If you had spoken to me back in November, I wouldn't have believed you if you told me that in a month's time I would be in Africa filming a sports camp for 500+ kids. But lo and behold, there I was; New Year's Eve, on a plane traveling halfway across the world to a place I'd never been with 25 people I'd never met. I'd be lying if I said that the thought 'what on earth am I doing here?' didn't run through my head once or twice. Or every few minutes. But by then I was already at the point of no return, so I sat back and watched The Martian, trying not to think about it.
Hi, my name is Jeff, and I currently live in Austin, Texas as a freelance videographer, and honestly it's surprising that I was on this trip at all. One day my roommate came to me and said that this non-profit in Fort Worth needed a last minute videographer and asked if I'd be interested in going to Uganda in three weeks. Always a sucker for adventure, I said yes, and that's how I was introduced to Reaction Tour. Long story short? Nope. Short story... still short.
When we finally arrived in Uganda, I was immediately overwhelmed with the beauty of the country. Going from a gloomy Texas winter to this tropical paradise was a welcomed change. One of the first kids I met, a boy named Ian, said it best; "Isn't Uganda amazing? The warm climate, the lush vegetation. Uganda is amazing", he said with a proud smile. Yes, Ian, yes it is.
When camp started, my job was the bounce around and film all the different activities going on, as well as edit the daily videos that we would upload and share with everyone back home. And to be honest, I was a little nervous. Not so much with the work itself, but with my role. You see, it's very easy for videographers to hide behind the camera and feel detached and isolated from what they are shooting; in some ways it's just the nature of the job. But I wanted this to be more than just another gig. I wanted to walk away having experienced the Lord in a way I never had before. I hoped to connect with the people on the team and with the kids, and just to feel part of something bigger than myself.
And thankfully, that's exactly what happened. The Reaction Tour team was so gracious and welcoming, and I always felt a part of the group. Everyone continually poured themselves out for one another, even in those moments when they had every excuse to be selfish. And of course one of the greatest parts of my job was getting to hear all the different stories of how the Lord was moving among these people. Yes, there were stories of tragedy and earth-shattering heartbreak, but they were always followed up with abounding redemption and joy. It was unbelievably humbling. The Lord reminded me this week of the peace and joy that comes from walking with Him, and that He is the true well spring of all things good. Even as I spent hours alone in a hot, sweaty classroom editing, I still felt an inexplicable excitement. His presence was tangible.
I truly hope that the videos of camp gave you a glimpse into the experience we had that week, because it was truly a remarkable example of the body of Christ moving, even amidst incredible odds. Thank you everyone so much for your prayers and supporting the Reaction Tour team. Lives were changed this week with eternal significance, and I'm just glad to have been a part of it.
You can check out more of Jeff's work here: jeffmcquitty.com