Hi all! My name is Erica Grogg and I recently traveled to Uganda and Kenya with Under the Same Tree (UTST). I want to bring you into an overarching theme that left me in amazement the entire trip and that I keep being reminded of in my daily life back here in St. Louis, and that is the theme of provision.
This was my first time traveling to Africa, and one of the things that struck me was how little each program member owned, yet they always had just enough to get by. Their living conditions were less than ideal, but their basic needs were met: food, clothing and shelter. I was also amazed by how even with so little, they were incredibly hospitable and welcoming. In nearly every home we visited, we were invited in and at a minimum served tea.
Their passion for their businesses and the motivation driving these ladies to strive for more has been very encouraging to me. I witnessed them moving from what we termed the “slummy slums” to areas with better education opportunities for their children, less sewage piling up on the streets, and accessible bathrooms. The UTST program has been aiding these women to feel empowered, finding their self-worth and ambition from within. I found it to be beautiful how their needs were continuing to be met, and getting back to the theme, they always had exactly what they needed for their life.
Overarching all of this, I could see God so clearly working in each of their lives. Their unshakable faith was an encouragement to me. They knew that it was God using each and every person involved with UTST to help them progress in life. The children in the program continue to be raised honoring God and turning to Him in times of need. As one of my sayings goes, these ladies “keep on keepin’ on” and moving forward in this walk of life that God has provided for them.