MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 07-28-2015

Howdy! We had a great Sunday last week. I got to baptize 19 children and adults, and marry two couples. Some of those baptized are from Burundi, who have fled the unrest in their country to Uganda. The churches are growing well. This was our second baptism service this year and we will have at least one more before the year is over. The Gospel is doing its job.

I have preached again and again on the value and the importance, to God and society, of marriage, and on the destructive nature of fornication. Because of the way the marriage customs work here, and the high cost of bride prices, there is a lot of elopement and common law marriages. Couples just run away from their village and live together. We are offering an opportunity to make that right, and they are taking it.

Baptism

Baptism is a celebration of salvation here.

One of the couples who married on Sunday are Bakiga, both educators, who had become estranged from each other because the man had gotten into sin and become an abusive drunk. He came to the camp, heard of our church at Juru, visited one Sunday, and I led him to the Lord. Months later, I learned the woman had come to hear the preaching. I gave the invitation, and she indicated her need for salvation. She remained after the service, and I got to lead her to Christ also.

Sunday, I baptized her, and then married them. I have watched as they keep taking steps of obedience to the LORD. They have started a Primary school in our Juru church, and have nearly 160 students. It all began because God brought a man to church and he heard the Gospel and believed. Things like this remind you why God called you to be a missionary.

Please pray. I am still having difficulty getting the last recommendation letter we need, this one from the RDC (Resident District Commissioner) for Mbarara. Pray we would get our letter in the next couple days so we can FINALLY get this NGO, Grace Baptist Missions of Uganda, established. Everything else is done – we’re just waiting on this one letter.

Pray about our churches at Nakivale. The churches are growing. At some point in the next year, I will need to build new buildings at Sangano and Juru. Juru has outgrown its sanctuary and Sangano needs another Sunday School room. All the buildings need maintenance (the rains always do damage, and then there’s also termites). I need to build baptistry’s at the other three preaching points, so we don’t have to keep baptizing at Sangano only. As pleasant as meeting corporately is, the sanctuary there can’t hold everybody. My men are working on getting our church constitution translated from English to the big three languages there – Swahili, Runyankore, and Kinyarwanda. Then I am going to organize the remaining three churches. They still need Pastors – pray God would raise up qualified men. I am currently training eight.

God has burdened us with the need to dig wells at the four points. Clean water is a desperate need at the camp. What water they do get is full of parasites and makes them sick all the time. In the dry season, the available water supply suffers greatly, and water is rationed. Currently, each family (and they have lots of kids) is limited to 40 liters of water a day. This includes water for cooking, drinking, washing, and bathing. They have to line up at 4 in the morning, and wait for hours to get their ration, and hope it doesn’t run out before they get their turn. Having a well would free our churches from dependence on the camp’s dirty, unreliable water supply. It would also, among other things, guarantee we will always have water when we need it for baptizing, instead of having to haul water from far away in jerry cans.

We are still working on the library. I need to get it painted before we take the books out there, and we need money for tables and chairs. We had some some money set aside for this, but this was consumed by the additional fees we incurred at the border from crooked customs officials.

We are well past the point of replacing our tires. I need four new tires and a spare, because the ones we have are dangerously bald. It’s a rare Sunday I don’t have to stop at the service station to put air in one or more tires. I will need to repair our four wheel drive also, since the roads inside the camp are as terrible as ever, and it is impossible to reach the furthest preaching points during the rainy season without it. Please pray about these needs.

Pray about our ministry to Rwanda. We got a much welcome visit from Jeff Bassett earlier this month. He brought a man named Sadok, who was saved under his ministry and trained in James Pridgen’s Bible College in Kampala. Sadok joined the church at Sangano, and will be serving as their missionary in Rwanda planting churches to reach their own countrymen with the Gospel. The guys I am training may someday be able to return to their countries, and we are in a position to help establish more churches in Rwanda and Congo. That has long been our goal.

Pray for our growing ministry and for the many souls of East Africa God has called us to serve.

God bless you!

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 05-28-2015

Greetings from Uganda! PRAISE THE LORD OUR CONTAINER HAS ARRIVED! It took a bit longer to get here than we would have liked due to bad rain in the mountains in Kenya, and crooked customs agents at the border, but our clearing agent overcame all obstacles and got it here at last.

