Uganda Reflection: What’s in a name?

Uganda Refelection: What's in a name?

One of the most cherished moments of my trip was receiving two Ugandan names. Both names were unexpected blessings to my heart. To me, they spoke into two realities: my past and my future as they intersected my present.

Prior to this trip I believed in the idea of names having great significance to a person. When I received my first Ugandan name it solidified this thinking. The first name that my Ugandan family gave me was Mugerwa.

Mugerwa means Mighty Warrior. Which is awesome all by itself. But get this! My name Gary also means Mighty Warrior.

In its most pure sense Gary means spear or spear carrier. But I always grew up knowing my name to mean “Mighty Warrior”. I have lead my life, not without struggle, with this thinking- I am mighty warrior.

When I first heard Pastor Dennis say the name and its meaning I was stunned. That moment of shock then turned into gratitude. Again, God was speaking to me in a beautiful way.

What I took from that moment was this: “Wherever you are in the world, my son, you cannot escape from the reality of who you are. Your name and your identity is one and the same. I have made you a mighty warrior.” It was God’s way of letting me know that I should be confident in my identity.

The second name I received was Muteesa. Muteesa was a king in Uganda according to my friends. They gave me this name because it was easier to pronounce. And more importantly they gave it to me because they said Muteesa was a king who knew how to give good counsel. This is what they saw in me- I gave good counsel.

My heart was filled to the fullest of full. I felt like God was challenging me to step into a greater reality. Not only has He made me to fight but he has made to counsel. These names are true of my life.

God has made me to fight. I am fighting to stay in his presence. I am fighting with and for those who are neglected, overlooked, ignored, and marginalized. I am counselor. I am bridge connecting the worlds of the rich and the poor. I am repairer of broken homes and hearts. I will sit, chat, share, and connect with people that both society and the Church has forgotten. It’s in my name. It’s in my nature. It’s in my identity.

What’s in a name? A lot!

What’s your name? What does your name mean? Are you living accordingly?


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