was engaged at the school, other members of our team were teaching classes in the Bible Institute, leading a women’s conference, making a carpet ball game for their summer ministries, and hosting sports outreaches. As we served, we were cognizant of the fact that perhaps the best thing we could do is form relationships with the lovely WOL people. As we got to know the people more and more, not only did our WhatsAp addresses multiply, but this is when we entered the “double blessing effect” of experiencing God’s blessing while we served His people.

One highlight of the trip was the Sunday afternoon Sports Outreach that we hosted. We invited nearly 400 youth from area boarding schools and villages to come to an afternoon of sports fun and gospel outreach. Joey was the leader on the basketball court, and others from WOL staffed volley ball, net ball and soccer. For nearly 2 hours, the youth had intense, well-organized fun, which I learned that this is not something they have a lot of access to. The mass of 400 sweaty and eager young souls then sat attentively as our team member Neil preached the salvation message to all. We celebrated new Kingdom Advancement due to our work – Praise God!

Coming through a trip like this generally creates more questions than answers, and this one was no exception. For me, big ideas are circulating around my head ranging from world poverty and hunger, to what is a “best” Christian education, to how do I adjust my game now that I have been so blessed by the Ugandans. So, JRHS Families…..get ready for April 2023 – we just might be going back!

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