Library

Massive pile o’ books for the new church library.

Thank you to everyone who aided us in making this library possible: the people who donated books and money to buy and then ship the container, our Pastor and the folks in our church who got the thing loaded, organized, and on its way, the good people at Missionary Expediters who got it to Africa, then Goldfield Logistics in Kenya, who had to negotiate to get our container through to us with minimal delay and costs, and BIMU here in Uganda who had to help with some of the paperwork. Lots of people were involved getting the container here, and we are very, very grateful.

Meanwhile out at Nakivale, God has been blessing at all four churches. In Ngarama, the town has received 400 new families from the unrest in Burundi. We are seeing some growth there as new people seek us out.

In Juru, the church is bursting at the seams. We are going to have to expand that building to accommodate. God has raised up a man and given him the vision to start a primary school. He already has three schools going, maxed out with students. The need for a school here is grave, as the one public school they have has class sizes of 200, and minimal discipline or actual learning going on. Pray for us as we assist the growth of this endeavor. The new books are going to be a huge help. Thank you to those of you who sent school supplies!

Kabazano and Sangano are also both growing. We will be conducting another baptism service soon.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are making inroads at the camp, so I am tailoring some specific teaching to counter their many heretical, unBiblical beliefs. Pray for the truth to keep overcoming the lies. Our churches have gained a reputation for emphasizing the truth. When I was preaching about tongues and the deceptions of the modern Signs and Wonders movement, I heard that one of the local Pentecostal pastors at Sangano became frustrated with one of our folks who was debating the point with him. This Pastor declared “These Baptist only care for the truth!” Indeed. The Pentecostals here believe in extra-Biblical revelation – our folks insist on Bible, Bible, Bible.

Mud

Stuck in the mud at Sangano.

Last month, we got badly stuck in the mud at Sangano. Somebody cut the road we normally use to make an irrigation ditch for their field, and this was the result. We finally had to get a team of 20 guys to pick the truck up and set it back on the road. The folks from Sangano pitched in and helped. It was a community affair. Our car was damaged. I got the really serious stuff fixed, so we can keep driving out there, but the 4WD is toast. I will have to save money for several months to repair that. It will have to be done before the rains come again, because as you can see, the road inside the camp is impossible to negotiate in the rains without 4-wheel.

Pray for us. I am still working on getting our paperwork together to submit to the NGO board in Kampala. There is one local official here who is delaying us badly. I just need a letter of recommendation from him – he is delaying to give it. Pray that this will be quickly resolved so we can get our NGO created soon.

Keep praying! The LORD is at work at Nakivale, and we are privileged to participate in what He is doing.

MISSON: Uganda Blog Update 03-09-2015

Greetings! OUR CONTAINER HAS SHIPPED!!!

Container

The intrepid truck and crane guys, hard at work.

After a year of waiting, the money finally became available to ship our container full of books to Uganda. Thank you to everyone who gave books to our library. Thank you to everyone who gave money for the container and the shipping. And the biggest thanks goes to our church family, who worked so tirelessly to get this thing prepped and shipped. There is only so much I can do remotely from Uganda, so without their hands working on our behalf, we could not have brought our dream of a public library in Nakivale refugee camp to fruition.

According to the shipping company, our container should reach South Africa by the 30th, then Mombasa by April 9th. From there, it begins making its way overland to our home in Mbarara, Uganda. Exciting!

The people at Sangano are looking forward to this library with great anticipation. Currently, there are no libraries of any type out in Nakivale. They are working hard putting the finishing touches on the building that will house the books. We have to get some benches and tables made. Once the container comes, we have to sort and organize the books, load them into metal trunks for storage, and begin hauling them out there (we can’t put them on shelves because the termites will devour them). We have people ready to man the library and manage the books. It’s all coming together.

I have been burdened with the need for a public church library for some time. Our church will be doing something very practical and of direct benefit to their community through this library, and it will allow us to reach refugees from all over Africa with the Gospel, including Muslims.

Pray for the transition through customs, that we don’t get harassed by the customs agents and our container just comes straight to our house without issue.

