On his first trip, he was clutching his driver as he rode on the back of a motorcycle through the streets of Mbarara, Uganda. Michael Seger was using this boda boda (taxi service) to get to meetings with government officials, caseworkers and to find housing in a place he had never been before, but he and his family will soon call home.
But in that moment the East Webster basketball coach could only think of one thing.
“I thought I was going to die,” Seger can recall now of that first trip last year.
“The real urgency has been on preparing to leave but also to maximize and finish with a sense of urgency where we are,” Seger said.
The journey to this destination began in 2016 when Seger was on a mission trip in Southeast Asia. He was hosting basketball camps that also allowed him to spread God’s word. Seger and Kellie have long been devout Christians. He said it was on this trip that God spoke to him about making mission trips his life’s work.
He returned to Mississippi and began praying with his wife about being open to God placing them and their young family in the right situation to complete a long-term mission trip.
A month later, Seger got the call from an old friend about an opportunity in Mbarara.
It had been months since Seger had spoken to Gary Linville. They were friends when both were in Hickory Flat, but Linville, a pastor, moved on to Alabama, and the Segers to Maben and East Webster. They kept in touch, periodically checking in with one another via text and social media. One Friday night in September of 2016, Linville decided to call.
“We hadn’t talked in two years,” Linville said. “But God directed me in Michael’s direction.”
“He mentioned that he’d be in our area,” Seger said, “and wondered if we could get dinner.”
On that phone call, Seger asked Linville for a favor. Would he pray that the Seger family would find the place they were looking to call home, and could carry out their long-term mission?
The next morning Seger got another phone call. Linville was in tears, filled with emotion over the opportunity he was about to present.
Linville’s church had been searching for a family for six months to be the directors of the House of Hope, an orphanage and school for children in Uganda.
Seger immediately told his wife. Kellie began packing their bags. For her, this was just as much of a dream come true as it was for her husband.
“After he got off the phone with brother Gary,” Kellie said, “I was like, ‘Are you kidding? Is this really happening?'”