This year’s Thanksgiving we were blessed with a visit from Uganda’s First Lady, Janet Museveni.
Interview with Tim Peterson, Staff Pastor and coordinator of 2012 Thanksgiving Celebration
I understand Thanksgiving is an annual event here. Can you tell us the purpose of New Hope Uganda’s Thanksgiving celebration?
The purpose is to remind us to give thanksgiving about what God has brought about here, and the amazing works He’s doing in this place – not to take the credit for anything we’ve done, but to give Him the glory.
How was this year’s Thanksgiving similar and different to past years’ Thanksgivings?
[It was] similar in that we bring the whole community – not only the Kasana community, but the surrounding community, to join us in giving thanks. We represented many different languages in our singing, and we celebrated what God has done in the last year, not only in Kasana but in Kobwin and Musana camps as well. It was different in the fact that we didn’t have a processional, mostly due to the security issues, but also due to changing the way we do things. But unlike most years, we had the First Lady [of Uganda] here and although she was a guest at our very first Thanksgiving, it isn’t a regular occurrence at Kasana. The other thing is that we had a lot more children involved with what was going on than in previous years.
Can you describe the First Lady’s participation in this year’s Thanksgiving?
She had two separate roles – one was to see our Special Needs program and the children that were involved in the program, and to open the Hope Family House by cutting the ribbon, placing her handprint on the wall, and planting a citrus tree. The second part was taking part in the actual Thanksgiving service and giving the keynote address. We also appreciated the words from her daughter, Patience, and appreciated her words of challenge about building a legacy for those who come after.
What role did the children play in the celebration?
The biggest roles that they had were singing, ushering, security, and serving food… but all the children were valuable in giving testimonies,singing, and making this a place of welcoming community for all the guests who came outside.
In what specific ways did you see God working?
That all the pieces came together, for one thing! But many people were blessed by the children who were helping them, ushering them, caring for them… and many, including Mrs. Museveni, were impacted by the heartfelt thanksgiving. As she came tired and left refreshed, many others did as well. We appreciated the deaf ministry that came and cared for us by dancing and worshipping God with us. Others were blessed by the testimonies, both verbal and the card testimonies telling what God has done in their lives in the past year. And finally, many were surprised and pleased by the food that was served and how it was served.
As overall coordinator of the event, are there any specific success stories you’d like to share?
The biggest success story was the children showing responsibility. They really showed themselves far beyond their age in maturity. Theyblessed others and blessed God by the way they cared for others without thought for their own comfort, even to the point of missing some of the service because they themselves were serving.
Interview by Harrison Scott