I have finally reached 1 Corinthians 14 in my preaching. This means I can, at last, lay the axe to the root of the many Pentecostal/Charismatic cults operating in Uganda. Pentecostalism is appealing here, because it bears such similarity to traditional tribal religions. You have people getting possessed by spirits to receive secret knowledge. You have wild, emotional, frenzied “worship”. You have pagan rituals designed to coax favors from the spirits. All disease is caused by demons, so those have to be cast out, with more pagan rituals and lots of shouting. Slap a coat of pseudo-Christian paint on that, and you have the majority of the Penticosmatic groups at work in Nakivale.

The modern Signs and Wonders movement mines the third world for money and resources, and Uganda is no exception. I am quite weary of these thieves and charlatans, deceiving and exploiting the desperate and the poor. They deal in lies, but to paraphrase the great Steve McQueen from The Magnificent Seven “We deal in truth.” And the truth makes us free.

Pray for us as we continue educating our people and sowing the truth of God’s eternal word among them.

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 01-17-2015

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2015! I trust everybody had some great holidays – we sure did. We bought turkeys out at the refugee camp for Thanksgiving. I try to buy everything I can out at the camp, from church members if possible. It’s a way for people to earn money without my having to harm them with charity. Christmas went great. We took gifts out to our church folks like we always do, and had a big meal at Sangano for everybody.

In December we had another Lord’s Supper for the churches. I am preparing to organize some more churches, and the Lord’s Supper is a good opportunity to review the ordinances, and the importance and necessity of an organized church membership.

The kids are off school for Christmas, so we did our first Marathon VBS of the year like we do every school break. This time, we had over 500 children between the four preaching points on the last day. We got to give the gospel to a lot of children who don’t attend our church, and also hand out lots of cookies, Kool Aid, and candy bars for the guys who could say their memory verses. It was a lot of fun, and only moderately exhausting.

Marathon VBS

Anna leading songs with the kiddos.

In February, I’m having another Baptism/Wedding service. Please be in prayer for that. I find that, like the Apostle Paul, I am having to lay a foundation for people with marriage. What we would recognize as Common Law marriage (living together or cohabitation) is very common here. I am having to teach people why God created marriage, and why it remains necessary today. I am attempting to restore a proper respect for marriage in a world that has done its best to defile and demean God’s sacred institution.

Another thing I have started doing is going out to each of the points and just answering questions from the Bible in an informal Bible Study. The people love it, and I really like it because it gets everybody involved, not just the men. Truth always overcomes deception. Plugging people in to the Bible alleviates a lot of the nonsense that can crop up in a church, always due to deception or failure to understand the plain teaching of Scripture.

All the money needed to ship our container of books to Uganda has come. Our church is busy getting everything organized to ship. We should have that thing on its way to Uganda by the end of the month. Praise the LORD! I am attempting to get all inspections and customs done in America so I don’t have to deal with customs in Uganda. Pray that the shipping process will go smoothly.

MISSION: Uganda Blog Update 10-21-2014

Greetings! God is blessing greatly out at Nakivale. October 12 we conducted a joint service at Sangano of the four churches to whom we minister. I baptized 23 people and married two couples. Many of the baptized were children from our Sunday Schools and VBS. It is tremendous to see the gospel do its work in their hearts. You have to wonder sometimes if you’re getting through, and then you watch them growing and progressing in their faith and it’s awesome.

One of the men I won to the LORD came to be baptized and also be married. I have been preaching very firm against fornication, and at the same time, making the Biblical case for marriage. Marriage is holy before the LORD. He created it in the Garden for Adam and Eve, so they could live with each other and enjoy each other without sin. It’s purpose is to protect us against fornication, to deliver us from loneliness, and to give comfort and pleasure. God defines marriage as between one man and one woman. If any relationship diverges from this pattern, then it’s not marriage, no matter what human judges may say – the Divine Judge has already spoken and His decision is final. These folks had simply cohabited, but they wanted to be married before God and the churches. I have to say, I was a bit nervous, as this was my first wedding, but it went off without a hitch (well, actually there were two hitches, but you know what I mean) and the church was greatly edified (another purpose of marriage). It rejoices my heart greatly to see the Bible change hearts and alter lives like this.

We remain and continue our work, training our leaders and our people, preaching, serving, and spreading the simple Gospel message of Jesus Christ to Nakivale, and through our people, beyond to Congo, Rwanda, and around the world. Things are going to become much busier for us in the next several months. Pray for us as we continue holding forth the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout East Africa.

God bless you all!

Baptism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding