Following discussion between the support team and Pastor Ivan about the possibility of someone from the Revival Centre visiting the UK it was agreed that an Exchange Programme be established. The Chappell family offered to fund the project and host the visitors from Matugga. The plan being that one person from the Revival Centre would return with the Chappell family in April following their annual trip to Matugga, the person would then live with the family for five months and then return with Debbie Walker when she makes her annual trip to Matugga each September.
The purpose of the programme is to provide the opportunity for a young person from the Revival Centre to:
- understand and experience everyday life in UK
- improve their written and spoken English
- meet supporters of the Revival Centre
- visit supporting churches and schools
- understand how support is generated
- be an active member of St John’s church
- be an ambassador for the Revival Centre
- represent the Champions of Revival Centre
- help Phil & Libby in supporting the Revival Centre
- visit London, the Dales, the East Coast, etc
The exchange would give supporters and the community in Ilkley the opportunity to meet in the flesh a recipient of support from the Revival Centre.
The difficult task of selecting the person to be the first traveller fell to Pastor Ivan. Ivan chose a 19 year old girl called Tendo Justine who was already well known to the Chappell family. Tendo is on the Champions programme and in the second year of the secondary school (S2). It took several months to get the Ugandan government to issue Tendo with a passport and the British High Commission in Kampala to issue a visitors visa (a letter of support from our MP Ann Cryer helped enormously – thank you Ann). In fact it was on the second day that the Chappell family were in Uganda that the visa was finally issued. At that late stage there was not much hope that Tendo would get a seat on the same plane as the Chappell’s on their return to the UK – amazingly there was just one seat left – God had clearly been saving it for Tendo. So all systems were go.
The next difficult job was to announce to everyone who was going to get the chance to go to the UK (up to that time it had been a secret (this had to be the case because for a long time it was far from certain that passport and visa would be obtained and the programme go ahead). There was the real risk that many would be jealous especially among those who had worked hard and done well in their exams.
At an assembly of all the secondary school pupils Ivan explained that he had selected Tendo and that it was based on many factors not just academic achievement, you could have heard a pin drop! Seeing Ivan present Tendo, a girl from a very poor family up in the hills, with a KLM air ticket to Britain was very emotional.
Tendo returned to Matugga on 15th September 2009. We feel the visit has been a success. Tendo proved to be a faithful and sensible girl with the confidence to meet people and get involved in British life without it spoiling her. We are now doing a joint review with Pastor Ivan in order to decide whether to apply for a passport and visa for someone else to come in 2010.