Autobiography Titles: How a Team Bonds in Six Words or Less

After a 7 hour bus drive, two 8 hour plane rides, and a final 2 hour flight, we arrived home with heavy eyes, full hearts, and the bittersweet feeling of a grand adventure coming to a close. As we anxiously awaited our luggage at baggage claim, we joined hands in a final circle to thank God for bringing us together in His name and getting the opportunity to be but a small part in the amazing work He is doing at Musana. After hugs and goodbyes, we walked to our separate cars and drove away – finally realizing that this was the first time our team was really apart from each other in almost a week and a half.

One of the best things that happens when you get a group of people together and stick them in a new place is the powerful force of companionship. It weaves its golden thread though every interaction, every shared story, every breakfast eaten in a gazebo, every peak, and every valley. The other thing that inevitably comes from a team of close people is, of course, inside jokes. On the first day of our trip, I told the team about a game I play where in which you try to come up with the title of your autobiography. You come up with it through things you say OR something someone else says about you. This became our new goal for the trip. Anytime someone said something funny about themselves or someone else said it about them, it became their autobiography title. Because we, as a team, felt like these were just too good NOT to share, here are the titles we came up with for our autobiographies.

“Cleveland and the Cat” - Cleveland
“I’m a Human Jungle Gym” - Kristen
“I’m like a turkey meatloaf leftover” - Terri
“I’m secretly African” - Lynn
“When doc dives the bus -Don’t lose your arm” - Keneth (doc)
“If it doesn’t eat me, I’ll eat it!” - Mark
“Is this heaven?” - Francis
“It was hot today but the clothes stayed on!” - Mark
“When your happy makes you cry, not your crappy.” - Sherry
“You can’t come in last in the happy/crappy game” - Keneth
“I like all the African food especially the spaghetti” - Karina
“Knowing is half the sandwhich” - Cleveland
“I’ve been squatting pottying wrong the whole time.” - Kristen
“And then Jay-z came on.” - Cleveland
“You’re a little thug.” - Karina
“I paid for it in a weekend.” - Cleveland
“My new currency is cows.” - Cleveland
“I broke into a convent” - Francis
“I jumped into the puddle nile.” - Sherry
“It’s good to be crazy in christ.” - Dorcas
“Sister Francis does not approve.” – Francis
“It is not okay, but it happened.” - Keneth
“Kristen’s life is in all caps” - Kristen
“The magical pusher of buttons” - Leah
“Naughty, lovely girl.” –Sherry

We got really into the game so most of us have more than one autobiography to write. We also added several unofficial members to our team who we bonded with through this as well. There are so many funny things that came up while writing down our titles. They are quotes that we will bring up at debrief meetings or through group text chains. They are “you had to be there” moments, things that, sadly, no one else will ever understand. These will be the tiny snippets of what our life looked like that we can look back when we are feeling sad that we are not with our team every day.

As the trip came to a close, one thing that really struck me is that there isn’t a single title on this list, nor any other place, that could really sum up exactly what we experienced at Musana. There are no words to describe the joy in the students’ eyes or the happiness in the chapel that first day we arrived. There is no way to properly explain the way a jackfruit tastes or the way the sun looks when its rising over pride rock on Easter. No autobiography title we ever write can wrap up everything that God did in our hearts that week and half in Uganda and will continue to do in Colorado.

Cleveland said it best when we were all feeling sad about the trip being over soon – being at Musana is just one milestone on our long journey with Jesus. We have no idea what is to come next or what motions are already in place for something new.

Our time in Africa wasn’t our autobiography, it was just one chapter in a book full of so many more stories to come.

Praise God for that.

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