An employee with TSA’s Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service from Houston brought some hope to hundreds of children in a remote village in the African country of Uganda. Greg Johnson volunteered for a mission trip with an organization called Rescue Hope to bring a medical team to Panyangasi, Uganda to teach women’s health, hygiene and nutrition.
“Upon arriving, we were met by over 300 villagers waving and singing to us,” Johnson described. “They knew we were there to help them and show loving-kindness.”
Johnson isn’t a medical professional but brought other skills and knowledge to the community. He led a Vacation Bible School, quickly bonding with hundreds of children through teaching, songs and games.
“The local area speaks a dialect called Dhapadhola,” he said. “The younger children are taught English in school, so they picked up on the songs rather easily.” However, Johnson said an interpreter helped during the Bible lessons. He taught about 300 children each day.
Johnson said his team provided daily meals for the families, built a hydroponic garden house to help the Ugandans grow a new variety of vegetables and constructed bunk beds for future teams to serve the community. In the afternoon, women attended medical seminars while Johnson and other team members took care of the children.
“Most of the children live in mud huts and have no shoes,” said Johnson. “Most of their clothing comes from donations … In the local culture, the men are the providers and have little time to help raise children.”
“This was an opportunity for me to partner with Rescue Hope and put my education, training and experience to work,” he noted. “My educational background is in Christian ministry.”
Johnson described the experience in Uganda as deeply life-changing and heart-changing. “I hope to go back year after year,” he said.
He plans to retire from federal service this spring and devote his time to ministry at his local church and missions globally.
“It is the most rewarding and humbling experience to serve others in a way they cannot ever pay you back,” said Johnson. “These experiences are for a higher purpose. Giving your time, education, experience and resources builds in you a love for your neighbor, your fellow man and gives you purpose. We are here on this big blue globe for a purpose. Whether you volunteer for a religious or secular purpose, you will most definitely find you have fulfilled a calling of serving a cause much bigger than yourself.”