Dancing Under the Ugandan Skies
A triumph of storytelling
By David M. Huntwork
Over the past few years I have had the privilege to have known a native Ugandan missionary named Mike Wangolo. He is the leader of a team of Africans called Afri-Tendo (http://www.thrustministries.org/) who make periodic trips to the United States to witness to Americans through native songs and dances. During his travels he has become a close and valued friend to many of my friends and family.
Through his story and example many people have developed a heart of love and compassion for the Ugandan people. One of the people influenced by Mike Wangolo through his trips to the United States was a young lady who eventually ended up participating in a missions trip to Uganda.
The story Susan Smith's transformation and experiences in Uganda is amazing. Her life has been changed in a fundamental way and she has become a passionate humanitarian and missionary to the people of Uganda.
Uganda, especially in the northern part of the country, has suffered from over two decades of insurrection, lawlessness and civil strife. Over a million people were displaced from their homes during the fighting, many tens of thousands killed and orphaned, and the famous "midnight children" (thousands forced to flee their villages nightly to hide in forests, hospitals and nearby cities to avoid abduction by rebel groups) have garnered international attention.
Aids, poverty and all their assorted consequences have taken a heavy toll on the Ugandans but they have proven to be a resilient people. They have also shown themselves to be a spiritually hungry people. Blessed with a heart of service, that is where Susan Smith comes in. She has written a book about her experiences titled Dancing Under the Ugandan Skies.
This is not just some book recording mere facts and a few mildly interesting anecdotes, but a triumph of storytelling. The descriptions are vivid and the entire reading experience is more reminiscent of a good friend sharing an adventure with you than anything else. I was quickly drawn into the story that Dancing Under the Ugandan Skies brings to life. Susan Smith is a descriptive wordsmith who can paint a visual picture like few others can. She brings the places and people she describes to life in a way that places you right at the scene with her as she tells you her story. By page twenty I was hooked. This is good storytelling, and that's what a good book should be.
You will be moved by this book. You will laugh and you might even cry. You will marvel at the twists and turns that come unexpectedly on life's journey. And you will marvel at how God can use a person if they are willing to listen and to be used. It will make you understand and appreciate those who have sacrificed much to act upon The Great Commission to go unto all the world and spread the gospel.
Few who read this book will not re-examine their own lives, renew their Faith, and question if there is not more that they are willing and capable of doing for those less fortunate than themselves.
From the author's website:
It has been a long journey from Colorado to Eastern Africa but Susan Smith is now a full time missionary and is based in the city of Kampala, Uganda. She has partnered with a variety of organizations, both American and Ugandan, such as Flood the Nations, Young Arise for Christ, God's Centre of Blessings Ministries and Gulu Community Church.
Dancing Under the Ugandan Skies is 223 pages and available for sale at http://www.lulu.com/content/4843786. A paperback copy is $17.50 and an electronic download is available for $6.25. Eighty percent of the profit proceeds go towards Susan Smith's work in Uganda including funding churches and providing scholarships for children and youth to attend school. The author's website can be viewed at http://www.Betheclay.com and her Youtube promotional video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpzKt-QicGw.
David Huntwork is a conservative activist and freelance columnist in Northern Colorado, where he lives with his wife and three young daughters. He is currently working on his first book titled No Apologies: In Defense of the Conservative Ideology. You may view his bio and past columns at http://DavidHuntwork.tripod.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions at Davehuntwork@juno.com